Golf can be an intimidating sport to jump into for newcomers. Aside from the challenges that come from learning the game, there’s actually quite a bit to know about the equipment itself before you tee off.
Picking The Best Golf Club
Many beginners make the mistake of buying clubs that do not suit their level of play or swing mechanics. When selecting any club for your bag, it is always important to consider your personal skill level and experience with golf.
The length of a club is generally determined by the height of the golfer and also by the shaft itself. The shaft of a golf club is the long, tapered tube that connects the golfer's hands to the club head. The longer the shaft, the further your hands are away from the ball.
Virtually all long clubs in the modern era of golf have graphite shafts. Graphite is a relatively flexible material and golf club manufacturers design shafts to suit many different types of swings.
Pro Tip: The length that you will need is also different for men and women, based off of their height. This table shows the recommended length for both men and women based on their height:
|Shorter than 5'5"
||½" shorter than standard
|5'5" to 6'1"
|Taller than 6'1"
|Shorter than 5'3"
|5'3" to 5'7"
|Taller than 5'7"
||Move into men's Standard length
When choosing a shaft, it is also important to know your swing speed. This can usually be evaluated at golf retailers when getting fitted for a club. Golfers who swing in excess of 100 mph should go with a stiff or extra stiff shaft. Swings between 85-100 mph are ideal for regular flex shafts, and a swing slower than 85 mph is best when using an a flex shaft.
Many golf beginners should also pick clubs with a higher face loft. Loft is the angle of the club face that controls trajectory and affects distance.
Experienced golfers have traditionally favored lower lofted drivers, which require much more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers. Nowadays, even the pros are using higher lofted drivers because the combination of less spin and being able to get a higher trajectory means that you are maximizing distance.
Pro Tip: For beginners, choose something with a higher loft since it will produce less side spin, which will allow for a consistently straighter ball flight.
Swing speed also determines a club’s ideal head weight. A golfer with a faster swing speed should use a heavier head to allow for more control, while slower swing speeds are better suited for lighter heads to increase club head velocity.
The typical head of fairway woods and hybrids are deep faced. A deeper face has a lower launch and a higher spin, making it typically more difficult for beginners to handle. Since new golfers need to establish confidence with the club that they are using, they should opt for one that will instill confidence in address position so that they can get the ball airborne.
Pro Tip: A shallow faced club allows for just that since it has a lower center of gravity. A shallow faced head means that it will launch higher and improve performance, which makes them perfect for someone who is just starting out in golf!
The Best Golf Clubs For Beginners
The pinnacle of every golf bag is the driver, an essential golf club that can have a very positive impact on a golfer’s handicap. A driver is characterized by having the largest head, lowest loft, and longest shaft of all the clubs in a golf bag. Modern driver heads are commonly made out of hollowed titanium while most shafts are made of graphite with varying tensions.
A driver is the only club in a golf bag that is not designed to be hit off of the ground. Instead, drivers are designed to be used when hitting off of a tee to produce maximum club head speed and velocity while maintaining balance and control.
Fairway woods are also an extremely important addition to a golf bag. The heads used on fairway woods are smaller than a driver and the loft is generally between 12-18 degrees while a driver is between 7-13 degrees. For beginners, 17 degrees is highly recommended.
Fairway woods are designed to be hit either off of the fairway or off of a tee. We recommend that beginner golfers carry only a high-lofted three wood for use on longer par fours and par fives.
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Hybrids are a newer addition to the long club family. Hybrids are very versatile clubs that replace a range of irons from anywhere from a 2-iron to an 8-iron loft. The heads of hybrids are generally shaped similar to fairway woods but are smaller and more shallow. Hybrids have a larger sweet spot and a lower center of gravity than the long irons that they are designed to replace.
Bobby Jones hybrids are designed with a unique curved soleplate and leading edge that make them ideal to be used off the off the tee, on the fairway, or in the rough. Bobby Jones hybrids are the only hybrids in the market designed for lie angle adjustment, which makes them easier to hit from side hill lies and trouble lies.
Hybrids are the ultimate game-improvement clubs especially for beginners, and have become more popular than ever because they’re much easier to hit consistently than any long iron.
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The Expert’s Advice:
According to Ortiz, the #1 mistake that beginners make is going into a shop and buying an entire set of golf clubs at once just because the bundled price seems like a good deal. With this, you end up buying clubs that are not suited for your level of playing.
A better rule of thumb is to start off investing in 5-6 individual pieces that are more tailored for your needs. Following the concept of quality over quantity, buying fewer pieces that are on par with your level allows you to perform better, will get you better results, and allow for quicker improvements.
Male golfers need consistency over distance. Ortiz recommends a fairway 3 wood with a 17 degree loft since it’s super versatile—you can use it to club off the tee and off the fairway.
Some other tips:
- Men don’t need a driver at first, these are the hardest to hit consistently
- The stronger the loft, the more sidespin you get, and the more crooked the ball will go
- Next is 21 degree hybrid, followed by a 25 degree, a 30 degree
- 7, 9 pitch sand iron are also essentials for the bag
Since men and women have different issues on the green, their sets should be different. As opposed to men, women struggle more with distance than consistency. Most women tend to hit the ball relatively straight but do not get distance with the clubs. The most important one in the bag is a driver, preferably one with at least 14 degrees of loft.
- An issue that women have is that they don’t hit the ball far enough off the tee
- For the fairway, it is best to use a 5, 7, or 9 wood over a 3 wood
- To fill in the bag, a 9 iron, sand wedge, and putter are essentials
Ready for your first set of clubs? Ask Jesse Ortiz