How to Buy Golf Clubs: A Beginner’s Guide

people shopping in golf store for golf clubs

If you’ve decided to start playing golf, you’ll need golf clubs to play with. But for beginners, sometimes it’s not clear how to buy golf clubs that suit them.

You might not think so, but golf clubs are complex pieces of equipment. There are many different aspects for you to consider, including the basics like the loft, shaft, grip, etc.

Don’t worry if you have no idea about buying golf clubs. This beginner’s guide will take you through the process and show you how to buy golf clubs.

Getting the right golf clubs helps you enjoy the game more when you’re starting.

How Do You Pick Golf Clubs as a Beginner?

To pick golf clubs as a beginner, you should consider forgiveness, launch, and the golf course you play on.

Forgiveness

When picking golf clubs as a beginner, you must realize that golf is a super hard game, and you need all the help you can get. It won’t be easy to make good contact with the ball when you swing the club.

That means you’ll struggle to hit the ball on the center of the clubface – the sweet spot. You should focus on buying forgiving golf clubs for that reason.

Forgiving golf clubs offer you plenty of help when you start golf. Your shot won’t be affected too much when you don’t strike the sweet spot.

For instance, the distance of your drive won’t drop off too much if you mishit the most forgiving drivers. You’re going to mishit most shots as a beginner, but you can still get enjoyment out of the game with forgiving golf clubs.

Launch

When we mention launch in golf, it relates to the ball getting airborne – the height you hit it. Launching the ball at the right height is one of the biggest things beginners struggle with.

That’s because it takes a combination of technique and swing speed to get the ball airborne. It’s an incredible feeling when you hit the ball in the air as a beginner but super frustrating when you keep hitting it along the ground.

Therefore, beginners need golf clubs that help them launch the ball. Forgiving golf clubs also help golfers launch the ball, but some do so more than others. Look out for this when picking golf clubs as a beginner.

Golf Course

The golf course you play on is something to consider when you pick golf clubs as a beginner. You should pick a complete golf set if you play on a regular 18-hole golf course.

However, you likely won’t need a full golf set if you play on a par-3 golf course. These courses are much shorter, so you won’t need to hit the ball as far.

For a par-3 course, you could pick a half golf set. You’ll get a wood, four or five irons, and a putter with these sets, enough for a par-3 course.

Related: 5 Best Golf Club Sets For Beginners in 2022

top down look at clubs in a golf bag

Which Types of Golf Clubs Do I Need?

To cover which types of golf clubs you need as a beginner, let’s go through the bag from driver to putter and make some recommendations.

1. Driver

You know that you need a forgiving driver as a beginner and a driver that helps you launch the ball – check out the best drivers for beginners for more info. However, there are other factors to consider, like the loft and shaft.

Loft

Beginners should use a driver with a higher loft. It makes it easier to hit the ball and keep it under control.

Generally, the slower your swing is, the higher the driver loft should be. We find that a 12-degree driver is a good starting point for most beginners.

Find out more about what loft your driver should be.

Shaft

As a beginner, you should get a shaft that suits your swing speed. Choosing the wrong shaft can make your golfing life harder because you won’t get the optimal performance.

Those with slow swings should consider a senior flex golf shaft, average swing speeds should look at regular shafts, fast swingers will want a stiff shaft, and you should get an extra-stiff shaft if your swing is extremely fast.

Check out senior flex vs. regular vs. stiff for more information.

2. Fairway Woods

You need forgiveness and help to launch the ball with fairway woods. Hitting a wood off the fairway is hard, so help to launch the ball comes in handy.

Like the driver, you’ll want to get the correct loft and shaft on your fairway woods. That makes sure you get the best performance for your swing.

The most forgiving 3-woods will help you out.

3. Hybrids

Hybrid golf clubs are an excellent choice for beginners. You can use these clubs instead of fairway woods because they’re much easier to hit.

