Best Golf Clubs For Beginners 2017 – The Ultimate Guide To Starter Golf Clubs

best-beginner-golf-clubs-review-header

Welcome to our Best Beginner Golf Clubs review.

Not too many years ago I was a beginner, just like you! My main concern when I was looking to buy a set of beginner golf clubs was making sure that they were right for my skill level, and wouldn’t immediately be redundant as I got better. Fortunately, I made the right choice and today I’m a proud 12 handicapper (and improving!)

In short, the best beginner golf clubs are easy to hit, provide loads of forgiveness and distance for consistency, and are designed to make it easier to get the ball in the air.

In this guide I have reviewed the best beginner golf clubs currently available on the market and explained exactly what you should look for in a beginner set.

Please note: All the sets reviewed below are for men, to see our assessment for women check out Best Lady Golf Clubs.

In a hurry?

Use the comparison table below to see the key features of the top 5 brands that I tested or dive into my detailed assessments of the best beginner golf clubs using the quicklinks below.

Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

Editor’s Choice: Callaway Strata 18-Piece Golf Set

Callaway are one of the leading golf equipment manufacturers. The Strata Golf Set is Callaway’s premier offering for beginner golfers and is truly an epic set to get you started.

The 18-piece set includes a set of irons (6-SW), titanium drivers (1W, 3W, 5W), which have an extra large sweet spot, 2 hybrids and a putter. The set also includes a lightweight stand bag and head covers. In total there are 12 clubs, 5 head covers and a bag. The set is also available in a 12-piece variation.

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with the Callaway Strata set and I highly recommend it.

For UK readers, the Callaway Strata set is difficult to find. A great alternative is the Wilson Ultra set.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf

Comparison of Complete Golf Club Sets For Beginners

  • Callaway Men's Strata Ultimate Complete Golf Set
  • 18 Piece Golf Set - 12 Clubs, 5 Headcovers, 1 Bag
  • Available in Left/Right Orientation
  • Shipping Weight - 21.5 Lbs
  • Wilson ProStaff HDX Complete Package Golf Set
  • 15 Piece Golf Set -11 Clubs, 3 Headcovers, 1 Bag
  • Available in Left/Right Orientation
  • Shipping Weight - 20.6 Lbs
  • Callaway Men's Strata Complete Golf Club Set with Bag (12-Piece)
  • 12 Piece Golf Set - 9 Clubs, 2 Headcovers, 1 Bag
  • Available in Left/Right Orientation
  • Shipping Weight - 20.1 Lbs
  • Nextt Golf Men's Pro Score N Elite Complete Set
  • 17 Piece Golf Set - 11 Clubs, 5 Head Covers, 1 Bag
  • Available in Right Hand Orientation
  • Shipping Weight - 19.2 Lbs
  • Wilson Men's 2015 Ultra Complete Package Golf Set, Standard
  • 14 Piece Golf Set -10 Clubs, 3 Head Cover, 1 Bag
  • Available in Left/Right Orientation
  • Shipping Weight -

What to look for in beginner golf clubs?

Choosing the best beginner golf club set can be a tricky business as it is easy to get overwhelmed by the huge variety of brands and the various types of golf clubs.

Most golf club sets have 12-14 clubs that include a range of woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and a putter.

The best beginner golf clubs have larger club faces, which makes it easy to hit the the ball and provides more forgiveness for mishits (i.e. when one strikes the ball on the toe or heel of the club). In terms of irons, beginner sets should have a decent offset and a wide sole. This makes it easier to get under the ball and launch it for a higher trajectory.

Beginner sets also use shafts that are a little shorter in length as this makes it easier to control the club. A shorter shaft length however, does mean less distance. But as a beginner, consistency is more important.

Towards the end of this article I have provided detailed information on exactly what to look for in the various types of clubs in a bag: drivers, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters.

But for now, you can rest assured that I have done all the hard work for you and the five sets below tick all the boxes. Let’s start with my Number 1 choice!

Best Golf Club Sets Reviews

#1 Choice

Callaway Men’s Strata Ultimate – Best Golf Club Set For Men

Callaway is not only one of the leading golf club and accessory manufacturers, but also a very popular brand amongst consumers and golf pros.

The Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Golf Set is the ultimate beginners set! It comes in a number of variations, but the two most popular are the 18-piece (12 clubs, 5 head covers and a stand bag) and the 12-piece (9 clubs, 2 head covers and a bag). In terms of clubs, the iron set is very good and easy to hit. The set starts at a 6 iron and goes through to a PW and SW. Callway have left out the lower irons (3-5) as these are generally a lot more difficult to hit as a beginner. In there place Callaway have added two hybrids (a combination of a wood and iron), which are really easy to hit and a great addition to the set.

