Golf. The game of kings. Tiger Woods. Traditions. Etiquette. Rules. Dress codes. Handicaps. Scoring systems!
It's seriously intimidating starting golf as a total newbie, no doubt about it.
But everything can be simplified to make life easier. And that's what I want to do for you as a beginner golfer looking for some guidance on the bare essentials for this enjoyable game.
Warning: There is no fancy golf jargon in this article, just plain English.
The most obvious item you need is a set of clubs. The easiest option is to get yourself a completed beginner set made specifically for beginners. They're well priced and contain everything you need to start the game. Check out my guide here.
The next and less convenient option is to assemble your own set. I highly suggest second hand clubs if you choose this route. You can find some great deals on 2nd hand equipment on the internet and your set could be made up for the optimal beginners set as follows:
Top priority - Cavity back set of irons
You can start this game with just a set or irons and a putter. You can have maximum fun for a year or two with just a set of irons. I promise.
A set of CAVITY BACK irons though. You do not want BLADE or MUSCLE BACK irons. Your jam is going to be the SUPER GAME IMPROVEMENT category of clubs. Blades and muscle backs have those solid looking backs of the clubs. Cavity back have that hollowed out look.
The first image is a blade - they are incredibly hard to hit. The second image is a cavity back. notice the difference between the backs of the clubs. Cavity back are infinitely easier to play with.
Cavity back are WAAAAAY easier to hit and with modern technology, it will make the game more fun immediately with a short learning curve. Anything made in the last 5-6 years will be fine. Here are some suggestions for maximum fun.
1. Taylormade M4 - older model from Taylormade but as good as the newest
I place most importance on your first iron set
The irons will be the things that determine if you carry on playing and the direction you take in your golf journey. Investing in the right set up front sets you up for an experience of enjoyment instead of dread or pain.
When selecting irons, I am pretty sure you will need regular flex shafts. Irons come in different stiffness. Regular, Senior, Stiff and X Stiff. While you're learning, you should use regular. Once you see your swing speed increase with confidence, you can still keep the same club heads and replace the shafts with something else under the advice of a pro.
Some of the irons may seem expensive, but I can say with authority, invest in a very nice set of irons first. Don't worry about the driver, the wedges, the putter yet. If you're going to spend on something to start with, get a NICE set of modern irons, I say this fo
- It is NOT fun to play golf with old equipment that is difficult to hit. You will not enjoy the beginning and may even give up. The old equipment (15+ years and older) is much more difficult to hit. My sister Teaski on my Youtube channel HATED golf when she was young because she got hand-me-down clubs that were OLD and difficult to hit. As an adult, she has bought herself a set of Cobra irons and LOVES golf because they're designed to help you get the ball airborne easier.
- You only need irons to start this game. Ignore everyone telling you that you need a lob wedge or a driver to truly have fun. Learn to hit the ball with your 7, 8, 9 irons and pitching wedge and you'll have a lot of fun. THE LOWER THE LOFT ON THE CLUB, THE HARDER IT IS TO HIT. The 7 iron down to pitching wedge are the highest lofted clubs and are easier to hit.
It's very important that you ignore anyone who tells you that you must play with blades or muscle backs to "learn to hit the ball properly" as a beginner and that the cavity back irons "cover up your mistakes". These people are generally idiots and they have made no progress in their golf game because their fragile egos are so tied to "looking like a pro" and not about what is best for their game. You will give up the game before you learn to "hit it properly" with a blade iron.
I assure you, play the irons known as GAME IMPROVEMENT IRONS or SUPER/MAXIMUM GAME IMPROVEMENT IRONS. You will thank me one day.
The putter is next most important. You can get from tee to green with irons only. But on the green, you need to putt along the ground. This category is up to you really. It doesn't matter what you buy and you will surely replace it in the near future.
Whether you like the look of a mallet putter like the Odyssey Rossie or a normal putter, just get what looks nice to you - half the battle of a golf shot is legitimately just liking the look of the golf club behind the ball. My putter guide here.
WARNING: For this club, it doesn't matter what you buy - old or new. But I would sincerely advise against buying something like the putter below. It's not suited for any form of golf since 1970. DO NOT BUY THIS DOUBLE SIDED PUTTER if you intend to play golf instead of minigolf.
Most modern iron sets do not come with a sand wedge and you'll need one to get out of sand and deep rough. It's a tricky club to hit but the manufacturers make easy-to-hit sand wedges aimed at you too. I have tried most of them to see if they really work and below are the best ones I can stand behind and feel happy to recommend to you.
The Cleveland Smart Sole will be in your bag well into the future. It's easily the best sand wedge club I have found for a struggling beginner or new player looking to learn the ropes of sand and higher lofted shots.
I know you. You're like me. You want that big dog. You want the driver to pound the ball far like the pros.
You are welcome to get one. I highly advise you do not in the beginning. But if you do, do not buy old stuff. By old, I mean, anything 7 years or older. Anything made within the last 7 years is going to be plenty good enough I promise. Look for models with words like "PLUS" or "MAX" or "OFFSET" in the name of the clubs.
