If you think you're ready to start playing golf for the first time, but don't want to buy an expensive set of new clubs, consider buying used ones. There are plenty of online sites where you can find pre-owned clubs, and many brick-and-mortar retailers also offer used sets. If you know what you're looking for, you can find the right set of used clubs to fit your body type, ability and pocketbook.
The Right Fit
Fitting clubs to your body type is an important first step. Most clubs come with a standard length shaft, but if you are more than 6 feet 6 inches tall or shorter than 5 feet tall, look for clubs with shafts at least an inch longer or shorter than standard. Most standard women's clubs are about an inch shorter than men's and are generally lighter in weight.
Look for Blemishes
Pre-owned clubs will have some wear and tear. First make sure the clubheads aren't loose. Check the groves in the heads of the irons to determine if they have been worn smooth. Avoid choosing clubs with rust, or with dents in the steel shafts or with large nicks in graphite shafts. Don't be concerned if the grips are worn. They can be replaced easily and inexpensively.
Consider a Half Set
A standard set of golf clubs includes three woods (driver, 3 and 5 wood), eight irons (3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and pitching wedge) and a putter. Although there is nothing wrong with someone new to the sport buying a full set of used clubs, you can save money by purchasing a partial set. Beginners might want to consider getting two woods (3 and 5 wood), four irons (4,6,8 and pitching wedge) and a putter.
Do not skimp on modern golf technology for the sake of saving a few dollars. Some used sets are very inexpensive, but may be many years behind what are known as "game improvement" clubs. Look for woods with large clubfaces that permit reasonably good shots even when you mishit them. Look for irons that have perimeter weighting, allowing beginners with slower and less accurate swings to hit the ball relatively solid and straight. And consider what are known as "hybrid" clubs. These are small-faced metal woods that are generally easier to hit than longer irons, such as a 3 or 4 iron.
When purchasing a putter, new or used, the most important thing to consider is how the club feels in your hand when you hit the ball. Is it balanced and comfortable? Does the ball come off the clubface with a natural roll instead of a skid-like action? And do you like the way it looks? Again, choose a putter that employs some of the newest technology, and game improvement design, and gives you a feeling of confidence when you step up to the ball.