With more than 15 million U.S. golfers, the market for collectibles has expanded greatly in recent years. Such memorabilia can make good investments that increase in value over time. Experts suggest buying pieces attached to golf’s biggest names, especially those who figure prominently in the sport’s history. Autographed golf clubs, balls, shoes and gloves fall into this category, as do signed tournament pin flags, action photos, or award medallions.
“When you consider acquiring golf collectibles as a pure investment, look for really hard-to-get items, one of a kind, if possible,” says Joe Umphlett, sales manager for SportsMemorabila.com. “Look for items used by golfing greats, items they wore and signed. These tend to really appreciate in value over the years.”
Click ahead to see a range of items and prices available to the collector or investor.
By Rob Reuteman
Posted 5 January 2012
It's tough finding quality pieces from Arnold Palmer, since he's known for avoiding signings, according to SportsMemorabila.com. One of the greatest golfers, Palmer won 62 PGA Tour titles over the course of his career. The pin flag comes with a certificate of authenticity, and is priced at $329.99 on SportsMemorabila.com
This 16x20 autographed color photo of Jack Nicklaus features him celebrating his famous birdie putt on the 17th hole during the 1986 Masters at Augusta. He went on to become the oldest winner of the tournament. This comes with an official replica scorecard, signed by Nicklaus. The photo is valued at $1,105 on SportsMemorabila.com.
The annual Crosby National Pro-Am was played at Cypress Point Club, Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Pebble Beach in California. This program is from the first year play was resumed after World War II, and established the three golf courses that were used for the championship for the next 20 years.
The event was nicknamed the Crosby Clambake because the nation's leading professionals were joined by celebrity amateurs, such as Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller and Bob Hope, both pictured in the program. The item is 16 pages, and features photographs and course diagrams. It’s priced at $1,300 on Golf Links To The Past/A Shop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
Tiger Woods' size 11 Nike golf shoes feature his signature on the right shoe. Worn during the 2007 tour season, the shoes are priced at $1,698.30 on SportsMemorabila.com.
Tiger Woods signed the glove he wore during an unidentified PGA tournament. The glove is authenticated and procured from Woods, and is valued at $4,382.50 on SportsMemorabila.com.
The esteemed golf writer Herbert Warren Wind, who covered the sport for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated from 1940 to 1960, called this “the best book about golf ever written."
This edition is from the sixth printing, illustrated with plates from photographs. The dust jacket is inscribed and signed by Bobby Jones in blue ink. "To J.T. Carroll, Remembering our Baltimore party. With best regards, Sincerely, Bob Jones."
The autographed edition is valued at $6,000, according to Golf Links To The Past/A Shop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
A dozen pristine 1890s golf balls found sitting in their original box, still wrapped in tissue. Single, nicked-up Ocobo Gutta balls have sold for $600 in auctions.
The golf balls are valued at $6,785 on TheGolfAuction.com.
This photo of Jimmy Demaret, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, and Ben Hogan was taken on April 6, 1946, as they discussed the day's results of the first post-war Masters Tournament, in which they were competing. The framed dimensions are 36.5" x 34.5"
The autographs are priced at $6,900 on Golf Links To The Past/A Shop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
Tom Morris was the top player of his day, winning four British Open Championships between 1861 and 1867. In 1864, he moved on to St. Andrews, Scotland, where he lived until his death in 1908. This check for 800 pounds gave him title to the building and shop on Links Road in St. Andrews that still bears his name.
The check was sold for around $17,925 in April 2010, according to Heritage Auctions.
This was presented to Lloyd Mangrum in 1946 as tournament champion. The front is inscribed with the words "United States Golf Association Organized 1894" and shows a raised etching of the USGA's Eagle logo. The back contains the inscription "1946 Open Championship," "Canterbury Golf Club Cleveland, Ohio," and "Winner." This medal comes with a detailed letter from Lloyd Mangrum's grandson certifying authenticity, and is valued at $40,678, according to TheGolfAuction.com.
Walter Hagen won 11 major championships, a record surpassed only by Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. This 1925 PGA medal was left as collateral for a liquor bill in Palm Springs, Calif., and never reclaimed, according to a letter from Fred Coops & Co./Collector Gallery describing the circumstances. The letter accompanies the item.
The medal is engraved "Professional Golfers Association of America" with Hagen's name and 1925 date with a set diamond on the front. The back has engraving depicting a mythical man swinging a golf club with another figure carrying a flag. The medal measures 2 inches in diameter and weighs 125 grams.
The medal was sold for about $62,000 in November 2011, according to Heritage Auctions.
Heritage Auction called this item "arguably the most important Bobby Jones artifact that exists, which puts it quite solidly in the running for the most important collectible from the history of golf as well."
It is believed to be the first Green Jacket, custom-made for Jones in 1937, 12 years before it became the symbol of golf's greatest achievement, winning the Masters Tournament. During the Depression, Jones designed the golf course in Augusta, Ga., where the Masters is played each April. Jones' personal Green Jacket was not a victor's prize, but rather worn to identify him as a member of the staff.
It was not until 1949 that the garment became an annual prize for the Masters Champion. Now, winners are strongly urged against taking the garments off the Augusta course and forbidden from selling them.
The collectible jacket was sold for about $310,700 in August 2011, according to Heritage Auctions.