Golf can be a challenging game to start playing. Yes, the little while ball is just sitting there on a tee, but it’s surprisingly hard to hit it solid and get it to go where you want. On top of that you have to learn how to chip, how to putt, how to hit a bunker shot, and learn all the lingo and rules.
Oh yeah - what about your golf equipment? If you’re a beginner, just walking into a golf store can be intimidating. How many clubs do you need to purchase? Do you prefer a mallet or a blade putter? You will need a bag to carry your clubs. You need golf balls and probably a bunch, because new golfers tend to lose a few. A glove, special shoes, tees, a rainsuit, a rangefinder, a special umbrella, a pushcart, etc. - how can one sport require this much equipment?
We’re here to help. Don’t get overwhelmed by the vast options of golf equipment. Below we’ll walk you through the different categories of golf equipment and provide some “purchasing tips” for each section. Potentially, even provide some ideas on how you can find discount golf equipment, so you can enjoy the game without taking out a second mortgage on your house.
Have no fear - everything you need to know to purchase golf equipment is here.
Any conversation about golf equipment has to start with your clubs. You can easily spend $2,500+ on a new set of sticks, but we wouldn’t recommend this approach to beginners or people just getting started with golf. A couple things to keep in mind, you can build your set over time - you don’t need to buy 14 clubs at once (14 clubs is the legal max). Second, there is no shame in borrowing clubs from friends or family.
Let's take a look at the different types of clubs you will need to consider.
A driver (aka 1-wood, big dog, etc.) is the club you will use to tee off on par 4s and par 5s. It’s the longest club in your bag; both in length and in the distance you hit it. You typically tee up your driver high and swing hard! This piece of golf equipment has a large head and can have a large price tag ($500+) if you go for a brand new model.
Often overlooked by players is the driver shaft. This is a critical component on how a club will perform for you. When you buy a driver you have the following shaft options: stiff, regular, senior, or ladies. The correct shaft depends on how hard you swing. If you purchase this piece of golf equipment from a store, they probably have a simulator and the salesperson can help you make the correct choice.
Driver Purchasing Tips:
- A Driver is one of the first pieces of golf equipment you should purchase or acquire (borrow).
- The shaft is a critical part of all golf clubs that you buy, so be aware when making your selection.
- Go with one of the well-known golf manufacturers when buying your driver (Callaway, TaylorMade, PING, etc.)
- Discount golf equipment idea: there is no need to buy the driver model that was just released this year - if you buy a model that was released a couple years ago (new or used) you will save hundreds of dollars and still get high-end technology and performance.
The easiest way to describe a fairway wood is to say it’s a small driver, designed to be hit off the ground when you have a long approach shot to a green. The most common fairway wood is a 3-wood and it typically has between 15-17 degrees of loft. You’ll also see 4-woods, 5-woods, and 7-woods when researching golf equipment.
Fairway Woods Purchasing Tips:
- As you start to build your set, we recommend you only buy one fairway wood - a 3-wood or a 4-wood. As you play more golf, you may find you want a second fairway wood, but no reason to buy initially.
- Some golfers will buy a fairway wood to match their driver (brand, model, etc.), but this is not required.
- Discount golf equipment idea: same as driver, look for models that were released a couple years ago and save money!
You’ll leverage your irons to hit approach shots or play par 3s. They’re designed to be hit off the ground and you want to hit the ground when you swing an iron. A typical set of irons will include 7-9 clubs, everything from a 4-iron through pitching wedge. Each club has a different loft and is designed to travel different distances. As a beginner, you may want to look for a set that includes “hybrids” for the longer irons. Hybrids are a relatively new type of golf equipment. They’re a combination of woods and irons and most amateur golfers find them easier to hit than a 4 or 5 iron.
Iron Purchasing Tips:
- A new set of irons (they are typically sold as a set) can be pricey - do some research and identify a set that is designed for beginners.
- Discount golf equipment idea: since you are just getting started in the game, you probably don’t need a full set of 8 irons. Find a starter set with the basics (5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, Wedge). Half the clubs, half the price.
The final piece of golf equipment you will need to complete your set is a putter. Even if you aren’t an avid golfer, you’re probably familiar with a putter - everyone has played mini-golf, right? Putters are offered in numerous shapes and sizes, but at the end of the day you simply need one that feels good to you and allows you to roll the ball in the hole.
Putter Purchasing Tips:
- The putter is the most unique piece of golf equipment you will own - simply pick the model that fits your eye and gives you confidence.
- Discount golf equipment idea: try a putter on the course before you buy. Even better, borrow a putter from a friend or family member. If you know an avid golfer we can almost guarantee they have a few putters in the garage.
You have purchased your clubs, now you need a way to carry them to the driving range or the course. Should be simple right? There are actually several different types of golf bags for you to consider.
