Q1.  Can I rent a set of clubs instead of purchasing a set?

Many beginners would like to rent a set of clubs instead of purchasing.  Finding clubs to rent is almost impossible.  There are some places, such as golf schools and driving ranges, that have different clubs available for hitting practice.  For the most part, renting a set of clubs for beginners is extremely hard to find.

Q2.  Should I only purchase expensive brand name clubs?

Many beginners believe that if they don’t purchase a well-known “brand name” club set, they are buying junk.   The truth is, the well-known companies spend millions in advertising to make them a house-hold name. There are many lesser-known manufacturers who offer a nice beginner set. For instance, Walmart sells a set of women’s clubs manufactured by a company called Nitro Golf.  You might think this is a no-name cheap set. But Nitro has been in the golf business since 1973 selling great golf balls and endeavors to help beginners get into the game by offering a sweet entry level set of women’s golf clubs.

Q3. How Much Should I Spend on My Starter Set?

Plan to spend approximately $250 – $500 for a starter set of clubs. Most beginner golfers will shop according to price and that is perfectly ok.  Purchasing an entry level set of clubs with an eye to upgrading a few years down the road as your proficiency improves is very common. First of all, you most likely will upgrade your clubs as you improve and know how you swing a club. And as you become more confident in your style you might gravitate to a particular brand. There are so many factors that will influence your next purchase.

Q4.  Is it best to purchase a boxed set?

The experts have already done the hard work of putting together the best selection of clubs you will need to get you out on the golf course as a beginner. Typically, the boxed set includes a driver, fairway wood or hybrid, irons, wedge and a putter.  You will acquire a complete set of clubs sized according to your height, your playing ability, with the proper right- or left-hand orientation. Trying to cobble together a set of clubs thinking you might save money is more often than not, a mistake.  For example, mismatched individual clubs may be the wrong size, you might omit a much need club or you pick and choose clubs not suitable for your swing ability.

Q5.  How are women’s club sets different from men’s clubs?

Even though manufacturer’s design golf clubs that appeal to ladies visually, behind the pretty presentation is tremendous thought to delivering a starter set of clubs specifically developed for women.  Yes, there is a demonstrable difference between men and women’s clubs.  Golf clubs have three parts: the grip, the shaft, and the club head.  Most women’s grips are smaller due to their hand size. The shaft is usually made from a lighter, more flexible material like graphite to accommodate slower swing speed and the club heads are designed with more loft for ladies to promote ball flight.

Q6.  How many clubs should be in my starter set?

A starter set should include, at a minimum, 8 clubs – a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, 4 irons, pitching wedge and/or sand wedge,  and a putter.  Experienced golfers carry 14 clubs in their bag (the maximum allowed by the USGA). Don’t think you should start with 14 clubs — more is not better as a beginner.  It is best to become proficient with a few clubs than overwhelmed with too many. 

Q7.  The Boxed Set Advertises the Number of Pieces in a Box. What Does that Mean?

When purchasing a boxed set, take note of the number of “pieces” included within the boxed set.  That number doesn’t represent the number of clubs. Included in that number is the golf bag, accessories such as head covers and rain hood, as well as the clubs.  Make note of the number of clubs and what they are. Different manufacturers configure their boxed sets differently. 

Q8.  What is the best club “shaft” for a woman?

The shaft is that part of the golf club between the grip and the club head and is extremely important when choosing a set of clubs.

Most beginners have a lower swing speed so you need a flexible, forgiving, light shaft.  The lighter shaft enables you to generate more distance and control in your shots.  Ladies flex is the softest available so it’s important to not be tempted to cut down men’s hand-me-down clubs to save money. 

Shafts are rated in terms of flexibility (extra stiff, stiff, regular, senior, and ladies). Shafts with ladies’ flex are the most flexible and are designed for women with lower swing speeds.  These shafts are also manufactured with a lighter/flexible material such as graphite that enables you to generate more distance and control in your shots.  Having the correct shaft while learning the game is imperative since this will certainly affect how you swing a club.  Most men’s clubs have steel shafts because men have more upper body strength and speed to swing the club faster. 

Q9. Will my first set be my forever set of clubs?

 More often than not, the answer is no.  Most ladies getting into the game will choose an entry level starter set based on price.  After all, just like any new endeavor, there is always a risk that you decide golf is not for you.  Secondly, when you are in the learning mode, your set of clubs will take a beating as you miss shots, hit the ground, perhaps even lose a club while you are so busy concentrating on the game. It’s very common to purchase a set of clubs with a limited number of golf clubs included with the set and use these for the next 5 years or so as your proficiency improves.   There will be a time when your ability will surpass your beginner set of clubs.  As you grow into the game your style and proficiency will change.  The more time you spend on a golf course will give you a sense of what type of player you are and influence your next purchase when your proficiency improves.

Q10.  What does it mean to “buy the right size” such as petite, standard or tall?

