Best Golf Clubs for Beginners in 2020

For me, golf is one of the most enjoyable things I can do with my time, and overall the sport is gaining tractiohttps://amzn.to/2tZMaqon. When I started out playing, I had to borrow my friend’s clubs all the time, and I struggled. Choosing the right set of golf clubs as a beginner can really influence how much you enjoy the game. 

When you’re just starting out, if the clubs you use aren’t right for you, most of the shots you hit will go straight into the ground. Frankly, the wrong clubs will make it tough for you to get the ball to go straight, let alone in the air. 

I’m writing this article to help beginners pick out the right set of golf clubs, and skip the frustration of using clubs that won’t work for your game.  

Our Top Picks:

The Best Overall:  Callaway Men’s Strata Ultimate Complete Golf Set

Close 2nd: Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men’s Complete Golf Set

The Best Value: Wilson Ultra Complete Set

Basic Golf Club Information 

What Constitutes a “set of clubs”?

According to the PGA rules, you’re allowed to have 14 golf clubs in a set. They all vary in length and lofts, which is the angle of the face of the club. 

Most beginner sets won’t include 14 clubs; you’ll find somewhere between 10 and 12 clubs which is perfectly fine to start with. 

Types of Clubs

Driver

The driver is the longest club you’ll have in your bag. It will have the lowest loft, and the biggest club head; both of these features are designed to help you hit a driver as far as you can. 

Fairway Woods

Just shorter and a bit smaller than the driver, fairway wood is meant to be hit long distances on the fairway. There are different variations, including the 3,5 and 7 woods just to name a few popular ones. 

Hybrid

The Hybrid is a cross between an Iron and a Fairway Wood. These are extremely useful clubs for players of all skill levels; they are much easier to hit when in the rough compared to hitting a Wood. These clubs will be similar in length to irons, with a larger head. A hybrid is very forgiving, and for that fact a beginner golf set will usually include a couple hybrids. 

Irons

A typical set of irons will include 4-Gap. This means you’ll be getting irons 4-9, as well as a pitching wedge and a gap wedge. The higher the iron number, the shorter the shaft and higher the loft will be. The 4 and 5 iron are considered to be longer irons, 6-8 are considered to be mid range irons and 9-Gap are considered to be your short range, or approach irons. 

Wedges

The sand wedge is probably my favorite club. It is the shortest with the highest loft, and of course is supposed to help you hit your way out of a sand trap. Most of the shots you hit with a sand wedge will be shorter, and you’ll be aiming to get on the green and get close to the pin. The sand wedge allows for a lot of creativity, because of how you can adjust the face when addressing the ball. 

Putter

You will only be using the putter at very close range, *mostly* on the green. You’ll use the putter to roll the ball into the hole, ideally in 2 strokes or less. 

Buying Criteria

Should I Buy a Complete Set, or Build My Own?

I think this needs a bit of explanation. To build your own golf set, you will buy the irons, woods, hybrids and wedges all separately. This route will take much more of an investment, but overall you’ll be getting higher quality clubs. 

On the other hand, buying a complete set makes your job a lot less complicated, and will end up being much cheaper. If you’re brand new to golf, and looking to get your feet wet without breaking the bank, this will be your best bet. 

Buying New Vs Buying Used

If you’ve decided you want to buy a complete set of beginner clubs, I highly recommend buying these brand new. Beginners typically mishit many shots, which causes wear and tear on their clubs. Ultimately, you might not be able to use a used set of beginners clubs for very long. 

However, if you’re going the “build your own” route, it will definitely be worth a look at some used clubs. You’ll be able to get them at a steep discount compared to sticker price, and you won’t notice a difference in performance. 

Forgiveness

The most important thing to evaluate when selecting clubs is forgiveness. When you’re just starting out, you probably won’t be hitting every shot exactly with the center of the club, the way you’re supposed to; this will result in a miss-hit, and will affect the outcome of the shot. A club face with a lot of forgiveness increases the area that is considered the “center”, so you’ll be able to hit better shots more consistently. 

More forgiveness translates to more consistent shots.  

Shaft Flex

The shaft flex that is right for you is really based off how fast you swing a golf club. If you swing a bit slower, regular flex will do fine. If you swing faster you’ll want stiff, or possibly extra stiff if you swing very fast. Choosing the right flex for your game encourages your club to be square when you make contact with the ball, producing a higher quality shot. 

The Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

The Best Overall:  Callaway Men’s Strata Ultimate Complete Golf Set

Callaway is one of the most recognized brands in golf, and consistently deliver high quality clubs for players at all levels. The Strata Ultimate Complete set has been a go-to set for beginners for years. This set is ready to hit the course on day one, and will give you every tool you need in the bag. This set has a slightly higher price tag than other sets, but has a bit more diversity in the woods/hybrids which give it an edge over the competition. 