I particularly like the Strata set as the drivers are very good. Callaway are known for their drivers and with the Strata set they don’t disappoint. The Driver, 3W and 5W are all made from titanium and have huge sweet spots – it is seriously difficult to mishit them.

Finally the bag is really great quality and lightweight. All in all, the Callaway Strata set is my recommended choice as the Number 1 Beginners Golf Club Set.

See detailed review.

PROS:
  • Very forgiving irons with decent offset to make it easier to get the ball off the ground
  • The set is very versatile and covers all bases, from woods and irons, to hybrids, wedges and a solid putter
  • The woods are particularly good and made from titanium
  • Comfortable and stylish stand bag
CONS:
  • I have very little to knock here. It would’ve been cool if Callaway included their logo on the bag!
Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
#2 Choice (Best UK Option)

Wilson ProStaff HDX Complete Set – Best Starter Golf Club Set and UK Option

The Wilson ProStaff HDX Complete Package Golf Set is a brilliant alternative to the Callaway Strata set and my recommended option for UK readers who can’t get their hands on the latter.

The Wilson set includes 15 pieces (11 golf clubs, 3 head covers and a stand bag).

Like the Callaway set, the ProStaff irons range from a 6-SW with a hybrid and woods making up for the missing lower irons. I was very impressed with the irons. They have a deep center of gravity, which makes it a lot easier to get the ball of the ground and reduces spin on the ball. This is important as high spin rates mean lots of inconsistency.

The woods come with Wilson graphite shafts, making them lighter and easier to swing and the putter has a great feel.

See detailed review.

PROS:
  • Golf set includes 15-pieces – driver, fairway wood, hybrid, irons 6-SW, putter, stand bag and head covers.
  • The woods come with quality graphite shafts and have a large head design that helps to achieve longer distances and better control
  • The irons are made with a deep center of gravity to reduce spin rate and improve ball flight consistency
  • The fairway wood and hybrid combo woods works really well
  • The stand bag is stylish and light!
CONS:
  • Slightly more pricey than other brands, but still very good value for money
Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
#3 Choice

Callaway Men’s Strata 12-Piece set – Best Golf Set For Starters

The Callaway Men’s Strata 12-Piece Golf Set is the smaller variation of the 18-piece set featured above. Like its big brother, the 12-piece set has all the clubs one needs to start playing golf with, but is slightly cut down in terms of optionality. It doesn’t come with a 5W Fairway Wood and only has one hybrid. To be honest this didn’t put me off this set at all as the 18-piece option could be considered a little over-kill in terms of woods and hybrids. However, for me the main shortfall of the 12-piece set is that the irons don’t come with a sand wedge (i.e. they run from 6-PW). I think this is a significant downside to the set and the reason why I would recommend going with the 18-piece. Then again, you can always buy a sand wedge separately.

See detailed review.

PROS:
  • The set covers nearly all bases and is quite a bit cheaper than it’s big brother – the 18-piece set
  • Like the 18-piece set, the clubs are perfect for beginner to intermediate golfers
  • Probably the most affordable set for beginners
  • I actually prefer the stand bag that comes with the 12-piece set. It is lighter and feels better on the shoulders
CONS:
  • The missing sand wedge is a big shortfall. If you go with this set you might want to purchase a sand wedge separately
Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
#4 Choice

Nextt Golf Men’s Z1 Complete 17-Piece Set

Nextt aren’t the most well known brand in golf, but their complete beginner sets are rather good. I tested their Z1 Complete 17-Piece Set and was super impressed with it’s performance. The forgiveness from this set is seriously good, and out of all the brands I tested, I thought Nextt provided the most convincing offer that could be used by the widest range of handicaps – from beginner to intermediate.

The set includes the following clubs and features: 10.5° 460cc driver with a cool graphite shaft, a #3 fairway wood with steel shaft, two hybrids – #3 & 4 with steel shaft. All woods and hybrids come with head covers (4 in total). In terms of irons the set runs from a #5 iron to pitching wedge, all with steel shafts, and a mallet putter with steel shaft. The set also comes with a great stand bag.

The only downside, like the Callaway 12-piece is the missing sand wedge. However at the great price that the Nextt set is offered at you can easily pick up a sand wedge separately.

See detailed review.

