For many years the Callaway Strata golf clubs have been the go-to choice for beginner golfers. In this article we’ll review the Callaway Strata 12, 14 and 16 piece sets, we’ll also explain the difference between the standard, plus and Tour Strata sets and help you decide if they are right for you.
The Strata range is Callaway’s offering for beginner and high-handicap golfers looking for a complete set of golf club and golf bag at a great price.
They offer three different golf sets within the Strata range (12, 14 & 16 pieces). The ‘pieces’ count the stand bag and headcovers too. Think of the 16-piece as the full set option and the 12 and 14 as slightly smaller than full sets. The smaller sets are still great options and can save you some additional money.
Below is a detailed review of each Callaway Strata set, or click this link if you wish to check out alternatives to the Callaway Strata sets.
Table of Contents
- 1 Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Golf Set (12 Piece)
- 2 Callaway Strata Plus Golf Set (14 Piece)
- 3 Callaway Men’s Strata Tour Complete Golf Set (16-Piece)
- 4 Alternatives to the Callaway Strata set
- 5 Callaway Strata review – Further questions answered
- 5.1 Are Callaway Strata clubs graphite?
- 5.2 Are Callaway Strata clubs good?
- 5.3 Are Strata golf clubs forgiving?
- 5.4 What is the difference between the Strata Tour and Ultimate?
- 5.5 Are Callaway Strata golf clubs the best choice for a new golfer?
- 5.6 Should I buy the Callaway Strata complete golf set?
- 5.7 Do the Callaway Strata golf clubs only come in mens sets?
- 5.8 What is the difference between Callaway strata and Solaire?
- 6 Things to consider when buying a complete set
- 7 Frequently asked questions when buying beginner golf clubs
- 8 What are cavity back irons?
- 9 What clubs are the smaller sets missing?
- 10 Do I need a full set of clubs as a beginner golfer?
- 11 Why are lofts different on each club?
- 12 Can I buy more golf clubs at a later date?
- 13 What other useful tips do you have for getting into golf?
- 14 Callaway Strata golf clubs review – Summary
12 piece set
14 piece set
16 piece set
Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Golf Set (12 Piece)
The most popular offering for beginner golfers is the Callaway strata 12-piece complete set. This set also features in our best golf clubs for beginner guide. The 12-piece Strata set provides excellent quality, all the clubs you’ll need to get into the game and carry bag for a very reasonable price.
Woods and hybrids
The lightweight steel-shafted 460cc forged driver has a large sweet spot, providing good forgiveness for any miss-hit drives. The Fairway woods are again oversized creating great forgiveness and create long, high flying shots. The 5-hybrid also provides you with a forgiving alternative to long irons, making these shots off the fairway and long par 3s a little easier.
Irons and wedges
The long clubs in the Callaway Strata 12-piece set are finished off with a set of irons running from 6-iron to 9-iron and a pitching wedge. All the irons have a large cavity back design which makes them highly forgiving and helps get your iron shots up into the air.
The rest of the set
The set also comes with a bladed putter and a lightweight carry bag. The carry bag comes complete with a stand, four pockets and a dual strap system that makes carrying this set a breeze, an additional cooler pocket and a rain hood.
Essentially everything you need to start your journey as a golfer.
Grab these clubs if you are looking for an affordable, quality set of clubs that will give you good quality and forgiveness. If you would like more of a complete set and want to max out your driving distance, then consider checking out the Strata Plus golf set below.
Callaway Strata Plus Golf Set (14 Piece)
The Strata Plus golf set is the same as the 12-piece set review, but it comes with the following upgrades.
The Callaway’s Strata Plus Golf set provides you with a sand wedge to go along with your pitching wedge. The sand wedge can be particularly useful around the greens when you need to hit high-lofted shots.
Another key addition are the graphite shafts in the Driver, fairway wood (the club heads design are the same in both models). Graphite shafts make the overall weight of the clubs lighter compared to the steel shafts that come in the standard 12-piece set.
