At the Goodwill by Timothy Walsh

Like crows tearing at roadkill,
people rummage among the aisles
and clothes bins,
ransacking the discarded clutter of other lives
for that special undiscovered something.

Beyond an army of tired shoes, you make your way
to the back corner
where golf clubs by the hundreds jut from barrels,
shafts and clubheads jumbled helter-skelter.

Nearby, old golf bags are piled like clumsy sea creatures
dead upon the sand.
Splayed zippers and torn pockets full of old golf balls,
crumpled scorecards, stubby pencils, and old tees…

Some clubs are still caked with mud,
remnant of the day they were last played,
orphaned by the terse calling card of death,
forgotten in basements or garages long past the funeral,
until they are dropped off, lifted from the trunks of cars
with a pallbearer’s decorum…

Clubs once cherished by men,
magic implements to leverage the spirit,
arcane as alchemists’ weapons—
Spalding Synchro-Dyned Top-Flite,
Lynx Predator, Golden Ram,
Wilson Strata-Bloc Cup Defender,
MacGregor Oil Hardened Chieftain—
each club someone’s personal Excalibur
elevating the soul with each dance-like swing,
old woods, maple and persimmon, once
lovingly cleaned and oiled,
now grimy, cast off, seemingly dead.

But if you close your eyes, you can feel something—
a low hum, diffuse as starlight—
all the accumulated shot-concentration of decades
stored in the clubs like batteries,
the fire of long-dead golfers still smoldering
in the grips and clubheads.

Bring an armful home. Scour them clean.
Rub lemon oil into the wood, and mink oil
onto the leather grips.
Tomorrow, take them out on the course.
Send the ball flying with a satisfying crack of wood,
the club in your hand ecstatic as a blind man
with restored sight.


How’d you ever come across that?

Great post


I found it on another golf board that I frequent. (

It really hit home for me as I have two Goodwill stores along my commute to work.
I have made it a habit to hit them both about once a week.
I have found some really neat clubs there.
They charge $5 a club, regardless of condition.

Some of my favorites

  • Hogan special sand wedge
  • Macgregor MT split sole 10 wedge
  • Wilson persimmon 3-wood
  • Penna persimmon driver (i believe a mod 2)
  • Set (2-W) of 1962-63 Wilson Dynapower blades with the turfrider sole.

I am starting to get the shakes as I have not bought a club in over a week now. :slight_smile:

There is something that just feels right about cleaning up an old club and taking it out for a spin.

My original goal starting ABS was to shoot par once before I die.
I would be happy to stare down old man par and force him to a draw.
My new goal is to do this with a bag of clubs, each of which is older than I am.
(I was born in '69)

Hmmm, I’ve had some club reincarnations myself. I have gotten several sets of irons and persimmon woods from Goodwill. Best place to find them since most of the play it again sports/used golf equipment places won’t even look at a wooden club or older blades, let alone try to resell them.

The neat part is some of the clubs had the old owners name/country club/location on them as those little stickers on the shafts. I sometimes wonder if the owner is still alive and what the various courses and kinda of scores they shoot with those clubs. Reminds me of that movie “The Red Violin” where they trace the history of the red violin though all its owners and history up to the current owner over the centuries. Great movie BTW.

It makes me wonder about history of the clubs I got that were made in the 60’s/70’s (albeit a shorter history than the red violin). How many birdies/eagles/albatross and hole in ones they might have made. How much $$$ was won/lost with those. Was a club championship on the line? Neat things to think about a connection to a past. Maybe some of that magic will be passed on to me. :slight_smile:

Of course with the new corporate profit/mass marketing of the current clubmakers, anything over 6mos old is ancient history and should be ridiculed… :imp:

For a game that has spanned the centuries, the last 15 years seem to have had very little to do with it.