How to Buy Golf Clubs for Beginners
One of the biggest challenges for a new golfer is figuring out from the vast array of available clubs which ones they need to start playing.
In reality, a new player doesn’t need a lot of clubs and certainly won’t need to fill the golf bag up to the maximum permitted number of 14.
A beginner can start with four clubs that will cover all elements of their game. However, there are different designs and specifications, and not all clubs are suitable for new players.
Read on to learn what you need to consider when buying golf clubs, including the components, club type, and more. Here is the ultimate guide to golf clubs for beginners.
Golf Club Components
Golf clubs can come in a variety of designs and materials. Like any sports equipment, the different components can significantly affect everything, from the feel of the club to the angle of your shot.
Understanding the different components of the golf club and how they influence the shot will help you choose the best design and brand of club for your needs. Buddying up with a more experienced player can fill in the gaps before you buy.
The grip is located at the top of the golf club and is the area the player holds. It is usually a piece of rubber that slides over the top part of the shaft, although other materials can modify the rubber to improve the player’s hold.
Other than putters, grips are available in various diameters: small or undersize, standard or regular, large or midsize, and oversize or jumbo.
Some golfers add a layer or several layers of tape to the shaft before adding the grip on top. The tape can allow you to bridge the gap between grip sizes if you can’t find the perfect fit.
You can also replace your grips as they wear out or change to suit player preference.
The texture of the grip is just as important as the size. Grip textures can range from smooth to abrasive and everything in between.
Coarse grips are typically a combination of cord and rubber, with strands of cord inserted into the rubber base for maximum hold. This type of grip is sometimes marketed as ‘all weather’ as it is easier to hold when it rains.
Smooth grips usually rely on the tackiness of the surface to help the player hold the club. Slap bang in the middle are tour velvet grips, a middle ground offering tackiness without the harshness on the hands of cord grips.
Grips come in a variety of colors. They are prone to wear and tear and, over time, will accumulate dirt. Grips can be washed in warm, soapy water using a soft brush to remove dirt and debris.
You might think the grip is merely the part you hold, but the diameter significantly impacts your swing. Too small, and you’ll release too quickly. Too large, and you’ll lose swing speed.
Beginners will probably need to try various grip diameters to find the right size. Remember to take your golfing glove or gloves if you are trying out different grips. If you don’t know your size, you can look at the glove size to figure out the proper grip diameter for your hand.
The golf shaft is the engine of the golf club, located between the grip and the head. Most golf shafts are either graphite or steel.
The choice of material and the shaft flex—the amount that the shaft bends during the swing—are the two most important factors in shaft selection.
Driver or fairway wood shafts use graphite. With irons, there is a choice between steel and graphite.
Graphite golf shafts are lighter, allowing you to maximize your swing speed. They are the most popular of the two shaft types. Graphite is a high-quality material, so these shafts tend to be more expensive.
Players with slow to moderate swing speeds tend to favor graphite to enhance their game, plus these shaft flexes are softer too.
Steel golf shafts are heavier, more durable, and cheaper than graphite.
More established players with a faster swing speed will have the power to move a heavier steel shaft. However, if you are a beginner with a lot of muscle tone and are reasonably athletic, a steel shaft with a regular or stiff flex may help your game.
The hosel is the socket that fits into and connects the shaft with the clubhead.
Usually, the hosel is part of the club head. The shaft will slide into the hosel, secured with epoxy. The entry part at the top of the hosel is often concealed under a black plastic ferrule.
Although most golf clubs still have traditional, fixed hosels, there is an increasing trend now towards adjustable hosels. These include a sleeve the golfer can turn and click into different settings.
Adjustable hosels allow the player to adapt certain club features such as the face angle, loft, and lie angle. Professional players like Tiger Woods often favor adjustable hosels. Still, it would be fair to say that it takes a certain amount of experience and skill to benefit from this technology.
Purists maintain that fixed hosels are the only way and that adjustable hosels are there for the club manufacturer to perfect the product rather than for the player to use. For beginners, it may make sense to start with a fixed hosel and advance to adjustable ones as you learn your playing style.
The clubhead is the part of the club that connects with the ball. The characteristics, shape, materials, and loft reflect the club's purpose.
A driver or fairway wood usually features a large, rounded clubhead to hit long shots. An iron clubhead is smaller and thinner to reflect its use for shorter shots.
Which Types of Golf Clubs Do I Need as a Beginner?
Under the United States Golf Association (USGA) rules, you are allowed to carry up to fourteen clubs in your golf bag. However, the reality is that most beginners only need a fraction of these when they learn to play.
You might think complete golf sets are likely to be expensive and contain clubs you just won’t use until your game is beginning to develop. But golf sets can represent excellent value for money as they contain everything you need plus the bag and often work out cheaper than buying individual clubs.
