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Your First Set of Clubs
3 Options for Your First Set of Golf Clubs

Your First Set of Golf Clubs is a Big DecisionYour First Set of Clubs is a Big Decision

When beginner students come to the lesson tee they often come without their own clubs. Some will show up with hand me downs from eons ago and others with one or two old clubs that a friend gave them to use. I often laugh at the old dinosaurs they present as I look at them thinking..."wow, there's no way even I could hit that club well". The technology has just come so far that it really doesn't make any sense to torment oneself with an old, rusty, small headed unforgiving iron. When starting out in what is possibly the most difficult game to play, it's imperative to set yourself up for positive feedback and easier success. The last thing you want to do is make it more difficult.

On a rare occasion a student will have a brand new set of custom fit clubs. Not realizing of course that they just got custom fit for a swing that they don't even really have yet. Meaning they dumped a bunch of money into a nice set that might not even fit them once their swing is formed and developed. So the thought and effort was definitely there, but jumping the gun too soon can backfire.

What Kind of Golf Clubs Should Your First Set Be

When students ask where they should buy clubs and what kind of clubs they should buy, I always give them 3 options and explain it like this:

1) Buy a starter set.

With this option for only a couple hundred dollars you can usually get a complete set including the putter, wedges, irons, hybrids, fairway woods, driver and even the bag. The technology on these clubs has come a long way where in the past they were considered cheap and didn't have good feel. Many of these inexpensive clubs actually have better technology than good clubs of the past and are certainly more forgiving. Yet, they definitely are not top of the line and I would not consider them a long term investment. Only a good choice for learning the game and developing your swing.

2) Buy a good used set.

These can often be found online or at golf equipment stores. Places like "Play it Again Sports" are also good venues for finding used clubs at a good price. Top of the line brands such as TaylorMade, Callaway and Titleist can be hundreds of dollars cheaper after only one or two years of use. Again, this can only cost a few hundred dollars for a good set of used irons, but then of course you need to buy the bag, putter, driver, etc. So basically you are building yourself a nice full set of gently used clubs, but saving a thousand or more verses buying everything new and at a premium. Clubs are typically not going to wear out unless of course someone is bashing hundreds of balls a day with them and especially on sandy turf. I equate this option as buying a used Mercedes versus option 1 which would be like buying a new Yugo.

3) Buy a brand new set of custom fit clubs.

If you are choosing this option think of it as a long term investment. You might as well get custom fit as it won't cost anymore to do so that it would if you grabbed a set from the rack. However, once again, you need to know that as you develop your swing and it goes through changes, there is the chance that the clubs won't be a good fit in the future. Some things like lie angle can be adjusted, but only to a degree or two.

So while I leave up to the student and what they feel fits them money wise and desire wise, I usually recommend option 2 - Buy a good used set. I feel that for a good bargain, you can find great technology with good feel and maybe even get them adjusted to fit you better as opposed to dropping thousands right off the bat. Whichever option you choose, take your time and make sure it is the right decision for you and one that cause you to stress over it. The most important thing is leaning the right technique through lessons, because without that any club will be hard to hit!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
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