Golf is one of the oldest sports in the world, with a history dating back to 15th century England. The sport followed the colonists across the ocean and became a popular American pastime. Today, more than half of all the golf courses in the world are in the United States, even though the sport has worldwide popularity. Great players captured the nation’s imagination from Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Vijay Singh. In 1950, golf became one of the few professional sports open to women when the LPGA was formed. Babe Zaharias, Nancy Lopes and Karrie Webb have inspired generations of women seeking a career in professional golf.
But two golfers are leading the way in increasing interest in golf. Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam have brought in a new generation of golf fans with their personalities and their record-setting scores. Their popularity has also sparked a new interest in golf collectables. While Jack Nicklaus attracted golf fans, Woods and Sorenstam bring new fans to golf.
Woods is by far the most marketable golfer, perhaps ever. His collection of pro sports memorabilia ranges from traditional golf balls, photos and shirts. Woods autograph is one of the most coveted of all authenticated sports collectibles. Woods has a deal with Upper Deck, which guarantees the authenticity of the autographs from the athletes.
Sorenstam is the first female to sign with Upper Deck. The company store has collectible Sorenstam photos of her career highlights and an autographed golf ball.
Golf collectibles of veteran golfers also remains a top seller. Nicklaus, often referred to as the greatest golfer of all time, continues to get top dollar on Internet auctions. One of the most popular items is a photograph of Nicklaus with Woods. Woods is poised to overtake Nicklaus’ record of major tournament wins. At 31, Woods has 12 major wins while Nicklaus has 18 wins in his entire career. Any golf memorabilia linking Woods and Nicklaus will get top dollar and have great sentimental value as well.
Any items from the PGA’s main event, the Masters’ Tournament, are highly collectible. The Masters is the only tournament played on the same course each year. Since 1934, golfers have competed at the course in Augusta, Georgia.
Golf magazines, clubs and golf balls are all collector items for golf lovers. When you add an autograph by Woods, Sorenstam, Nicklaus or another golf great, the value increases greatly. With its rich history, golf collectibles can include items from a hundred years ago. But other memorabilia also holds great value and sentiment for collectors such as decanters shaped like golf clubs, tea sets and china are often found in the homes of collectors of authenticated sports collectibles.