1/4/17

For a beginning golfer there are quite a lot of different choices of equipment and it can be quite hard to know what is best since most golf pros and retailers want you to buy a 400 dollar driver. In my humble opinion a used set will perform just as good as a new set but what matters is making sure the club is the correct lie angle and length.

To start off you should go to your local driving range with a friend and see how the other golfers hit the ball. If you decide that you want to play golf I'd recommend getting on a golf lie angle board with the pro at the course and see where you are striking the golf ball. Oddly enough, most people's natural lie angle will not change that much for the entirety of the years they play golf. In general the average golfer will need at most 2-3 degrees flat or upright irons. The pro will also likely fit you for the length and flex of the irons you should buy. Most people will be standard length since clubs are built for over 95% of people (roughly 5'6" to 6'2") and longer shafts are generally harder to hit. The flex of the shaft for virtually all golfers should be a stiff or regular flex. An X-Stiff shaft is going to launch too low unless a beginner has clubhead speed that is well over 100mph.

In general drivers aren't built to factor lie angle and are more of a one-size-fits-most when it comes to the shape and playability. The shaft and loft are what is important. No beginning golfer should be hitting a driver that has less than 9 degrees of loft and ideally their driver should be 10.5-11.5 degrees. Your shaft flex with the driver should match your irons so if the pro says you need a regular flex iron then you also need a regular flex driver. Personally, I think buying a driver is better to do used than new because golf shops love to inflate the #s when you try clubs on their simulators and the customer later regrets that they just paid 400 dollars for a driver that performs as good as a 50-100 dollar club. A few good used drivers you can buy for ~100$ or less: Ping G10, G15, G20. Taylormade R7, R9, burner, RBZ, etc. Too many to list but personally I think the g20 is the best for a beginner.

Fairway woods are different beast because the fact is it is very hard for a beginner to hit a fairway wood without a tee. The clubface sits taller than the ball and unless you're ben hogan or sergio garcia, you're not supposed to make a divot when you hit a 3 wood from the ground. I think a good used 3 wood is the taylormade V Steel. It's plenty long and can still hold it's own against any of the newer clubs. For most beginners you either will not use the club more than 2-3 times a round or will use the club a lot since some people hit their 3 wood just as long as their driver and with more accuracy.

Hybrids are usually pretty cheap used and I'm a big fan of the taylormade rescue and cobra baffler series clubs. For a beginner I'd recommend a taylormade rescue or ping g20. The ping g20 is for people who want a hybrid who want a club that has a little more offset and hits more like an iron than the traditional hybrid.

After you know the club specs you need you can go on ebay and pick up a used set. Golf clubs depreciate like crazy and most sets will cost 30-50% less after a year even though they are still very playable for 7-10+ years. In my humble opinion, I'd say a set of callaway, taylormade, ping, or titleist irons will all perform very similar but there is one caveat: DON'T BUY BLADES! Blade irons are meant for people who are usually at worst a 10 handicap. A set of progressives or game-improvement irons will be good enough and you could argue that they look virtually the same at address. Many good players and tour pros still use the progressives (or cavity back) irons because they have a decent amount of workability and are usually 5-6 or more yards longer than their blade counterparts.

Once you buy a set of irons you can buy a set of wedges and they are usually 30-60 bucks a piece on ebay for a quality wedge. If you are a big divot player then you need a wedge with more bounce such as a cleveland 588. If you make very small divots with wedges then you need a club with minimal bounce. The bounce is the sole of the club and basically is how "chunky" they club looks. A high bounce club will have a thick sole and a low bounce club will have the sole grinded off or thin like a blade iron.

Putter is personal preference and something you should definitely try before you buy. I like the anser 2 because it's a no frills putter that gets the ball in the hole. Mallet putter are usually larger and easier to use on long putts while blade putters are usually better looking and have a softer feel.

Golf balls are pretty expensive and I'd recommend starting with a multi-piece ball that is easier to hit straight than a prov1 that costs 4-5 dollars a ball. The bridgestone golf balls are pretty good for the price and pinnacle is a good ball that has a lot of distance.

Brand of clubs to look for: Cobra, nike, ping, taylormade, titleist, callaway, etc.

Comments (34)

1/1/17

Solid guide. If you want new clubs get a model thats a few years older at a place like sports authority or dicks. You can get a set of irons that way that once retailed for 1000 at 600. I think I bought my Taylor Made irons that were released in 2010 in the year 2015 or something for about that discount.

I work in Insurance. Its not bad.

Financial Modeling
1/1/17

Not a bad idea but the lie angle is everything. 2 degrees is the difference between a fairly big toe-shot and a pure shot in the middle of the face. Thankfully for forged irons it's a cheap fix from your golf pro or you can mail them to the manufacturer for around 60 bucks for cast irons.