Also, you can use hybrids in place of low irons like the three, four, and five-iron for the same reason. Hybrids are a super versatile club as well and can rescue you from many situations on the golf course.

The best hybrids for high handicappers are great clubs for beginners. You can read more about hybrid golf clubs if you don’t know what they are.

4. Irons

When it comes to irons, you want to choose a game-improvement option as a beginner. These are easy to hit, forgiving, and help you launch the ball.

Also, most game-improvement irons focus on giving you some extra distance. That’s something you’ll want when you’re starting out.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to stay away from muscle-back irons, also known as blades. They’re hard to hit, even for some golfers who’ve been playing for years.

You should find some success with the best super game-improvement irons.

5. Wedges

Again, we’re going for forgiving wedges that are easy to use. Most of these wedges will look bulky and have wide soles.

They give you plenty of forgiveness and help with turf interaction. Many beginners dig into the ground with wedges and chunk shots a few yards, but the wide sole minimizes this.

You’ll find what you need from the best wedges for high handicappers.

6. Putters

Forgiveness and balance in a putter are your friends as a beginner. You won’t hit the center of the putter’s face every time, so you need forgiveness.

Also, you’ll struggle to keep a balanced stroke until your technique is down. It’s tough to hole putts if you can’t balance the putter through the stroke.

Luckily, there’s help out there in the form of mallet putters. Check out the best mallet putters on the market.

Related: 6 Best Putters for High Handicappers & Beginners in 2022

various golf clubs lined up to one another

Should I Buy a Set or Individual Golf Clubs?

Whether you buy a set or individual golf clubs is totally up to you, but we recommend purchasing a set. That’s because all the clubs will have the same setup if you buy a set.

For instance, all the shafts will be the same flex and will uniformly get shorter throughout the set. Also, the gapping between lofts will be uniform throughout the set, meaning you’ll have a similar distance between each club.

If you buy individual golf clubs, the lengths and weights likely won’t be distributed appropriately throughout your set. That means one of the clubs could be much heavier than the other when the weight difference should be minimal.

That can cause you to make compensations in your golf swing and lead to bad habits. If you intend to keep playing golf and improving, you should buy a set of golf clubs.

Related: The Best Golf Club Sets for the Money: A Budget Buyer’s Guide

How Much Should I Spend on Golf Clubs?

The amount you spend on golf clubs is up to you. Golf can be a dear sport to start up, and beginners might not want to spend too much.

If you’ve already played the game a few times and know you enjoy it, you might want to spend a bit more on golf clubs. They’ll last a long time, so you’ll get plenty of use out of them if you play regularly.

If you’ve never played golf before and want to buy golf clubs, spending less can be a good idea. At least if you don’t enjoy the game and stop playing, you won’t waste too much money.

Those who know they’re going to play can spend a bit on a full set. If you’re unsure, maybe you could buy a half set and try out the game. You can always upgrade to a full set later if you enjoy playing.

Should I Buy New or Used Golf Clubs?

Again, whether you buy new or used golf clubs is totally up to you. If you want the latest technology on the market, you should purchase new golf clubs.

That might be a good idea if you’re certain you’ll keep playing. You can get good use out of new golf clubs for many years.

If you’re just curious about golf and want to try it, you can buy used golf clubs. They won’t set you back too much money, depending on when they were made.

Buying used golf clubs is a good option if you’re on a budget but want premium golf clubs. You can buy premium golf clubs that were made a few years ago and save money.

You still get the quality of premium golf clubs but at a much lower price. Check out our guide to buying and selling used golf clubs for more ideas.

Related: 7 Best Used Drivers in 2022

Conclusion

As a beginner, now you should know everything about buying golf clubs. You can think about your needs and then make a choice that suits you.

It’s vital to find forgiving golf clubs that help you launch the ball. You’ll get much more enjoyment from the game using these types of golf clubs.

Also, pay close attention to our breakdown of each club throughout the bag. Using the right clubs helps you improve your game and become better.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.