Golf is an intimidating game to try and pick up. It’s especially hard for beginners with zero experience or knowledge about the sport. The rules of the game seem difficult to learn and the equipment seems to cost an arm and a leg!
That’s how I initially felt about golf.
Many of you that are new to golf probably feel the same way. The good news is that you actually don’t need to break the bank to get into golf. It’s also not a requirement that you need to spend a lot of money to get good at it either.
Turns out there is a balanced and cost-effective way for beginners to pick up golf and quickly get good at it. The key to doing this is that you have to be strategic with how you pick and choose your starting equipment.
These golf equipment tips for beginners will help you understand what to look for, and how to assemble the pieces you need to put together a perfect set that is cheap and affordable but still allows you to perform at your best, get better results, and see quicker improvements.
What Golf Clubs and Accessories Make a Complete Set
If you plan on playing on a golf course you will need a complete set. The reason for this is because you will need to use various clubs to match different situations. The club you use to tee off will be very different from the clubs near the green.
There are infinite ways you can mix and match the clubs you put in your bag. For beginners, I’d recommend starting with the bare minimum. The most important thing is that you have enough clubs to cover all your bases for the long, mid-range, and short game.
Every golfer should have a driver in their bag. This is an essential club for the long game that was designed for hitting off the tee and is the only club in your bag that you can’t hit off the ground.
In comparison to your other clubs, the driver will have the largest club head and the longest shaft. This is because a larger hitting area and longer shaft will allow you to hit the ball further.
Your first shot on a Par 4 or Par 5 course will most often be with a driver. On average most beginners can cover about 215 yards with a driver. You can see how important it is to have a driver when you’re playing on a 400-500 yard course.
Irons can be used on every hole and a set typically includes 6-8 individual irons, plus a pitching wedge. Each iron in a set comes with its own number. The most common irons you will see golfers carrying in their bags are typically 5 through 9-irons. This covers your mid-range game and is all you really need to play through the fairway.
The lower numbered irons are designed to send the ball further than the higher numbered irons. This is because lower-numbered irons have a lower angle of loft compared to the higher numbered irons. A good rule of thumb to remember when hitting your irons is that less loft means less height which equals further distance (and vice versa).
Oftentimes golfers will replace the irons in their bags with either fairway woods or hybrids.
These clubs are essential for your short game. They look similar to irons except wedges have a lot more loft. They are also designed to give more spin on the ball than regular irons, which is better when you want more accurate shots.
Most of the time, when you are about 70 yards (or less) away from the pin, you will want to hit using your wedges. They are ideal when you want to hit the ball high and have it land on the green without much roll. Here’s a great video that further explains when you might want to use each wedge.
Generally speaking, you most likely won’t need to carry more than 3 wedges in your bag. Since your iron set already comes with a pitching wedge, you mainly just need to add some mix of a Gap, Sand and Lob wedge to your arsenal.
The Gap Wedge (also known as an Approach Wedge) is the middle ground between a Sand and Lob Wedge. It provides a lot of accuracy while at the same time allowing for more distance.
The Sand Wedge is commonly used when playing out of bunkers. It can also be used for chip shots around the green when you want the ball to go high up and land without much roll.
The Lob Wedge is great for short distances and gives you a very high shot with lots of spin. It’s a fun club to have in the bag but if you had to choose between this or a Sand Wedge, most golfers would likely opt for the Sand Wedge.
Once you get onto the green the putter is what you use to roll the ball into the hole. It is the club you will use most often and is debatably the most important club in the bag.
For most beginners, the quickest and easiest way to reduce strokes from their overall score is to get better at putting. This all starts with having a good putter.
Not all putters are the same so it’s important to find out what works best for you. Broadly speaking there are two types of putters:
These are the traditional putters you see with a smaller club head and are the most commonly used.
Mallet putters are the ones you see with the larger and fancier-looking club heads.
They are great for beginners. The larger clubhead makes the mallet more forgiving on mishits and easier to play with.
The weight in the clubhead on a mallet putter is typically distributed further away from the clubface. This design helps to stabilize the putter head on impact, which helps create a straighter shot.
Fairway woods are optional clubs to have in your bag. They look similar to a driver except they have a smaller clubhead with slightly more loft.
The most common fairway woods you’ll see golfers carry are 3, 5 and 7 clubs. A higher number means more loft which will help you hit the ball higher but carry less distance.
You can hit these clubs on both the fairway and off the tee. Generally speaking, most golfers will tee off with a wood when they want a safer and more reliable shot to get their ball onto the fairway.
Hybrids are a cross between fairway woods and irons. They are very versatile clubs that players often use to replace irons. Most of the time you will see golfers replace their 3 and 4-irons with hybrids.
These clubs have the same loft and length as the irons they were made to replace. The biggest difference and benefit of a hybrid is that its clubface has a larger sweet spot compared to irons. This makes it more forgiving with off-center shots and easier to play with. Players that struggle with hooking or slicing the ball with their irons might find it easier to carry a hybrid.
