If you have around $400 available and you want to get a high quality, complete set of golf clubs, then you’ve got lots of options.
I’m going to be honest with you here, because I think that’s what you want. As a beginner, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a set of clubs that is $400 and a set that is double or triple the price. You have nothing to compare them to, and you won’t get any benefit out of premium golf club, because you won’t be hitting the center of the face on a consistent basis anyway.
There’s a number of complete sets out there on the market just waiting for you to buy them. They all have their pros and cons, but they won’t come out and tell you them in an unbiased, honest way. We will.
As a beginner, there are a few things that you need to consider before making your decision on your first golf club set.
What to Look For
First, let’s talk about brands. When I buy most food, I buy offbrand. Why? Cheaper, and it’s the same thing as the expensive name brand food. When it comes to beginner golf clubs, though, you need to buy name brand clubs. Why? Because off brand clubs suck. They break quickly, they don’t hold their value, they feel terrible when you hit them, and (when you hit the ball on the center of the face) they don’t perform nearly as good as a name brand set. When it comes to brands of men’s beginner golf clubs, you’ll want to stick with the following: Strata (owned by Callaway), Top Flite, Wilson, and Cobra. It’s that simple. Don’t even waste your time with Nitro, Aspire, Precise, Palm Springs, Confidence, and other off-brand clubs… they are complete garbage. The club heads will break off quickly, I promise.
Next, let’s talk about the number of clubs that you need. Truthfully, with this being your first set of clubs as a beginner, you don’t need that many. You could theoretically get by with a driver, 1 fairway wood, 1 hybrid, a couple of irons, 1 wedge, and a putter. You don’t need a FULL, complete set of 14 clubs (14 is the legal max). Most brands offer multiple packages… one set with 11 clubs & one more expensive set with 14 clubs, for example. I would go with the 11 piece set in that example, because you simply don’t need a full set of 14 clubs. Take the savings between the sets and get yourself a lesson or two, instead.
Lastly, let’s talk about money/price. You can find complete sets for beginner men golfers ranging from $0-$1,000+. Yep, reach out to some family members that play golf and see if they have their first set of clubs that they don’t use anymore. They would probably love to give them away so they can make more room in their attic. On the other end of the spectrum, you can easily spend over a thousand dollars on a premium set of beginner clubs for men, like the new Cobra F-Max Complete set. This article will focus on the highest quality mens’ beginner golf clubs that you can buy for under $400. I’d recommend sticking to the bottom end of the price range, because like I said earlier, you won’t be able to tell the difference as a beginner.
So far, we’ve basically decided that you need a basic (not deluxe) set of name brand clubs as a beginner for your first complete set. And with that in mind, here are 3 great options that we’d recommend, all for under $400.
1) Top Choice: Callaway Strata Men’s 12-Piece Beginner Complete Set
Do you want me to make this easy for you? Ok, here goes. 95% of you reading this should just purchase the Callaway Strata 11 Piece Men’s set. It’s the best combination of affordability, performance, and value. Don’t wear yourself out over choosing the best complete set.
Callaway Strata complete sets are the most popular complete sets in the world, and there’s good reason. They are simply durable, decently performing clubs for a fair price. And that’s all that you can ask for as a beginner to the game. Oh, and they also hold their value pretty well. If you buy a cheap off-brand, when you eventually go to sell the clubs (when you upgrade or decide to quit golf), you won’t be able to get hardly any of your money back. Strata sets, on the other hand, hold their value well when it comes to eventually reselling them.
The 11 piece set has everything you TRULY need, and not a single club that you don’t. It’s got a driver, a fairway wood, a hybrid, 4 irons, a wedge, and a putter. The rest of the 12 consists of headcovers and a bag, so the “12” number is definitely deceiving.
The name of the game of the Strata sets is forgiveness. The clubs are designed to be as forgiving as possible. The clubs have lots of perimeter weighting and low centers of gravity. That results in greater forgiveness on mishits and higher launches to make it easier to get the ball in the air.
If anything at all, the only downside to this set is that it doesn’t include a sand wedge. However, the pitching wedge will be just fine out of the sand for now, so it’s really not a big deal. If you wanted, you can pick up a check Wilson Harmonized sand wedge for like $30 on Amazon.
Oh, we haven’t talked about price yet. The Strata 12-piece men’s set can be bought for nearly half of our budget (currently priced at $250, but will probably drop in price with the new Strata set release).
2) More Expensive Option (With a Sand Wedge): Callaway Strata Men’s Ultimate 16-Piece Set
For an additional $150 over the price of the 12-piece set, you can get the men’s Strata Ultimate 16-piece set. The Strata Ultimate 16-piece set includes an extra hybrid (and headcover), an extra iron, and a sand wedge. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the extra price. The 12-piece set will do just fine.
However, I suppose there is a small group of beginner men golfers that should buy this set over the 12-piece set. If you expect to never upgrade to premium golf clubs like Titleist, Callaway (not Strata), & TaylorMade, then this 16-piece set may be a better option. If you know this is going to be the only set that you’ll ever use, then you might as well go ahead and get the extra hybrid, iron, and sand wedge for you to use for many years to come..