PROS:
  • Great quality beginner clubs that will last well into your development as a golfer.
  • Really affordable. Arguably the best value for money set that I tested
  • The club’s shafts are lightweight and are ideally made for beginners. They dramatically enhance the swing speed and have big sweet spots.
CONS:
  • Missing sand wedge is a negative and I found the shoulder straps on the bag a little uncomfortable.
Check Price on Amazon
#5 Choice

Wilson Men’s 2017 Ultra – Best Value For Money Golf Club Set

If you are looking for the best value beginner golf clubs that can help you improve your golf experience, then the Wilson Men’s 2017 Ultra Complete Package Golf Set is your best option. When the original Ultra 2015 series came out I was really impressed, so I was very keen to see what Wilson would come up with for the 2017 version.

Now that I have tested them I can confirm that they don’t disappoint. Like the 2015 version, the 2017 upgrade includes all the same clubs (i.e. driver, #3 fairway wood, a hybrid, irons from 5-PW and a putter), but the design and technology of the clubs has been improved. They now have larger sweet spots to their predecessor and the irons have a wider sole.

I found them really easy to hit! The best part is they are very affordable, knocking around $100 off the Wilson ProStaff / Profile HDX set. 

See detailed review.

PROS:
  • Really great set for beginners and intermediate golfers alike
  • Super reasonable price, especially if you opt for the 2015 version which is now on sale
  • Includes are the key clubs to get started in golf
  • Available in both right and left hand versions
CONS:
  • Like many beginner sets, the missing sand wedge is a downside
  • The bag isn’t as comfortable as the other golf sets that I tested
Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf

>> MY RECOMMENDATION: CALLAWAY STRATA 18-PIECE GOLF SET <<

Choosing The Best Golf Clubs For Starters

A complete set of golf clubs contains a maximum of 14 clubs, consisting of a driver, fairway woods, irons, hybrid clubs, wedges, sand wedge and a putter. Below I have shared some useful information on what to look for in each type of club.

Driver

The driver is the biggest and longest club in a golf set. The driver has a steep face, usually between 7.5 to 13 degrees, and it is usually only used off a tee. Generally a driver has a long graphite shaft to reduce its weight and increase the club head speed. Head sizes for drivers can vary but the largest is 460cc. As a beginner I recommend you get a driver with a loft between 10 and 11 degrees and a head size between 450 and 460 cc. A graphite shaft is also a must have!

Fairway Woods

Fairway woods can range from a 3 wood to a 7, or even 9 wood. The loft for a 3W is generally between 12 and 17 degrees. Some sets also include a 5-wood with a loft between 18 and 23 degrees. Fairway woods can be hit off the tee and as the name suggests, on the fairway too. Most of the fairway woods have large heads that are quite similar to the driver, but they are shallower and boast a lower sweet spot, pointing towards the bottom of the club. Graphite shafts are also desirable in your fairway woods.

Irons

In a standard golf club set, you will find irons ranging from 1 to 9, but most sets have irons ranging from 3 to 9. A 3, 4 and 5 iron are typically quite difficult to hit, especially if you are a beginner. This is because the sole of these clubs are narrower than the higher irons, making it hard to get under the ball. The golf industry has solved this problem with the introduction of hybrids, which replace lower number irons. Irons vary in loft from the lower irons in the late teens to the higher irons which have loft as high as 50 degrees. Irons are designed to help you slice through thick lies because of their narrow sole and higher lofts, compared to woods. Normally, irons are played off the ground (fairway or rough), however; in the case of par 3s, players can use a tee to make it easier to get under the ball. The best irons for beginners have a large offset of the club face from the shaft. This means the club face is set back off the shaft and helps starter players get under the ball. You should also look for a wide sole and dispersed weighting system to increase the sweet spot.

Hybrids

Nowadays it is very common for golfers to use hybrids to replace their lower irons (3-5 irons). Usually hybrids are numbered #3 to #5. The hybrids are easier to hit when compared to the long irons as they have a much wider sole. This means that one can get under the ball more easily with a hybrid. Hybrids combine the elements of woods and irons, making the club convenient for you to hit cleanly.

Hybrids have a shallower face that allows the player to get more distance. As a beginner we recommend you get a golf set with at least one hybrid, if not two, to replace your long irons.

Wedges

Wedges are very important clubs as they are used to finesse the ball close to the pin when one is near the green. Today there are all types of wedges, ranging from standard pitching wedges and sand wedges, to gap wedges and lob wedges. Wedges range in loft from 50 degrees up to 60 degrees. A wedge allows you to really get under the ball and launch it high. This means you can stop the ball quicker on the green and as you get better you will also be able to backspin the ball. As a beginner I recommend your golf club set to have a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. The latter is used to get out of sand traps.

