One of the most intimidating things for beginners in the sport of golf is choosing the right clubs.
There are literally hundreds of options out there and without some experience or guidance, there is a good chance you will end up with clubs that can prevent you from enjoying the game or improving your skills.
That’s why we created this complete guide to the best clubs for beginners.
Keep reading and you’ll learn what to look for as a beginner, some common mistakes, and see our recommendations for some great options to get started. If you are in a hurry to get out on the course and just want to know our top pick, here you go…
If you want to see some other great options and learn a little about choosing clubs, keep reading…
(The guide is pretty in-depth, so you can use the table of contents to help you jump to the section you are most interested in.)
Best Golf Clubs For Beginners (Top Picks)
With all the choices out there, there can be a lot of confusion about where to even start. The goal of this guide is to educate you on how to select the right clubs as well as give you some of our top picks.
Rather than just throw a list of our top 10 at you with little guidance, my goal is to guide you through the selection process.
So first you have to decide if you want to pick up an entire set and get started quickly and easily OR choose individual clubs.
Best Golf Club Sets For Beginners
A complete set of golf clubs is a great option for those of you just getting started. You can find better quality clubs if you go for the name brand individual clubs (and we cover our top picks for those below) but a starter set is going to be significantly less expensive and allow you to get out there and play right away.
You can always slowly replace parts of the starter set one by one as you improve and decide you want to invest more in your game.
But if you’re willing to spend more and want to start off with some great quality clubs, CLICK HERE to skip ahead to the individual picks…otherwise keep reading for our top picks for the best golf club sets for beginners.
Callaway Strata Ultimate 16-Piece Set
The Callaway Strata Ultimate Set is right in the middle of the Callaway Strata lineup. It is a 16-piece set that includes a driver, a 3-Wood, a 4-hybrid, 5-hybrid, 6-9 Irons, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, a putter, the bag, and four headcovers.
What I like about this set is that it replaces the long irons with hybrids. A lot of beginner sets out there just have regular irons.
Also, as far as beginner sets go, this one is well made and pretty durable. If you play on a regular basis, these clubs will last you a few years at least. There are a lot of beginner’s sets out there that don’t last nearly that long.
Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men’s Complete Set
If you are looking for a more affordable option, then the Wilson Golf Profile Complete Set is worth taking a look at. Wilson has been making golf clubs for decades so they know what they are doing.
This set is a step down in quality from the Callaway Strata, but you can’t find a better set at this price point.
This is a great choice for the golfer that is just getting started but doesn’t plan to play or practice that often. Having an inexpensive set like this is perfect for the occasional or brand new golfer that plays in their company outing and maybe a few other times per year but needs their own set of clubs.
It comes with everything you need to get out on the course.
Callaway Women’s Strata Plus Complete Set
Generally, women should get clubs that are designed for them if they want the best opportunity to enjoy the game.
This set from Callaway is just as good as its men’s counterpart above, but the clubs are designed for women.
Women’s clubs are lighter and easier to swing. This set also includes more hybrids than most men’s sets which is perfect for women golfers, especially those just getting started.
Callaway Golf XJ Junior Golf Set
If you are looking for a set for an aspiring youth player then the Callaway Golf XJ Junior Set is the ideal option.
Young kids definitely should be going with a less expensive starter set like this. They don’t need the more expensive clubs listed below because they are going to outgrow them pretty quickly.
Callaway lets you chose the XJ set that fits your youth player’s size so you can be sure that they have clubs that fit them right without overspending.
Young kids should NOT just be using adult hand me down clubs. They are too long and too heavy for them. Using them will make the game less enjoyable and cause them to learn bad habits.
Best Individual Club Picks For Beginners
Taylor Made M6
The Taylor Made M6 has everything a beginner is looking for in a driver. That’s why it topped our list of the Best Drivers For Beginners.
There are three important aspects of this club that make it the top pick for beginners.
