Buying Golf Clubs
Whether you like playing nine or 18 holes, the game of golf is both fun and challenging. If you want to avoid unneeded frustrations while playing, it's important to understand what types of golf clubs you'll need for each hole. Before you hit the course, here are some tips and guidelines to help you chose the correct clubs.
When you need to hit the ball as far as you can from the driving tee, a wood club is essential. All golfers from beginners to professionals should have at least one wood in their golf bag.
- Sizes - These types of clubs come in several sizes, but the most popular variations are 1, 3 and 5 woods. The 1 wood is typically used on the starting tee and is commonly referred to as a driver.
- Distance and loft - The lower the number, the more loft your ball gets, resulting in a farther drive. For example, a 3 wood should create more loft and distance than a 5 wood.
- What you need - If you’re a professional or scratch golfer, you'll probably require more variations in your bag. For beginners, a 3 wood should be enough to help with longer shots during an 18-hole round.
Browse all drivers and fairway woods
Irons are typically used for fairway shots, so you can get the ball closer to the green. On shorter holes, such as par threes, you might opt for an iron instead of a driver.
- Sizes - Irons come in sizes ranging from 2-9. However, most golf club sets feature sizes 3-9.
- Shaft sizes - Shaft sizes are crucial for these models. For instance, 2-4 irons have the longest shafts out of all irons and create the least amount of loft, making them best for long fairway shots. If you’re attempting mid-range fairway shots, 5-7 irons have mid-sized shafts that create a medium amount of loft. When you have short shot, 8-9 irons create a high amount of loft thanks to their short shafts.
- What you need - Professionals might bring all their irons on the course. However, beginners will be comfortable with one long, medium and short iron. Consider bringing a 4, 6 and 8 iron on the course if you’re just starting out.
Hybrids combine the accuracy of long irons with the distance of fairway woods, helping to maximize your game. These types of clubs can be used for long fairway shots or driving off the tee.
- Comparisons to other clubs - When choosing hybrid clubs, compare them to their iron and wood counterparts based on loft. Hybrids with 14-16 degree angles of loft can replace 3 woods, and 17-19 degree angles can substitute 5 woods or 2 irons. If you want to replicate the function of 3 irons, use hybrid clubs with 20-22 degree angles. Models with 23-25 degree angles of loft can replace 4 irons effectively.
- Loft and distance - These golf clubs have low centers of gravity that allow players to loft the ball easily and accurately. This feature makes them ideal for long fairway shots or when you’re ball is caught in the rough.
- What you need - If you’d like to replace your long irons and fairway woods, keep 14-16, 17-19, 20-22 and 23-25 degree hybrids in your bag.
Wedges are irons with shorter shafts. These clubs create a higher amount of loft, making them perfect for shots close to the green.
- Pitching wedges - These types of wedges are used for short chip shots from the fairway to the green.
- Sand wedges - Sand wedges are designed to strike balls out of a sand trap or from a rough close to the hole.
- Lob wedges - These provide the highest amount of loft of all three wedges. Lob wedges are very useful when shooting over hazards, such as water.
- What you need - Professionals will bring all of their wedges, but most beginners can get by with just a pitching and sand wedge.
Putters are used when you’ve finally made it to the green and need to sink the ball into the hole. These clubs don’t create any loft. They simply push the ball, making it roll slowly down the green and hopefully into the cup.
- Blade putters - These simply designed putters feature straight, blade-style heads that attach to the shaft near the center or at the heel of the blade. If you’ve ever played amateur golf or mini golf, you've used most likely used these variations.
- Mallet putters - Mallet putters are elaborately designed, featuring larger club heads than traditional blade models. These options offer a different feel for the golfer, since the club heads are designed in various shapes like squares and semi-circles. Most of the weight is away from the club face on these designs.
- What you need - Choosing a putter is simply a matter of personal preference. Practice with both styles to see which one fits you best.
- Height - The length of your golf clubs will be determined by your height, so it's important to use clubs that are comfortable.
- Club face grooves - Like tire tread, grooves create traction with the golf ball for a controlled swing when the grass and ball are wet. Horizontal grooves on the club face put spin on the ball, helping it roll less when it lands.
- Club weight - While heavier models help stronger golfers hit the ball farther, lighter clubs work well for golfers who may lack strength.
- Club shaft - Shafts come in different ranges of flexibility. Beginners, older golfers and players who need to improve distance can benefit from flex shafts. If you’re a scratch golfer or your swing speed and power are similar to a professional, you should use extra stiff shafts. Regular stiff shafts are best for players in between pros and beginners.
- Men's vs. women's clubs - Men's clubs are typically heavier and an inch longer than women's clubs, so it's a good idea to get separate sets based on gender.