At a Glance:

  • This set has 11 clubs a lightweight bag, and 4 headcovers for woods/hybrids
  • Set includes:  3 wood, 4 and 5 hybrid, 6 to 9 irons, Pitching Wedge and Sand Wedge
  • Full titanium Driver has a large sweet spot to maximize accuracy and distance
  • The set features a standing carry bag as well as 4 headcovers for all woods/hybrids
  • All clubs are optimized for ball flight, accuracy and distance 

This set is a great option with a great price. The diversity in the woods and hybrids is appealing and mirrors a set that you’d see most seasoned golfers use. The set could be improved by adding a 4 and 5 iron. It is also worth noting that while it is a Callaway product, the Callaway brand name and logo are not featured anywhere on the bag or clubs, instead they are logoed with “Strata”.  Overall, this set will be useful for those just getting into the sport and provides plenty of forgiveness. 

Close 2nd: Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men’s Complete Golf Set

As a powerhouse in sports equipment, it should not be surprising that Wilson makes a great set of clubs. Wilson features about 4-5 complete golf sets that are tailored to beginners, but this one stood out with some of the highest quality clubs for a beginner.

At a Glance:

  • Includes 10 clubs, golf bag and headcovers for driver and woods
  • Fairway 5 wood and 5 hybrid are both easier to hit than 3 or 4 wood/hybrid
  • Includes 6-9 Iron, Pitching Wedge Sand Wedge and Putter
  • Somewhat customizable set, as there is an option for either standard or tall based on the player’s height
  • Low center of gravity irons allows for more accurate and longer shots
  • Sleek design and convenient light carry bag

For someone just starting out, I find it hard to see a downside to this set. There are only a few clubs missing that could help out, such as the Gap Wedge or an additional hybrid.

The Best Value: Wilson Ultra Complete set

Another great set from Wilson, the Wilson Ultra Complete set is cheaper than many singular golf clubs! This set is a 13 piece set vs the 16 piece set SGI. With 12 pieces, this set has only 1 hybrid and no sand wedge, bringing the total clubs to 9 vs 10. This set is perfect for any golfer looking to get the best bang for their buck and still have enough clubs to hit the course, with no additional purchases. The only club you would want to consider purchasing is a sand wedge!

At a Glance:

  • Set includes 9 clubs, a carry bag, and 3 headcovers
  • Golf clubs include: Driver, 3 wood, a hybrid, 6-9 irons, pitching wedge and putter
  • Slim bag with a sleek design and 4 pockets
  • Forgiving irons with large sweet spot
  • All clubs are designed to maximize distance
  • Very affordable

This is a no frills set that has just a few less clubs than other sets featured. If you are wary of fully investing into a more expensive set, this is a great way for you to get introduced to some quality clubs. 

Value Runner Up: Callaway Strata Complete Golf Set (12 Piece)

The Callaway Strata Complete set has many similarities to the Wilson Ultra. The Strata set is just a bit more expensive, but features all the same clubs as the Wilson Ultra set. Again, this set has 1 less hybrid and does not feature a sand wedge. If you only plan on playing golf occasionally this set is perfect. 

Worth a Look:

Pinemeadow PGX Golf Set

While this brand is relatively unknown, they have put together a really sleek looking beginner set I felt was worth a mention. The woods are fully white and look like higher end clubs, while still providing plenty of forgiveness to maximize your round. The loft on the hybrid and the fairway wood are great for those who are new to the game to get the ball into the air more consistently. This set does not include a golf bag, sand wedge or putter, which is also a drawback. 

At a Glance:

  • Set includes driver, 3 wood, hybrid, and 5-9 irons as well as pitching wedge
  • The  wide sole and cavity of the irons encourages optimal ball flight and distance
  • White finish on woods 

This set has a great design, and is a decent option for someone who isn’t looking to break the bank, or someone who may have a couple basics already (putter, sand wedge etc.). This didn’t quite make our “Best” lists because of the lack of bag and the clubs missing. 

Wrap Up

From my perspective, as a beginner you can’t do much better than the Callaway Strata Ultimate set as it includes absolutely everything you need at a great price. Callaway and Wilson have a pretty big share of the beginner club market and have multiple sets that are offered, including a couple not listed. That said, the ones listed have the greatest value and highest quality product for someone new. 

Thanks for reading and good luck with the new set! Did you like this post? Check out our review of the best golf gloves this year!

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