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How To Choose Golf Clubs 

Choosing golf clubs is probably the most stressful part of taking up the game (apart from teeing off in front of a crowd). If you are serious about golf and want to take up the sport, the right equipment can make a big difference to your progress. Here is all the information you will need about choosing beginner golf clubs. 

General club questions

Does it matter what golf clubs you use?

It does matter what golf clubs you start playing golf with, and the right equipment can make the game a lot easier. Beginner golfers need clubs with suitable lofts, a large and forgiving sweet spot, and a golf shaft that matches their swing speed.

Beginners playing with old equipment, or grabbing anything in a shiny box, to get started will struggle more initially. Going for a club fitting or speaking to a golf professional can help beginners determine a good starting set to suit their needs and budget. 

How many golf clubs does a beginner need?

Beginner golfers should aim to buy a golf set with 8 – 12 golf clubs. You can buy a full set with 14 clubs, but 8 – 12 will certainly be enough for all the shots you will need to hit. When you first start playing the game, most of the clubs in the bag will travel similar distances. This has to do with the lack of consistency in the swing and the overall lack of clubhead speed.

As beginners get better, the clubs will all start to play their own role, and this is when it makes sense to expand the set but adding a few extra woods, hybrids or wedges.

Can I play golf with 3 clubs?

You can play golf with 3 golf clubs or even one golf club and a putter but it will prove difficult. The problem is that many different situations will present themselves in 18 holes. If you are playing with just 3 clubs, you will find yourself unprepared for some of these situations. If you play with just 3 clubs, consider a fairway wood, a short iron, and your putter. 

What are the most important clubs for a beginner golfer?

The most important golf clubs for a beginner golfer are: a driver with a big sweet spot, a mid-iron (7 iron) a wedge to chip with and a putter. As a beginner, you can learn to hit the 7 iron and give yourself a fair chance at an approach shot or even a par 3. The 7 iron will be similar enough to the other irons in the bag that you can take what you have learned and expand your abilities. 

Should a beginner use a 4 iron?

A beginner should not use a traditional 2, 3 or 4-iron. These clubs have low lofts and are hard to strike the middle of the clubface. Unless a beginner has a reasonably fast swing speed, stay away from long irons.

To clip a 4 iron perfectly and get the distance and ball flight you would expect, the swing speed needs to be higher. A 4 or 5-hybrid may be a better club choice for a beginner. 

What clubs should a beginner use on a par 3 course?

When playing a par 3 course, it helps to have a set makeup that includes a 7 iron, 9 iron, wedge, and putter. With this combination of clubs, you can handle most of the situations that will come up on the par 3 courses. If some of the holes are longer, then a hybrid may be good to include as well. 

Buying your ideal golf clubs

How much should a beginner pay for golf clubs?

A beginner should look to spend $350-$500/ £300-£450 for a budget set of golf clubs and $500 – $900/ £450-£850 for a performance set of beginner golf clubs. Custom-fit sets with the top technology on the market can be over $2000. Beginners should be able to get set up with a decent beginner set for less than $1000/ £900. Check here for more info on the cost of golf clubs.

What does a beginner golfer need?

A beginner golfer needs the essentials of golf clubs, a golf bag, golf balls, tees, a pitch fork (divot tool) and a ball marker. Some golf clubs may also require golf shoes, and most beginners will also benefit from a golf glove. A beginner can play with a few clubs. However, it helps to have a driver, a fairway wood or hybrid, two or three irons, a wedge, and a putter.

Selecting the best golf clubs for beginners

What size golf clubs do I need?

Golfers that are 5’7” to 6’1” are typically in the standard range for golf clubs. If you are shorter or taller, the club will need to be longer, normally increasing in length by about a ¼ inch at a time. Large adjustments to the length of the club are typically not necessary. 

The key metric is not your height, but your wrist distance to the ground when standing in an upright posture. Tall people with long arms are often suited to standard golf clubs.

How do I choose a golf club brand?

Almost all golf club brands make a beginner-friendly or super game improvement line of golf clubs. Callaway, TaylorMade, Cleveland, Tour Edge, and Cobra are very well known for their beginner-friendly golf equipment. 

How do I choose golf irons?

The best way to know which irons will be a bit for your game is to try them out. If you can find a local golf shop or driving range that has clubs to try, it will be considerably easier to find a great set of irons. 

To check out some options here is a link to our best beginner and high handicap irons.

Upgrading your golf clubs

Do golf irons wear out?

Golf irons will wear out over time. Specifically, the grooves on the golf iron will eventually wear out. Your shots will still fly straight, but they have reduced backspin, resulting in less consistent flight and distance control.

It takes hundreds of rounds of golf and thousands of hits for this to happen. Some golf clubs can be regrooved, but many find that it is better to upgrade the technology at this point. 

How long should golf clubs last?

A great set of golf clubs will last you 3-10 years. However, after about five years, you will notice that the technology in the golf clubs is starting to become outdated. Golf club technology has historically improved at a fast pace, making clubs longer and more forgiving, but it is tricky to see how this will continue. 

Are 20-year-old golf clubs any good?

20 year old golf clubs will work, but technology has moved on so much that they will be much harder to use compared to new golf clubs. If you play golf once or twice a year in an outing or for fun with friends, the 20-year-old golf clubs are acceptable. However, if you are a beginner taking up the game or a serious golfer, chances are you are doing yourself a disservice playing with 20-year-old golf clubs.

What clubs should I replace first?

Upgrading your driver, wedges or putter is the best approach, rather than your irons. High performing drivers, wedges and putters are expensive to make – these are often the clubs that are best to upgrade if you have a beginner set.

The wedges and putters are the scoring clubs and typically have the greatest impact when upgraded. Driver technology changes fast so your beginner driver will likely need to be upgraded after 2-3 years. 

When should I upgrade my golf club set?

You can upgrade your clubs at any time of the year. If you have a true beginner set of golf clubs, it makes sense to upgrade them when you start playing consistent golf and breaking 100. When your scores drop to the lower 90s, you are ready for a true mid handicapper game improvement set of golf clubs. This is where the equipment you play with will start having a bigger impact on your game. 


If we missed anything, or you have some more questions about choosing golf clubs, feel free to comment below, and we will help answer your questions. Getting started in golf is a decision you won’t regret. Once you get past the equipment hurdle, the rest is all fun and games!

Happy golfing.

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Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a former teaching and Class A PGA professional with more than 25 years spent with a golf club in her hand. Britt is a small business owner, author, and freelance golf expert that knows this game inside and out. She lives in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children.

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