Collecting hand signed golf memorabilia can be a great hobby or small business for the golf enthusiast as you are able to combine following your golfing heroes with building a golf memorabilia collection.

Due to the nature of golf I have always found players to be most considerate and obliging when it comes to signing autographs and meeting enthusiasts, the cost of attending events and tournaments can well be compensated for by the increasing value of your collection.

The Open is the obvious choice followed by internationals, amateur championships, and senior events.

Early records show golf as first being played in Scotland where it was banned by James 11 who regarded it as an unwelcome distraction to archery. Early Scottish golf courses were primarily links courses, soil covered sand dunes close to the beach and often crossed by a railway line hence the term golf links, particularly applied to seaside courses.

Categories and specialised areas

As with collecting any sports memorabilia, it is always prudent to specialise in a nominated category, categories are defined as pre-war and post war, golf collectables from the late 1940s although desirable will not usually merit the value of earlier examples.

Once would be collectors have established which era they will concentrate on they need to consider where to specialise, examples would include books, balls, clubs, rare autographs, hand signed pin flags, photos, prints, course maps and tournament programmes.

It is always important to consider the condition of sports memorabilia, although one must be realistic and bear in mind age and usage, by the very nature of collecting clubs  balls and apparel wear is acceptable.

Golf memorabilia which I have personally collated would include the following popular modern players Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Trevino , Rory, Darren the list goes on, it is all about personal choice and opportunity.

Pre-war players would include Henry Cotton, Alf Perry, Bobby Jones, Jim Barnes, Harry Varden,Tom Morris Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan to name but a few that I have been particularly interested in.


 Golf memorabilia sales and auctions

Sports memorabilia auctions are always a favourite of mine as they usually include lots of cricket, rugby and football collectables which are also of interest to me.

A good start would be Knights sporting auctions or Bonham’s auctions Chester.

It is important to do your research make sure you order an auction brochure prior to the event and compare items for sale against prices previously realised.

Attend the sale for viewing check the provenance and condition of the items you have researched and list them, remember not to get carried away when bidding as the bid price can be way above the guide price quoted in the brochure. Write down a maximum you will bid up to and stick to it, not forgetting you will also be paying up to 25% in commission and incidental fees.

Check out the terms and conditions

Online bidding

When bidding online the costs are higher and in my opinion you really need to attend the viewing and sale.

If you have to bid on eBay it is important to research the vendor and always ask for formal authentication, UACC or AFTAL.

I cannot emphasis enough the buyer beware syndrome which appertains to popular internet sites

I have recently written an article which you can find on my website called Rare autographs real or fake, I strongly advise you to read this.

Good luck with your collecting and let me know how you get on.

Tony Selby

Cricket Collectables