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Many beginners make the mistake of buying clubs that do not suit their level of play or swing mechanics. The question, “which golf clubs should I use?” is often answered with a shrug and perhaps a suggestion from a friend (it’s often incorrect). When deciding which golf club you should use from 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:
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 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 harder 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 pinnacle of every golf bag is the driver, an essential golf club that can have a very positive impact on a golfer’s handicap. When trying to determine how many golf clubs in a set will actually work most ubiquitously, think of the driver.
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.
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.
With the various types of clubs used in golf, it can be a difficult task deciding what golf clubs you should use depending on where you are at in the game. A beginner golfer may be left asking how to choose golf clubs when there are so many golf clubs in a set and for various reasons! There are many different sizes and shapes of golf clubs that are designed to be used for teeing, swinging on the fairway, and getting out of a sticky situation.
Teeing off is an essential part of a game of golf because it is how you start the round. Hybrids, which are versatile clubs, would ideally be the best golf clubs for beginners and can be considered the “go-to” club for newcomers looking to tee with ease.
Short golf shots, known as approach shots, are used to put the ball on the green and thus the correct club is needed to accomplish this shot. When thinking of which golf clubs you should use in your set, you’ll want to select an 8 or 9 iron club.
Landing in a tough spot, such as a sand trap can be a nightmare for all golfers, especially beginners. To make your way out of the trap or off the rough, you’ll want to opt for hybrid clubs which are dependable golf clubs for beginners.
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 that the golf club you should use is 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:
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.