How to buy your first set of golf clubs

For a beginning golfer there are quite a lot of different choices of equipment and it can be quite hard to know what is best since most golf pros and retailers want you to buy a 400 dollar driver. In my humble opinion a used set will perform just as good as a new set but what matters is making sure the club is the correct lie angle and length.

To start off you should go to your local driving range with a friend and see how the other golfers hit the ball. If you decide that you want to play golf I'd recommend getting on a golf lie angle board with the pro at the course and see where you are striking the golf ball. Oddly enough, most people's natural lie angle will not change that much for the entirety of the years they play golf. In general the average golfer will need at most 2-3 degrees flat or upright irons. The pro will also likely fit you for the length and flex of the irons you should buy. Most people will be standard length since clubs are built for over 95% of people (roughly 5'6" to 6'2") and longer shafts are generally harder to hit. The flex of the shaft for virtually all golfers should be a stiff or regular flex. An X-Stiff shaft is going to launch too low unless a beginner has clubhead speed that is well over 100mph.

In general drivers aren't built to factor lie angle and are more of a one-size-fits-most when it comes to the shape and playability. The shaft and loft are what is important. No beginning golfer should be hitting a driver that has less than 9 degrees of loft and ideally their driver should be 10.5-11.5 degrees. Your shaft flex with the driver should match your irons so if the pro says you need a regular flex iron then you also need a regular flex driver. Personally, I think buying a driver is better to do used than new because golf shops love to inflate the #s when you try clubs on their simulators and the customer later regrets that they just paid 400 dollars for a driver that performs as good as a 50-100 dollar club. A few good used drivers you can buy for ~100$ or less: Ping G10, G15, G20. Taylormade R7, R9, burner, RBZ, etc. Too many to list but personally I think the g20 is the best for a beginner.

Fairway woods are different beast because the fact is it is very hard for a beginner to hit a fairway wood without a tee. The clubface sits taller than the ball and unless you're ben hogan or sergio garcia, you're not supposed to make a divot when you hit a 3 wood from the ground. I think a good used 3 wood is the taylormade V Steel. It's plenty long and can still hold it's own against any of the newer clubs. For most beginners you either will not use the club more than 2-3 times a round or will use the club a lot since some people hit their 3 wood just as long as their driver and with more accuracy.

Hybrids are usually pretty cheap used and I'm a big fan of the taylormade rescue and cobra baffler series clubs. For a beginner I'd recommend a taylormade rescue or ping g20. The ping g20 is for people who want a hybrid who want a club that has a little more offset and hits more like an iron than the traditional hybrid.

After you know the club specs you need you can go on ebay and pick up a used set. Golf clubs depreciate like crazy and most sets will cost 30-50% less after a year even though they are still very playable for 7-10+ years. In my humble opinion, I'd say a set of callaway, taylormade, ping, or titleist irons will all perform very similar but there is one caveat: DON'T BUY BLADES! Blade irons are meant for people who are usually at worst a 10 handicap. A set of progressives or game-improvement irons will be good enough and you could argue that they look virtually the same at address. Many good players and tour pros still use the progressives (or cavity back) irons because they have a decent amount of workability and are usually 5-6 or more yards longer than their blade counterparts.

Once you buy a set of irons you can buy a set of wedges and they are usually 30-60 bucks a piece on ebay for a quality wedge. If you are a big divot player then you need a wedge with more bounce such as a cleveland 588. If you make very small divots with wedges then you need a club with minimal bounce. The bounce is the sole of the club and basically is how "chunky" they club looks. A high bounce club will have a thick sole and a low bounce club will have the sole grinded off or thin like a blade iron.

Putter is personal preference and something you should definitely try before you buy. I like the anser 2 because it's a no frills putter that gets the ball in the hole. Mallet putter are usually larger and easier to use on long putts while blade putters are usually better looking and have a softer feel.

Golf balls are pretty expensive and I'd recommend starting with a multi-piece ball that is easier to hit straight than a prov1 that costs 4-5 dollars a ball. The bridgestone golf balls are pretty good for the price and pinnacle is a good ball that has a lot of distance.

Brand of clubs to look for: Cobra, nike, ping, taylormade, titleist, callaway, etc.

Comments (52)

Jan 1, 2017

Solid guide. If you want new clubs get a model thats a few years older at a place like sports authority or dicks. You can get a set of irons that way that once retailed for 1000 at 600. I think I bought my Taylor Made irons that were released in 2010 in the year 2015 or something for about that discount.

