Complete sets & super game improvement irons are for beginners. Players irons are for low handicap golfers. Intermediate golfers But, what do intermediate golfers and mid handicap golfers need? Put simply, they need a good mix of distance, forgiveness, and control.
This article is going to go through each golf club, discussing what intermediates need to be looking for. We’ll also offer 2 suggestions for each club: one for those with high budgets and one for those looking for a good deal.
The Best Driver for Intermediate & Mid Handicap Golfers
Drivers are the first club that golfers wants to replace. Golfers are always looking to gain a few extra yards, and intermediates and mid-handicappers are no exception.
If you are on the market for a new driver, you need to look for a good balance between forgiveness and distance. Intermediate and mid-handicap golfers need to hit more fairways. It’s that simple. Sure, the extra few yards would be nice, but more forgiveness in more important.
Best Overall: TaylorMade M6
Hands down, the most forgiving driver that you can get now is the TaylorMade M6. The new TaylorMade SIM drivers are nice, too, but the M6 will go down as one of the most forgiving drivers of all time. Remember: hitting more fairways is going to help your game than hitting it 5 more yards.
Intermediate and mid-handicap golfers don’t need a super adjustable driver. Hell, no one does really. The M6 has an adjustable hosel, but no sliding weights or crazy gimmicks on the club head. You can pick up a TaylorMade M6 driver for just $350 at the time of this writing, which is $150 less than the original (inflated) price.
Who it’s best for: The Taylormade M6 driver is perfect for an intermediate golfer looking to hit more fairways and hit the ball as long as any other driver on the market. The driver is still a little pricey, so only go with the M6 if your budget allows.
Better Value: TaylorMade AeroBurner
If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for the best value equipment. TaylorMade released any awesome set of budget-friendly clubs many years back with the “AeroBurner” series. Great performance at a great price – it’s as simple as that. Is it as long and as forgiving as the M6? No, but pretty dang close.
You can pick up a slightly used TaylorMade AeroBurner driver for around $100, which is a steal when compared to the rest of the market.
Like the M6, the AeroBurner driver is not adjustable. Simple design. Simple performance. It’s a driver that will hold up for many years, hold its value well, and save you lots of money.
It sounds a little high pitched at impact. But are you trying to score well or make pretty sounds when you hit the ball? That’s what I thought.
Who it’s best for: The TaylorMade AeroBurner is the best option for a mid-handicap golfer that wants a pretty forgiving, long driver at a great bargain.
The Best Fairway Wood for Intermediates & Mid Handicappers
Fairway woods can be tricky. Low loft + small heads = huge mistakes when not hit correctly. Intermediate golfers need to be looking for a super forgiving fairway wood. One that will not leave you with lots of out of bounds shots on mishits.
My best advice? Stick with Callaway fairway woods. They have super wide, flat soles that lead to larger margins of error, which is exactly what mid handicaps need.
Best Overall: Callaway Mavrik Max
What’s the most common miss for mid handicap golfers with fairway woods? A low, slicing shot.
The Callaway Mavrik Max fairway wood does everything in its power to allow you to hit high draws, if that is what you are looking for. They have weight distributed low and slightly toward the heel, encouraging the ball to start high and then slightly turn to the left (for right handed golfers). The weight towards the heel encourages the face to turn over easier, which should combat pushes and slices, which are caused by open club faces at impact.
As mentioned earlier, Callaway’s fairway woods are designed with a wider sole at the bottom. This creates a larger hitting area and larger “sweet spot”, especially for those that hit towards the toe or heel on a regular basis.
Who it’s best for: The Callaway Mavrik Max is the best fairway wood for intermediate golfers looking for a forgiving, high launching, draw-biased fairway wood at a premium price.
Better Value: Callaway XR 16
It’s been four years since the Callaway XR 16 was released (yeah, I think you know what the 16 stands for). You know what that means for you as a consumer? Lower prices every single year. With each new release that Callaway comes up with, the price of previous models take a dump. Yay!
The Callaway XR 16 fairway woods are super forgiving & super high-launching. Most intermediate golfers have a hard time getting enough air on their fairway wood shots anyway.
You can pick up a slightly used one for around $80 at the moment.
Who it’s best for: The Callaway XR 16 fairway wood is the best option for budget-focused golfers looking for a long, forgiving fairway wood.
The Best Hybrid for Intermediate Players
Hybrids are a godsend for intermediate golfers. The alternative (long irons) are difficult to hit consistently without practicing everyday. They are also hard to get high enough in the air to stop the ball on the green like you’d like.
Hybrids fly high, land soft, and are much more forgiving due to their perimeter weighting.
Best Overall: Ping G410
Ping makes some of the easiest hybrids to hit on the market. You are buying hybrids for their forgiveness, so you might as well get the most forgiving one out there if you can afford it.