The lighter shafts allow you to generate a higher clubhead speed, meaning you’ll hit your shots further. Not by a lot, possible by 5-10%, but that may turn your 200-yard drive into a 210 – 220 yard drive, so this is worth considering.
The Callaway Strata Plus set is a great set of golf clubs for a beginner looking to max out driving distance. Or for a high-handicapper who is looking to buy a set of golf clubs that will see them down into a low 20’s to teen handicap.
Callaway Men’s Strata Tour Complete Golf Set (16-Piece)
Last on our list we have Callaway’s Strata Tour complete set. This is the top of the range in the Callaway Strata selection.
Along with the driver and 3-wood featured in the last two sets, the Tour set comes with an additional 5-wood and 4-hybrid. These two additions give you alternative clubs to hit off the tee and more forgiving options to hit off the fairway on long par 4’s and 5’s.
The rest of the set still follows with the 6 – 9 iron, PW and SW that are in the 14 piece set – and a putter. Essentially, this is Callaway’s all-singing, all-dancing, full set for beginners and high handicappers.
As a golf pro, who has taught many beginner golfers, I will happily tell you that you don’t need a full set of golf clubs, to begin with. But, some golfers just want a full set to feel the part, so the decision is down to you.
Grab the Strata Tour complete set if you are treating yourself and want a great set of golf clubs. I personally feel the 14 piece Strata Plus set will be the best option for most beginner players, but the extra clubs won’t do you any harm.
Alternatives to the Callaway Strata set
As mentioned at the top of this article Strata used to lead the way in beginner golf gear. However, now you have many more great options to choose from. Below in this Callaway Strata review article are some great alternative choices for you to consider.
The Edge set is Callway’s follow up to the incredibly successful Strata series. It was thought that this would spell the end of Strata, but this is not the case. Instead, Callway are running both for beginner and high handicap golfers.
The performance differences between the two are apparent in places but are not drastic. The Callaway Edge irons provide a slightly softer feel off the face when pitching and chipping, yet still, feel powerful on longer shots, and the addition of the Oddesy White Hot putter in the Edge set is a great bonus.
However, the Callaway Edge set don’t offer any flexibility in set sizes (number of irons), and offer no choice in fitting options. Both are great options for beginners, with the Edge set possibly just edging it for all-around performance if you can get your hands on the limited sets that come in and out of stock.
The Cobra XL Speed complete set is Cobra’s previous offering before the F-Max set was released. Don’t worry despite being a couple of years previous they still offer brilliant performance and now come in at a great price.
The XL Speed Package Features:
- Driver / 5 Fairway Wood
- 5 Hybrid / 6-SW Irons / Blade Putter
- Premium Cart Bag / Head Covers
- 1-Year Warranty
In comparison to the Strata set these clubs are lighter, more forgiving and slight better quality. This set also comes with a larger cart bag. You’ll find the driver and fairway wood more powerful and the irons more forgiving.
What is the catch? Well they will set you back a little extra cash, but I would be delighted if a beginner golfer I was coaching turned up with these for a golf lesson. Check the best prices below.
The Profile SGI is Wilson’s latest complete club set for beginners. The Profile SGI club set come with a 10.5º driver, 5-wood, 5 hybrid, 6 – 9 irons, pitching wedge, sand wedge, putter and golf bag. This all comes in at a great price.
The performance of these clubs is near identical to the Callaway Strata Plus set. I’d even argue the irons and wedges feel more solid and provide more feel around the green.
The driver and fairway woods come with graphite shafts which will help give you some additional distance when hitting off the tee.
The great news is that these come in at a similar price to the top Callaway Strata set. Making them an ideal alternative if the Strata clubs are out of stock.
Check out our full Wilson Profile SGI review
Cobra F-Max Complete Set
The Cobra F-Max complete set comes in at twice the price of the Callaway Strata sets. They are designed to be a super lightweight and highly forgiving beginner set, complete with putter, head covers and a cart bag.
