A Beginners Guide to Buying Golf Clubs
by Megan Hart
There are women’s golf clubs, used ones, full sets, single clubs and different brands at wildly different prices. So, which ones do you chose? With all the clubs on the market, filling your first golf bag can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be!
Getting the right clubs can really help improve your game, but club shopping can also be an expensive endeavor. Here’s a Q&A guide to help you get the best of both worlds when you’re ready to invest in your first set of golf clubs.
Before you start shopping, make sure to consider your budget, skill level and goals as a golfer. If you’re planning to hit the links every weekend, it might be worth investing in more expensive clubs. If you’re just planning to play the annual company outing, an inexpensive set is probably the way to go. Keep that in mind as you read the following information.
Should I get women’s clubs?
If you’re new to the game, the answer to this question is probably yes. It’s not just the pinks, purples and pastels that set women’s clubs apart from men’s. In fact, women’s clubs may be a smart option for beginners of both genders.
Here are the main differences between women’s and men’s clubs:
- Length: While club fit is based on more than just height, women usually need shorter clubs than men do. For this reason, women’s clubs are typically an inch shorter than men’s. Using shorter clubs is especially good for beginners because they give you more control over where your ball lands. While standard-size women’s clubs will work for most female golfers, some manufacturers also offer petite and long options.
- Flex: Shaft flex can have a big impact on your game. In women’s clubs, the shaft is more flexible than in men’s. This extra flexibility can help you hit the ball higher and farther. Once you start improving, you may eventually opt for a sturdier shaft, which can benefit stronger golfers with faster swings. Female pros, for example, may prefer an extra stiff option.
- Loft: Loft refers to the direction of the club face. A more upward-angled club face makes it easier to achieve height. Think of a sand wedge, for example. Women’s clubs tend to have more loft, making it easier to get some air beneath the ball.
Should I get a set?
When it comes to purchasing clubs, your easiest and cheapest option is to select a full set. For some reason, women’s clubs are much more likely to be sold as sets than men’s. This means you should have a few options to choose from when you visit the golf shop.
The PGA stipulates that players can carry up to 14 clubs in their bag, but sets tend to range from eight to 14 clubs. They almost always include a driver, a couple irons, a 3-wood, a sand wedge and a putter. These days, many sets also include a hybrid club or two. Hybrids are easy-to-use clubs that are replacing long irons and fairway woods in the bags of many amateur golfers. Sets also typically include the golf bag itself.
Knowing which club to use on your first golf outings can be overwhelming, but rest assured with experience you will continue to feel more comfortable. The 18Birdies app has a great tool if you are still getting the hang of this: Caddy+. It tells you which club to use from which distance based on your clubs, and it’s not just for beginners – experienced golfers use this tool as well!
Once you gain experience and start to take the game more seriously, you can opt to build your own bag by purchasing individual clubs. This can get pricey, but it also gives you more flexibility.
Can I get used clubs?
The cost and quality of used clubs can vary dramatically. In general, there’s nothing wrong with using them as long as they feel good to you. Typically you’re likely to spend as much or more on used clubs than you are on a basic, new starter set. They’re a great option, however, if you’re looking for specific models or more expensive brands at lower prices.
Sporting goods stores and golf shops often sell used clubs, but the selection tends to be better for men’s clubs than women’s. Global Golf and 3 Balls are websites with good selections of used clubs for both genders.
What’s the deal with fitting?
As a new golfer, one more thing you might be wondering about is club fitting. Is it really necessary?
The answer to this question again comes down to your budget and your goals as a golfer. If you’re really committed to the game, you might want to consider a static fitting. In a static fitting, you’ll have your measurements taken to determine what size clubs are right for you.
Once you have more practice and you’ve developed a consistent swing, you can do a dynamic fitting. In a dynamic fitting, an expert will evaluate your swing using your current clubs to see if there’s anywhere your equipment is impeding your game. After a dynamic fitting, you’ll typically have the option of purchasing custom clubs that meet your needs exactly. Though custom-fit clubs can take your game up a level, don’t worry if they’re not in your budget.
As your golf game improves and you make the jump from rental clubs to your own set, there are a lot of options on the market. Do your research ahead of time and have a plan so you feel confident in your purchase. Then it’s time to head to the course and give those new clubs a spin!