While you're in the novice stage as a golfer, you don't really need a full set of 14 clubs (the maximum allowed by the rules). In fact, you're better off cutting that number down nine or 10, which will make club selection easier on the course and boost the quality of your practice.

If you're not sure what each club is used for, read this tutorial covering woods, irons and hybrid clubs.

Let's start by eliminating a handful from your bag. As you improve, you'll want to add clubs to reach the full complement of 14.

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Irons & Wedges (4-5)

There's no reason to have any iron numbered lower than 5 in your starter set (the long irons are numbered 2-4). These days, even experienced and skilled golfers typically use hybrid clubs instead of long irons, which are notoriously difficult to hit well.

The 5-iron is a good starting point as it's relatively easy to get airborne off the fairway. It's also useful for par 3 holes when you can place the ball on a tee. Next add a 7-iron and a 9-iron, skipping the 6 and 8.

You'll want a pitching wedge (labeled P or PW) for short shots and for chipping around the green. A sand wedge is optional at this point, as your bunker technique isn't refined enough to take advantage of the club's benefits.

Hybrid Clubs (2)

As the name suggest, a hybrid club is a cross between an iron and a fairway wood. The head of a hybrid resembles that of a wood (but smaller) while the shaft length is similar to an iron. This combination makes a hybrid easier to hit solidly than equivalent irons and woods.

For the beginner's purposes, two hybrids should be plenty; they should travel farther than your longest iron, in this case the 5. For your first hybrid, look for a loft between 18-21°, which may be labeled a 2- or 3-hybrid. Your second choice should have 22-25° of loft and will be labeled a 3- or 4-hybrid.

There's also the option of using hybrids rather than irons throughout your set. Learn all about hybrids by clicking here.

Woods (2)

Every golfer's bag should include a driver, or #1 wood. You'll use it to tee off on most if not all par 4 and par 5 holes, and possibly some par 3s as well. Beginners should use a driver with plenty of loft, which helps lift the ball higher in the air. Look for a loft of at least 10.5° and as much as 13°. Unless you've got uncommon clubhead speed for a novice, a shaft of regular (R) flex is ideal. (This holds true throughout the set.)

Next, add a fairway wood. You'll eventually want to own a 3-wood, but for now a higher-lofted club such as a 5- or 7-wood will better serve your needs. These clubs are excellent for long fairway shots and can also be used when hitting from the tee.

Putter (1)

Of course, every golfer needs a putter. There are literally hundreds of styles and variations to choose from. The most important thing is to find a putter that's comfortable to you based on its length, weight and the feel of striking the ball. If possible, try out several different models before choosing.

There you have it: a starter set of just nine or 10 clubs, more than enough to suit your early needs. Limiting the clubs you carry will reduce your time spent making decisions on the course; it will also narrow down your practice focus, giving you more time to spend with each club.


Beginner Golf Tip – How Many Clubs Should You Carry?

Beginner Golf Tip – How Many Clubs Should You Carry?



Assembling your set of clubs is one of the first things you should do as an amateur golfer. While you don't need to spend thousands of dollars to pick up a beginner set, you do need to make sure that you have the right clubs in your bag to make the game as enjoyable as possible. The clubs you will want to carry are going to change over time as you develop skill and gain experience. For now, focus on building a logical set for a beginning player – you can always pick up clubs designed for more advanced golfers later on down the line.

To address the question posed in the title, we have a very simple answer – beginning golfers should carry 14 clubs, which is the maximum allowed under the rules of golf. There is no reason to carry fewer than 14, as each club can serve a specific purpose when the set is constructed properly. Sure, you might not know how to use all of the clubs just yet, but that's okay. You are going to gain experience as you go, and pretty soon you will be comfortable with the entire set from top to bottom.

Since we have already answered the question from the title, we are going to use the rest of this article to discuss the right way to build your set of clubs as a new player. There are countless golf club options on the market today, and a seemingly endless list of retailers vying for your business. To save money while getting the clubs you need, you will have to know exactly where to look both in person and online. By the end of this article, you should have all of the information you need to make informed and educated buying decisions. Also, we will talk more about set construction, to make sure you have the right balance of clubs to help you handle all of the various situations which can come up on the course.

Before we get into the specifics of this topic, it should be mentioned that you need to put aside your vanity when shopping for your first set of clubs. Sure, it might look cool to have a premium set from one of the game's top manufacturers in your bag, but buying such clubs at this point would just be a waste of money. You don't yet have the skill to use those clubs properly, so why invest in something that isn't going to pay dividends? Instead, stick to affordable models, even if they don't have the 'cool' factor of some of the leading brands. Affordable sets which are marketed toward beginners will serve you just fine as you get started, and you can transition into a more expensive set of clubs later on if you so choose.

All of the content below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.


