Choosing golf clubs is similar to choosing a new car: if you follow the advice here, you will know how to buy the right equipment for you.
The only difference is that there are so many golf clubs out there to choose from, it is hard to find the right one for you. You can spend hours and hours trying them out, but chances are that no matter what kind of golfer you are, or what type of course you play on in particular, there is a club out there that will suit your needs.
I always tell beginners to get the “free trial” clubs before they buy them. The free trial clubs are generally better than the ones sold at retail prices. (In many cases they are more expensive.) If you do not think they suit your needs, then return them for a refund and move on to a different set of free trial/demo/test golf clubs until you find the ones that fit your swing and game.
And once you have found them, use this buying guide for beginners to make sure that your equipment purchases make sense for your game and budget.
Golf equipment is ridiculously expensive. Your simple nine-iron costs more than a new car. You can buy a set of golf clubs that contains everything you need for a whole round, from the driver to the putter, for less than the price of dinner and drinks at a nice restaurant.
But if you want golf clubs there are two ways to do it. The first is to go to a store that sells golf equipment, where you can try them out before you buy. Their costs will be small, since they don’t have to ship any of their inventory around much, and the prices are low because they usually buy old stock from other stores and don’t have much to pay for it.
The second way is online. Aside from the fact that online shopping is more convenient, there is an extra reason not to shop in person: no one knows what you’re going to get. Nobody’s ever tried anything on before buying it, so it’s impossible to judge whether it fits. There are always rumors that some manufacturer sells counterfeit merchandise or has different sizes or color schemes in different stores; if you’ve tried something on in a store and gotten it wrong, you can ask the manager to replace it (if they’ll let you) or simply return your order with
Golf clubs are expensive, and buying the wrong ones can be a major waste of money. So you want to make sure you get the right clubs for the job you have in mind.
You have to decide what kind of player you are. Are you a beginner who just wants to hit some balls? Are you an experienced golfer who wants to improve your game? Do you play off-course, such as in an airport or on the beach? If so, you need something tough enough to cope with being bounced around by baggage handlers and windsurfers, but also forgiving enough that it won’t cost you a fortune at the other end of each round. If you’re going to win tournaments, your equipment has to be expensive enough that people will pay good money to see you using it, but not so expensive that it will drive club members away.
Most golf equipment is designed so that the customer has no choice. We are like the customers in department stores: we know exactly what we want, but we don’t have any idea what it is for. That’s the whole point of golf: it’s a game where you choose your own problems.
When I was learning golf, I was told that my custom-made shoes would make me a better golfer, and I wore them for three years. They didn’t. In fact, they made me less happy as I learned to play the game myself. If you want to be a better golfer, you should find out what makes you happy and do that instead of buying expensive equipment.
There’s a lot of advice about golf equipment, and most of it isn’t worth listening to. To choose a set of clubs, you don’t need a specialist or an expert—you just need an opinionated beginner. But there are some things you should consider, such as these:
A good set of clubs will have a particular feel to it. You can tell almost at once whether they fit your body very well or not; that quality would be true of shoes too. If the clubs feel too tight, they will not be comfortable to play with. If they feel loose and wobbly, they won’t perform well either.
The weight of the clubs will depend on how fast you swing them. If you are an average golfer, the more weight you put in the clubhead, the faster your shots will go. But if you hit the ball much harder than average, this effect may be negated by having too light a clubhead.
Paying for a golf club is like buying a computer or a home entertainment system. It’s not for everyone. It’s not for everyone because you have to spend more money than you would on other things, and because the golf equipment is quite specialized. In fact, unlike computers and home entertainment systems, it’s not just specialized but very specialized.
You’re fine if you want to play tennis or tennis, fine if you want to play darts or darts, fine if you want to play pool or pool, fine if you want to play chess or chess, fine if you want to play snooker or snooker, fine if you want to play bridge or bridge, fine if you want to play cribbage or cribbage. But depending on what kind of game you are looking for there are different kinds of gear to buy.
Everyone knows that you need a driver to play golf. But what else do you need?
A bad driver can’t help you, but it’s not the only thing that gets worse. If you take a good swing and make the ball go left, your long irons will go right. If you take a bad swing and make the ball go right, it will go left again. If you take a bad swing and make the ball go straight at all, your short irons will go wild.
What is most important is not to hit the ball too high or low or off-centre; if you do that, there is nothing wrong with your clubs. It’s just that they cannot fix the problem.