Golf is a fascinating sport to both play and watch. Huge amounts of skill and mental strength is needed to succeed at golf. Players such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods (in his prime) can make the game look so easy, when anyone who has ever played golf knows how very hard it is!
Golf clubs also play a vital role. I can’t think of too many other sports where there is so much variety of equipment needed to play. For a round of golf you need a driver, irons, fairway woods, wedges and a putter. And then there are hybrid clubs, mixing the best parts of an iron and wood club.
In this article, I’ll give some useful advice on what clubs you really need, why you need them, how much you should spend on your first set of golf clubs and some specific recommendations on what to buy. The article is aimed at beginner golf players and is based upon my own experiences of playing golf and advice from golf coaches.
Why your golf clubs matter
It’s important to play with appropriate golf clubs when learning the game. Beginner golf clubs tend to have larger club faces, have a shorter shaft (the long bit between grip and club head) and are designed to make it easier to get the ball in the air.
Beginner golf clubs are a bit more forgiving if your swing and contact isn’t quite right, which is very common when you start out. They will be less powerful than pro-clubs, but you should be able to achieve more consistency as you develop and improve your technique.
For me, it’s quite simple. If you use golf clubs which are easier to use to begin with (even if they are not as powerful), you’ll be able to get more balls onto the green, and put more balls in the hole. You will enjoy playing golf more. If you enjoy playing, you’ll want to play more. If you play more, you’ll improve quicker.
Your golf clubs matters. It’s worth spending a bit of time researching your options.
Choosing your golf clubs
You’re allowed to use 14 clubs on the golf course, but you really don’t need this many when you are at the beginning of your golfing journey.
For your first set if golf clubs, you really only need nine clubs (and a couple of these you might not use very often).
So what do you need…
This will be the longest golf club in your bag and the one with the largest head. It is the main club you will use on your tee shot at the beginning of each hole and it is the club which will help drive the ball the furthest.
A fairway wood
This is the club you will most likely use when playing on the fairway, as the second shot of a par-5 or a long par-4 hole. This club will help you lift the ball out of the turf on the fairway and still get some good distance with decent accuracy.
Mid / short irons
Your irons are versatile clubs and can be used in various situations to help you get the ball onto the green. You can get lots of different numbered irons, but for your first set it’s probably best to go four irons – those numbered 6, 7, 8, 9. These are easier for beginner and improver players to use. The higher the number, the easier it is to loft the ball into the air. You will need to use the irons for different situations. A mid-iron (6 or 7) is usually used from the fairway and rough for longer approach shots, e.g. 150-200 yards. Short-irons (8 or 9) are typically used for shorter approach shots, e.g. 120-150 yards, where you want to loft the ball in the air a bit more. The more you play, the more you’ll get the feel for which irons you find more useful in different situations. As you improve you may want to add a lower numbered iron (3, 4 or 5) to your collection.
A pitching wedge is most often used for an approach shot close to the green. You can use this club to get under the ball and loft it high. This will help the ball stop quicker on the green and (hopefully!) stay close to the hole.
You’ll need this club to help you escape from a sand bunker (uh-oh!). Basically the club is designed to help you swing through the top layer of sand, without digging in and getting stuck.
This is the club you will use when you are on the green and you’re trying to get the darn ball in the hole! Putters have a flat face, which makes it easier to hit the ball along the ground in a straight line.
There are many other variations of the golf clubs I have listed above. Over time you will probably refine and add to the golf clubs you own, but to begin with, these nine golf clubs will help you deal with most situations in a round of golf.
How much does it cost to buy golf clubs?
You can spend silly money (thousands!) on buying golf clubs, especially if you buy the clubs individually and get top of the range equipment. But if you’re a beginner you really do not need to spend loads of money. For your first set of clubs, you probably only need to spend £100-£250 / $150-$350. This will get you at least nine decent golf clubs, which is more than enough to get started.
Here’s some golf club sets you can purchase on Amazon. All have lots of reviews, so you can read other beginner players’ feedback before making a purchase. But there is also a load of online and physical golf stores available too. Just do a Google search for a golf store in your city or country and you should find lots of options. So I recommend doing your own research too. But here are my recommendations…
Best golf club sets for beginners…
- Woodworm Golf ZOOM V2 Clubs Package Set
- Prosimmom V2 Graphite/Steel Golf Club Set
- Wilson Stretch Golf Club 10-Club Set with Stand Bag
- Callaway Strata Complete Golf Set
- Wilson Golf Ultra Complete Package Set
- Confidence Power Hybrid Golf Clubs Set + Bag
Your first set of golf clubs won’t be your golf clubs for life. When you improve to an intermediate standard you will need to upgrade your clubs. But any of the golf club sets above will be good to begin with. If you play golf for a short time, but stop to pursue other interests, you haven’t wasted much money. But hopefully you will play, fall in love with the sport and keep on improving and improving. And if this happens to you, then this small cost to buy your first golf club set will be a fantastic investment.
Related article: Guide to the best golf balls