The Makeup of Your Set

The Makeup of Your Set



You have already learned that your set of clubs should include 14 sticks, which is the limit imposed by the rules of golf. However, at this time, you may not have a clear picture of which specific clubs should be included in that list of 14. There are more options than you might think, so this part of the buying process is going to take a little bit of planning.

To start with, there are a couple of clubs which are no-brainers – the driver, and the putter. You aren't going to get far in this game without either of those two clubs, so they should be placed on your list right away. A driver can get you off to a good start on par fours and par fives by sending the ball a solid distance down the fairway. And, of course, you will finish nearly every hole by using your putter. Personal preference and comfort is more important with the putter than any other club in the bag, so try out a few different models and settle on the one that makes you feel the most confident.

With those two clubs purchased, we are now down to 12 open spots. At this point, we still have some obvious clubs to add. No matter your skill level, you are going to want an iron set, and you are going to want at least one additional wedge. Let's call your iron set from six iron through pitching wedge, meaning it will consist of five total clubs. You are also going to add a sand wedge to the mix, taking up one additional spot. So, we have placed six new clubs in your bag in this paragraph, bringing our total to 8. At this point, you have the basics covered, and it is now time to venture into the 'optional' territory to pick out the final six clubs which will finish off your set.

The categories we are going to be shopping in the rest of the way include fairway woods, hybrids, long irons, and other wedges. While it is not absolutely required, nearly every golfer is going to want to carry a three wood, so we will count that as another given. With just five spots left, you need to start getting picky about what you add to your collection. There is some room for personal preference when it comes to these last five slots, but our recommendation for beginning golfers is as follows.

  • A five wood. Most five woods have somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 degrees of loft, and they hit the ball higher and shorter than a three wood. These are good clubs for beginning golfers to carry because they are easy to get off the ground, they can work for tee shots when your driver is giving you trouble, and they are useful out of the light rough as well. You don't see a lot of five woods in the professional ranks, but that isn't any of your concern at this point. For now, as a beginner, you will likely love the performance a five wood can offer.
  • Three hybrids. Yes – three hybrid clubs might sound like a lot. And no, you aren't going to see your favorite touring pro carrying this many hybrids in his bag. However, it is a good choice for a beginning player because it keeps you away from adding long irons to your set. Long irons are notoriously difficult to hit, and they have caused many golfers countless hours of grief over the years. By steering clear of long irons, you will be making the game easier and you will be giving yourself a better chance to get off to a good start on the links. Space out the lofts of your three hybrids so that they each cover a different distance, and so that they bridge the distance gap nicely from your five wood down to your six iron. If at all possible, try to purchase all three hybrids in the same make and model so you can get comfortable with the look and feel of the clubs.
  • A lob wedge. The final club you are going to add to your bag is a lob wedge. A lob wedge will have 58 or 60 degrees of loft, and it will be the highest-lofted club in your bag (and the club that hits the ball the shortest distance). It is a great idea to carry a lob wedge because this club can get you out of a lot of trouble once you learn how to use it properly. As a beginning player, you are sure to find more than your fair share of trouble on the links – and the lob wedge can help you get back in position with just a single swing. Practice both chipping and hitting full shots with this club and it just might become your best friend as you learn the game of golf.

So that's it – we have our set of 14 clubs. To review, you are going to carry a driver, a three wood, a five wood, three hybrid clubs, an iron set from six to pitching wedge, a sand wedge, a lob wedge, and a putter. Such a set makeup will serve the average beginning golfer quite well, as there are no 'holes' in that set which will hold you back. Throughout the rest of the article, we are going to talk about exactly how you can go about assembling such as set.


Some Key Shopping Tips

Some Key Shopping Tips



In days gone by, you really only had one choice when you were ready to purchase some golf equipment. You would head to the local golf course, enter the pro shop, and pick out a set. Prices were usually high, but what could you do? There wasn't anywhere else to turn for golf gear. Of course, times have changed, and they have changed in a big way. Today's golfer has a ton of options at his or her disposal when it comes to purchasing golf gear, thanks to the internet. No matter what kind of club you are looking for, you will be able to find it with ease on the world wide web.

So does that mean that you should ignore the traditional 'brick-and-mortar' stores entirely? Not necessarily. There are still good deals to be found when shopping in person, as long as you know where to look. To help you get the best possible deal on the perfect set of clubs for your beginner golf adventures, please consult the list of tips below.