First, it is adjustable. You can easily change the loft and lie angle of the club. When you first start using a driver off the tee, you may be tempted to choose a lower loft to hit the ball farther, but in fact, you’d probably benefit from a higher loft.
As you develop a more consistent swing and more swing speed, the adjustable loft will allow you to experiment with lowering the loft to see if that produces better results.
When you are buying it, average swing speed beginners should go with the 10.5-degree loft model and slower swingers the 12-degree loft.
Second, the M6 is one of the best in the game at maximizing energy transfer from club to ball, even on off-center hits. As a beginner, you are going to have a lot of off-center hits, so this can make a huge difference in the results (this kind of forgiveness actually has much more of an impact on players like you than it does on better, more experienced players.
Finally, the driver’s face is designed in such a way to correct slices and hooks. It can’t work miracles, so you still need to work on improving your swing, but every little bit helps. The curve of the face counteracts the gear effect that often causes balls hit near the toe to slice and those hit near the heel to hook.
Overall, the Taylor Made M6 is a great option for beginners that are looking for the most help they can get with their game.
Callaway Epic Flash
The Callaway Epic Flash fairway woods are exactly what a beginner needs, forgiveness, good distance, and a look that gives you confidence over every shot.
Those are the reasons, we also ranked it at the top of our Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers.
The technology in Callaway’s Epic Flash woods is designed to deliver exception ball speed no matter where you make contact on the face. Of course, hitting the sweet spot will always be better but this club does a great job of minimizing the distance loss on off-center hits, similar to a forgiving driver.
Callaway Rogue Hybrid
The Callaway Rogue Hybrid might be the best value in the game right now and that plus the added forgiveness makes is perfect for beginners.
Callaway took its top-notch driver technology and put it into their hybrids. The result is a lineup of hybrid clubs that can give you a huge boost in distance in a smaller, easier to control package.
Cleveland Launcher HB
As for irons, the Cleveland Launcher HB irons are designed specifically with the beginner in mind. As you can see from the photo below, they are a cross between the more traditional iron and a hybrid club. This makes them very forgiving throughout the entire set.
These irons are made to be forgiving. That’s why they topped our list of the Best Irons For Beginners.
The long irons in this set look more like hybrids with a larger head and lower center of gravity to help you get the ball up in the air and flying straight with the harder to hit clubs. Then they transition to a more classic look iron as they progress towards the short irons.
However, even the short irons have that super game improvement feel.
Cleveland is known for focusing on the beginner and high handicap player market and the Launcher HB irons are a great example of that. For someone just getting started in the game, these irons will get out of your way and let you go out there and have some fun.
Don’t be fooled though. In addition, to being very beginner-friendly, these clubs are very well made and will last years of frequent play. So you can feel good knowing that your investment was worth it.
Cleveland CBX2 Wedges
Cleveland is known for its wedges, so it’s hard to go wrong with any of their options. The CBX2 Wedges are the model that is best for beginners because of the added forgiveness they need.
It is less important for wedges to be forgiving and more important for them to give you the control you want. However, as a beginner, you need to balance those two things, even with wedges.
The Cleveland CBX2 Wedges accomplish the balance that you need as a beginner.
With a decent sized cavity back lowering the center of gravity, you’ll have an easier time getting the ball up quickly and getting the spin you need to stop it quickly.
Taylor Made TP Red-White Ardmore 2
Putters are more about personal feel and confidence, so it’s hard to make an overall recommendation that would work for every beginner. My advice is to find one that you think looks good and try it out. If you are ordering online, make sure it’s a seller that has a good return policy.
That being said, a great option for beginners that helps with alignment and keeping the ball online when you mis-hit it, is the Taylor Made Red-White Ardmore 2. The good news is that you can find it on sale lately and get it for a good price.
What Clubs Do Beginner Golfers Need?
Before you start buying golf clubs as a beginner, you need to know which clubs are available and which ones are important for you to have when you first get started.
You can only carry 14 clubs with you during a round of golf. During the round, you can technically use any of those clubs anywhere on the course that you want. However, certain clubs are specifically designed for certain types of shots.
