Before You Buy Golf Clubs
Buying your first set of golf clubs can seem daunting with all the choices out there. To take away some of the confusion I have listed some things to keep in mind before you go out to get your first set of golf clubs.
Be Clear About Your Golf Goals
If you identify realistic goals before you set out to buy, it will make the process of buying clubs much easier. If you're deeply committed to golf and plan to play every day, then obviously you'll want to spend more time, money and effort on a set of clubs than if you only intend to play twice a year with your brother-in-law.
Assessing Your Levels of Dedication and Interest
By honestly assessing your dedication to golf, you can more easily determine how much to spend, and on what quality of clubs. How much will you be practicing? Will you be willing to take lessons? If you aren't willing to go that far, then you're probably better off going with a cheaper pair of clubs. If you plan to practice regularly, and take lessons, then you may want something more expensive.
New or Used Clubs?
Used clubs are probably a good choice if you aren't sure about your commitment or have a history of taking up hobbies and losing interest in them after a short time. Because they'll be cheaper than new clubs, they can be replaced more easily later.
A set of clubs can be extremely expensive. If you have enough money and you're willing to spend on top-quality equipment, then by all means do so. However, for most people the amount of money spent will correlate to how dedicated they are. A good idea for if you're just setting out, though, is to look for an inexpensive first set - that way, you won't have wasted as much money if you don't continue playing.
Shaft Options - The Basics
The two differences in golf shafts that beginners should keep in mind are shaft composition (graphite or steel) and shaft flex (the amount of bend in the shaft during your swing). Steel is sturdier and cheaper, but graphite is lighter, so it will generate more swing speed. Women and older players will benefit most from graphite shafts that have a softer flex. Stronger, younger men may go with regular or stiffer shafts, but remember that many teaching say too many golfers use shafts with too much stiffness. If you'd like to get more details about proper shaft selection consider getting the Senior Golfers Guide, a 210 page ebook created especially for the Senior Golfer.
Getting a Clubfitting
If you're getting a new set of clubs, a clubfitting is an option. A clubfitting, lasting about half an hour, is an option offered by many teaching pros. If you don't want that, at least getting a measurement in a pro shop will ensure that the clubs you choose are well-suited to your body. If you are a 5-foot-10 male, then the standard clubs straight off the rack will fit you. However, if that description doesn't fit you very well, you might want to get fitted.
Easier Golf with the Right Clubs
Of course, nothing will take the place of a good swing, but as a novice golfer you can make it easier on yourself by choosing clubs that are designed specifically for higher-handicappers - known as "game improvement clubs". You should choose irons that are cavity-backed and perimeter-weighted. Investigate "hybrid" sets, in which utility clubs replace the long irons - that is, the 3-, 4- and occasionally 5-irons. Go for more loft (i.e. 12 degrees), not less, when choosing a driver. Don't pay attention to what kind of clubs the Tour players use.
Ask Questions, Seek Advice
If you have friends who play, ask them for advice. Ask at a pro shop or golf pro for recommendations. Get some idea of what you're really looking for. When you've done all this, and you're ready to buy, remember to shop around. Range and price will always differ from one outlet to another, whether you're shopping at pro shops, department stores, or garage sales. Just keep in mind your price range and only buy clubs within that range. If you would like more detailed advice we recommend getting the Senior Golfers Guide, a great resource for older golfers. It's just $29.50, and we think this is money well spent.