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How To Buy Golf Club Sets

A basic set of golf clubs is all any golfer needs to start playing the game. Three woods, a collection of 3-9-irons, pitching wedge, sand wedge and a putter, are all that is required. As your game develops and you improve, certain additional, more specific clubs can be added to suit your abilities.

To start there's only one rule to remember: You can't carry more than 14 clubs in your bag at any one time.

Determining your ability level

Before buying a set of clubs, first determine your ability level.

The low-handicap golfer

A low-handicap player has a single-digit handicap, meaning he or she generally scores less than 10 strokes over par, or an 82 or less on a par-72 course.

  • Woods
    • The low-handicap player should carry a driver and at least 1 fairway wood, most likely the 3-wood
  • Irons
    • The low-handicap player will benefit from lower irons in his bag, because the three or four-iron is a difficult club to hit but can be very useful if it can be controlled
  • Wedges
    • A minimum of 3 wedges--sand wedge, pitching wedge and either a lob wedge or approach wedge--in their bags, with a maximum 4-degree difference between each one

The mid-handicap golfer

The mid-handicap golfer plays "bogey golf," meaning his or her score averages out to 1 over par on each hole, or somewhere in the 11-20 handicap range.

  • Woods
    • In addition to the driver and a 3-wood and a 5-wood, consider adding a 7-wood or even a 9-wood. These fairway woods give much better control and consistency than the harder to hit long irons.
  • Irons
    • Usually only a 3 through 9 are recommended, since the 2-iron is very difficult to hit consistently
  • Wedges
    • Three different wedges are recommended- pitching wedge, sandwedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge

The high-handicap golfer

The high-handicap golfer is either a beginner or has not had the time to hone his game to reach the mid-handicap level. The high-handicapper usually shoots close to or over 100.

  • Woods
    • You may not even want to have a driver in your bag. Instead, go with the 3-wood as your off-the-tee wood and add the easier-to-hit 7- and 9-wood.
  • Wedges
    • Up to 3 wedges - pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedges - should be carried

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Determining a basic set

While there are variations, golfers buying a basic set of clubs should include the following:

2 or 3 woods

  • Either a driver and 2 fairway woods (a 3- and 5-wood are common)
  • Consider adding a 3.5-, and 7-wood

Eight irons

  • A set traditionally includes a 3 through 9-iron plus a pitching wedge
  • Many golfers are now not carrying the longer 3- and 4- irons for an additional fairway wood

Wedges

  • Sand wedge (55-57 degree loft)
  • Choose between a lob wedge (60-64 degree loft) or a gap wedge (50-53 degree loft)

Putter

  • Putters are usually sold separately from full sets to allow the golfer to choose his or her own style

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Buying a child's club set

Children just learning the game have certain requirements.

  • Children should not learn on an adult-sized set of clubs
  • Children should not use a cut-off set of adult clubs because the shafts will be too stiff

Starter sets offer child-specific designs

  • Undersized grips
    • Children have smaller hands and therefore need narrower grips
  • Length
    • Starter sets are usually sized for children under 10, for pre-teens and then for teenagers
  • Weight
    • Need to be light enough to be swung easily and balanced enough to simulate full-sized clubs
  • Number of clubs
    • Most children's starter sets have a reduced number of clubs, decreasing the club decisions they have to make while learning the game, as well as decreasing the weight of the golf bag
  • Irons/Woods
    • The lowest iron is usually a 6-iron
    • The driver is now being replaced in starter sets by the easier-to-hit 3-or 5-wood
  • Putter
    • Proper size is essential
    • Measure from slightly above the child's waist to the ground to determine an approximate size. This should give you the approximate proper length of a child's putter

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