Jan 1, 2017

Not a bad idea but the lie angle is everything. 2 degrees is the difference between a fairly big toe-shot and a pure shot in the middle of the face. Thankfully for forged irons it's a cheap fix from your golf pro or you can mail them to the manufacturer for around 60 bucks for cast irons.

Jan 1, 2017
BillBelichick37:

Not a bad idea but the lie angle is everything. 2 degrees is the difference between a fairly big toe-shot and a pure shot in the middle of the face. Thankfully for forged irons it's a cheap fix from your golf pro or you can mail them to the manufacturer for around 60 bucks for cast irons.

I must have lucked out. I just bought some Burner+ off the rack uniflex (heard they were pretty forgiving), and I can hit the bejeezus out of them

Jan 5, 2017

+1 SB for useful, pertinent info

Jan 5, 2017

Yeah I'll never buy irons sight unseen or unplayed. I've always bought used clubs but in an environment where I can see where they go or where a simulator shows me.

I was curious to see what you would recommend for the starting golfer, and I really wouldn't change anything you said. I learned to play on a set of pings and don't think I'd ever strike the ball as well without the confidence they give.

Also, Answer's are always the way to go. While the polished putters are all nice and heavy, Ping created that plumber neck blade putter and adding lead tape on the bottom gets you the same swing weight as a Scotty Cameron.

Jan 5, 2017

yeah the fit is king in most cases. For most people you can see what they look like at the local golf store or driving range and then buy them with your specific lie angle online.

Ansers are amazing. I'd argue that they're better than scotty cameron newports because they have less loft and get the ball rolling easier. Scotty Camerons are way overpriced and even a 20 year old newport is 200 dollars on ebay.

Jan 5, 2017

If you are a beginner, your first set of clubs should be from Play it Again Sports. You can get out of there with good second hand clubs under $1,000 for an entire set, mixing and matching.

Upgrades can come later when you figure out how to hit the ball straight. Once you break 90, go ahead and start looking at newer equipment.

Jan 5, 2017

Yeah play it again isn't too bad at all. I like ebay or callaway pre-owned because you can find what you need easier. Ex: 712 AP2 irons 1 degree upright.

Jan 5, 2017

Ebay is definitely easier if you have a brand in mind. Oh, the power of the internet.

Jan 5, 2017

https://www.globalgolf.com/articles/how-to-buy-a-b...
Good website to buy quality clubs on the cheap if you're looking. Also google 2nd swing golf.

Great clubs that are older but known for quality-

Irons- Nike Pro Combo
Driver- Titleist 905 T, S or R
Fairway wood- Taylormade V steel

Jan 6, 2017

I game a 913 D3 8.5 but I'm not quite sure if I'd say titleist makes clubs for the beginning golfer. A cheap driver that is still pretty good and as old as the 905 would be the r7,

Jan 6, 2017

Both would be fine for the beginner level, the Titleist mentioned or the Taylormade r7 sell on ebay around $40-$50. If you're just starting out, the difference between those two is mute.

As you stated, just don't buy blade. Also, if you can, buy an iron set that replaces the 3 and 4 iron with hybrids. In addition, be sure to get a three wood that you like and can hit. A quality 3 wood is a great backup for the driver and when you need to find a fairway.

Jan 6, 2017

Interesting post. Looking forward to the next golf related ones.

May 29, 2018

same here

Jan 6, 2017

3balls.com 'nuff said

Jan 6, 2017

BTW if there are any other specific topics you guys are interested in just pm me or comment on here or my other golf threads.

Jan 7, 2017

ive played for a year or so but am super inconsistent, and a lot of times the difference between front 9 and back 9 is like > 10 strokes. ive gotten a few lessons and gotten a lot better but the strokes havent come down either. any ideas?

Jan 6, 2017

kirkland signature is where its at

Jan 7, 2017

SB! Unfortunately those Kirk sigs haven't made their way up to Canada yet :(

Jan 7, 2017

Just looked those up and I'm impressed with the data. I play the prov1x but that ball is definitely worth a shot.

The link below shows data testing from mygolfspy.

https://mrfernandogreensite.wordpress.com/2016/11/...

Jan 7, 2017

Solid post. Looking forward to more.

Jan 8, 2017

Thanks - this is a great writeup. I'll add a few tips from my experience.

