Instruction

Beginner Golf Clubs: How to Choose Your First Set

April 19, 2022
5 min

Decided to finally take up golf? Firstly, welcome to this wonderful sport. Now you have made the choice to play, you are probably thinking about buying a set of clubs. So, how exactly does a beginner go about deciding which golf clubs to play?

Golf can be terribly confusing when you are just getting started. Trying to decipher all the jargon and understand all the different types of golf clubs is not easy. It can feel overwhelming. Well, do not panic. We are going to guide you towards your first golf clubs.

Before we dive straight into the decision making process, it is important to start at the very beginning. Anyone completely new to golf should start by borrowing a single golf club (ideally a 7 or 8-iron). Practice hitting a golf ball at the driving range and simply focus on consistently making reasonable contact. Do not worry about distance and direction too much, you want to get the golf ball somewhere forwards and in the air. Until you can reach this stage, do not worry about buying a set of clubs just yet.

Remember, everyone learns at different speeds. Someone with previous stick sport experience (e.g. hockey, baseball, cricket) will likely start ahead of someone else that lacks the same learned coordination. Regardless of how many lessons you are taking, try to be patient with your progress.

What to look for in beginner golf clubs

All golf clubs that are suitable for beginners will share many similar features. These specific characteristics are designed to help new golfers by reducing the punishment of bad technique as you learn.

After all, golf is already hard enough. You want to do yourself a favor and pick the easiest equipment to use.

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness...

Choosing golf clubs that have the most forgiveness is important when you are learning the game for the very first time.

Forgiveness is a term you will see a lot when looking for golf clubs. It literally refers to how much the club will 'forgive' the golfer for a poorly struck golf shot. That way, when you miss the center of the clubface, there will be a less dramatic effect on the outcome of where the ball ends up.

The following features are most common with forgiving golf clubs:

Drivers and fairway woods: Look for an oversized clubhead appearance with some offset or draw bias. A higher degree of loft also helps to get your shots airborne and reduce unwanted sidespin.

Hybrids: Long irons are difficult to hit, even for experienced golfers. Instead, replace the 3-6 irons with a hybrid. Hybrids are designed to help you get the ball in the air and be more forgiving on mishits.

Irons and wedges: You want a thicker sole and deep cavities. These designs are the least intimidating and offer better forgiveness when you miss the sweet spot.

Putter: Try using a larger mallet shaped head. These putters spread the weight throughout the head for better forgiveness and less twisting through impact.

Helpful Terminology

To a beginner, golf may seemingly have its own language. When it comes to buying beginner golf clubs there are a few terms to keep an eye out for in the product description.

Game-improvement: This refers to clubs with greater forgiveness designed to give golfers additional support.

Moment of Inertia (MOI): Higher MOI helps stabilize the clubhead through impact for better forgiveness.

Center of Gravity (CG): Deeper CG is another way that club manufacturers improve forgiveness.

Are beginner golf club sets any good?

A quick search online for beginner golf clubs will show you a bunch of 'complete sets' targeting anyone new to the game of golf. Many of these are hassle free and lower priced options that are perfect for taking your first tentative steps into the sport.

The quality of complete beginner sets are definitely lower than leading premium golf brands, but any difference for a novice golfer will be minimal. It is far more important to focus on improving your golf swing technique at this stage.

That being said, new golfers with natural ability that are seeking quick improvement might be better advised to skip to a more premium alternative. In these cases, a custom-fitting would be advisable.

If you want to go down the complete beginner set route, sticking with well-known reputable brands within golf is wise for more reliable durability. The Wilson Ultra SL or Strata Complete Set are both decent affordable options.

You may notice that many complete beginner sets do not come with the full 14 clubs that you are allowed. When you are just getting started having a full set is not really necessary. Having 7-10 clubs is perfect to get you started.

Are expensive golf clubs worth it for a beginner?

As with all sporting equipment purchases, your personal budget will likely determine how much you spend. However, in general, the most expensive golf clubs are unnecessary for a complete beginner. You are better off putting your budget towards more golf lessons when getting started.

Depending on how quickly you improve, any drastic changes in your golf swing may require you to change golf clubs anyway. Before splashing out on a set of expensive clubs, it would be wise wait until you complete a handful of golf lessons and practice for a short time first.

Fitted golf clubs are equally important for beginners

New golfers that use poorly fitted clubs are much more likely to develop bad swing habits. This is going to restrict your progress and make learning the basics more challenging.

You might not require the in-depth custom fittings experienced golfers use, but ensuring you have the correct shaft flexibility and length should be the minimum requirement. To get this all you need to know is your wrist-to-floor measurement and swing speed.

Using a launch monitor or Graff smart golf ball will show you your swing speed data. Then, just match this information with the correct shaft flex based on the table below.

Golf Club Flexibility & Swing Speed (Help for Beginners)
Source: Golf.com & True Spec Golf

For a second opinion on which golf clubs you should choose and more detailed information on your fitting, speaking with your local PGA Professional is always a good idea.

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