How to Find The Perfect Set of Golf Clubs Whatever Your Budget
LOOKING to buy a new set of golf clubs? Or perhaps you are thinking about investing in your first set? There is a perception that getting started in golf is expensive. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
The rules say that you can carry 14 clubs. But if you are buying clubs for the first time you really won’t need 14 clubs. And you don’t have to buy new clubs either.
A beginner will probably want a driver, five wood, utility club, five, seven and nine irons, a wedge, sand wedge and a putter. Nine clubs is more than enough. Why would you want to splash out on a full set before you know whether golf really is the game for you? And if you buy some decent second-hand clubs the chances are that you will get most of your money back when you come to trade up.
The first thing to do is to speak to your local professional and get his advice. If he is worth is salt he will be happy to help you and point you in the right direction in terms of looking for the shaft flex that is best suited to you. Tour pros use clubs that are fitted with stiff golf shafts. If a beginner tried to hit a ball with a driver used by, say, Rory McIlroy the chances are that he or she wouldn’t be able to get the golf ball into the air.
Most of you will want regular shafts. For your driver, five wood and utility club you should be looking for something fitted with a regular graphite shaft. The advantage of graphite shafts is that they are both light and strong. Depending on your build and age, you may also want to look for irons that are fitted with regular graphite shafts. They key thing is to hit a few golf balls with irons fitted with both graphite and steel shafts before coming to any decisions.
If you are a beginner, avoid blade irons at all costs. They have small heads with tiny sweet spots and are designed for use by good golfers - very good golfers. Spend some time watching golf on TV and you will quickly realise that even the world’s leading players generally favour heel-toe weighted irons.
Club manufacturers design clubs for specific abilities. If you are just starting out in the game or have a high handicap then you do not want to be playing with the same model of iron that Tour pros use. You need something called a game improvement iron. These are designed for higher handicap golfers and have a bigger sweet spot, which means they are more forgiving when you don’t make perfect contact.
Second Hand Clubs
Google is your friend. Head to the internet and do a search for “best game improvement irons”. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to buy the latest model. There are plenty of fantastic second-hand options out there. Just make sure that the grips are in good condition. And if you are buying from somewhere like eBay the seller has to provide pictures so you can check out the condition before you buy. Look at these images carefully before parting with your hard-earned cash.
There are plenty of sites offering second-hand clubs - golfbidder.com is one of the best and comes with full condition reports on everything it sells.
If you are buying an adjustable driver, make sure it comes with the relevant tool and head cover - this will also make it easier to sell. And beware of excessive groove wear when it comes to irons, wedges in particular. If the grooves are worn you will not be able to achieve any spin.
And take care if buying clubs that were previously custom-fitted for somebody else - the chances are that the lie angles on the irons will not suit you and will cause you problems. For this reason, you should also exercise great care when buying second-hand golf clubs, which come with a colour dot system, each designed for a specific type of golfer.
Buying a Putter
There is no right and wrong when it comes to buying a putter. More than any other club in the bag, the putter is about feel. And there are dozens of different designs. Try out a few until you find the one that feels right. Second-hand putters hold their value better than any other club in the bag because they all come with head covers and are not used for full shots. You will use your putter more than any other club in your bag so don’t make false economies. This is the club that is worth spending “proper” money on. And prepare for the fact that, at some point, it will go cold on you - and that is precisely why there are so many second-hand putters on the market.
Don’t be brainwashed into thinking that you need to go out and fill your bag with Titleist Pro V1s. These golf balls are designed to perform to their optimum when struck properly and at speed. If you play off, say 28, these balls will be wasted on you.
Don’t make false economies on items such as umbrellas, golf shoes, waterproofs, golf bags and trolleys. You really do get what you pay for. If you are planning to play all year round then you need to accept that you are going to be playing in the rain. If you pick up waterproofs that claim to be “water resistant” put them back down because they won’t keep you dry if it rains heavily. And don’t buy a cheap umbrella - when the wind blows (as it surely will), a cheap brolly will blow inside out and you will have to discard it. Make sure your sure are waterproof too - and don’t forget to look after them. Keep them clean and change the spikes on a regular basis.
If you are a seasoned club golfer looking for a new set of clubs you really should consider having them custom-fitted. You wouldn’t buy a new car without trying it. They are more expensive than clubs bought off the shelf but they will improve your game.
A custom club fitter will ask you to hit shots with your existing clubs and should ask you about your game, your normal shape shot etc. He or she will then get you to hit shots while using Trackman technology, which measures clubhead speed, shot shape, ball flight, distance etc. This will tell him everything he needs to know about your swing and he will be able to design a set of clubs that are effectively made to measure for you.
Too many of us use clubs with incorrect lie angles and grips that are too thin - custom fitters will measure your hands and ensure you have the grips that best suit you and ensure that the lie angles fit your height.
In short, buying golf clubs can be a minefield but if you do your homework, speak to the right people and visit the right websites there is no reason why you cannot find yourself a bargain.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)