I strongly recommend Callaway irons. I used to have old Cobra irons but took several strokes off when I found a sweet, pre-owned set of Callaway X2 Hots for $300. I agree with OP's point about blades - cavity backs all the way! I've also tested out the new XR series in recent years. I think they've done a phenomenal job with their irons. It's imperative that you try out at least several sets of irons before you buy - and keep in mind the simulators used by most shops are pretty generous (they reduce your slice on-screen).

As for fairway woods and hybrids, I've stayed away from FWs altogether and just have a 3 and 4 hybrid from TaylorMade. My thought is, "you only need a driver swing and a iron swing." If you're hitting off the deck/fairway/rough, you swing like an iron, if you hit off the tee, you swing like a driver (trying to keep it simple). If you can find the old RBZ (green and white), they're really great. Most places won't have them around anymore in the used section because they're so old (2012) but if you can find them, they're probably priced below 30 bucks a pop.

I also strongly recommend Titleist Vokey wedges. I think it may be the spin-milled face (my old Cleveland CG14s didn't have that) but the difference is night and day. I was able to find 3 pre-owned SM4s (several years old) for around $120 for the set. As with the other clubs, trying them first is imperative, and I prefer better feel over better "stats" on the launch monitor.

I use an ugly, large mallet putter that has two horizontal rails that help guide my eye and line up my putt. I would also recommend the fat Super Stroke grips - I've found them to really help with wrist noise in my putting motion.

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Jan 8, 2017

How much time could you possibly have to devote to Golf? This just sounds like buying some shit you'll use twice and try to talk about endlessly.

Jan 8, 2017

You assume that everyone on this forum lives in NY and works 90+ hours a week. It's 3-5 hours for one round and 1-1.5 hours for a driving range session. I'd say that most people on this forum who aren't at a BB or MF can easily play a round or go to the range 2-4 times a month. Of course, you will get better much faster if you were able to do this 8-12 times a month.

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Jan 8, 2017

No, I'm assuming that people on this forum have a life that demands a shitload of their time.

Ok so 4hrs for a round of golf + an hour of travel (for the vast majority of people) each way and then 1hr total of getting ready and changing when you get back....a 7ish hour activity. Weekdays are out. Which weekend day are you going to fork over for a 7hr activity? An activity that you realistically won't bring your wife too...and then spend the other day running around doing what she wants. How often are you and your friends realistically going to be able to coordinate a time for golf? Once a month? But only during which months?

I know people do it, but in my experience it always sounded like a better idea than it really was. Just throwing that out there.

May 28, 2018

i am a newbie .i think top golf gears will give you some tips to improve your skills...

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Jan 8, 2017

BTW, it's awesome that you've navigated the equipment and posted your findings. Saves a lot of time and cash for anyone interested.

May 28, 2018

Any recommendations on buying clubs for someone that is 6'7"? I have no golf experience (family spent all our "luxury sport" disposable income on skiing growing up) but am moving to Dallas so I figure I better pick it up.

Of course going to start by taking a few lessons from a pro.

May 29, 2018

Good thing you're moving to a city with a ton of public courses/ranges. While I am not 6'7", one of my regular playing partners is and he has told me he has to get custom lengths for irons, not sure about driver.

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Most Helpful
May 29, 2018

Golf does demand a tremendous amount of time to be decent unless you are a natural athlete. I have the hand eye coordination of a toaster and I fell in love with the sport, however I did not initially make the time investment necessary - I did not prioritize a few hours a week to practice and would play a round a couple times a month and my scores/swing were abominable.

After a year or so of looking like a total ass clown on the course, I got more serious and blocked off (where I could) some on/off range time to learn swing mechanics and develop the golf IQ.

I started off with a great set of Ping G20s. The Ping brand has its roots in "game improvement" and that particular set reflected that in large cavity backed (forgiveness) faces with generous offsets (forgiveness). It was relatively cheap, I think $500 for a 8 club set (9-4, two wedges) and also picked up the G20 driver, which I also loved. I played with the set for ~4 years until I reached a point where my swing speeds were too fast for a beginner set (see shaft flex). From there, I moved to Ping i200s which at the time was probably a larger jump but after adjusting for the increase in shaft stiffness and lack of face offsets, produce a more penetrating ball flight with acoustics that are very near pornographic. I currently hit a Ping i25 driver lofted to 9 deg due to my naturally high ball flight. Also use i25 3wood although sparingly. Wedges includes Titleist Vokey 60 M grind for flops, or anything I need to get vertical, 56 K all purpose, and a 50 F for full shots 100-125yds. I am not a putter freak like some people and kept the basic one from my starter set, a Karsten Anser, very standard, no gimmicks.