For example, you really don’t want to try using your putter from the tee box.
You can own more than 14 clubs and choose which 14 you want to use for any given round. I wouldn’t advise this as a beginner.
In fact, when you are just getting started, you would probably benefit from having less than 14 clubs in your bag. That will make your decisions easier and let you focus on learning to use those clubs well before expanding to a complete set.
If you want to dive a little deeper into all the clubs, check out Golf Club Names and Uses (A Beginner’s Guide).
The driver is a specialty club that designed to be used only off the tee.
You might rarely see a professional golfer hit their driver off the ground from the fairway, but don’t even think about trying that as a beginner!
Check out this article on addressing the ball properly with the driver.
The driver is a large club and will have the longest shaft of any club in your bag.
It is designed to be swung with speed and to hit the ball as far down the fairway as possible.
Club manufacturers have gone through great lengths to make their drivers more forgiving on off-center hits and to have them create more ball speed on impact to help you hit the ball farther.
As a beginner, you should be choosing a driver that has a 460cc sized head. That is the largest allowed by the rules of golf. A larger head means a bigger “sweet spot,” the area of the face where you can hit the ball and have it travel the farthest.
Clubs that have a larger sweet spot are considered to be more forgiving. You might also see them referred to as “game improvement” clubs.
You should also look for clubs that let you adjust the loft and lie angle. This is a somewhat newer development in drivers. There was a time when adjustable clubs might not have been as reliable as non-adjustable clubs, but that’s no longer the case.
As a beginner, your swing is going to change so having a club that can adjust with you is ideal.
If you want a more in-depth review of drivers, check out our guide to the Best Drivers For Beginners
Do you need a driver?
No, the driver should be the last club you add to your set. Using a driver often as you are learning your swing can actually cause you to develop bad habits.
Instead, you should be starting on shorter courses and using a 3 wood for your longer tee shots.
So let’s talk about fairway woods.
Fairway woods, sometimes called “metal woods” because they really aren’t made out of wood anymore, are clubs that are meant to hit the ball far but with more control than a driver. Also, they can be used off the ground without a tee (unlike the driver).
Fairway woods are smaller in size than a driver but larger than hybrids and irons.
They come in various sizes and lofts. The most common fairway woods are the 3 wood and 5 wood, although you can find them as high as a 9 wood. However, higher-lofted woods are less and less common as hybrids have taken their place for the most part.
The larger size head of a fairway wood adds to the forgiveness and helps hit the ball farther. It’s like a smaller driver.
Fairway woods also have shorter shafts than drivers. This makes them easier to hit solidly.
In fact, most beginners should be using a 3 wood off the tee rather than a driver. The shorter shaft means you will make solid contact more often and the extra loft can actually help beginners get more distance compared to a driver.
Want to learn more about using a 3 wood off the tee, then check out Why Driving With A 3 Wood Can Lower Your Scores.
Do you need a fairway wood?
Not immediately, but a 3 wood should be one of the first clubs you add after the irons and putter. You definitely want to get one before a driver. It’s more useful as you can use it off the tee and off the fairway.
Hybrids are a newer technology in the world of golf and they have been a huge benefit to beginners.
A hybrid is basically a cross between an iron and a fairway wood.
They are shorter and smaller than a fairway wood but offer more forgiveness and distance than an iron. This combination is perfect for beginners.
Hybrids are so useful for beginners, that some iron sets are composed completely of hybrid clubs and no traditional irons at all.
Do you need hybrids?
Yes, as a beginner, you should be looking for an iron set that has hybrids in place of the long irons (3, 4, 5 specifically). You can either choose a “combo set” that includes hybrids as part of the irons or buy them separately.
Irons are going to make up the bulk of your set of clubs. These clubs are meant to hit the ball a specific distance with precision.
You would use these clubs when you need to hit a target, such as attempting to land the ball on the green.
If you want a more in-depth review of irons, check out our guide to the Best Irons For Beginners.
Do you need irons?
