Whether you are considering playing golf for the first time or you’ve been playing for several years, learning how to choose the right golf club will have a major impact on your performance. Using the right type of club can totally change the way you play and can even help to shave some serious points off your game.
But which types of golf clubs should you buy? What are the features you should look for when you’re shopping around for a new set? Whatever your skill level, whether you’re purchasing a set for beginners, or you are considered a mid-handicapper, the amount of clubs available to choose from can be somewhat overwhelming.
This guide is designed to show you the features you should look for when you’re searching for the right club or set that can take your game to the next level and beyond.
Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or completely new to the sport, there are a few important factors you should consider when you’re trying to choose the right club.
Do Your Homework
The sheer volume of different clubs on the market can make it confusing to find the perfect model. Depending on your budget and ability, purchasing a new club can be a major investment. Because of this, it’s very important that you do your homework and don’t make an impulsive buy.
Don’t Go for a Specific Brand
It can be easy to just purchase the same type of clubs that your favorite pro uses with the mindset that these are the clubs you need to shave some points off your game, but don’t fall for it. While you can definitely use this insight to help make your final decision, you should still be willing to test and try out other brands. Over the years golf technology has made significant advancements that have allowed manufacturers to create clubs specifically based on the golfer’s skill level.
From physical condition to gender and body type, and skill level, you should focus on finding a club that will meet your requirements, don’t just pay attention to the brand name.
The thickness of the grip can have a huge impact on your swing. Grips that are too thin can be problematic for large hands. However, a thicker, bigger grip can be very restricting and just as devastating to your swing.
Ideally, the right grip will allow you to hold your club using your ring and middle fingers of your left hand. Your fingers shouldn’t touch your thumb. If they do, this is a major indicator that the grip is too large for your hands.
Obviously, getting the right shaft length will be an important consideration when you’re buying new clubs. Make sure you take into account your physical strength, body type, and height. Essentially, taller players should stick with a longer shaft for ultimate playability. Additionally, make sure you take into consideration shaft flexibility and ensure that it works with your swing. If you choose a shaft that’s too stiff it can cause a loss in distance and a lower ball flight. Shafts that are too soft can also result in a loss of distance due to ballooning.
So, how can you determine whether or not the flex of the shaft is correct? If the shaft is too stiff it can make you slice the ball to the right. If a shaft is too soft it can make you hook the ball causing it to fly to the left.
A club’s loft angle or loft refers to the angle that’s formed by a line that runs down the center of the shaft as well as the face of the club. The loft is measured in degrees. Clubs that have a lower loft such as 3 Iron, sits at 22-23 degrees, and will make the ball go much further compared to a club that has a higher lot. A club with a high Loft such as a 9 iron, sits at around 45 degrees. This will result in the ball rising into the air at a much steeper angle.
You can judge the club’s loft based on how much of the face is angled upward. Additionally, loft can also be judged based on how much the top of the face is angled away from the shaft. Clubs with a higher degree of loft typically appear more horizontally angled.
Having different sized clubheads can be a real advantage if you want to make the most out of your clubs. There are many brands that offer oversized, midsize, and standard clubheads. The size of the clubhead you choose should depend mainly on your skill level.
Typically, the bigger the clubhead the more forgiveness it offers. However, you can still make a smaller clubhead and achieve great results. Keep in mind, larger clubheads are hard to control and are often very heavy.
Clubs for Beginners
When you start a new sport it’s easy to get caught up in the initial enthusiasm. However, if you’re a beginner you should beware of investing in a high-priced set that is way above your skill level.
I recommend you buy your clubs slowly and upgrade over time as your experience and skill level progresses. If you have yet to play your first golf game then I recommend buying some used clubs or borrowing an old set from a friend. Once you’ve spent time out on the green and played a couple of rounds then you can determine if you want to continue with the sport and purchase your own set of clubs.
Top brand name clubs or custom fitted clubs aren’t necessary for beginners. For your first set of clubs, I recommend purchasing a set that includes a putter, odd numbered irons, a 3 wood , and a driver.
Aside from some basic decisions between clubs designed for women and men, and clubs designed for left-handed or right-handed players, you can also choose between graphite and steel shafts. At this point, I recommend buying clubs that have a steel shaft, since they are less expensive and more durable.
Players that have at least a year’s worth of experience on the green can start building a set of clubs that are more tailored to their ability and physical characteristics. An experienced player buying the latest models and top brands is not quite as risky as a beginner doing the same. Since you have more experience you’ll have a better understanding of your weaknesses and strengths which can guide your choice on what type of club would help to improve your game. Tailored clubs at this point might also be a good option since you can find custom-fit clubs that have the right flex and shaft length, as well as club head size and loft.
How to Choose the Best Driver
The driver is a club that’s used on the long holes off the tee. The purpose of this club is to hit the ball as far as possible. The club is measured by volume using cubic centimeters. The biggest driver head that’s allowed on the green comes in at 460 cubic centimeters.
The majority of drivers are made out of carbon composite or titanium since these materials are significantly lighter compared to steel. The light weight of these materials also allows the designer to increase clubhead size.
If you’ve decided to purchase a used driver or a club that was manufactured before 2007, make sure that it’s still legal to use in a competition.
Golfers will have a wide range of options, in addition to standard drivers. You can choose between neutral, draw, or offset options. These different options allows the buyer to fix their slicing problem by using a club that has a weight placed inside the club head in order to keep it closed at impact.