Putter

Putters are used on the green. Most people are familiar with these clubs from playing Putt-Putt. Putters come in all types of shapes and sizes, but the two most common are blades and mallet putters. Putters have a flat face that allows you to strike the ball squarely to give it a straight roll. Its primary purpose it to make the ball roll along the ground into the hole. As a beginner I recommend looking for a putter that has an alignment feature to help you line up your putts. Mallets are also easier to learn on as there is generally more feel in these clubs.

>> MY RECOMMENDATION: CALLAWAY STRATA 18-PIECE GOLF SET <<

How to Choose a Golf Club Set – The Options

What actually makes choosing a set of golf clubs hard is the fact that there are just so many types and designs of golf clubs and all have different features which you have to consider before making that final decision. I hope the information and recommendations above have helped you make an informed decision. Below I have set out a few more considerations to take into account when choosing your beginner or intermediate level golf clubs.

Golf Club Head Size

The head size of your golf clubs is important, particularly when choosing woods. Generally the larger the head size the larger the sweet spot. Therefore clubs which are oversized are generally very good for beginners as they are much more forgiving than small or mid head sized clubs. That being said, you don’t want the head size of our clubs to be too big, as this can make it difficult to control the ball. For example, senior golfers who generally don’t generate a lot of club head speed would benefit from oversized heads, whereas a beginner who still have many years under his belt would want to go for a mid to large head size. In practical terms we recommend drivers with a head sized of 450 to 460 cc. Irons should have a larger face and a deeper cavity at the back of the club. If you look at the head of irons used by top players you will notice four things: 1. the sole of the club is relatively narrow, as a beginner you want a wider sole. 2. The face of the club is relatively small with a tight sweet spot, as a starter golfer you want a larger face with a wider sweet spot to cater for mishits. 3. The cavity at the back of the club is usually very shallow, with some irons being total blades (see cast vs forged irons below), as a beginner you want a deeper cavity to disperse the weight to the perimeter of the club. And 4. Better players use irons with very little offset of the club head from the shaft, as a intermediate or beginner you want a good amount of offset to make it easier to launch the ball off the ground.

Cast Iron vs. Forged Iron Golf Clubs

It is worth considering the main differences between irons. You will find that a cast iron golf clubs are unsurprisingly made from cast iron with most of the weight in the golf club distributed around the perimeter. This gives these clubs a larger sweet spot making them easier to use and they make for a really great starter golf club for the beginner or in fact any golfer who might have any sort of problem with making full contact. A forged iron golf club on the other hand is more often the type of golf club used by better golfers and professionals because of its design and the additional functionality it provides. The center of gravity from a forged golf iron is at the front of the club. This makes it a little heavier with a tighter sweet spot. Forged irons are incredibly rewarding for pure hitters of a golf ball, but are very unforgiving of mishits. This makes them a poor choice for beginners.

Graphite vs. Steel Shafts

In terms of golf shafts there are three main considerations: length, flex and material (i.e. graphite vs. steel). In terms of length, standard men’s clubs are generally suitable for males with a height between 5-foot-8-inches and 6-foot-2-inches. If you fall into this range then standard shaft lengths will be just fine. If you are slightly shorter or taller you can probably also get away with standard length clubs, but if you are significantly shorter or taller then you may want to consider custom fitting. Of course, as a beginner you can probably start with standard fitting clubs and then get custom fitted as you get better. The second consideration is staff flex. Flex can range from very “flexy” to stiff. Most clubs are fitted with standard or regular flex shafts, but if you have a very fast swing then you will want to opt for stiff flex. On the other hand if your swing speed is slow then a flexy shaft is better. In general seniors and ladies who can’t generate a fast swing speed should opt for a flexy shit, otherwise I recommend you go with a regular flex to start out. Finally, shafts come in two main material – stainless steel and graphite. Graphite shafts are lighter, which means one can generate more club head speed. Ideally you should go for woods with graphite shafts as with these clubs you are mainly interested in getting as much distance as possible. In terms of irons it is best to stick with steel shafts, although graphite shafts as a beginner isn’t a bad move.

Know Your Golf Goals

Many people come to golf with different goals. Some people are just tickled pink with the game and can’t get enough of it. The golf bug in these people has really bitten and they are clearly going to become regular golfers as their game improves. Others are much more casual about their golfing aspirations and just want to be able to hit it around the course a few times a year. Depending on where you find yourself on the spectrum of these two extremes will inform how much you want to invest in your starter clubs. The more enthusiastic you are the more you might want to invest in your clubs. Fortunately all the starter golf sets above are very affordable and will serve you well as your progress from a beginner to an intermediate golfer.