You won’t notice too much difference between the irons, wedges and putter featured in the Strata sets and F-Max sets. However, the F-Max complete set has lighter shafts in the fairway woods and drivers. Furthermore, the woods are more forgiving than the Strata alternatives.
If money isn’t an issue and you have a slower swing speed these are well worth considering, but if not you’re best to save your money for some coaching and stick with the Strata sets. Click here to read out review of the Cobra F-Max set.
Callaway Strata review – Further questions answered
Are Callaway Strata clubs graphite?
The irons and wedges in all Callaway Strata sets are steel. The 12 piece set has a steel shafted driver and fairway wood, whereas the 14 and 16 piece sets have graphite shafted woods and driver.
Are Callaway Strata clubs good?
Callaway Strata golf clubs are great golf clubs for the price. They will suit beginner golfers well and will allow you to progress as a golfer. There are two areas they save money, firstly, the 12 and 14 piece sets have fewer clubs meaning they can keep the price down.
Secondly, the driver is made out of slightly cheaper materials than the top drivers on the market (that can cost the price of the entire Callaway strata set!). This results in slightly less distance and forgiveness, but not to a point where it will noticeably affect your game.
Are Strata golf clubs forgiving?
Callaway Strata clubs are very forgiving. If you are will to spend more you can find irons that offer ~10% extra forgiveness, but these will cost double the price and are not needed when first learning to play golf. For more on the most forgiving irons check out this article.
What is the difference between the Strata Tour and Ultimate?
Callaway suggest the tour is better in performance while the ultimate is more forgiving. There are slight changes to the head size and shape in the woods between the two, but both will suit beginner golfers well, as the differences are marginal.
Are Callaway Strata golf clubs the best choice for a new golfer?
As mentioned at the start of this article, Callaway Strata golf clubs used to be the best choice for beginner golfers. They were superior quality compared to other beginner sets and the sets of clubs came in 12, 14 and 16 piece options. The 12, 14 and 16 piece set options also offered great variety.
Now I would argue that the Cobra XL golf set are superior in quality, and the Wilson golf sets offer similar quality at a comparable price. Both the Cobra and Wilson set of clubs come with a cart bag rather than a stand bag, which may sway some golfers.
Should I buy the Callaway Strata complete golf set?
I sure hope this article has helped you decide. The end decision lies with you. However, I will say this – as a golf coach, I would be delighted if a beginner turned up for a lesson with any set of golf clubs from this article, including the alternative options above.
If I had to pick for a student of mine I would suggest they go for: the Strata 14 or 16 piece golf sets (which have a graphite shaft in the driver) or the Cobra XL set – all three are great options.
Do the Callaway Strata golf clubs only come in mens sets?
In this review, I’ve linked out to the men’s set. There are also women’s Strata clubs check here for options. Callaway are replacing these with newer models. For the most up to date information check out our full article on the best women’s beginner golf clubs.
What is the difference between Callaway strata and Solaire?
The Solaire golf sets are another Callaway golf club set for women golfers who are shorter. Custom-fit golf clubs are not purely based on height, arm length is a factor too. If you feel you may need custom fit clubs do find a local golf pro for a fitting. You can learn more about the Solaire golf club here.
Things to consider when buying a complete set
What equipment do you need as a beginner golfer?
You are legally allowed to carry 14 clubs when playing golf. Many beginner golfers assume they need to fill this quota straight away with a complete set. However, to begin with, you will likely see little difference between all 14 clubs.
Even the Callaway Strata Ultimate complete set doesn’t provide you with 14 clubs, but this isn’t an issue. Golfers often find they have specific pain points when they begin to play. Having less than a complete set allows you to add another fairway wood or wedge at a later date.
The Callaway Strata sets offer you all the clubs you need to hit the practice range and golf course.