The most common mistake beginner golfers make is to use clubs that are too short or too long for them.  Using clubs that are the wrong length for your height can affect your posture, causing you to hit the ball off-center, diminish your accuracy, and even shorten the distance of your shots.  As you shop for clubs, make sure you purchase the clubs that are closest to your height specifications.  Not all manufacturers offer different club lengths.  Shop around and don’t compromise and think you can get away with ill-fitting clubs.  Here are the recommended sizing options developed by the manufacturers available in different lengths to match the height of the player….

Petite             4’0” – 5’5”                 

Standard       5’5” – 5’9”                

 Tall                 5’9” – 6’3”

Q11.  Do I purchase a right-handed or left-handed set?

Just like any sport, it’s up to you to determine how you feel most comfortable hitting the ball with clubs. Don’t assume just because you write with your right or left hand, you should choose a set of clubs based on your preferred writing hand.  Go to a practice range that offers both right- and left-handed clubs and swing them, hit some balls.  You will know pretty quickly what you prefer. 

Not every manufacturer offers left-handed clubs.  So before you fall in love with a certain set of clubs, double-check to make sure a left-handed option is offered.

Q12.  Should my purchase be based on color/style I like?

Absolutely!  Golf is meant to be fun and a reflection of who you are.  Most ladies gravitate to a certain style and color.  Let that be your guide when choosing your starter set of clubs — there are so many color and style options available.  You want to look great on the golf course and an amazing set of clubs will help keep you motivated as you push through your learning curve.

Q13. Only the bigger clubs came with headcovers?  Should I buy covers for my irons?

As you unpack your golf club set, you will notice that headcovers are included only for the driver, hybrids and fairway woods. Protecting your larger clubs with headcovers will minimize clanging and banging and protect the paint from chipping as you transport your clubs.    So, why no headcovers for your irons or putter? The short answer is “rust”.  The irons need to be absolutely clean and dry before you put headcovers on or they will rust.  You will notice that most golfers don’t have headcovers for their irons.  Whether you decide iron headcovers are for you is a personal choice.

Q14.  Is it ok to cut down men’s clubs to fit me?

Don’t be surprised if someone offers you a set of used men’s clubs and tells you to just have the shaft cut down to fit your height.  Generally, this isn’t a good idea and will affect your ability to hit the ball based on your personal physical features. First of all, cutting the overall length changes the club characteristic such as making the club too heavy, or too stiff, and generally out of proportion to what was originally intended for that club.   Lady beginners need a more flexible, forgiving club and “cutting down” a men’s club will have an adverse effect.

Q15. What accessories should I look for in my boxed set?

When purchasing a boxed set, you will notice that the set may included “11 pieces” or “14 pieces” or somewhere in between.  This does not mean the set includes 11 or 14 clubs respectively.  The boxed set in that count includes the bag, clubs, headcovers and maybe a rain hood.

Q16. Which is better, cart bag or stand bag?

A stand bag is lighter with pop out legs that stands the bag up off the ground on the golf course.  It typically features a backpack style strap for those people who want to walk and carry their clubs for a round of golf.  The cart bag, on the other hand, features a wider bottom which can stand on its own on a flat surface but definitely not designed to walk the golf course unless you load it onto a push cart. Along with its wider base, it is a heavier bag with forward facing pockets for easy access when on the golf cart.

Q17.  Where should I buy my club starter set?

There are so many outlets to purchase your golf set.  Please check out my companion article “10 Best Ladies Golf Club Sets for Beginners from $150 – $500”  where I highlight the best golf club sets, who the manufacturers are and where to purchase your set. As you get closer to your decision about which set to purchase, do some comparative shopping by researching prices for the same set from different retail stores such as Walmart, Amazon, Golf Galaxy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s and Ebay.  There are so many places to find golf clubs. And don’t overlook going directly to the manufacturers web site where you might find more options available directly from them that the retailer doesn’t offer.

Q18. What golf tees should I buy?

There are so many different golf tee’s to choose from. I have tried plastic tees, brush tees, wide top tees but I always go back to the tried and true basics.  I have been purchasing my tees at Walmart for many years now.  In the beginning, you will need to figure out how high to tee your ball and there is a golf tee that makes it easy to visually see how you are teeing up.  Start with a nice inexpensive tee like the PTS ProLength White Golf Tees, 100 count for only $5.88. 

Q19. Are women’s golf balls required?

Yes.  It is highly recommended you use golf balls designed for women.  Women’s golf balls come in great colors but the technology behind the balls is what’s really important.  Ladies golf balls tend to be softer, have different dimple arrangements to allow for increased height and flight, as well as different compression ratings designed specifically for lower swing speeds, lower club speeds and to help you get that ball airborne and moving at a longer distance. 

Q20. Do I need a glove?

Yes.  You should wear a glove when playing golf and the key reason is to grip the club better, prevent blisters, and protect the grips from getting dirty.  The glove is worn on the lead hand and should be snug, but not too tight.  And definitely not loose. 

Q21.  Are golf shoes necessary? You should buy comfortable golf shoes with spikes.  When you golf you will be spending at least 2 ½ hours on your feet, maybe more.  And if you are golfing and the grass is wet, the spikes will keep you from slipping causing you to lose balance when you swing the club.