New vs. Used Clubs

The final consideration is whether you want to go for new or used clubs. This is generally less relevant for beginners as the club sets for starters are very affordable and therefore we would recommend going with new clubs. But there are times when used clubs offer great value. Either way, remember that you can always trade-in your clubs at the later stage.

Build Your Own Set

If you would prefer to build your own beginner set then here are our individual club type recommendations

1

Best Golf Drivers for Beginners

As I have already covered in the section on drivers above, the best drivers have a large head size. Ranging from 440-460cc. I recommend you look for a driver with a head size greater than 440 cc. This will maximize the sweet spot and provide loads of forgiveness on mishits.

Nowadays drivers come will all sorts of adjustability settings. This can be a little bewildering as a beginner but effectively the adjustability on a driver provides the option to move the weight from the front or back of the club, or left and right (towards the toe and heel). This makes it easier to shape the ball and also give you the player flexibility in setting up the driver to suit your swing.

There are literally 100s of drivers to choose from, so I recommend you check out our best golf drivers for beginners article, but if I had to choose one I think the Callaway Alpha 815 Driver is a brilliant choice.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
2

Best Golf Irons

In terms of irons for beginners the key things you want to look for are: 1. wide sole, 2. deep cavity, 3. decent shaft offset.

Most irons have relatively narrow soles, which are more difficult to hit than wider sole clubs that have more contact with the ground at impact. The best way to identify if irons have a wider sole is to look at the club cavity. A deep cavity will suggest a wider sole. It will also mean that the weight is distributed to the perimeter of the club head, which will give you a wider sweet spot.

Finally, you also want to make sure that the irons have a decent offset from the shaft to the club head.

Again there are 100s of iron sets to choose from, but I are particular fans of the Callaway XR irons – go for the 5-SW option. To read more about irons see our article on beginner golf irons.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
3

Best Golf Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are really important clubs when you are just starting out in golf as they allow you to get as much distance as possible when hitting off the fairway. The two main fairway woods are a #3 and #5 wood. I recommend you get both, but if you are on a budget then a #3 wood will suffice (just make sure to get two hybrids then – see below).

Fairway woods have a low centre of gravity which makes it easier to launch the ball off the ground on the fairway and to control the shape of your shot.

In terms of Fairway woods I am of course a fan of the Callaway Alpha 815 range (to match your driver), but you may also want to consider the Cobra Fly-Z range, which is really good to start out with.

Read our review of best fairway woods for beginners.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
4

Best Golf Hybrids

Hybrids are one of the best recent innovations in golf. Effectively a hybrid combines a fairway wood with a long iron to make a hybrid wood/iron club. Most people find long irons (i.e. #3-#5) really difficult to hit. This is because the loft is relatively shallow and the sole very narrow. The combination of these two factors makes it difficult to get under the ball.

A hybrid on the other hand has a similar shallow loft, but a much wider sole. This means the club head makes more content with the ground and it is easier to launch the ball. Also, hybrids have a wider sweet spot which means they are a lot more forgiving than long irons.

As a beginner I recommend you get a #4 hybrid and maybe even a #5 hybrid (these two would replace your 3, 4 and 5 iron) – hybrids tend to go a little further than irons so a #4 hybrid would cover the 3 iron too. I recommend Callaway XR hybrids. For more information on beginner hybrids click here.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
5

Best Golf Wedges

Wedges are really important clubs in your bag as they are used to get the ball near the pin when you are not far away from the green (i.e. from about 100 yards in). There are many different types of wedges ranging from high 40 degree pitching wedges (PW) to sand wedges (SW) and even 60 degree lob wedges. The high loft in wedges allow one to get under the ball and launch it really high. This makes it easier to stop the ball near the pin and also backspin the ball.

As a beginner I recommend you get a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. These are usually included in your iron set, but if you want to purchase wedges separately then I recommend you look at the Cleveland RTX wedges.

To read more about wedges check out our article on best wedges.

Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf
6

Best Golf Putters

A putter is a really personal thing in golf, so there really isn’t a recommended option. The main thing to look for in your putter is comfort and feel. I recommend you take some time to test many putters to see which leave the biggest impression on you.

That said, there are a few things your should look for in a good starter putter. First, if your putter has an alignment feature this is a plus as it helps line up your putts. Secondly, a good weighted putter provides more stability when you are starting out.

For this reason I quite like mallet putters, like the Cleveland TFI mallet. You can see our recommend list of beginners putters here and best mallet putters here.Check Price on Amazon Compare Price on Global Golf