Beginner golfers can start with a driver, an iron set, a sand wedge, and a putter—it’s as simple as that. Add the bag, and you are ready to go. The alternative, a complete golf set, will usually include a driver, fairway wood(s), head covers, a set of irons, and a putter.
Whether you want to buy individual clubs or a readymade set, here are the ones you will need.
Also called a ‘1 Wood’, the driver sends the ball the furthest distance and is used to tee off at the beginning of the hole. You only need one driver in your golf bag, and you can choose from various driver lofts.
The driver loft controls how far a shot can go when the clubhead hits the ball and the trajectory or path of the ball’s flight. The loft is the angle created by a line running down the center of the shaft and the club’s face.
The higher the loft, the higher the club will send the ball into the air, so it is helpful to cover more distance. A higher loft driver also produces less side spin and more backspin.
A lower loft driver curtails backspin but increases sidespin—this is not a good effect for a beginner.
The best option for beginner players is a higher loft angle, which usually translates to a longer reach. Also, the higher loft offers less spin and more backspin, which means the drive has a greater chance of staying on the fairway.
Beginners tend to have weaker swings than more experienced players, making it difficult to get the ball into the air. A driver with more loft will help with this.
Beginners should aim for a driver loft of 11-12 degrees. A loft angle of under 10 degrees may be a better option if you have a naturally fast swing.
The clue is in the name. Fairway woods come out of the bag once the ball has reached the fairway. These woods run slightly shorter than a driver.
Fairway woods can also work for teeing off. Most golf sets contain a couple of fairway woods.
Irons are useful for just about any shot on the course. Each iron has its unique loft, which will dictate the distance. Higher-lofted irons, like an 8 or 9-iron, go shorter, while lower-rated irons, like a 4 or 5-iron, go further.
Some golfers will swap lower-rated irons for hybrids because they feel easier to hit.
Hybrids feature the loft of an iron with the distance of a fairway wood. A hybrid is generally easier to hit than a fairway wood, especially out of the rough, and some players prefer them instead of fairway woods in their golf bag.
Golf wedges are the clubs you use around the green or sand bunkers to get onto the green.
Wedges can hit various shots, from chips to pitches, bump and runs to flop shots.
Wedges have different lofts ranging from 50 degrees through to 64 degrees. The most popular are pitching wedges and sand wedges. The latter is sometimes also called a 56-degree wedge.
Putters are the most important club in the bag. This is the one that puts the ball away in the hole on the green.
Putters come in many styles, including mallet putters, blade putters, and mid-mallet putters.
Putters have different strokes and grips; most players find a preference as their game develops.
What to Look for in a Beginner Set of Golf Clubs
Range of Club Types
Does the set have the five key clubs of a driver, irons, fairway woods, a wedge, and a putter? These cover all aspects of the game.
Depending on the type of club, check whether the loft angle and the rating are suitable for your game and skill level.
Choose clubs with a grip that suits your hands for efficiency and comfort.
Golf Club Size
The right club size will depend upon your height and, to some degree, trial and error. If you visit a golf shop, they can help you using professional expertise and size charts for guidance.
Value for Money
Golf sets tend to work out as more economical than buying individual clubs. Beginners can get away with buying lower-priced sets, but the payoff is that the clubs won’t last as long as a higher-quality set.
Don’t forget that you will need to add your own accessories to a beginner set. You will need a pair of golf gloves, balls, tees, and a towel.
How Much Should I Spend on Golf Clubs as a Beginner?
There is no doubt that golf clubs are an investment, but there is no point in spending a fortune on clubs that don’t help your game or if you only play once or twice a month.
For beginners, the complete golf set usually offers excellent value for money. You will have everything you need at a fair price of between $300 and $550 for a set of clubs.
Adding accessories like golf balls, tees, and a glove or gloves won’t break the bank.
A pre-owned set is another option if you want to drive down the cost even further. Buy from a reputable source that can verify the integrity of the clubs. Many pre-owned clubs still have plenty of play left in them.
A complete set will allow you to establish your game and learn about the sport. You can discover how the different clubs work, allowing you to make a more informed choice later on if you remain keen.
Simple is always best for beginners when it comes to golf clubs. If you stay in the sport and want to upgrade, then clubs that still have some useful wear can be offered to a golf shop to be sold as pre-owned.
A set of beginner golf clubs won’t cost a fortune and is a quick and handy way to get started.
Knowing golfing terminology, the types of clubs and their uses, and understanding the club components will make purchases easier.
Check the size, driver materials, grip texture, and loft level so that you buy a set that feels comfortable to play.
Buying individual clubs will work out more than buying a basic set which usually also comes with a stand bag.
You also can go to your local golf club retailer. They can help you source the right starter set to get you going. Remember, you can always change or upgrade clubs later on when you have a better feeling and understand how different designs of clubs and materials will help improve your game.Ready to protect your investment and hit the course in style? Shop STITCH golf today for a wide range of golf bags and accessories.