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A Guide to Beginner Golf Equipment

Golf can be a challenging game when you first begin. On top of the technical challenge there are also questions around what equipment you need and what options are best to buy. In this article we’ll give you a run through the key information you need when buying golf equipment as a beginner.

Your first few games – Try before you buy

When you first learn to play golf, it is a good idea to head to a golf range before attempting a full 18 holes. This gives you an opportunity to make consistent contact with the golf ball and makes playing more fun. You will be able to borrow or rent golf clubs at the golf range and for your first few rounds of golf, meaning you can try out a few sets before you commit to a big purchase.

Buying your first set of clubs

When you are ready to buy your first set of clubs you’ll have three broad options:

  1. Buy a complete beginner set
  2. Buy second-hand clubs and slowly build your set
  3. Buy irons, woods, a bag and putter separately

All three of these options can work well, however option three can become very expensive if you are buying the latest equipment. Let’s talk through these options in more detail:

Option 1: Buying a complete beginner set

The advantage of buying a complete beginner set is that you get all the clubs you need and a golf bag all in one. As a result, these tend to work out cheaper than buying everything separately. Another advantage is you know the clubs are designed with beginners golfers in mind, so they will be optimised for forgiveness.

Two great options in this category are the Callaway Strata golf clubs and Wilson Profile SGI complete set. Both offer all you need as a beginner at a great price. Be wary of buying too cheap, below a certain price point quality tends to dip, meaning the clubs won’t perform as well and are prone to breaking.

Option 2: Buying second-hand golf clubs

Second-hand golf clubs are also a great option. Clubs from 4-5 years ago tend to lose a lot of value, but little has changed in terms of their performance. Meaning you can get a very forgiving set of irons and a great driver at a much lower price. However, be aware that often you will need to buy some new golf grips for second-hand clubs as golf grips do have a lifetime of 2-3 years. These will set you back $5 – 8 / club for the grips and service of re-gripping, so it is worth factoring this into your buying decision.

Ebay, Callaway Pre-owned and GlobalGolf are three great places to start your search for second-hand golf clubs. However, taking this path means you need to know what you are looking for. Here are some quick buying tips:

Irons & wedges

The most important attribute when buying irons is forgiveness. The larger the head size and the bigger the cavity in the back of the irons, the more forgiving they tend to be.

Drivers & fairway woods

Similar to your irons, forgiveness is going to be key. Drivers are limited by the rules of golf to be no larger than 460 cc (cubic centimetres). If you can buy, a driver that is 460cc or close to this maximum size.

The other key factor is loft. Most drivers are 9º, 10.5º or 12º in loft, what most beginners don’t realise is that more lofted drivers are actually more forgiving, as the extra loft creates more backspin and keeps your ball straighter during its flight. Unless you swing very fast (which also results in more backspin), I would urge you to buy a 10.5º or 12º driver.

Putter

On the face of it, there isn’t much to a putter, however there is a difference in how putters will perform. Very cheap putters have little engineering and are made from cheap materials, the result is a putter that isn’t balanced and sends the ball off with inconsistencies depending on where you strike on the putter face.

More expensive putters will look very similar but are made from softer materials and have been balanced and designed to roll the ball as best as possible no matter where you strike across the putter face. You can spend less than $50 on a putter, but you’ll likely want to buy a new one in a years’ time. Try to invest in a good putter, in return, it will serve you well for many years.

Option 3: Buying new beginner golf clubs separately

There is no need for your entire golf set to match, and many experienced golfers mix and match the brands they use. If you have a big budget, you can buy beginner irons and a driver separately. Then find a great fairway wood, golf bag and putter to complete your perfect golf set.

This approach allows you to fine tune the type of clubs you want within your set and the qualities you’re looking for. For example, you may want great forgiveness with your irons, but a driver that maximises distance.

This approach allows you to fine-tune your set but is more costly than buying a complete beginner set or second-hand clubs.

In summary

There is no right or wrong way to buy golf clubs as a beginner, here we’ve outlined three great options that are available to you. Which approach you choose will come down to your preference and budget. Just ensure that if you are building your own set, new or second-hand, that you buy bigger headed clubs that maximise forgiveness. That way you’ll have the best equipment to help you have fun and progress your golf game.