Let’s do it! Golf can be one of the more intimidating sports for the uninitiated. Fortunately, it’s a game almost anyone can play. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive. If your experience with the game is limited, it’s important to understand what you need (and don’t need) in order to get started. The worst thing a beginner can do is spend thousands on the highest rated equipment and head out for the course with high hopes and little understanding of the game. This will only set you up for failure, and even worse, an expensive one.
Let’s walk through the minimum needed to get started and find out if golf is something that you may really have a passion for. The equipment, lessons, and accessories that are appropriate for a beginner are very different from what an experienced player will need. Be careful when talking to your golf expert friends. While they are surely well intentioned, their needs are very different than yours right now.
Golf Clubs for Beginners
For new players, the first challenge will simply be making contact with the ball consistently. Until you can do this, you won’t get the full benefit of higher end clubs. If you’ve never played before, the best route is to buy an inexpensive, entry level set of clubs from a reputable brand. If you find that golf isn’t for you, you haven’t broken the bank. Give yourself some room in the budget to upgrade if you fall in love with the game. When you are ready to upgrade, having a little experience under your belt will help you to make a better choice regarding what you need in a new set of clubs.
The best value can be found in the complete sets offered by multiple brands. Top Flight offers a complete set of 13 clubs, including driver and putter for less than $300. Moving on to more expensive brands, Callaway offers the same for around $800. Both include a golf bag along with the clubs.
This is not an option that experienced golfers will tend to gravitate to but let’s compare what building your own custom set can cost. Top of the line drivers now START above $500 and go to a jaw dropping $899 for the latest and greatest. That’s one club. Adding a top of the line set of irons, fairway woods, wedges and a putter can easily put the contents of your golf bag into the $3,000 range.
Start frugal. Then as you begin to enjoy the game more, you can upgrade gradually. While irons are sold as a set, other clubs are sold individually. You can choose to upgrade your driver or putter initially, then buy new irons at a later time.
Choosing the Right Golf Ball
Beginners typically have a slower swing speed and will be better off with balls tailored to their swing speed. These are typically labelled as “soft.” They have the benefit of being easier to control around the green when using your wedges. All the major brands have multiple balls that are suited to different levels of play and swing speed. Some great choices for low swing speeds include Callaway Chrome Soft, Titleist Tour Soft, and Wilson Staff Duo Soft.
You’ll need a few other things — a box of golf balls and some tees are the only true necessities. Gloves and golf shoes can wait until you have a little practice under your belt. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a golf specific wardrobe, but do check the dress code before heading out to the course for the first time. Most clubs require collared shirts and have rules about what type of shorts or pants you can wear. Most do not allow denim, athletic, or cargo shorts.