In learning how to swing, I found there are a tremendous amount of free resources on youtube and of recent, Instagram, where pros demo anything from fundamentals for beginners, to drills to overcome common swing problems. I struggled mightily with the concept of using core power to swing as opposed to my arms. To fix this, a few extra core workouts focusing on rotational strength built enough muscle memory that transferring it to a swing became muscle memory. Having grown up watching Tiger/DJ/Rory mash potatoes on the course, I wanted to swing big and hard. As a beginner, that really hurt my scores and until I focused on creating a steady, repeatable drive. The real improvement came last year when I started to really focus on shorter shots - I would spend entire range sessions hitting only 9-Wedges. This improved my scores due to an increased reliability in getting the ball on the green on stroke 2/3. Still have a lot to learn but the sport is addicting and something you can play the rest of your life.

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Jun 1, 2018

I can't SB this enough - your worst enemy is swinging out of your shoes and trying to swing with your arms. No one cares what number iron you hit XX yards, what matters is the circles on your scorecard.

May 29, 2018

Great guide, SB'd.

One other thing I recommend looking into is having the grips built up and getting clubs re-gripped every few years. Per the recommendation of a guy I took lessons from, I had my clubs re-gripped with a few winds of tape under the grip to "build it up" and it made a big difference. I'd say most guys with average size and up will benefit from that.

May 29, 2018

Buy a Taylormade Burner 2.0 as a Driver. This is a god send driver for guys between 80 to 120 average. It'll go further and straighter but you'll lose the maneuverability. A good mix is the G15 from Ping. Or G30 if you got some money.

Get cavity irons (don't get a fucking blade iron set, until you're a 70's golfer). The brand doesn't matter: I prefer Callaway or Nike.

You need at minimum at 56 degree and a 60 degree wedge. The 56 should be an extension of your arm. Practice every day, every shot, because you can save more strokes with a 56 than you can gain with a great driving game.

Putter is all about feel. Find the one that makes you feel like Tiger Woods.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Aug 21, 2018

BEST IRONS FOR BEGINNERS AND HIGH HANDICAPPERS will help me
So most the of the drivers being developed these days, like the drivers mentioned below, cater to this huge demographic. They include models we've already covered in our various shortlists of best drivers for beginners and seniors among Golf driver makes adjustment simple, and that's something that has previously lacked in the golf industry. The ball also gets an incredibly low launch angle, which is ideal for maximizing your distance. At first I was surprised at the other end of the spectrum that the high speed players fared comparatively poorly with the 765 vs the 565. I assume this is strike based on a lower MOI head in your tests? A high handicapper will not realize the benefits of this ball until he/she becomes a better ball striker. So, in short, buy a ball that gives you more bang for your buck. At first I was surprised at the other end of the spectrum that the high speed players fared comparatively poorly with the 765 vs the 565. I assume this is strike based on a lower MOI head in your tests?

Sep 18, 2018

Hi, I love playing Golf with my friends. I just used my friends golf clubs. I need a golf clubs sets. I hope you are all members help me which golf clubs sets (I am beginner)best for me.

Enthusiast of new golf clubs set, I love to Playing Golf & Learning more.

Sep 18, 2018

Over the summer I got into golf and purchased some moderately used (only like scratches and such, no structural damage whatsoever) Callaway Apex Pro irons (3-PW) for around $450, which my instructor told me was a good deal. I would look in this ballpark for used irons if you're not trying to spend upwards of $900 on clubs. The $500 price range will give you moderate use and solid brands like Callaway, Mizuno, and Taylormade.

When it comes to buying a driver, I have been told it is worth it just to fork out whatever amount of dead prez's are necessary to get the one that you really like, new or used is up to you. A bad driver can fuck your game bro so it could be worth spending the extra cash. Plus it will last you and you won't need to worry about upgrading.

Putting is all skill. I've tried a ton of putters and none ever made a difference to me. My short game is elite, and I hand-me-down putter I found in my uncle's garage has worked fine for me. Just find one you like and get it. They're not too expensive. If all the technical shit with putting really has an impact on your game, then put some effort into this choice. After all, good putting can take a bunch of strokes off your game.

This is just one below average new golfer's opinion, so don't take it as scripture or anything. Hope this helped. Ciao.

Sep 18, 2018

Drive for show, putt for dough

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Sep 18, 2018

Damn fucking right.

Sep 30, 2018

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Sep 16, 2019
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Sep 16, 2019