What Beginners Need to Know About Golf Clubs
So, you’ve caught the golfing bug, eh? Your timing couldn’t be better: Golf is pretty much the official sport of social distancing!
It’s a wonderful way to spend safe quality time with loved ones, while also slashing stress to keep your spirits high and your immune system strong.
As a beginner, though, there can be a few intimidating aspects, from navigating the wacky world of golf lingo (CA’s pros got you covered here!) to getting a grip on proper golf etiquette (again, we got your back!). Then, there’s the question of equipment: How many clubs does a beginner really need, and why are there so many to choose from in the first place?
Not to fret — Joan Lovelace, head professional and general manager at Hobbit’s Glen Club, and Don VanDeusen, assistant general manager at Fairway Hills Golf Club — answer your most burning questions about clubs.
How to find the right clubs
According to Lovelace, the best thing you can do is consult a professional at your local pro shop (hello, Hobbit’s Glen!) to find clubs that fit your size and skill level. Simply put, the right golf clubs can make the game easier (and vice versa). Beginners have a more forgiving introduction to the game when using perimeter-weighted, cavity-backed clubs with more loft, which is something a professional can help you with.
Lovelace often sees beginners start off with a hand-me-down set — which is a big no-no if it’s from someone of the opposite gender.
“There are significant differences between male and female clubs. Men’s clubs have a heavier, stiffer shaft because they generally swing harder, while women need a more flexible shaft,” says Lovelace. “I sometimes see women use their husband’s old clubs, which puts them at a disadvantage. Female to female hand-me-downs are more acceptable, at least to start with.”
What’s the big deal about finding a proper fit, anyway? Well, if a club isn’t right for you, you’ll change your swing to try and compensate — and you want your swing to be nice and uniform. This is also why poor quality clubs can sabotage your game; some will feel heavy and some will feel lighter, which again throws off your swing.
A beginner doesn’t necessarily need all 14 golf clubs, and standard sets with 10-11 clubs can typically be found at places like Golf Galaxy or Dick’s Sporting Goods. You’ll definitely want to try before you buy; most stores have indoor driving ranges that allow you to do so. Most standard sets are designed for women between 5’3” and 5’7” and men between 5’5” and 6’1.” If you fall on the shorter or taller end of the spectrum, you may need to get your club lengthened or shortened.
Within your golf bag, you’ll find that each club is designed for a particular purpose. The longest clubs have longer shafts, which propels the ball to a farther distance. The shorter clubs are intended for the opposite effect. As you continue to practice, you’ll get a feel for when it’s best to use each of them. Beginner sets tend to have large club faces, which are more forgiving and help you get the ball in the air.
“Golf sets usually include a big-headed driver, which is an essential golf club for everyone,” says VanDeusen. “The driver has the largest head, lowest loft and longest shaft, so they’re designed to give you distance off the tee.”
Other clubs inside most box sets include fairway woods, irons, hybrids (a blend of fairway woods and irons), wedges and putters. While you can easily spend thousands on golf clubs, beginners typically don’t need to shell out more than a few hundred at the beginning of their golf journey. It’s also a good idea to honestly assess your level of interest and golf goals before making a decision. If you’re planning to come out casually with friends a few times a year, then a less expensive option may be the way to go. If you’d like to take your game to the next level, however, investing in higher-quality clubs or perhaps even a club fitting is an investment in your performance.
Get in the swing with CA
The best way to get to know your golf clubs better? Come putt them to use on CA’s beautiful golf courses!