“How do I find the best golf clubs for me?”
As you probably know, not all golf clubs are the same. A club that a professional golfer uses is going to be completely different than a club that a beginner golfer should be using.
Both the club head, the club shaft material (graphite vs steel shaft), and the shaft stiffness (from senior flex all the way to XXX Stiff) will be different. On that same note, they will spend a lot more on golf clubs to make sure that the clubs are perfect for them.
Pros and low handicap players will typically pay a lot of money to get “fitted” for clubs that match their setup, angle of attack, etc. This is a very complex and costly process that a beginner or someone that is not as serious about golf should not have to think about.
If you are decently new to golf and are looking for the best clubs for you, skip the fitting process for now and read on to the find the best clubs for you.
So, to answer the question ‘what are the best golf clubs for me?’, I’ll try to keep it simple.
To break it down in simple terms, there are five main variables that affect which golf clubs are best for you:
- How serious you are about golf: If you are not very serious about golf, the best golf clubs for you are probably a complete set. That way, you don’t have a pay more money to piece together everything you need. With a complete set, you’ll be ready to play on day one. It will typically include a driver, a 3 wood, a hybrid, irons, a wedge or two, and a putter. The clubs will typically be of much lower quality. However, this is not much of a concern because the golfer will typically be a brand new beginner or close to it. They will not notice the lower quality materials used to make the clubs. The clubs will perform adequately by all means, but the heads of the clubs will typically break much earlier than “brand name” clubs like Titliest, Callaway, TaylorMade, etc. Also, the feel, consistency, and distance will be lacking slightly.
- Your skill level: If you are a highly skilled, low handicap golfer, it’s best to get fitted for your clubs to make sure they pair well with your golf swing and setup. As a better golfer, you can get by with using irons with a thinner topline (top of the club) and no offset. You can also use a driver with a small sweet spot. If you are a lower skilled golfer, though, you will need game improvement irons (or super game improvement irons) and a easier-to-hit driver. I would also recommend a mallet putter for beginners, because the face is more likely to stay straight as opposed to opening and closing.
- Your budget: as in many things in life, your budget will greatly affect the clubs that you can/should buy. If you can afford nicer clubs, even as a beginner, then you should invest in some. They will last longer, will keep their value much better than a complete set, and perform better on the course. If you are on a strict budget though, I’d advise you check out my “Best on a Budget” series for the best value clubs that you can buy. I’d always encourage you to find the best value clubs for your budget. That way, you can spend less on equipment and more on actual rounds and lessons. These will have a much greater influence on you shooting better scores and enjoying golf more.
- Your age/height: this variable is highly related to the next one (your swing speed), but can also make a big difference on which clubs you should buy. A child that has the same swing speed as a senior golfer should still make sure they get clubs that are fit for their height. Clubs that are too short or too long can and will encourage poor habits when it comes to swing mechanics.
- Your swing speed: Your swing speed will affect two things: your ideal shaft stiffness and whether you need steel or graphite shafts. If you can generate a lot of club head speed, you will need steel shafts in your irons, and you should lean towards regular or stiff shafts. If you have a slower swing speed, you will play better with regular flex or senior flex graphite shafts, as they are lighter and will allow you to hit the ball further and higher into the air.
The Best Golf Clubs for Me (Men)
“Men” range from 18 to 100+ years old, so it’s hard to pinpoint the best clubs for all men. I’ll do my best though. To keep it short, I can sum up everything in three bullet points.
- If you don’t care a whole lot about golf and are just looking for a set to get by for a few rounds with buddies, just buy a complete set.
- If you see yourself taking golf pretty seriously but still want to save money, look for the best value golf clubs you can buy.
- If you are good enough or have the money to invest in the best clubs, get fitted by a local professional fitter or PGA pro.
Beginners: If you are a beginner looking for a complete set of clubs, I’d recommend you read my article on the best golf clubs for beginners. In this article, I suggest the best sets that can get you started ASAP. The sets will have everything you need, but they are made a little cheaply so that they can pass the cost savings on to you.
Budget Clubs: For a beginner man looking for better quality golf clubs to play many rounds in the future, please check out this Best on a Budget article to find the best drivers, woods, and irons on a budget. These are the best value clubs in their respective categories.
They were almost all reviewed as Gold Stars on the Golf Digest Hotlist a few years back.
Basically everything is hand picked to have the best drivers, irons, etc from a few years back that performed really well. Over time though, these companies have released many new, expensive sets, resulting in the older models consistently being reduced in price.
These are the models you want to go for. They perform nearly just as well on the course, but won’t cost $1,000+ of your hard earned money.
Now, you can take those savings and invest in a club membership or lessons from a PGA professional.
Seniors: If you are a senior man (50+ years of age), I’d suggest reading my simple guides for seniors to pick golf clubs for you. Here, you can read the best complete sets, drivers, irons, etc.
Golf clubs best suited for seniors tend to be graphite shafts to increase swing speed and regular or senior flex for drivers, woods, and hybrids.
Low Handicap Golfers: Searching for the best golf clubs for a low handicap golfer? If that is the case, do not consider the complete sets.
I would encourage you to stick the with ole trusty Best on a Budget series to find brand name clubs at half price when compared to original retail price. A lower handicap golfer will typically need a regular or stiff flex driver, woods, hybrids, and irons depending on swing speed.
For the low handicap golfers, if you have the money for it, I would ask around for the best club fitter in your area. You can then set up an appointment that will involve trying lots of different club heads and shaft combos to find the best match for you. In the end, you’ll be paying a lot more money to potentially save a stroke or two on average. If that money is worth it to you, though, have at it!
College Students: If you are looking for the best golf clubs for a college student, then all of the same rules above apply as well. If the kid in college is brand new for golf, I’d suggest starting with the complete set for beginners article unless you know they are going to play golf often for many years to come.
Otherwise, I would find a good value driver, woods, irons, wedges, and putter to piece together a higher end set that will last for at least 10 years.
The Best Golf Clubs for Me (Women)
If you are a women looking for a complete set of clubs, please check out this article to help you make the best purchase.
It can be very overwhelming for women to piece together complete sets, so I typically recommend finding the best complete set within your budget.
Women’s clubs are very similar to men’s clubs, except the clubs typically have shafts that whip more (are less stiff) to allow you to generate more club head speed. Iron shafts are typically graphite for this reason as well.
If you are a more serious female golfer that can break 90, I would suggest looking at my Best on a Budget Series for golf clubs.
They can be used by men or women, and are guaranteed to save you a lot of money on golf so that you can play more rounds. Stick with ladies flex or regular flex shafts unless you have a very fast swing speed.
The Best Golf Clubs for Kids
Kid’s golf clubs are surprisingly very simple to buy.
Regardless of skill level, height, and age, I strongly recommend the US Kids Brand golf sets for both boys and girls.
They have a simple to use chart to determine the best complete set for your child based on heigh.
As you’ll read in these simple articles, I recommend getting a size one bigger than they currently are so that the set can be used for a longer period of time.
The US Kids series are the best performers and even the best value golf clubs you can buy for kids. It’s not very often that a brand meets both of these standards.
If you can’t afford these clubs, however, there are some other brands like Callaway and Ping that offer great selections. Lastly, there are very cheap clubs that you can buy if the kids just want to try out the sport.
My best piece of advice would be to read over these articles linked above for boys and girls respectively to make sure you don’t waste money on terrible kid’s golf clubs.