  • Strongly consider used gear. While it will be tempting to opt for a shiny new set, you should very carefully consider choosing used golf clubs for your first set. Why would used bag make for a good purchase? They are going to be less expensive, of course. It is easy to find used clubs online these days, and eBay is a great place to start your search. You can buy directly from other golfers, and you shouldn't have any trouble tracking down the exact type of clubs you would like to purchase. Of course, you don't want clubs that have been used too much, so look for a slightly worn set at a fair price. There is a good chance you will want to upgrade your set after you learn the ropes anyway, so don't sink money into brand new clubs that you may only use for a year or so.
  • Ask in your local pro shop. Take a trip to a golf course near you and tell the pro that you are hoping to get started in the game of golf. This likely won't be the first time that the pro has needed to help someone find their first set, so you should get plenty of helpful information. Also, it is common for pro shops to carry affordable clubs which are designed for use by beginning golfers. Have a budget in mind and don't be afraid to buy your first set right then and there if the shop carries something that meets your needs.
  • Feel free to mix and match. Your favorite professional golfer likely carries the same brand of clubs throughout his or her bag – but that is because they are being paid to do so. You are under no such obligation, so feel free to shop around and pick out the clubs you like best. Your set doesn't need to match, although it is nice to group clubs of the same kind together, such as a cohesive iron set or matching hybrid clubs. You might find, over time, that you develop an affinity for one brand over the rest, but that kind of loyalty and preference is only going to come with experience.
  • Ask friends. If you feel like being particularly thrifty, ask some of your golf-playing friends or co-workers if they have any old clubs that they would like to get rid of. Golfers tend to accumulate clubs over the years, so there is a good chance that some of your friends who play the game will have extra gear sitting in their garage. You might get these clubs given to you for free, or you may be able to negotiate a deal. Either way, you will have saved some money and your friend will likely be happy to make space by moving out the old clubs. If you don't know anyone who plays golf, you could also make a trip to some local garage sales on a Saturday afternoon – you will find the same kind of gear for equally low prices.

Buying golf equipment is pretty much the same as buying anything else. You should shop around before you make a purchase, you should have a budget in mind, and you should be open to a variety of brands. Remember, golf clubs can easily be replaced, so don't go into this process thinking you need to buy the best on the market. Get yourself a set of clubs which will allow you to visit the range and play your first round – that is all you are looking to do at this time. The club companies will be more than happy to sell you more expensive gear later on if you fall in love with the game.


How to Carry Your Clubs

How to Carry Your Clubs



Now that you have a set of 14 clubs to take with you to the course, you will be lacking just one thing – something to hold those clubs while you make your way around the course. We are talking about a golf bag, obviously, and picking out a bag can be a little more challenging than it might seem at first. You want a bag which is big enough to hold all of your clubs and some other gear, but not one which is so big that it is difficult to even fit in the trunk of your car.

The main determining factor you should consider when shopping for a golf bag is how you plan on getting around the course. Do you think you will be walking the course during most of your rounds, or are you planning on riding in a power cart? There is a lot to be said for the enjoyment of walking the course, but riding in a cart is a necessity for those who lack the physical capabilities to get around 18 holes.

Golfers who usually walk the course will want to focus on finding a comfortable, lightweight bag. Golf might not seem like a physically strenuous endeavor, but it can be quite tiring after walking five miles around a full-size course – especially if the course features a hilly layout. Many golf bags are designed with walkers in mind, so pick from this category if you plan to walk. For riders, picking a bag is an easier task, as you don't have to worry much about size or weight. As long as the bag can be strapped onto the back of a cart, you will be good to go.

Just as was the case with golf clubs, you can also shop for used golf bags to save money. New golf bags can be surprisingly expensive, and they are often laden with features that you don't really need. Think of this purchase like you would the purchase of a new car – sure those extra features might be cool, but they really aren't going to add much to your experience in the end.


A Few Final Thoughts

A Few Final Thoughts



Before ending this article, there are a few final points we would like to make with regard to beginning golfers and the clubs they use.

  • Save some money for lessons. One of the best things you can do for yourself when getting started in golf is to take a lesson or two from a local pro. Instead of spending all of your golf money on expensive clubs, look for a deal and use the remaining money on lessons. A good pro will be able to help you form a solid grip, take a balanced stance, and much more. You will get far more out of those lessons than you will ever get from a set of bag.
  • Get as much experience as you can early on. You will probably be quite excited to get out onto the course when first starting in this game, but you will be better served to spend your time on the driving range whenever possible. You get to hit far more shots on the range than you hit on the course, and repetitions are what you need at this point in time. Look into a membership or 'punch card' at your local driving range to save money on practice balls as you build up your swing technique.
  • Find a couple favorite clubs. While it is a good idea to carry the full set of 14 clubs allowed under the rules of golf, you will want to develop a strong relationship with a couple of those clubs as you get started. By having a couple clubs you trust more than the rest, you will know where to turn when you get into trouble on the course. Over time, you will become more and more comfortable with your entire set, and the idea of having favorites will fade away.

Golf is a great game to take up as a hobby, as it lets you spend time outside with friends while enjoying some casual competition. Of course, you do have to have the right gear in order to play the game, and the list of gear you need is going to start with a set of clubs. Use the advice offered in this article to build up your set, and take your time before making purchases to ensure that you are happy with what you have selected. Once all of your clubs have been acquired, you can begin the challenging task of learning all of the shots necessary to play this game properly. Good luck!