Ballpark estimate: $100 -$1200 +
If you are an avid golfer, you probably enjoy getting out to the links to play 18 holes on a beautiful day. But if you take your game seriously, you may be ultra focused on getting a good score. Having a great set of clubs—and getting out to practice regularly—can help you master the challenges of the course so you can ultimately shave strokes off your score.
A Time-Tested Sport
More than 25 million people in the US play golf annually, according to the National Golf Foundation. And while the faltering economy over the past decade has made it harder for some people to take up this costly sport, interest in golf today among the younger generation is still going strong.
Secret to Success
When it comes to golf, in addition to your skill and your patience (both key elements to success), having good equipment also makes all the difference in the world. The main thing you need for golf is a “good quality” set of clubs. But deciding what the right quality is for you—and determining what you will spend on it—really depends on your ability on the course, as well as your commitment, and of course what your budget can afford.
What’s Included in a Set of Clubs
When shopping for golf clubs, you need to know exactly what to look for. A standard set of clubs comes with irons (using 4 iron through pitching wedge). Some of the higher end sets of clubs also include a 3 iron, as well. Keep in mind that the putter and the woods (such as the river, 3 wood, and 5 wood) usually are NOT included with the irons and they must be purchased separately.
There are also specialty clubs that, once you get the hang of the game, you may want to add to your bag. These clubs include hybrid clubs that offer some of the best characteristics of two different clubs in one, and also lob wedges, which are most popular around the greens.
Just keep in mind that when you play golf, the rule is you can have no more than 14 golf clubs in your bag.
Where to Shop
There are many ways to buy clubs. Whether you order them online, try them out at a sporting goods store or golf pro shop, or happen to find them at a yard sale, having the right set of clubs can make a big difference in how you play. If you’re a beginner, you can go the used clubs route and get comfortable with the game and make sure you want to continue playing golf before you invest too much in equipment.
If you’re trying to budget for a new set of clubs, the most important question is what quality do you really need for your ability level. Most of the well-known golf manufacturers such as Nike, Titlelist, Callaway, and Ping (among many others) offer golf clubs in a range of price points. How much you will spend really depends on how good a club you need. For instance, if you are a golfer who gets excited if you break 100 on a round of 18, you probably don’t need the top-of-the-line clubs. But if you play scratch golf, then the investment for the right clubs for game can be well worth it.
Getting the Right Fit
Many golf stores will analyze your swing and fit you with the correct clubs. This is free of charge and takes 15 to 30 minutes. According to the Golfsmith website, the types of things they analyze include the flight of your ball, the speed of your swing, how far your ball carries and the yardage, and the spin rate, the measurements of your body, and more.
By having this information, the salesperson will be able to recommend the right set for your ability and this will enable you to get better results on the course.
In addition, the information can be used to help you determine the best stiffness you should get. Clubs come in different stiffness in the shafts, depending on how fast your swing is. You can select regular, flexible, or stiff shaft. (Note that the shaft type usually won’t affect the cost.)
Cost for Golf Clubs
A new set of good quality golf clubs that meet your skills level are well worth the investment if you’re a seasoned golfer who takes the game very seriously. Many weekend golfers who belong to a golf club can also find it worthwhile to have good clubs. Even if you’re an occasional golfer, you may find that having a well-fitted set of clubs will make the game much more pleasurable. For a new set of irons, you can expect the price to start at about $150. But for an experience golfer, a good quality set can be as much as $1,000 to $1,200 or more. Woods can sometimes be bought as a set, but often they are bought individually. An inexpensive set of woods can be found for about $125 to $150. A good quality set of woods costs about $600. If you buy your woods individually, then you can expect to spend between $300 and $600 just for one high-quality driver. A basic putter can start at about $50 and very good putter can be about $300 to $500 or even more.
New Vs. Used Clubs
One way to simplify your process and make your money go further at the same time is by buying used clubs from someone you know, through craigslist, or from an individual through some other sales website. This sometimes enables you to get the complete set (with all of the irons, the woods, and the putter included for one price) for as low as $25, if the clubs are just sitting around and the owner wants to clear out some room in the garage or attic. You can expect such clubs to be older and have more wear and tear on them, and they may need to have new grips put on them.
You can also shop for a used set at stores like Golfsmith and other pro shops for less than half of what you would pay for the same set new. (Just keep in mind that if you buy them through a store, the irons will be sold as a set that is separate from the other clubs described earlier.) An ideal scenario is when a person buys a set of clubs and returns them after a couple games for a different set. The store will still sell them as used even though they are almost untouched, and the buyer can get an especially good deal.
Custom Design Clubs
Some more advanced golfers will opt for custom made golf clubs. While this sounds like a very expensive route to take, keep in mind that non-custom clubs can also be quite pricey, too. If you pick a custom-made club that is not a name brand, you might get a better fitting set for your game for about the same price as a high-end set that you buy right off the rack, so it just depends on what you are looking for. You can spend anywhere from $500 to $1,200+ for custom-design clubs.
You also have to think of the additional costs involved in golfing which is the accessories. You’ll need a bag to carry your clubs. Also, balls, shoes, tees and a ball marker. These are add-ons that can increase your budget for clubs. Again, when buying used clubs they will usually come with a bag, but if not you can get a used bag for $20. Or a good new bag that can cost $100 to $250 or more. Shoes can cost from $25 to $250. Balls are $10 per dozen up to $50 per dozen. The beginner with a slower swing can use the inexpensive balls, but the well hit faster swing may want to go for the higher end ball. Tees are usually $1 per bag and sometimes golf courses will give them to you for free.