Golf is a great sport for young and old alike. It’s a sport that you can try out as soon as you are old enough to walk and hold a club. It’s a sport that you can play well into old-age if your health permits. It’s no contact and low-impact, so there is little risk of injury. You can play it alone or with a group of friends. It’s never too early or too late to get started if you haven’t already.
Do golf balls and clubs matter for beginners? There’s no doubt that golf equipment can be expensive. But is it worth spending more money on top-quality equipment for a beginner? Experts recommend that beginners choose balls and clubs that balance quality and price. Purchasing balls or clubs that are too advanced for beginners can actually slow your progress.
There’s no way around it. Golf is an expensive sport. Even if you start out with a hand-me-down set of clubs that you got for free and a bucket of used range balls, you still have to pay greens fees to get on the course. Should you use the cheapest equipment that you can get, or should you spend a little more to get a better experience? Read on to learn our recommendations for purchasing clubs and balls for a beginner.
How to Choose Golf Balls and Clubs for Beginners
One thing about golf is that you can ask a dozen different people for advice and be sure that you’ll receive a dozen different answers. Most of them will contradict each other, and few, if any, will give you specific, helpful, actionable information that is right for you. Shopping for beginner clubs and balls is a great way to learn this lesson. Go ahead and ask all of the golfers you know what you should do.
We recommend an approach that balances price and performance. You should buy equipment that is good enough that it will let you get good at the game without breaking your budget in the process. That might sound hard to do, but it isn’t if you know what to look for. When you know the features to shop for, you can peruse used equipment and budget-priced items to find options that will get the job done.
A good set of clubs is essential to getting good at the game of golf and enjoying the time that you spend playing while you learn. Some cheap clubs are of such low quality that they’ll hold your game back. They’ll make you enjoy it less and have you thinking that you’re not making any progress. At the same time, high-end equipment can amplify beginners’ mistakes and make it just as hard for you to have fun and make progress.
Good golf balls for beginners are different from good golf balls for advanced players and pros. The top-of-the-line balls are so sensitive and responsive that they will amplify beginners’ mistakes the same way that high-end golf clubs will. If you put the two of them together before you know what to do with them, you’ve set yourself up for failure. It’s better to buy clubs and balls that will give you a chance to succeed and grow.
What Do You Need to Know About Golf Balls?
When you start doing research on golf balls, whether you look at specific brands or focus on a more general level, you’re going to find a lot of information on dimples and pieces and other information that can overwhelm a beginner. Our advice is to step straight past that information. As a rule, the best balls for beginners are 2-piece. That’s really all that you need to know about golf balls on that level.
We think that there are three things that you should consider when purchasing balls for a beginner: Low-cost, Low-spin, and low-compression. At the end of the day, you have to accept that you are going to lose some golf balls as a beginner. Replacing them shouldn’t break the bank. And while it is true that a high-spin, high-compression ball allows the pros to do remarkable things—you just aren’t there yet.
There are good reasons to take a step past the 1-piece range balls and pay a little bit more to get a little bit better ball. But it is very easy to go a bit too far and get too much of a good thing. Golf balls are engineered using certain basic assumptions about who is going to be hitting it and how they are going to hit it. If you can’t deliver what a top-end golf ball is meant to work with, you’re paying too much and getting too little.
At the same time, pinching pennies and going with the cheapest balls that you can buy will leave you wondering whether the reason that you can’t hit for distance is in your swing, your club, or the ball. One of the keys to getting better at golf is being able to identify problems in your game. If you try to do the best that you can with bad equipment, you’ll have more trouble identifying problems that you can fix.
What Do You Need to Know About Golf Clubs?
You could easily spend more on a new set of golf clubs than some folks spent on their first cars. Some beginning golfers can afford to do that while others can’t. But whether you can or can’t afford to spend that much, the more important question is whether you should. If you’re learning the game for business networking, nice clubs will impress your partners but they won’t hide the fact that you’re a beginner.
A set of clubs that is right for you will help you get better faster. That’s the sort of thing that will make sure that the other three people in your foursome are more impressed at the 19th hole than they were at the first tee. So, what should you look for in a set of beginner golf clubs? The same thing that you should look for in golf balls—a balance of price and performance that meets your game where it is and leaves room for it to get better.
Experts recommend that beginners start with a packaged beginner’s set or put one together for themselves. A beginner’s set typically comes with odd-numbered irons, a 3-wood, and a 5-wood. Since you’re buying fewer clubs, you can get better clubs for the same amount of money. It also allows you to focus on getting your swing right before you deal with having too many club options.
We suggest starting with steel-shafted clubs and buying the highest-quality beginner set that your budget will permit. As your game progresses, you can fill in the set with clubs from the same line. If you get to the point where you have a full set, and you know the putters, wedges, and drivers that work for you—you can turn your attention to shopping for an upgrade.
If you’re just getting interested in the game of golf, you don’t have the benefit of hindsight that many of us do. As you play the game more, you’ll see terrible golfers with top-end equipment, and you’ll see fantastic golfers using bargain-basement sticks. That’s why we think that the right equipment for beginners is the stuff that will help you get better without emptying the bank account before you pay a single greens fee.