Yes, irons should be among the first clubs you invest in as a beginner golfer. Start with the lower irons (6, 7, 8, 9, and Pitching Wedge) if you aren’t going to get a complete set. Those are going to be the most important clubs in your bag and the ones you should get comfortable with first.
If you are getting a complete set of irons, then look for a combo set where the longer irons (3, 4, 5) are hybrids or hybrid style irons.
Wedges are designed to get the ball up in the air quickly, add extra spin, and have it stop on the green where you want it. You can also use wedges for short shots around the green like chips and pitches.
Wedges are similar to irons except that they have more loft.
You will see a lot of wedges out there with names rather than the numbers that are used on irons. These names include Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge, Gap Wedge, Attack Wedge, and Lob Wedge.
For now, forget about what the name says and just worry about the loft number (usually this will be something between 45 and 62 degrees).
The names can be limiting and cause you to get into bad habits. For example, you shouldn’t automatically choose a sand wedge every time your ball ends up in the sand.
Do you need wedges?
Yes, but not immediately. If your iron set contains a pitching wedge, then stick with that for a while as you learn the game. Once you are comfortable with that club, look to add on a wedge that has about 4-5 degrees more loft than your pitching wedge (ignore the wedge names, just worry about getting the right gap in loft).
Don’t go for the very high lofted wedges as a beginner (58-62 degrees). They may seem like a good idea, but they are difficult to hit and may cause you to ingrain bad habits.
The putter is a flat-faced club that is used to roll the ball into the hole once you get onto the green.
If you played mini-golf as a kid then you know the basics of putting.
Putters come in all shapes and sizes and are more about personal preference than skill level. So go to your local golf store and try a bunch out. Then choose one that you like and that fits your budget.
Do you need a putter?
Yes, you really can’t play a round of golf without a putter. The good news is that as a beginner, you can get an inexpensive putter and it won’t make much difference in your scores.
What Should Beginners Look For When Choosing Clubs?
Forgiveness in golf clubs means that you’ll end up with a decent shot even when you don’t hit the ball right on the center of the face (the “sweet spot”).
That is the most important factor for beginners.
You don’t want to choose clubs designed for better players because then even slight mis-hits will result in terrible shots. All of the clubs recommended here for beginners are chosen with forgiveness as one of the primary factors.
Another reason forgiveness is important for you now as a beginner is so that you can actually enjoy the game.
Trust me, golf is no fun when you’re frustrated.
So having the right set of clubs that fits your skill level means that you will be able to have fun and enjoy the game. That leads to playing more, practicing more, and getting better.
As a beginner, your swing will change as you improve.
So clubs that have adjustability built-in will be able to change with you.
This is something to look for in the driver and fairway woods rather than the irons. There may be some irons out there that adjust, but none worth buying.
Many drivers and fairway woods today have a hosel (the part that connects the shaft and the head) that allows you to adjust the lie and the loft of the club.
When choosing your first clubs, look for a driver and fairway woods that have this feature. It may cost a little more than clubs that don’t have it, but it can make a big difference in your scores as you develop your swing.
Adjustability can also allow you to hold on to a club for much longer and adjust it to fit your swing rather than replace it.
If you’re reading this then you are already thinking, “Ok…so how much is this all going to cost me?
There’s no avoiding it, golf clubs are expensive.
So in making the selections above, we tried to take cost into consideration as well. There are options at different price levels depending on your budget.
All of the clubs we recommend here are quality clubs, but you do get what you pay for and some are going to be better than others.
I won’t lie to you, the beginner sets we recommend include good quality clubs but they aren’t the highest quality clubs available, but it’s still our top recommendation for beginners.
Well, you’re just getting started. You need to decide if you like the sport.
Plus, you’d be better off spending your budget on rounds of golf, lessons, and practice range time.
When you buy clubs from the links on our site, the seller gives us a commission. It’s the same price for you no matter what but they share some profit with us for sending them business. It’s how we pay to keep the site running and hire experts to write the articles.
