The Essential Clubs A Beginner Golfer Needs

When starting out, its a daunting task identifying the correct equipment for your game.

In this post, I reveal the essential clubs a beginner golfer needs, and provide some tips on affordable, complete sets.

In addition, I detail the ideal setup for a beginner golfer, and explain when to use certain golf clubs.

A LOOK AT GOLF’S MOST ESSENTIAL CLUBS

THE CLUBS YOU NEED AND WHAT THEY’RE FOR

Golfers can utilize up to 14 golf clubs in their bag to give them a variety of uniquely crafted lengths, lofts, and options to play with.

However, your beginner bag should feature fewer clubs when starting your golf journey. Remember, simplicity is the key.

A beginner golfer needs a few shorter irons and can replace the longer irons with one or two hybrids. A sand wedge and pitching wedge are also vital to enhance your short game, and the golf putter is your game changer, the club you will spend the most time playing with.

Lastly, I suggest fairway woods are over your driver. Most beginner golfers I know do not use a driver and opt for the 3 Wood off the tee as their preferred option. You can have the driver in your bag, but try to avoid overusing this club, as it is not as easy as it seems.

GOLF CLUB APPROXIMATE % OF SHOTS
Putter Approx 40-50%
Wedges Approx 25%
Driver Approx 15%
Fairway Woods Approx 10%
Shorter Irons Approx 15%
Longer Irons Approx 5%

The Driver

Understandably, the golf driver is so attractive to beginners, and the reason can be compared to baseball.

Everyone wants to hit the ball out of the park and score that home run. However, the golf game is different, and we have to balance our distance clubs with our shorter-shot clubs to get the best from this sport.

You can opt for a driver that feels good in your hands and comfortable at address as this is your first shot weapon on almost every hole on the golf course.

Fairway Woods

The Fairway Wood is an incredibly underrated golf club that can be utilized from the tee box, the fairway, and even the rough on longer Par 4s and Par 5s.

I recommend you practice more with your fairway 3 Wood or 5 Wood than your driver when commencing your golf journey.

Although long Par 4s and Par 5s seem daunting due to their distance, it is possible to utilize your 3 Wood off the tee and for approach shots to leave you closer to the green for a Par or bogey at worst. These versatile clubs can become your baby and the most confidence-inspiring tool in your beginner bag.

Hybrids

Talking about versatility, the Hybrid and Utility Irons offer even more than your fairway woods.

This is because of their shorter shaft length and clubhead design. For beginner golfers, the lower irons are incredibly daunting to strike, and the hybrid is a super effective replacement.

Hybrids can also be used off the tee for enhanced accuracy on longer Par 3s, shorter Par 4s, and long fairway approach shots. Moreover, they can help you get out of the thicker grass due to their shape and clubhead design and assist your bump and run chip shots.

Long irons: 3, 4, 5-iron

Now, this is where it gets tricky.

The longer Irons are definitely the most challenging clubs to hit for a beginner golfer. However, avoid losing hope, as they may become your deadliest weapon for accuracy off the tee and on longer approach shots.

The longer Irons feature lengthy shafts, less loft, and smaller clubheads than woods or hybrids. I suggest you leave these for now and get back to them once you develop your golf game.

Mid-irons: 6, 7, 8-iron

Now we get down to business.

The mid to higher irons are the most crucial irons in your golf bag, and you should be mainly practicing with these at the driving range. They feature shorter shafts and a more inviting loft profile that inspires confidence and consistency to utilize on most approach shots and Par 3s off the tee box.

Additionally, these irons can be used for bump-and-run chips next to the dancefloor and to get you out of the trees or long grass to put you back into safety.

Wedges: Pitching- and sand wedge

One of my favorite players growing up was, and still is, Phil Mickelson because of his wedge mastery and creativity.

The Wedges are your biggest weapons to shave shots off your score and become a better golfer. Fall in love with these uniquely designed clubs as fast as possible and put most of your practice time into the short game.

Wedges can be used around the green for chips and bunker shots to get you out of the sand. Plus, 70-100 yard pitches and on very short Par 3 holes. Although the putter is used more than wedges, if you can master your wedges over your first few years, you will have more fun, be more creative and save a lot of crucial shots.

Putter

The Flat stick is the most utilized golf club in any golfer’s bag and the club you need to get used to and practice with the most.

You can drive for show, but if you putt for dough, you will lose confidence rapidly and think about hanging up the bag prematurely.

Putting is where you can make or break your love for this game, so I suggest you buy a Putting Mat and practice at home or in your office as much as possible. Finally, Putters are available in a blade or mallet style, the mallet being my preferred option for beginners due to its sizable construction and enhanced balance features that inspire comfort and confidence.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL CLUB SETUP FOR BEGINNERS?

As mentioned, the ideal setup does not include 14 clubs in your golf bag when starting out.

To simplify the process and not spend too many Benjamins, you will need 3-5 irons, two wedges, fairway wood or two, a driver, and most importantly, the putter.

Driver or 3-wood: These clubs are intended mainly for tee shots. I suggest our beginner golfers opt for a 3 Fairway Wood off the tee before they get used to the lengthier and more intimidating driver.

Hybrid: This versatile club is crucial for a beginner golfer with its shorter shaft and more controllable features that are used off the tee or longer approach shots and for more consistent bump and run chips.

Irons: As most standard sets offer 7 or 8 Irons, you will only need 3-5 Irons to get started, which could include a 5,7 and 9 Iron combination or 5, 7,8,9 Iron as the shorter Irons are used frequently and vital for all shots within 150 yards.