In a starter set, you’ll find you are offered one to three woods. The driver, which is often accompanied by a 3-wood and 5-wood.
The driver is used off the tee and allows you to hit the ball a long distance without having to adapt your golf swing. Look for a starter set that has a 460cc driver head. This is the largest legal size and provides the greatest levels of forgiveness.
The fairway woods have a smaller clubhead than a driver and can be hit off a tee or off the ground on longer holes. Hitting fairways woods from the ground requires great precision and will take some time to master.
Traditionally a 3-wood would have 15 – 18 degrees of loft and a 5-wood had 19 – 22 degrees of loft. However, as brands aim to make their clubs hit further, we’ve seen fairway wood lofts drop. A modern 5-wood is now 18 degrees, and a 3-wood 13 to 15 degrees. This makes hitting these clubs more challenging.
For this reason, I would advise golfers to look for a starter set with a 5-wood if they can. You will find a 5 fairway wood easier to control and easier to strike off the ground.
Irons and hybrids
Most starter sets will have irons that run from a 6-iron up to a 9-iron and pitching wedge. Some beginner sets, such as the Callaway Strata Ultimate golf set also come with a sand wedge.
Hybrids have the face of an iron and the body of a wood – hence their name – they are a hybrid of the two clubs. They are often found in starter sets instead of 3 and 4 irons (the long irons). A hybrid is easier to hit compared to a long iron and therefore is a great option for a beginner or high handicap golfer.
For more information on irons for beginners and high handicappers, check out our review of best game improvement irons.
Frequently asked questions when buying beginner golf clubs
Below we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions when beginners are buying new clubs.
What are cavity back irons?
Cavity back irons have a large hole or cavity behind the club face. This is a more modern design than bladed irons, that have a rounded club head with no cavity.
A cavity back design shift more of the weight to the edge of the clubhead and low down. This makes the club twist less on off-centre hits and results in longer, straighter golf shots.
The Strata irons and alternative clubs in this review all feature cavity back designs.
What clubs are the smaller sets missing?
The Callaway Strata 12 piece has a gap between the 3-wood and 6-iron, it is also missing a sand wedge. The Strata 14 piece set comes with a sand wedge but doesn’t come with a 5-wood and 4-hybrid.
Do I need a full set of clubs as a beginner golfer?
As a beginner, you will not need a full set to begin with. The clubs will travel different trajectories and distances when hit well, but to begin with, most beginner golfers won’t notice a consistent difference between their 6 and 7 iron. This will change as your striking of the golf ball becomes more consistent.
Why are lofts different on each club?
Golf clubs go up in loft from your driver up to your sand wedge. There is generally a 4º increase in loft between each iron in your set. This translates into a 7 to 15-yard gap between each iron depending on your clubhead speed. You can read more about golf club distances here.
Can I buy more golf clubs at a later date?
Yes, you can buy extra clubs at a later date. Try to keep your irons matching as not all manufacturers have the same loft on each iron.
However, wedges, putters, fairway woods, hybrids and drivers can all be mixed and matched as you wish. Most beginner golfers will look to add an additional wedge or buy a new putter as they really get into the game.
If you love your irons from your starter set, but want to find clubs to max out your hitting off the tee you can always get fitted for a driver at a later date.
What other useful tips do you have for getting into golf?
The key to getting good at golf is to enjoy it. Find some fun people to play with and try to find a local golf pro you can see for coaching from time to time.
To begin with you’ll find you hit some great golf shots and some bad ones – focus on the good ones and don’t worry too much about the bad golf shots – you’re a beginner you’re not supposed to have perfected the game.
If you’re really keen to get better check out this article which will give you a simple golf practice plan to help you improve.
Callaway Strata golf clubs review – Summary
I hope this guide has given you a bit more insight into the Callaway Strata golf club rage. They are great golf clubs, ideal for beginner golfers and high-handicappers and easy to hit. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.
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Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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