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.
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