If you are thinking of starting this beautiful sport or maybe you have been playing it for a couple of months, most likely you haven’t buy your first set of golf clubs. You are either playing with borrowed clubs or some old clubs found at the bottom of the basement closet.
Buying your first set of golf clubs is not easy, most likely the first set will be the hardest choice you will have to make regarding your golf equipment, after this set and once (hopefully) you become a better golfer you will know better what is appropriate and what is not for you.
In this article, I want to help you choose this first set of golf clubs for you, but not by telling you “go and buy this or that”, but by letting you know all the information necessary to make the right choice knowing what you are already doing.
Lest try to make this as a golf course in which you will go through the holes to get to your objective, as you are still learning 9 holes should be enough!
Hole #1: In this first hole, instead of attempting a birdie try to think what to do not to make a bogey or more, when buying clubs this means: Be sure to buy right handed or left handed clubs according to your preference. This may sound obvious but for example when buying online this may not be as obvious as it seems, in general it will only be notice if the clubs are for left handed with the initials LH, but this is not a rule so sometimes it may say that in the description or further along the publication. Always double check this, and if there is not information do not assume, ask.
Hole #2: After passing the first obstacle you need to know how you are planning on playing the following holes of the golf course, this means understanding the three basic things you must know when buying a golf club. This is:
- Shaft material and strength
- Type of club face
Hole #3: Lets break the last point part by part. First, the length is very important, this comes of course in direct relationship with your height. Unless you are a pro playing the tour and need extremely detailed clubs, the club standard length should be fine for you. Standard clubs are useful from 5”5’ (170 cm) to 6”2’ (190 cm). Under and over this height you may have to look for special length clubs. This is in general 1 inch less per 10 cm of height under 5”5’ (or more if it is over 6”2’).
Hole #4: This is probably the most difficult hole to par or even birdie, mostly because there is a lot of information that is quite difficult to understand or have the answer, for example the ideal information would be to know you club speed during your swing, tough, right?
Why is this information important? Basically, because every shaft has an ideal “speed” to work perfectly, if the swing speed is higher than what the shaft can take, the ball most likely will go to the left (draw or hook), opposite to this, if the swing speed is slower than what the shaft requires to work fine the ball most likely it will go to the right (Slice). This would be like having the right gear in the car to have the best acceleration and most effective gas consumption. If you are going 80 mph in second gear the engine will be trying too hard, and if you are going 20 mph in the fourth gear the car will be doing a lot of strength. To make this even more complicate the swing speed is not the only factor, weight, meaning basically strength at impact needs to be also taken into consideration. The same swing speed will have different results from somebody weighting 150 pounds (75 Kilos) than from somebody weighting 200 pounds (100 kilos). But at least for this first time it shouldn’t make such a big difference to worry about this yet.
There are 3 things to understand about the shaft, the material, the strength and the weight. Let’s go into that “Amen corner” in the next holes.
Hole #5: The club material. There are basically two kinds of materials club shafts are made of: Graphite and Steel. The first one is a lighter material and is better for people who have slow swing speed and/ or are over 70 years old, as this shafts adds a lot of extra yardage when hitting the ball, it also prevents better the vibrations that comes from impact so it is better to avoid injuries, specially the so called “Golf Elbow”. Now, as everything in golf you must have the right shaft, so if you are thinking “Ok, graphite is right for me, I will avoid injuries and have extra yardage” this is not accurate. If you are a golfer in between 14 to 65 years old you will have a lot of strength to put to the ball at impact, meaning a graphite shaft is going to make your shoot extremely uncontrollable. So, if this is the case, go for the steel shaft, it will provide you with much more accuracy in your shots while you can be in charge of putting the distance in the shot.
Hole #6: This point is quite like the one before, after you choose the right shaft component (Graphite or steel), you will encounter the shaft strength problem. Shafts comes mostly in two kind of strengths, regular and stiff. 80 % of the golf clubs comes in these two types, but you can also find “extra stiff” and “senior” to name a few. Plus, there is a brand of shafts model call Project X that comes in numbers (5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7) which would be the equivalent to senior, regular, stiff, extra stiff. Like it was mention before the ideal information would be to know your swing speed, but if you do not know it its ok. Just ask yourself, “Do I have a more peaceful swing?” or “Do I have an athletic swing?”. I know this may not be ideal, but it is the only easy way of realizing what shaft is for you. If you see yourself in the first scenario go for the regular shaft. If you are the second kind, stiff shafts are perfect for you.
Hole #7: The clubface. This one is quite easy as everybody who is buying their first set of clubs should buy oversize clubs. Still let me explain this hole very shortly, if you are buying online it may not be as easy to know the difference. There are 3 kind of club faces, oversized, forged and blades. What happen in here is an opposite rule in between power vs control and club forgiveness. The first kind will give you a lot of power and not a lot of control but they will forgive the bad impacts, which is fine to start. Forged clubs are for golfers who are hitting the ball properly already, going into single digit handicap, in which they do not require a lot of power but they want to have a lot of control over the ball. Lastly, the blades are extremely difficult to hit and they almost have no forgiveness what so ever. But believe me when I say that there is nothing like a perfect shot with a blade club face, the ball will go exactly where it should with perfect control and spin.
Hole #8: The brand. In here there is not really a lot of thing to explain, the brand to begin with should be a brand mostly dedicate for amateur players. Callaway Golf and TaylorMade are by far the best option, try to avoid Titleist, Mizuno, Ping, as this clubs would be perfect for your second set of golf clubs once you are becoming a great golfer.
Hole #9: Budget and final details. When buying your first set of golf clubs, buying a used set of clubs may be a good or even better idea than buying brand new. Clubs, unless you hit them against a tree lasts almost forever. So, if you are buying at a golf shop you just have to check that the shafts are straight and the club face are not worn out. If you are buying online, double check the club description and the seller rating, if you do not see any reliable information you should avoid that set of clubs. If you are planning on playing a lot, lets say about 3 times a week for over the first six months you may improve a lot over this time so you may be looking at changing your set of clubs very often, meaning a lot of money. Maybe buying a used set of golf clubs its ok for the first set, then buy a brand new for your second set. Have in mind that if you are buying used golf clubs, Callaway and Taylor are great choices as they do not lose a lot of value over time, there is a good chance that you will be able to sell them at the same price you bought them.
If you have a tight budget, try to start with a set of 7 clubs (Usually pw-4 iron), a driver, a putter and a 56-degree sand wedge, this will allow you to use it for your approaches as well as your bunker shoots.
I hope this article was useful for you and keep on playing this wonderful sport!