Most golfers, on the other hand, would rather start off with a cheaper set to see if they like to game of golf. If they do, and they continue to improve, then they can upgrade later on to better clubs. So if you want to test out golf and upgrade to premium clubs later on if necessary, then the 12-piece set is best. But if you know that you’ll never want to upgrade, then you may as well be stuck with the set that has more clubs.
3) Another Good Online Choice: Wilson Profile SGI Set
Wilson has long been associated with producing quality golf clubs without breaking the bank, and the Profile SGI set is a perfect example. Coming in under that $400 mark, you get a total of 10 clubs in this set including driver, putter and various other clubs in between.
The main thing to mention about this set, and the reason why we have included it in this list, is their Super Game Improvement (SGI, get it?) Technology. Now, let’s not get into everything it does apart from to say that it offers greater distance on your shots thanks to energy transference between face and ball along with better control from the sweet spot. In other words, you get more yards and still have a better chance of landing on the fairway.
Also, Wilson has worked on the launch angles from these clubs. They know that as their market is primarily beginner players that getting the ball up and in the air can be tough, so they are offering as much help as possible, and we love them for that fact alone. To help, they have really pushed the weight aspect deep into the club head while also opening up the face as much as possible. This even applies to the sand wedge which performs exceptionally well for the price. This club also comes with a wider sole than normal allowing for more creativity with your shots.
Overall, we think that this set is a real hit, and a bargain for the price.
4) To Pick Up Today: Top Flite XL Men’s 13-Piece Beginner Set
If you want to pick up a good complete set of beginner golf clubs TODAY, then head on over to your local sporting goods store (Dicks, Academy, etc) and pick up the Top Flite XL 13-piece men’s set. The Strata sets are great for online purchases that will arrive in 2-3 days, but sometimes you just want something NOW. Like, if you found yourself part of a tee time tomorrow morning, or if you simply don’t have the patient to wait to hit the range/course to start practicing. Life be like that sometimes.
Depending on the store that you go to, you should be able to choose from lots of different color combinations. Personally, I like the red/white/blue option, but that’s just me. They also have super colorful options and camo options.
The Top Flite XL 13-Piece set is priced at around $250, just like the Strata set. With taxes, you’re still under $300, which is a heck of a deal for a name brand set that you can pick up today and start playing with.
This set doesn’t include a sand wedge either, so either deal with it (use your pitching wedge instead) or pick up a cheap one online or in store.
5) Most Underrated Set: Tour Edge Bazooka 370 Golf Clubs
We also want you to turn your attention to the Tour Edge Bazooka 370 set. This 11-piece set has actually been designed with forgiveness firmly in its mind, and that is awesome. You can expect to get a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, selection of irons, pitching wedge and a putter, so everything you need to get yourself started.
In order to make the clubs as forgiving as possible, they have brought the center of gravity down even lower than ever before. Also, they made the sweet spot bigger on the 370 set than others out there on the market.
Perhaps the stand-out club in this set is the hybrid, but let’s look at the driver first. With this, you get a 460cc head which also comes with a high moment of inertia. This means it’s more stable throughout the swing and strike, so there’s less twisting and less spin being created on the ball. In other words, you get more energy and more yardage.
Going back to the hybrid, it has a 24 degree loft, which is quite impressive, and this just makes it so much easier to actually hit the ball. The center of gravity also feels like it’s exceptionally low and really to the back of the club head, but it does feel very comfortable when striking. The club comes across as exceptionally well balanced and plays like a more expensive club rather than one in a set for less than $400.
It’s difficult to see a bad club in this set, and it’s for that reason that we have included it here as there are no complaints whatsoever.
6) Older Model, Cheaper Option: Wilson Ultra Men’s Full Set for Beginners
While we still feel that the complete sets we have mentioned above represent real value for money, let’s take things a bit further and push the price down even more. So, if you want to save more cash, then we recommend going back a couple of years with the Wilson Ultra set.
Now, they may not be the best looking clubs, but looks don’t help you strike the ball cleaner, and that’s where Wilson really does win big. This set makes it seriously easy to get the ball off the deck while the hybrid has a huge sweet spot that just makes you feel way more confident at striking the ball. Of course, this is due to the weight distribution being around the perimeter of each iron, so with the ability to partly correct those off-center hits, you can focus more on your swing and lining up your shot rather than worrying about the point of contact.
So, it’s easy to fall for the marketing hype for any brand name, but we want you to look beyond that and to think more carefully about your own game. In other words, these key points will make it easier to then decide if the set you are looking at is perfect for your needs.
First, what’s your swing speed like? This influences weight in clubs as a slower speed will be negatively influencing your yardage. Next, do you have a tendency to hook or slice your drives or long irons? Once again, this influences the clubs and how forgiving they need to be. Finally, how much control are you looking for with your clubs? Do you tend to create too much spin on your shots? All of this needs to be taken into consideration before purchasing a complete set.
Overall, we love the balanced feel of this set and the fact that their primary focus has been on the set having a more forgiving nature. Oh, and they do state that these clubs should allow you to perform more consistently when it comes to distance, and it’s easy to see why when you first get your hands even on the driver from the set. Also, if you get the 2017 model then you could pick it up for around half of the $400 budget, so it really is an absolute bargain.
So, what do you think about spending less than $400 on a complete set? Are you a fan or do you prefer to build your own set with a variety of clubs? Let us know below your thoughts on all of this.