But despite that, I want to make sure you make smart decisions with your clubs.
So stick within your budget when buying clubs and use the savings to play more.
On the topic of budget, another thing to consider is resale value.
No one keeps a set of clubs their entire life. At some point, you will want to upgrade or try a different brand.
The good news is that clubs can be resold. There is a healthy resale market out there in the golf world.
The big brands are going to give you the best resale value.
So when you are choosing your clubs, keep in mind that you may be able to resell them later on down the road.
I would be lying if I said buying new golf gear wasn’t fun.
For many golfers, part of the fun of the sport is trying out new gear.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Get out there, test it out. Buy some new clubs if you have the budget. It’s a lot of fun to see all the new stuff that comes out every year.
I actually go to conventions where they exhibit the latest models (yes, I know that is some serious golf nerd level stuff right there).
Golf is supposed to be fun, do what makes you happy.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make
Buying The Clubs The Pros Use
Professional golfers have clubs that are custom designed to their swings. They are also really really good.
The clubs they play are very different from the clubs you should be using as a beginner.
Buying The Clubs Your Friends Use
So your friend just hit a great drive…and now you want to buy the same driver as them.
Sounds familiar, right?
Don’t give in to the temptation.
No matter how well a club “works” for your friend, it won’t be the same for you. Everyone’s swing is different. You’ll do a lot better if you look for clubs that work for you, not someone else.
Common Questions About Buying Clubs
We get a lot of questions here about choosing the right clubs, especially when it comes to beginner clubs. Here are the most common…
Why do I need golf clubs specifically aimed at beginners?
Eventually, you will want to get higher quality clubs as your skill improves. But beginner clubs are a more affordable way to get started with the game. Beginner sets also include everything you need to start playing.
As a woman, should I buy a specific golf set or can I use the same as men?
Women’s clubs are designed with a more flexible shaft to maximize the distance most women hit the ball. This is based on how fast the majority of amateur women golfers swing the club. If you have a higher swing speed, you can use the same clubs as men.
If I play regularly, how long should I expect to keep these clubs?
If you are playing about once per week, these clubs should last you a few years. The beginner clubs listed here are good quality but they are less durable than high-end clubs. You also may just decide to upgrade as your skill improves.
Do I need to worry about which shaft to use?
As a beginner, you’ll want to stick with a less stiff shaft unless you have an unusually fast swing speed. These clubs listed here are all ideal for beginners in terms of shafts.
Should I buy new or used golf clubs?
That is up to you and depends on your budget. Used clubs can help you save a lot of money, but they have the downside that they cannot be customized to you.
Should I buy a complete set or individual clubs?
It’s a good idea to start with a beginner’s set or at least a set of irons. You’ll save money by getting them as a set and your irons should match from club to club.
You can expand your set and add things like wedges, fairway woods, and a driver later on?
Absolutely, a great strategy for building a great set of golf clubs is to start with a beginner set like the one recommended above and then slowly add more high-quality clubs one by one as you play more and improve your skills.
Do I need custom fitting for my clubs?
Yes and No. As a beginner, it’s unlikely that your swing will have any consistency. So getting custom fitted today is no guarantee that the clubs will be right for you tomorrow. You’re better off with a starter set to learn the game and develop your swing and then adding clubs later on. Also keep in mind that as far as the driver and fairway woods go, you can choose adjustable clubs that will change with your swing.
What is a normal budget to buy great golf clubs for beginners?
You can get a decent starter set for under $500 that has everything you need to get out on the course and start playing. But if you want higher quality clubs, you need to select each type of club separately and in that case a full set could cost $2000-$3000 or more.
What is the right golf club head size for beginners?
This is a common question when it comes to drivers specifically. The larger a driver’s head is, the more forgiving it will be, which is exactly what a beginner should be looking for. The maximum allowable driver head size is 460cc, so as a beginner, look for 460cc drivers to ensure you are selecting a forgiving driver.
Better players may opt for a smaller head driver for more added control, but that’s not something you should be thinking about now.