First, you could purchase a cart bag (aka tour bag). A tour bag is large and heavy, but can carry tons of golf equipment. This bag is for the golfer who will always ride in a cart or who has a personal caddie. The second option is a carry bag. This option is lighter and will allow you to walk the course. Still plenty of room for your golf equipment, but won’t break your back.
The final option is a “Sunday” bag. Super-lightweight and compact, this type of bag is designed to carry a limited number of clubs (6-8) and your golf essentials. It makes it super easy to get your clubs to the range or to walk a few holes. A great example is the Loma series offered by Sunday Golf. If you plan to be a casual golfer and enjoy the time with friends, this may be the bag for you!
- You can use a golf bag for years, so don’t worry about making a bit of an investment on this piece of golf equipment.
- The type of bag you buy should match the type of player you plan to be - always in a cart, walking the course, etc.
- If you decide to purchase a cart bag, you may want to also procure a Sunday bag for range visits or quick evening trips to the course.
- Discount golf equipment idea: we mentioned in the “Irons” section you may want to start with a reduced set (4 irons) - if you got this route, you can also save some money by going with a Sunday bag as your first purchase.
If you’re just getting started with golf, the first rule of buying golf balls is quantity over quality. You will buy the balls, but you may not own them for long. Your first rounds of golf will most likely involve lakes, creeks, woods, and potentially random yards of strangers. In other words, don’t get too attached.
Did you know that top-end golf balls cost $60 per dozen? You don’t want to lose $5 everytime you hit a wild tee shot.
The good news, there are plenty of options for you that cost a fraction of this price. You can choose from numerous brands and colors (white, orange, yellow, pink, etc.).
Golf Ball Purchasing Tips:
- For beginners, the performance of the golf ball doesn’t make a difference - go with the brand, model, price of your choice.
- Do you want some free golf balls? Maybe take an evening walk around your local course and hunt for balls that others have lost.
- Discount golf equipment idea: if you are interested in trying premium balls without the premium price you can buy refurbished balls - they have been used before, but are often “like new” (https://www.lostgolfballs.com/).
Other Golf Equipment & Accessories
You have your clubs, your bag, and plenty of balls - what additional golf equipment or accessories do you need to attack the course? For this section, we have provided a list of golf items and tagged them as either “Day 1”, “Recommended” or “Optional”.
Day 1 Golf Equipment
Acquire These Before You Head Out To Play
- Golf Tees - they will cost you very little and some courses offer for free.
- Ball Mark - you can use a coin or your favorite poker chip - once your ball has reached the green, you should mark it until it’s your turn to putt.
- Golf Bag Rain Hood - you simply never know when a rain shower may pop up. Don't let your clubs get wet and potentially ruined. Invest in a golf bag rain hood that is designed to fit your golf bag of choice.
- Golf Valuables Pouch - Clip it to your bag and use it to carry your keys, wallet, cell phone, extra tees, etc!
- Divot Tool - take care of the course - when your ball hits the green it’ll leave a mark (a divot) - if you don’t have a tool, you can fix with a tee.
- Golf Towel - use to keep your hands dry or clean dirt/mud off your ball.
- Sunscreen - stay safe - don’t let you day on the course be ruined by a burn.
Recommended Golf Equipment
You Can Play Without These Accessories, But Why Would You?
- Golf Glove - keep you grip secure on hot and humid days.
- Golf Hat - pick a golf manufacturer or wear the hat of your favorite PGA professional.
- Club Brush - give you clubs a quick brush between shots - designed to attach to your bag for ease of use.
- Golf Shoes - designed for comfort on the course and with spikes to help you stay on balance - you can play in any athletic shoes, but golf shoes have advantages.
- Golf Umbrella - if you play golf, you will get stuck in the rain - golf umbrellas are lightweight and designed to keep you and your golf equipment dry.
Optional Golf Equipment
You’ll Probably Want To Add These Items To Your Golf Equipment As You Become A More Experienced Player
- Push Cart - if you enjoy walking the course, but want to save the back.
- Rangefinder - an expensive device, but allows you quickly determine distance to the pin or any other object you plan to aim towards.
- Ball Retriever - do you hate losing balls you can see, but can’t reach? Ball retrievers are not for everyone.
- Rain Gloves - do you play regardless of the weather forecast? Golf rain gloves allow you to grip your clubs even if you and your clubs are soaked.
- Hand Warmers - inexpensive to purchase and they’ll make your round much more enjoyable on a cold day.
Purchasing All Your Golf Equipment
Building out your golf equipment is part of the fun of enjoying this great sport. You don’t need to buy everything at once and you can definitely use techniques to find discount golf equipment. Enjoy the process of finding the products that work the best for your game.
Golf is a game you can play for the rest of your life, so don’t feel rushed. Take your time. Find the equipment that fits your approach to the game. Enjoy your strolls down the fairway. Play well and hit ‘em straight!