Upper Deck returns to the golf trading card mix

For the first time in nearly 20 years the company releases a new collection, one that features a number of fresh faces — and a GOAT

Who better to revive the golf card hobby than Upper Deck?

The California-based company, one of the leaders in sports and entertainment collectibles, recently launched its flagship golf collection — Upper Deck Golf — for the first time since 2004.

The 150-card base set features golfers such as Viktor Hovland, Brooke Henderson and Collin Morikawa, and of course, Upper Deck’s trump card — Tiger Woods.


Despite playing sparingly over the last few years, Woods is still arguably golf’s biggest draw and Upper Deck has had Woods under an exclusive contract for many years, which in part has discouraged other competitive brands from cobbling together a golf card release without the superstar included in a set.

Upper Deck did release some higher end collectable products over the last few years, but its flagship card set hasn’t been released in two decades.

"We've seen sort of the golf industry grow over the last few years, especially during COVID, so we thought it was the right time to bring our  flagship brand back," says Paul Zickler, director of sports brands at Upper Deck. "Obviously the set includes a lot of our cards that people know, like the Young Guns rookies. This product is more accessible to all of our customers, not just sort of our core collectors in the hobby."

A hobby box of 24 packs can be purchased in the $110 to $130 range online or at various card collectable stores. A single pack is affordable at around $5.

Woods is featured swinging a club on the front of the hobby box and his Tiger Woods Ventures logo is on the back of the box next to the Upper Deck logo. Woods has more than 15 unique designs in the card set, as does Hovland and Morikawa.

"We’ve had a longstanding deal with Tiger and he has been a unique spokesman for years and is the most marketable name in golf," Zickler says. "I think we can all attest to that, and Upper Deck has stood by Tiger through his career and he has been a staple with a lot of our products. But I would be remiss not to note some of the young up-and-comers and other key golfers that we have under contract, whether it's Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland or (Vanderbilt University star) Gordon Sargent — it is a long list of good golfers. But yes, Tiger is at the top of the Mount Rushmore of golf.”

2023 UD Golf F70_P1_CdCS1_Woods

Golf cards can be challenging for companies since all players are independent contractors and are free to strike individual deals.

One omission from the Upper Deck Golf release is World No. 1 player and recent Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.

"While we have some of the biggest names in golf included in the product there are some omissions like Scottie Scheffler," Zickler says. "While we reach out to their reps to participate, some agreed to do so and some did not, just like the other sports."

There are 50 Young Guns included in the new set, featuring Will Zalatoris, John Daly II and Max Homa. In addition to the Young Guns, collectors should look for UD Canvas cards, Clear Cut Legends, Defining Moments, Generation Next, National Heroes and Tour Time cards.

"Our flagship brand includes a lot of cool inserts, so there'll be many opportunities to get Tiger cards," Zickler says. "That's the unique thing about golf is there are a lot of opportunities for interactive and cool insert cards. There'll be a lot of opportunity to collect those big names on multiple cards for sure."

Portfolio Golf, a new product offering from Upper Deck, is also being released in 2024 and will feature an eclectic mix of insert sets from brands including Allure, Artifacts, Black Diamond, Exquisite Collection, SP Authentic, SPx and Ultimate Collection. So look for an impressive slate of high-end memorabilia cards and autograph cards from Upper Deck’s most iconic brands.

2023 UD Golf F25_P19_CdSS19_Lopez

Some of the top LIV golfers are also missing from the set, but Zickler says it wasn’t intentional. 

"We want to source the best golfers, and we will continue to do that," he says. “Collectors want to collect the best golfers. So we'll continue to explore all avenues and we're going to continue to bring the best checklist and products that we can to market."

It’s unclear if Upper Deck’s latest releases will spur competitors to look harder at the golf card hobby market — and jump in at some point.

"There's always competition in business, right?" Zickler says. "And when I look at the other sports it all helps support the hobby year round. What we’re doing with golf is just going to introduce more collectors to the sport. It is definitely a unique product category, so we'll see how it develops. But, in terms of increasing the awareness it's going to definitely get more collectors out there.”

Zickler says an ideal schedule would be to release a golf product annually, but it’s unclear just yet if the market will sustain such an aggressive strategy.

"You are definitely going to see a reoccurring golf product, we’re committed,” Zickler says. “If you’re asking me to get out my crystal ball, yeah, you'll see some Upper Deck golf products continue in the future."