The Ping G410 hybrid has a very flat sole, just like the Callaway fairway woods. This leads to more room for error towards the toe and towards the heel, which are sure to get lots of action from mid handicap golfers like yourself. Boom, roasted.
If you like to tinker with equipment, this is a great option. Its hosel allows for 8 different loft and lie combinations. More notably, you can add or subtract 1.5 degrees of loft.
It’s a little pricey at around $200. If you want to save some money, head to the next section of the article.
Who it’s best for: The Ping G410 is the best hybrid for mid-handicap golfers looking to buy the most forgiving, highest launching hybrid on the market today, no matter the cost.
Best Value: Ping G5
You’d be surprised what you can pick up for under $40. For example, consider the Ping G5 hybrid. You can find tons of them in good, used condition for under this price range. Are they just as good as the new G410 hybrids? No, but they are pretty dang close. Very negligible differences, while the price differences are HUGE.
This hybrid is around 15 years old now, but hybrids haven’t improved that much over the years. It’s mainly just the perimeter weighting that give it that extra boost of forgiveness that intermediate golfers are looking for.
Who it’s best for: The Ping G5 hybrid is best for intermediate golfers that don’t have much money to spend on an easy to hit hybrid.
The Best Iron Sets for Mid Handicap Golfers
Mid handicap golfers and intermediate golfers need game improvement irons. It’s that simple. Players irons are too unforgiving. Super game improvement irons are too clunky.
Game improvement irons are the perfect mix of distance, forgiveness, and control that mid handicap golfers are looking for.
Best Overall: Titleist T300
Titleist has changed up their naming conventions. T300 irons are now the new game improvement irons from Titleist, instead of the previous AP1 name. T300 are meant for mid handicap golfers that want forgiveness, distance, and a medium sized club head at address.
The Titleist T300 irons offer incredible feel & control, which is rare in a game improvement iron. The great thing about this iron set is that even as you progress into a lower handicap golfer, you won’t outgrow this set. The extra forgiveness compared to the T200 and T100 irons won’t ever hurt you.
These will set you back around $850, which isn’t terrible for a brand new iron set in today’s market.
Who it’s best for: Titleist T300 irons are best for golfers with a hefty budget that want a premium iron set meant to improve forgiveness and distance on all shots.
Better Value: Titleist AP1 (710, 712, 714, 716)
If you don’t have $850 to spend but still want to walk away with a nice set of Titleist irons, you’ll have to go back a few models. I’d recommend the Titleist AP1 iron sets. The models (from oldest to newest) 710, 712, 714, 716 are currently selling for extremely reasonable prices. The 718 model is still a little pricey. It will take another year or so to drop to a fair price.
AP1 irons are much more forgiving than their AP2 counterparts. They have more perimeter weighting and bigger sweet spots, which most mid-handicap golfers will benefit from. Intermediate golfers don’t typically hit the ball on the center of the face often enough to benefit from a players iron like the AP2.
Who it’s best for: Titleist AP1 irons are best for golfers on a tight budget that need a game improvement iron that will hold their value well over time.
The Best Wedges for Intermediates & Mid Handicap Players
Not all wedges are made the same. Many intermediate golfers are playing with unforgiving, blade style wedges because they looked the coolest in the pro shop. Little do they know, a more forgiving wedge with a little more weighting behind the clubface would make their mishit much more playable.
Best Overall: Cleveland CBX 2
The Cleveland CBX 2 wedge offers a great balance of spin, control, and forgiveness that intermediate golfers need. Unlike the RTX models that are simply too unforgiving, the CBX 2 wedges have more perimeter weighting to offer some forgiveness on off center strikes. Cleveland also offers even more forgiving wedges in the SmartSole wedges, but these are more-so for newer golfers, not intermediate golfers.
These wedges are around $140 new, which would be a little costly if you end getting a set of 2-3 wedges.
Who it’s best for: The Cleveland CBX 2 wedge is best for (high income) golfers that would prefer a larger club head with more forgiveness than a typical blade style wedge.
Better Value: Cleveland CG16
The Cleveland CG16 wedges are nearly 10 years old now. Compared to most Cleveland wedges, these are slightly larger and have a little bit more perimeter weighting around the club head to help with your mishits.
You can pick a wedge up for around $30, which is a crazy good deal if they are in good condition.
Who it’s best for: The Cleveland CG16 wedges are best for intermediate golfers that want more forgiveness than a normal blade style wedge, but without breaking the bank.
The Best Putter for Intermediate Golfers
Listen: putters are putters. You can putt with a banana if it’s shaped correctly and if you practice enough with it. I don’t have any recommendations for putters for an intermediate golfer.
Putters are very personal. Some may suit your eye really well, while others result in you missing every 3 foot putt with it because it simple doesn’t look and feel right to you.
I will say this very generally: mallet putters are typically easier to aim and easier to hit the ball where you would like. Blades putters can be harder to aim and hardly to hit squarely. However, that is a very general rule. Your results may vary.