1/1/17
BillBelichick37:

Not a bad idea but the lie angle is everything. 2 degrees is the difference between a fairly big toe-shot and a pure shot in the middle of the face. Thankfully for forged irons it's a cheap fix from your golf pro or you can mail them to the manufacturer for around 60 bucks for cast irons.

I must have lucked out. I just bought some Burner+ off the rack uniflex (heard they were pretty forgiving), and I can hit the bejeezus out of them

I work in Insurance. Its not bad.

1/1/17

Yeah the taylormade burners and Rbz are some of the longest irons man has ever created. A buddy of mine could hit the 8 iron 160 but couldn't hit a driver 250 to save his life haha. Currently saving up money for networking trips and (hopefully) a set of Ping s55 or s56 blue dot 3-PW with a kbs stiff. If I sell my current set of i20s I'd really only be out of 100 bucks.

1/1/17
BillBelichick37:

Yeah the taylormade burners and Rbz are some of the longest irons man has ever created. A buddy of mine could hit the 8 iron 160 but couldn't hit a driver 250 to save his life haha. Currently saving up money for networking trips and (hopefully) a set of Ping s55 or s56 blue dot 3-PW with a kbs stiff. If I sell my current set of i20s I'd really only be out of 100 bucks.

I got nike covert 2.0s Driver, 3, and 5 at the same time. Stiff. Forgot what I paid but I can hit them okay too. Still working on the fairway wood game.

I grew up idolizing tiger so I never got into hybrids. My game could probably use them though.

I work in Insurance. Its not bad.

1/1/17

Yeah there are a lot of tiger fans but some people are borderline insane with it. I think he is still amazing to watch from 2 iron down but his long game has been on a steady decline since 2001. Just imagine if he could drive the ball like jason day but with his 2005-2008 iron and short game. He'd be unstoppable like in his prime.

Fairway woods aren't easy to hit off the ground since the face sits above the ball. I see my 3 wood as a necessary evil from the ground but I absolutely smash it off the tee.

1/7/17

Taylormade messes with the loft. So you think your 7 iron is going farther but it's more like a 6 iron. I'm a division one golfer, and I see this stuff all the time.

1/7/17

+SB. They crank up the lofts a lot. I think their pw is like 45 or 44 degrees. BTW congrats on playing on a D1 team, wish I could say the same.

1/5/17

+1 SB for useful, pertinent info

Financial Modeling
1/5/17

Yeah I'll never buy irons sight unseen or unplayed. I've always bought used clubs but in an environment where I can see where they go or where a simulator shows me.

I was curious to see what you would recommend for the starting golfer, and I really wouldn't change anything you said. I learned to play on a set of pings and don't think I'd ever strike the ball as well without the confidence they give.

Also, Answer's are always the way to go. While the polished putters are all nice and heavy, Ping created that plumber neck blade putter and adding lead tape on the bottom gets you the same swing weight as a Scotty Cameron.

1/5/17

yeah the fit is king in most cases. For most people you can see what they look like at the local golf store or driving range and then buy them with your specific lie angle online.

Ansers are amazing. I'd argue that they're better than scotty cameron newports because they have less loft and get the ball rolling easier. Scotty Camerons are way overpriced and even a 20 year old newport is 200 dollars on ebay.

1/5/17

If you are a beginner, your first set of clubs should be from Play it Again Sports. You can get out of there with good second hand clubs under $1,000 for an entire set, mixing and matching.

Upgrades can come later when you figure out how to hit the ball straight. Once you break 90, go ahead and start looking at newer equipment.

1/5/17

Yeah play it again isn't too bad at all. I like ebay or callaway pre-owned because you can find what you need easier. Ex: 712 AP2 irons 1 degree upright.

1/5/17

Ebay is definitely easier if you have a brand in mind. Oh, the power of the internet.

1/5/17

deleted - someone just mentioned the site below...

1/11/17

Ebay is the greatest golf site on the internet. You just need patience and you can get whatever you need on the low low

1/5/17

https://globalgolf.com/articles/how-to-buy-a-b...
Good website to buy quality clubs on the cheap if you're looking. Also google 2nd swing golf.

Great clubs that are older but known for quality-

Irons- Nike Pro Combo
Driver- Titleist 905 T, S or R
Fairway wood- Taylormade V steel

1/6/17

I game a 913 D3 8.5 but I'm not quite sure if I'd say titleist makes clubs for the beginning golfer. A cheap driver that is still pretty good and as old as the 905 would be the r7,

1/6/17

Both would be fine for the beginner level, the Titleist mentioned or the Taylormade r7 sell on ebay around $40-$50. If you're just starting out, the difference between those two is mute.

