First Clubs

By Teresa Cortes

February 12, 2015 5 min read

Do you have an insistent father-in-law who has invited you to the golf range more times than you can count? Maybe you're on the lookout for a more leisurely sport you can play in your free time. Whatever the reason, if you're a beginner in the market for new golf clubs, you may be overwhelmed by all of the lingo and options. Don't worry; there are only a few key components to keep in mind when shopping around.

The first step in deciding which golf clubs are best for you is evaluating your level of interest. Even if you have grand plans to become the next Tiger Woods, it may be wise to invest on the smaller side as a beginner golfer. Golf clubs can be pricey, and it's possible you will decide that golf isn't "your thing" after a few outings. Try out a friend's clubs at a local golf course to get a general feel for what works best for you. Or consider buying used for your beginner set of clubs. It's always easier to upgrade or add to your collection later on, once you have a better sense of your investment. Either way, whether you're planning on spending a little or your entire savings on new clubs, it's important to understand what to look for in clubs as a beginner golfer.

Large specialty golf retailer Golfsmith recommends that beginner golfers start with a half-set. This usually includes five irons -- a 4-iron, a 6-iron, an 8-iron, a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. It should also include a putter, as well as a 3-wood and a 5-wood. These sets will not include the smaller-numbered irons, which prove to be more difficult to hit for beginners. You may wish to invest in a hybrid iron, which many golfers carry in their bags as a replacement for these long irons.

Getting the ball in the air may be one of your biggest challenges. Beginner golfers will want to focus on buying clubs that have more loft. Golf expert Rob Green of Hitting The Green explains the importance of choosing clubs with higher lofts: "The higher loft encourages the ball flight to go upward rather than outward." For your driver, this means a minimum loft of 10.5 degrees and as high as a 15-degree loft.

Choosing clubs with a larger clubface increases the sweet spot, which increases your chances of making contact with the ball. When it comes to irons, those with perimeter weighting are ideal, as this also increases the sweet spot, which allows you to have better consistency.

The width of the sole of an iron also matters. The width of the sole should measure up to the width of at least two fingers. The wider width helps prevent the iron from sticking in the ground and also lowers the iron's center of gravity, which is a key aspect that you should be looking for in a club, as it makes it easier to launch the ball off the ground.

It is recommended that beginner golfers choose graphite shafts over their steel counterparts. Graphite is lighter and makes the club easier to swing, which is perfect for the beginner golfer who may have trouble swinging the club fast enough. Graphite shafts are especially recommended for female golfers and the elderly. As a beginner, choosing a more flexible shaft may also make getting started easier. In fact, leading sports experts at About Sports note that most teaching professionals claim that many golfers often use too stiff of a shaft.

If buying used, remember to inspect the condition of the clubs you are considering. Look for worn-out grips, where you will have to take the cost of replacement into consideration.

Of course, it's important to try out your clubs before you buy them. To get the best feel for your clubs before you make your purchase, visit a large pro golf shop with an indoor range. That's also the best place to make a purchase, because professional advice can prove invaluable. It is also the better alternative to purchasing online, as you may not be able to return your clubs from an online vendor.

You also could consider getting measured for your clubs or getting a club fitting. Many clubs have a standard length that is made to measure up to a 5-foot-10 male golfer. If you're anything other than this, you may wish to get a club fitting done to ensure the most comfortable match possible before jumping into your first round of golf.

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