A golf club is a very specialized item. You need to know exactly what you want, and you have to find the perfect set.
It’s good to know that you won’t be able to pick up a set at your local sporting goods store, get it home and hit a ball into the woods. A golf club is an expensive machine that has been finely tuned by someone who understands how the components work together.
The difference between a really good set of clubs and one that will only let you hit the ball in the woods 10% of the time can be huge. It’s enough of a difference that in most places people will refuse to sell you a new set unless you prove you can hit it in the woods first.*
The only way around this is to borrow equipment from an experienced golfer. Then again, if you’re going to spend $1,000 on a set of clubs for yourself, why wouldn’t you want to learn from an expert?
It is easy to spend too much on golf clubs. There are many choices, and the price seems right because it has everything you need in one place. But that doesn’t make buying the best club set any easier. Everyone who buys a set of clubs is guaranteed to have at least one club he doesn’t like, and probably two or three.
If you buy a used set, you will have something in your bag that isn’t a good match for your shots. If you buy a new set, you will probably be disappointed by the quality of the performance of at least one club until it wears out. And if you buy a set without trying them out, you may wind up with something better than you thought.
I suggest that instead of buying a complete set of clubs at once, you buy them as individual items as you need them, or have them custom fitted to your needs by an expert.
What makes golf a great game for rich people is that it doesn’t require a lot of skill. You can get by with a decent swing, and you can afford to hire somebody to hold your clubs for you. Everybody buys golf clubs in sets these days, so there is no need to agonize over which club goes where.
In fact, if you have the right type of set, you might find it hard to figure out which club goes where. It’s not just that the clubs are different colors; they are all named after famous cities, and they don’t look like they fit together at all.
It’s not like the clubs don’t fit together at all; they do fit together, but it’s very hard to tell which one goes where. In fact, as far as I can tell, there is no way of telling which one is which. So if you’re buying a set for someone else or want to sell a set to someone else, you should assume the person who buys it will be mystified and probably give up. Or at least try very hard not to point out the errors until well after he has made his mistake
It is important to be able to judge what type of golfer you are and what type of club will suit you. You do not need a lot of fancy equipment, but you do need a decent set. And you do need to know something about the equipment.
To judge your own ability, it helps to understand what it takes to play well. By “play well” I mean hitting the ball straight and far, without a slice or hook.
The single most important factor in hitting a great drive is the loft of the club. Conversely, if you have a low-lofted club and hit it high and straight, your game will suffer. It’s easy to find out exactly how high the club will fly off the ground: put some tape on top of your driver, leave it at home for a few days, and then compare the tape marks with marks from when you took it out again.
It should go without saying that if you have no idea what type of club suits your swing best and where it should sit in your bag, then you will hit bad shots all day long.
A lot of people who play golf do not need to buy clubs that cost $500, nor would they ever be happy if they did. In the world of golf clubs, as in the rest of life, you can’t always get what you want, and happiness is not as simple as it sounds.
A lot of people start playing golf because they think they’ll like it. That’s fine, but it’s also wrong. To enjoy being out on the course is one thing; to have a good time is another. A huge amount of money and effort has gone into making golf courses so that you can enjoy being there. But maybe that’s all the more reason why you should consider the question from the other side: how can I make sure I enjoy being there?
If you want to play better, you need to spend some time with the golf club pro. Most of them are very good, and they can teach you a lot of things about how to make your own swings better. But you don’t need a pro to improve your game.
If we accept the conventional wisdom, most golfers have to pay for lessons because they don’t know what they’re doing. But that’s not true. It is not hard to learn how to play well enough not just to get out on the course, but actually enjoy it. Almost anyone can do that.
You’re not going to get rich playing golf, but you can make a living. The main way to do that is to be an amateur. That means you pay the greens fees yourself, and play in public courses where you don’t have to pay extra for greens fees. In the United States, it’s possible to make a good living at golf, but only if you’re willing to move or live in a place where there are lots of public golf courses.
Golf has been around a long time, and through most of its history it has been a white man’s game. Fortunes have been made by black men who were able to keep finding ways to play on public courses and make money at it.