For beginning golfers, having the right set of clubs from the start is one of the easiest ways to see improvements quickly, but with so many options on the market, putting together a set can be a confusing process. Whether you’re new to golf, getting back into the game, or looking to help someone else enjoy the game, consider this your quick start guide to putting together an affordable, easy-to-hit game.
If you want to keep things really simple and extremely affordable, there are plenty of great bundle sets on the market, but this guide is meant for those who buy piece by piece.
Let us begin
(This is a simple baseline for beginning golfers, and individual needs based on swing strength and speed will vary greatly)
One of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of putting together a beginner club set is making them easy to hit and inspiring confidence to use. This means lighter shafts and more loft – there’s no quicker way to hook a new golfer than to see them hit a solid shot that takes off down the line.
Another element of instilling confidence is to eliminate the hardest clubs to hit early on, including fairway woods with less than 15° loft and any wedge greater than 56°. There is no need to start beginning golfers with more than 12 clubs.
What should be in the bag?
Driver: Most people default to a fixed hosel driver for ease of use, but what’s better than having a mini club adjustment tool in your bag? I suggest starting with a driver that has 10-12 degrees of loft and using the hosel to your advantage to make the driver as easy to hit as possible – the ultimate guide to adjustable drivers.
Longest fairway wood: Do you realize I didn’t say 3 wood? Like the driver, I would suggest going with an adjustable hosel design and not starting with less than 17°-18° of loft in the stock setting. Since most golfers use a lot of fairway wood to advance the ball, the more loft the better when hitting shots from the fairway and rough. I also strongly suggest that most beginners also not use a club longer than 42” in this part of the bag.
Next Fairway Wood / Hybrid: Look, long irons aren’t fun to hit even for experienced golfers, so having a secondary fairway wood or hybrid will make the game that much more fun.
For the average beginner, the likely winner for this part of the bag is a 7-wood around 21 degrees or a hybrid around 22 degrees. I default to the fairway wood because the longer shaft makes it easier to generate more speed to get the ball into the air.
iron set: Go big or go home. When it comes to irons, you want the biggest, most forgiving cavity back iron set you can buy. Cavity Back irons have a lower center of gravity to help get the ball into the air faster, especially on thin shots, a common fault for golfers trying to get the ball up in the air.
Servings: There are many options when it comes to wedges and none of them are bad, it’s just a matter of finding the one that helps the most around the green. I suggest a 54°-56° sand wedge as a great place to start, and as with irons, a cavity back design will help.
A chipper is also worth considering to help really simplify shots around the green. For all the die-hards who say you should learn with “real clubs”, I say that a chipper is a real club, and more importantly, it can help people have more fun!
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Check out Fairway Jockey for Ping’s ChipR.
Laze: You want to learn the basics as quickly as possible, so try not to be too picky when it comes to a putter. If there is one that fits your eye for one reason or another, go with it.
That said, if you have carte blanche, I highly suggest a 2-ball style putter to make alignment easier. Since these have been around for almost 20 years, you can find many older models that offer tremendous value.
golf balls: Look, you’re going to lose some golf balls, so it’s best to start with a low-compression, budget-priced two-piece ball. Also, whatever ball you’re using, stick with it; this will help build consistency and develop an understanding of feel that can be greatly altered by going back and forth between different balls.
Now go out and play golf!
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