For beginners, I would say that hybrids are optional clubs to carry. It’s unnecessary to spend a bunch of money on fancy equipment until you’ve gotten a hold of the basics or at least know your handicap. However, if you still want buy one and you are debating between either choose a hybrid or wood then I recommend watching this short 3-minute video to help you decide:
Golf is an expensive sport and the cost of a good golf ball is no exception. I’d recommend amateur golfers stick to buying second-hand or beginner balls when first starting out. You need to bring your own balls when playing a course and there’s nothing worse than losing expensive balls!
There is a lot of technology that goes into creating a good golf ball. The exterior cover, core and outside dimples on the ball all contribute to its overall performance.
Two piece-construction golf balls are ideal for beginners. These balls are made with larger cores which helps maximize distance while minimizing spin. A reduction in spin can help golfers that struggle with slicing the ball hit a straighter shot.
The last thing you need to complete your set is a golf bag. You will need a good golf bag to carry your clubs since courses won’t allow you to play without one.
There are 3 different types of golf bags; stand bag, cart bag, and a traditional staff bag.
Stand bags are great for players that like to do a lot of walking on the course. They are lightweight and come with straps so that you can easily carry it on you like a backpack. It also has legs that can extend out to help the bag stand while you play.
Cart bags are for players that golf regularly and ride carts constantly on the course. If you don’t plan on doing much walking then this type of bag is perfect for you.
Lastly, there’s the traditional staff bag. This bag is bigger and heavier than both the cart and stand bags. It was designed for tour players and is mostly used by professionals.
I recommend getting a stand bag if you are a beginner or just plan on playing golf recreationally. It is the most versatile option. You can still rest it on a cart like a cart bag but it gives you the flexibility of strapping it on and easily carrying it around the course.
Picking The Best Clubs For Fast Results
Picking the best golf club for a player can be tricky. This is especially true if you are a beginner who hasn’t played enough yet to understand the nuances of your game and what adjustments you need to make.
That said, having the right equipment can go a long way in helping you improve faster and lower your scores quicker.
Golf is an expensive sport but it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to learn how to play. Spend your time and money wisely on things that will have the most impact on your game.
Lastly, the best places to buy golf clubs are usually online. Buying online is usually much cheaper, which is great for beginners who are budget conscious. You can often find great clubs being sold for a fraction of their original price during end-of-season or demo sale events.
Less Is More
The trick to getting good at golf quickly isn’t to try and master every club. If you want to improve at golf quickly, the trick is to get really good at hitting a few clubs only and then doubling down on what’s already working for you.
The clubs you use most often are also the ones you should be practicing with the most at the driving range. Keep it simple and spend your time mastering a few clubs instead of focusing on your entire set. You will see significant improvements in your scores this way.
For example, I carry a set of 5 through 9-irons in my bag but I only really play my 5, 7, and 9 irons which I know will get me around 100, 125, and 150 yards respectively. That’s more enough to get me through any hole. This is what I practice with the most at the driving range. Later, if I decide to upgrade to a hybrid then I am only spending on something to replace either my 5, 7, or 9-iron. I would not waste time or money on finding clubs to replace my 6 or 8-iron.
If you are new and looking to get into golf on a budget then I’d recommend you do what I did. Start with a second-hand set of clubs to keep costs low and focus your time practicing with your 5, 7, and 9-irons. This will help develop your game and get you onto the green quicker with more consistency.
Lastly, if you have a bit of a budget and don’t mind spending a bit more then I’d also recommend adding a hybrid or two to your bag. They can be really useful to have on a long Par 4 or Par 5 and help take a couple of strokes off your score.
Bigger Is Better
A larger clubhead means more surface area to hit your ball with. That means the sweet spot also gets expanded which makes it easier to hit the ball straight. This is great for beginners that struggle with hooking and slicing the ball since a larger clubhead is more forgiving with off-center shots.
Make the game easier on yourself and play with clubs that have larger club heads. For example, if you had to choose between a blade or a mallet putter I’d say go with the mallet.
Try Before You Buy Putters
A new putter that’s tuned to your swing is definitely worth the investment. Out of all things you can do to help improve your game quickly I’d say getting your putting right is the most important.
Putters come in many different shapes, angles and sizes. Some golfers prefer a longer shaft while some find that they putt better with a shorter one. You need to experiment to find out which is best suited for you.
The best way to try out putters is to go to your local golf store and play around with them. These stores will usually have a putting area that you can use for free to try out different putters.
The #1 Mistake Beginners Make
The most common mistake that beginners make when purchasing new equipment is buying bundled sets straight from the store. You are typically better off buying 5-6 quality individual pieces that are tailored to your game instead.
The goal when buying new clubs should be to find pieces that help you leverage your strengths while addressing your weak areas. You will see faster improvements and get better results when you play with a set that matches your level of playing.
Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what golf equipment you need, how to assemble those pieces and what to look for when doing so. The key here is to keep things simple and not overwhelm yourself.
Remember, you don’t need expensive equipment to be a good golfer. Spending more on clubs that were designed for pro golfers won’t get you better results. Just make sure that the equipment you use matches your level of play and the rest will follow.