Factors to consider when choosing golf equipment
You can't play golf without clubs. They're the most central element to this game, and choosing the right clubs is a matter of some delicacy even for advanced players. The club becomes an extension of the player's body in a golf swing, and that means clubs, like clothing, are not one size fits all. Taking some time up front to choose the right clubs can make a big difference in your swing and, by extension, your score. Think about these factors to narrow down your options and find the right clubs for you.
- Gender: Though there are often some aesthetic differences between women's and men's golf clubs, with women's clubs favoring traditionally feminine colors and men's focusing more on dark and primary colors, there are also important functional differences. Manufacturers work under the assumption that the average woman is shorter in height and has a slower swing speed than the average man, so women's clubs tend to be shorter and lighter, with more flexibility. Individual people may find that their playing style is better suited to clubs designed for the opposite gender, but this is something you can only learn through practice.
- Handedness: In addition to gender differences, golf clubs are also built differently for right- or left-handed players. Many players learn to golf using their dominant hand on the outside, swinging in the direction of their non-dominant hand. This means that clubs need to be oriented differently based on how you stand. If you are a lefty, make sure to find left-handed clubs. If your left hand is ordinarily your dominant hand but you learned to swing from the right, get right-handed clubs.
- Length: Though gender does play a part in how long a club is, length is still an important measurement to consider before buying. You want to really dial in the right length so you can get your swing right. The right club length is generally determined by measuring the distance between your wrist and the floor when you stand up straight with your arms hanging at your sides. Make sure you don't bunch up your shoulders when you take this measurement.
Basic golf equipment needs for beginners
If you're just starting out with golf and aren't yet sure whether you want to go all-in on the game, you don't necessarily have to make a huge investment in equipment. While even the most seasoned players may have different advice based on their personal preferences and experience, these basics are likely to set you up to learn how to golf.
- Gloves: Golf gloves aren't a fashion accessory. These are functional pieces of equipment that help protect players' hands from blistering. The gloves can also help you keep a firm grip on your clubs, which is especially important if your hands ever get sweaty.
- Shoes: Again, golf shoes aren't just an optional style choice. The cleats on the bottom of golf shoes make it easier to avoid slipping on the green, which is especially important when you're trying to get your form right. Form is essential to a good golf swing, so golf shoes aren't necessarily an advanced piece of equipment. You want to learn good swing stance right out of the gate as a new golfer, and the right shoes can help you with that. Plus, some courses may have dress codes requiring players to wear golf shoes on the course.
- Tees and balls: Many courses provide tees and balls for free, though it's best to check first and make sure this is an option before you show up at the course. New players are likely to lose balls and break tees as they learn how to take proper swings, so it's not a good idea to splash out for high-end designs when you're first starting out. You can start investing in more advanced balls and tees once you know how to play the game more effectively.
- Clubs: You don't necessarily have to buy a full set of clubs to start. Certain clubs are more important for basic learning than others, including drivers, putters, sand wedges and pitching wedges. You'll also need some woods for long-distance and irons for general-purpose shots. You can find hybrid clubs to take the place of individual clubs if you don't want to make a huge up-front investment. You'll also want to get yourself a golf bag with room to store things like water, a raincoat and even some snacks in addition to your clubs, balls and tees.