Golf Equipment--What New Golfers Should Know

By Sharon Penn
New golfers should educate themselves about equipment through various golf magazines and online resources.
New golfers should educate themselves about equipment through various golf magazines and online resources.

Beginning golfers should understand that the price of clubs does not indicate how good a fit they will be for a particular individual. It is a good idea to consult with a teaching professional who can watch your swing and your stature, and make some recommendations. Before investing in a set of clubs, new golfers should try out several clubs and learn the differences between them.

Know the Types of Clubs

According to the United States Golf Association, a golfer is allowed 14 clubs in his golf bag. Traditionally, a set of golf clubs has included a driver, two fairway woods--usually a 3-wood and a 5-wood--a 3-iron through a 9-iron, a pitching wedge and a sand wedge. Putters are typically purchased separately.

Learn About Hybrids

Today, many golfers are opting to replace their longer irons--3-iron, 4-iron and 5-iron--with hybrid clubs. Hybrids combine the features of woods with the features of irons. They are easier to hit than longer irons and are designed to be more forgiving of mishits. Hybrid “utility clubs” allow newer golfers to achieve distance and accuracy, while also getting the ball into the air. They can be used from the fairway, in the rough and out of sand traps.

Choosing a Club Face

Larger club faces on modern golf clubs have a larger “sweet spot,” making it easier to hit the ball in the center of the club. Hitting the ball in the sweet spot provides more distance and accuracy. Beginning golfers should consider drivers and fairway woods with large club faces. New golfers also may play better with drivers that feature a higher loft--perhaps 10.5 degrees or more.

Choosing a Shaft

The flexibility of a golf club's shaft can affect distance and accuracy. A less flexible shaft will provide more distance, but a stiff or extra-stiff shaft is hard to control. For the beginning golfer with a slower swing speed, flexible shafts are a better fit. Many golf shops can measure your swing speed. For most people, a standard shaft length is fine. If you are much taller or shorter than average, consult a fitting chart, store employee or a pro. A fitting chart uses your height and wrist-to-floor measurements.

Club Features

New golfers may find that offset golf clubs will allow them to “square the face” to the target more easily. Irons that feature wider soles, cavity designs and weighting in the rear of the club increase accuracy, even on the mishits typical of a new golfer. Weights that lower the center of gravity in the club make it easier to launch the ball into the air with a higher trajectory.

About the Author

Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

Photo Credits

  • Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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