We all see the pros with their beautiful “blade” irons and new oversized driver heads on extra stiff shafts, but for most of us we could never actually hit those.
Buying new golf equipment, whether for the first time or replacing your old clubs, is an important step in your golfing life.
You have so many options, so how could you possibly choose? Not to mention how expensive new clubs are.
Remember to be careful when you make your choice, because the wrong choice can have a severely negative impact on your game. If you just can’t make up your mind, here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Selecting The Right Golf Clubs
Now, the first thing to note is that shopping for golf equipment isn’t as easy as window shopping. Just because it looks like a club will work for you doesn’t mean it actually will.
Before you can make any choice, it’s best to try the club before you buy. It doesn’t matter how many ads tell you that this club will make you swing like Rory McIlroy, or that putter will make you putt like Rickie Fowler. It won’t.
You have to make trade-offs between power and precision based on your own skill level, as well as making the best selection based on what you can afford. I’ll do my best to describe what you should be looking for based on your skill level, so that you don’t have to spend hours trying each club out.
Generally, it’s quite easy to choose clubs as a beginner: you’re just looking for the most forgiving and easy-to-hit clubs you can find. There’s absolutely no need to go out and purchase a full set of clubs at this level, so just borrow a friend’s set or buy a beginner’s set (see our list of best golf clubs for beginners).
Usually you’ll find sets that have a driver, 3-wood, a limited number irons (6-iron through to pitching wedge), and a putter. That’s all you need before you think of making a big investment into a full set.
Make sure that you know you won’t just quit golf before you decide to take the step into buying a full set. It can make for an expensive lesson should you do it. If you do feel like you need more, add clubs one at a time if you think it’s necessary.
When it comes to choosing a ball to play with, use literally any distance ball you can find. It really won’t make all that much difference to your game. The same goes for buying a glove, but a glove isn’t really even necessary at this point. Finally, you probably don’t need the latest golf shoes either, so just wear any trainers or any other shoes that you have.
This is your average golfer, the ones that have been playing for a few years and now have a mid-level handicap (probably between 10 and 18). Most golf equipment is designed for this group of people, as it’s the largest demographic. If you are one of these golfers and have yet to buy a full set of clubs, now is the time that you could justify the investment. Aside from the missing irons, you can start buying speciality clubs such as a lob wedge or a hybrid. If you are one of these players, there are a few things to look for depending on how you play.
When it comes to buying your driver and woods, any of the latest and greatest that you can find in your local golf store will probably do. If you are on a budget, look for second hand driver and woods instead, the slightly older technology really won’t affect your game enough to worry about. One thing you should look at is the shaft flexibility. The average golfer only swings their driver at around 80mph, so should look for a regular flex (R) shaft. If you do happen to have swing that’s in excess of 90mph, then you can graduate to the stiff flex (S) shaft. It’s important to choose what’s correct for your game: having the wrong flex shaft will cause you to hook or slice the ball every time.
As an intermediate-level golfer, you have a huge selection when it comes to picking your irons and wedges, so choosing can be difficult. As stated, it’s important to know what works for you. If you struggle with striking your irons, you should look for irons with slightly larger heads that are more forgiving and easier to hit. Most average golfers do struggle with ball striking, so for the most part you should stick with the larger irons (see our list of best game improvement irons).
Buying speciality wedges isn’t always necessary, especially if your set of irons came with a pitching wedge and sand wedge. If you do want to buy a wedge, however, make sure you have someone assess how steep your swing is so that you can decide what the bounce of your wedge should be (the angle of the sole of the club head). If you don’t know what bounce is or how it affects your game, just know that a steeper swinger should have a higher bounce and a shallower swinger should have a lower bounce.
As for any level of golfer, choosing a putter is all about comfortability. If you do struggle a bit with your putting stroke, however, you should think about buying a mallet putter. Mallet putters help you keep stroke on line and are more forgiving for off-centre strikes. Like I said before, though, it’s all up to what you think feels best.
Intermediate golfers have the luxury of being able to use any golf ball they want. You will be just fine using any average ball (for example a Srixon AD333 or a Titleist NXT Tour), your game really won’t be too affected by using the most expensive balls you can find.
The last little bit of advice I can give to you for choosing your equipment is this: just be honest with yourself. There’s no shame in not being the greatest golfer on the planet, so don’t buy the most expensive clubs you can find just for the sake of it. If those clubs happen to benefit your game the most, then go for it, otherwise stick to what works for you!