As you stated, just don't buy blade. Also, if you can, buy an iron set that replaces the 3 and 4 iron with hybrids. In addition, be sure to get a three wood that you like and can hit. A quality 3 wood is a great backup for the driver and when you need to find a fairway.

1/6/17

Interesting post. Looking forward to the next golf related ones.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

1/6/17

3balls.com 'nuff said

1/6/17

BTW if there are any other specific topics you guys are interested in just pm me or comment on here or my other golf threads.

1/7/17

ive played for a year or so but am super inconsistent, and a lot of times the difference between front 9 and back 9 is like > 10 strokes. ive gotten a few lessons and gotten a lot better but the strokes havent come down either. any ideas?

1/6/17

kirkland signature is where its at

1/7/17

SB! Unfortunately those Kirk sigs haven't made their way up to Canada yet :(

1/7/17

Just looked those up and I'm impressed with the data. I play the prov1x but that ball is definitely worth a shot.

The link below shows data testing from mygolfspy.

https://mrfernandogreensite.wordpress.com/2016/11/...

1/7/17

Solid post. Looking forward to more.

1/8/17

Thanks - this is a great writeup. I'll add a few tips from my experience.

I strongly recommend Callaway irons. I used to have old Cobra irons but took several strokes off when I found a sweet, pre-owned set of Callaway X2 Hots for $300. I agree with OP's point about blades - cavity backs all the way! I've also tested out the new XR series in recent years. I think they've done a phenomenal job with their irons. It's imperative that you try out at least several sets of irons before you buy - and keep in mind the simulators used by most shops are pretty generous (they reduce your slice on-screen).

As for fairway woods and hybrids, I've stayed away from FWs altogether and just have a 3 and 4 hybrid from TaylorMade. My thought is, "you only need a driver swing and a iron swing." If you're hitting off the deck/fairway/rough, you swing like an iron, if you hit off the tee, you swing like a driver (trying to keep it simple). If you can find the old RBZ (green and white), they're really great. Most places won't have them around anymore in the used section because they're so old (2012) but if you can find them, they're probably priced below 30 bucks a pop.

I also strongly recommend Titleist Vokey wedges. I think it may be the spin-milled face (my old Cleveland CG14s didn't have that) but the difference is night and day. I was able to find 3 pre-owned SM4s (several years old) for around $120 for the set. As with the other clubs, trying them first is imperative, and I prefer better feel over better "stats" on the launch monitor.

I use an ugly, large mallet putter that has two horizontal rails that help guide my eye and line up my putt. I would also recommend the fat Super Stroke grips - I've found them to really help with wrist noise in my putting motion.

1/8/17

How much time could you possibly have to devote to Golf? This just sounds like buying some shit you'll use twice and try to talk about endlessly.

1/8/17

You assume that everyone on this forum lives in NY and works 90+ hours a week. It's 3-5 hours for one round and 1-1.5 hours for a driving range session. I'd say that most people on this forum who aren't at a BB or MF can easily play a round or go to the range 2-4 times a month. Of course, you will get better much faster if you were able to do this 8-12 times a month.

1/8/17

No, I'm assuming that people on this forum have a life that demands a shitload of their time.

Ok so 4hrs for a round of golf + an hour of travel (for the vast majority of people) each way and then 1hr total of getting ready and changing when you get back....a 7ish hour activity. Weekdays are out. Which weekend day are you going to fork over for a 7hr activity? An activity that you realistically won't bring your wife too...and then spend the other day running around doing what she wants. How often are you and your friends realistically going to be able to coordinate a time for golf? Once a month? But only during which months?

I know people do it, but in my experience it always sounded like a better idea than it really was. Just throwing that out there.

1/8/17
  1. I know nobody who drives an hour to get to their local course but then again I'm not in LA. Most people are 10-15 minutes away from a course in my fairly decent sized hometown.
  2. People who work and play a full 18 during the day are usually either lawyers or financial advisors who have more control of their schedule (or they're retired).
  3. In the summer it is much easier to get a weekday round in at 5 and play until 8 because there aren't as many people out. This is why some of the best golfers I know are school-teachers. Most guys I know play more on Saturday than Sunday. Lastly, the driving range or lighted 9 hole course are always an option to get some golf in late at night.
  4. Don't really have too much experience with that since I'm not getting married anytime soon but I have been on golf dates before on the driving range. Tons of golf courses have good bars too.
  5. That's why you make friends on the course near you. There are tons of golfaholics who play 8-10+ times a month.

I don't disagree with you. It is a huge time commitment but it grows on people fast. I mean how you choose to spend your time is completely on you. Some people watch TV 20-30 hours a week.

1/8/17

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1/8/17