Wedge: We know the importance of the short game now, and I recommend you have two wedges in your first golf bag. The sand wedge will help you get out of the bunker and for almost all your chip shots within 50 yards. Finally, a Pitching wedge with less loft for longer pitches over 50 yards.

Putter: The most essential club in your bag that you cannot do without. A comfortable and balanced mallet Putter will be perfect to start your flat stick journey.

HOW TO DECIDE WHAT CLUBS TO HIT

Long-range shots: 200+ yards

The challenge on long shots is that beginner golfers try to hit the ball harder because of the distance to the flag. The lower Irons are not easy to hit. I suggest you utilize your fairway woods or hybrid because they are more forgiving, accurate, and easier to swing.

Mid-range shots: around 150 yards

This is where your short-iron practice comes to fruition. Utilizing a 7, 8, or 9 Iron from this distance is your best option, depending on how far you hit the ball. As your game is not developed yet, the best strategy is to forget the flag and always aim for the middle of the green. At worst, just short of the green is also an excellent result.

Short-range shots: 100 yards and in

The short game pitches and approaches require feel. You will quickly realize that it is not always necessary to make full swings and will need to practice 70,80, 90, and 100-yard shots to get a feel for how much to swing your shorter sticks. This is about mastering distance control with your 9 Iron, Pitching, and Sand wedge, an exciting part of the golf game.

Greenside: Around the green

Now that you are close or next to the green, you have to focus and use your creativity and imagination. As a new beginner, you can utilize your shorter irons, hybrid, and Pitching Wedge for bump and runs, as they are more consistent and controllable. The key to chipping is practice, practice, and more practice. Keep your hands soft on the grip and get a feel for each club option.

SHOULD YOU BUY A SET OR INDIVIDUAL CLUBS?

We can choose several excellent starter sets that go for less than half a premium set of golf clubs.

If you have the budget, you can buy a complete set of easy-launching and forgiving clubs and play around with the different options until you feel comfortable.

On the other hand, golf clubs are pricey, so you could borrow a friend’s old clubs, buy second-hand clubs or buy a few individual clubs until you get a feel for the game. Fortunately, golf brands offer everything, and you can build it up slowly. After a few months, you can buy a lovely starter set if your budget allows it.

BEST STARTER SETS

#1 – The Callaway Strata 12-piece set 

 

The most popular starter set in golf history features a 12-piece golf set, which includes a 460cc driver, 3 Wood, 5 hybrid, Irons 6-PW, a Putter, a stand bag, and two headcovers.

There is a reason that this is the most successfully sold beginner set in golf, and you will not be disappointed with Callaway’s high-quality offering.

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#2 – Cobra XL set

At a premium, the Cobra XL set contains 12 clubs which is more than you need, but it allows you to play around with more clubs.

This set features a driver, 3 Wood, 5 Wood, 4 and 5 Hybrid, 6-9 Irons, Pitching and Sand Wedge, and the Putter. This set is perfectly balanced for a beginner with everything you need.

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#3 – Wilson Profile SGI complete set

The Wilson Platinum Set features 10 golf clubs, including a driver, 5 wood,  an easy-to-hit 5 hybrid, 6 to 9 Iron, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, a putter, and a high-quality golf cart bag.

My only gripe is the blade-style flat stick, as I prefer beginners to start with a heavier mallet Putter with an alignment aid.

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OTHER GADGETS AND ACCESSORIES TO HELP YOU BECOME A GOOD GOLFER QUICKLY

With thousands of golf gadgets available to us, selecting training aids can be a tedious endeavor.

I want you to think of the short game as 80% of your golf game, and if you practice frequently, you will improve incredibly fast.

As for putting, you can practice the putting gate drill demonstrated by Michael Breed with two tees on either side or golf ball sleeves, as you see in the video. Conversely, you can spend $12 on the Moyodor Golf Putt Trainer.

Sticking with putting, you should buy a putting mat such as the Perfect Practice Putting Mat to practice at home or in your office to bolster your training focus when off the course.

Moving on to chipping, the Callaway Chip-Shot Net is an excellent addition to practice your chipping at home and only costs $30. Finally, the long game demands some time too, and the SKLZ Golf Grip Trainer helps you perfect your hand grip positioning.

Finally, I suggest every beginner can benefit from the SKLZ Golf Swing Trainer, which will rapidly improve your game and help you understand how the golf swing works.

TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER AT GOLF

With thousands of tips out there, I do not want to overwhelm you.

Remember to always keep it simple.

  • The most important factor is practice, and as suggested, distribute more time to your short game chipping and putting.
  • Golf is a journey that can last until your final days on earth, so enjoy the process, and do not forget to laugh and smile as much as possible.
  • The faster you move on from poor shots, the better your concentration is for the next one.
  • One significant thing I learned about the long game as a beginner is to always select a specific target to aim at in the background and not to waver.
  • When you approach the green, do not always attack the flag. In fact, your goal should be to hit the middle of the green to build up your confidence and find more consistency.

CONCLUSION

Our review revealed that the essential clubs a beginner golfer needs are a driver, a fairway wood and hybrid in the long clubs.

Then mid and short irons, a pitching and sand wedge, topped off by a putter.

To simplify the process of acquiring your first set, golf club manufacturers have crafted complete sets. I know many beginners who have purchased the Callaway Strata set and approved of its performance.

The clubs offer supreme forgiveness, an easy launch and consistent distance when starting out. If you desire an affordable golf set, you can view the Callaway Strata here.

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