The clubhead shape is another consideration. Square-shaped drivers are manufactured by a few brands that are designed to help the player align tee shots, visualizing the line of the shot much easier compared to a standard shaped driver.
Usually, the drivers loft ranges from 8 to 13 degrees. When determining what type of loft you want you should consider your swing speed.
If you have a pretty fast swing then you’ll want a club with a loft that ranges from 74-78°. These clubs are perfect for powerful players who want to hit farther. An average player will want to avoid clubs with this type of loft because it will negatively impact their distance.
If you have a slow swing, then I recommend choosing a club that has a loft between 10 to 13 degrees. This will help get the ball in the air more easily.
If you have a pretty basic swing then you can choose a club that has a loft between 8 and 11 degrees. This type of loft will work with all types of handicaps. To learn more, click here to read my article on driving fundamentals.
How to Choose the Right Wood
When you’re trying to determine what type of woods to purchase, first you’ll want to consider what you’ll use it for. Do you want to replace long irons or use it to hit off the tee? Whatever the reason they should be the driving force behind your decision on which type to purchase.
When you’re trying to figure out which type of club would work best for your golf game it’s important to keep the following in mind:
The higher the number of the club, the higher the loft. Initially, a wood with a higher number also come with a shorter shaft. You’ll also have a choice between steel or graphite shafted woods. Clubs made with graphite are a more popular option because they often add plenty of distance to your swing. However, the ones that are made out of steel will help you to achieve a more accurate lower ball flight.
Just like with other clubs, most manufacturers offer a choice of neutral, draw, or offset head designs.
In terms of head materials there are three choices available. Steel is durable and affordable and is one of the most popular material options. Clubheads that are made out of titanium are perfect for hitting off the tee. This material weighs half of what steel does and helps to get the ball into the air faster. Composites combine materials such as titanium or steel. Composites are a great choice for fixing off-center hits or twisting.
How to Choose the Right Iron
Irons are the clubs that will make up the bulk of your set and their numbered just like Wood. The irons lowest loft is around 20 degrees. The three iron achieves a long low hit approximately150 yards to two hundred yards. A pitching wedge comes with 50 degrees of loft while the sand wedge features 56 degrees of loft both of which produce a high flight but a much lower distance of around 100 yards. Other irons including the 7, tend to offer a balance between these two extremes offering around 10 to 15 yard differences between each club. Basically, the lower the club number, the further the ball the will travel and the lower the flight. However lower numbers also indicate that the clubs will be harder to control.
The perimeter weighted iron is one of the best irons for a beginner. This type of club features more weight located around the perimeter of the head which is what makes the club much easier to hit with and allows the ball to be airborne very easily. If you’re a beginner and you’re looking for the right iron I recommend the Cobra Golf Men’s King Utility One.
This type of club will also help with slicing. When purchasing a new iron the buyer can choose between a couple of manufacturing processes. Cast iron is designed for low handicappers. Since this process allows manufacturers to design their clubs creatively most irons are made by casting. Forged irons is the other option and it utilizes a much softer metal than cast iron. Many players claim that forged irons offer a better feel.
In terms of shaft options, steel shafts are by far the most popular and are much cheaper compared to graphite. Additionally, steel is also more durable and offers consistency and durability. However this type of shaft offers less feedback upon impact.
How to Choose the Right Wedge
Did you know that choosing the right type of wedge can help you dramatically improve your game? The pitching wedge often features a loft between 45 to 50 and is commonly used for shots that are a little over a hundred and ten yards into the green. The gap wedge offers a higher loft than the pitching wedge at around 55 degrees. The sand wedges are often utilized when the player doesn’t know how to get out of a bunker. This type of wedge offer a loft of 53 to 58 degrees. The lob wedge features a loft between 60 to 63 degrees and they’re a perfect choice for higher flights from short distances.
The wedge bounce angle refers to the curved section located on the wedge’s sole. The balance is what will prevent the club from snagging in the rough or sand. Most pros recommend a club that has a bounce between 10 to 12 degrees. High bounce wedges feature a lot of space between the ground and leading-edge offering the biggest bounce at 18 degrees. This type of wedge is ideal for playing out of sand and solid turf. A low bounce wedge is perfect for firm turf. Standard bounce wedges are very versatile and the perfect choice for the player who prefers a square or open face out of a bunker.
How to Choose the Right Putter
The putter is by far one of the most popular clubs in your bag, however, it’s also one of the most neglected. But did you know that the right putter can totally transform your game? There are three main types of putters to choose from
The blade putter is very simple in design but it’s not quite as forgiving if you hit from the middle of the surface. Similar to the blade putter, the half mallet is much easier to hit with. The mallet putter is much heavier than the other two styles but it offers a variety of designs that will allow you to align the ball more accurately.
Usually, the average putter length is around 35 inches, however anything from 32 to 35 can be used.
How to Choose the Right Hybrid
The hybrid is a cross between an iron and a wood. Basically, these are the clubs that are slowly replacing your traditional long irons. But do you really need this type of club? While they can be helpful, nobody really needs a hybrid. These clubs tend to feature a significantly deeper face compared to a standard iron. Additionally, the center of gravity is placed at the back which makes it much easier to get the ball in the air.
I hope this guide has helped you to determine the right type of golf clubs for you based on your playing goals, current skill level, physical characteristics, and your budget. If you’re new to the sport, I recommend trying out a wide variety of different clubs and styles to determine which best suit your needs. However, if you have some experience on the green now is the time to invest in a solid set of clubs that can take your game to next level.