These are usually the words they use for beginner or high handicap golfers. Plus is for plus more forgiveness. Max is for Maximum forgiveness. Offset is to stop the ball going WAAAY right.
Try get something higher lofted. Remember, the lower the loft, the harder it is to hit straight. Drivers are no exception. you WILL NOT be able to hit a 8 degree or 9 degree driver to start. You want a driver of 12 degrees loft or more and a REGULAR graphite shaft.
The Tour Edge E521 is so easy to hit and they have a 12 and 15 degree model so it's super simple to start hitting it airborne.
Wilson Launchpad is also a super easy driver to game and they have a 13 degree option.
Don't be the guy who buys the top of the range driver with the wrong shaft with 9 degrees of loft as his first ever driver. You'll regret it and have spent a lot of money on something you can't use. If you had a choice between a top of the range Callaway driver and no driver, I would go with no driver for at least the first 6 months.
If you made it this far, you're going to be happy with this piece of advice. Instead of the driver, get a fairway wood to start with. Remember, I said higher loft is easier to hit?
The same applies for fairway woods and you can see my guide on them for beginners here. Higher lofted fairway woods are easier to get airborne and easier to keep under control. They are a secret weapon and let me suggest something MAJOR.
Start with a 7 wood. This is the most unspoken secret weapon of any golf bag. Every golfer in their first couple years of golf should have a fairway wood with a loft of more than 20 degrees!
Cobra F9 is a 3-4 year old model which comes in the 7/8 wood model. That's going to be money for you to hit.
Tour Edge E521 fairway woods come in every loft you can imagine from 20 degrees to 27 degrees. You, as a new player, are to purchase a fairway wood with minimum 20 degrees of loft. Anything lower than that and I will be upset!
The golf bag is only for storing the clubs and using for when you play to keep them in one place. We want a bag that will not disintegrate within a few rounds but we don't need to go crazy with a fancy bag.
Decide if you want to carry your bag or use a push cart. Here is a guide on push carts bags. But if you want to carry, you want something lightweight.
If you'd prefer to push a cart with a cart bag, there are plenty of options. The best type of cart to buy is one with three wheels to make it pushable. The Clicgear 4.0 is so superior, you'll never need to buy another one. Push instead of pull carts keep you feeling fresh for the whole round. Pull carts tax your right shoulder and lower back too much.
You need to buy and bring your own golf balls to the course. While you can rent golf clubs and golf shoes at a lot of courses, golf balls need to be purchased yourself.
The best golf balls for beginners are used golf balls. Just buy yourself a big old bag of used balls because you're going to lose A LOT!
You'll need a collared shirt, a pair of slacks or shorts and short white socks with golf shoes.
Golf towels are those things you overlook when setting up your bag. Then you get to the course and you need a towel to dry your hands, to clean your clubs, to wipe your sweat away.
A minimum of two towels is essential - one wet for cleaning balls and one dry for drying hands. The Greenside Microfiber towels above come in a pack of 3. If you live in a hot humid place like Florida, you'll do best with three towels. One for the clubs, one for your sweat and one to put cold water on and hang on your neck.
Golf bags need a few things in the pockets to look after the course & yourself and others that actually make the game possible.
You need a pencil or pen to keep score on the scorecard.
Nothing worse than getting home after a good (or bad) round and lying down on burnt ears! Or walking around with that golfers tan at the swimming pool!
After my girlfriend found this Biore sun cream on a very warm sticky trip to Taiwan, I will never use another sun cream as long as I live. Thai and Indonesian sun has NOTHING on this stuff. I come home with no redness, no brownness, nothing.
Pitch Mark Repairer
As a new golfer, eyes will be on you when you're on the green and you need to fix your pitch mark. This is the true test to see if you'll be welcomed into the brotherhood of golf. Fail this by ignoring your pitch mark and risk becoming a golf pariah.
Check out this amazing pitch mark repairer by Waddaplaya Golf. Easily the most fun and stylish one on the market.
Looking after the greens and fairways of the course you play are your top duties as a golfer. Get one of these cheap little tools and use them whenever you make a dent on the greens and no one will ever hate you. Ever.
Plastic or wood, that is the question. I never use wooden tees. I don't trust them and I seem to hit balls Out of Bounds with them. You need to play with both to make up your mind which you prefer.
You'll need these on every tee to get the ball sitting perfectly ready for a great shot. These are really cheap but if you're stingy like me, you'll be spending half your round looking for abandoned tees on the course. Pride Golf Tees are the right height for all clubs. You'll be breaking a lot of these, so don't be shy in stocking up. Your playing partners will also love you if you have a few handy - because no one ever has tees!
Use these for marking your golf ball. I suggest only using Waddaplaya golf ballmarkers as they are perfectly colored so you never lose them. Copper coins will go missing because they look like blemishes on the green. Believe me, I spent a few minutes as a beginner looking for my coin when I used coppers!