8 Golf Essentials For Beginners (What You Need to Start Improving)

So, you’re looking to get started with golf.

Great choice! It is a sport that can be extremely rewarding and very fun once you get the hang of it.

However, before playing your first round, you and many other beginner golfers will be faced with one simple question.

What do I need to get started with golf?

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 8 golf essentials for beginners that are the bare minimum for getting started with the sport. Hope you find this helpful!

8 Golf Essentials for Beginners

1. Clubs

Needless to say (but I will anyway), clubs are the most important requirement for beginners when getting started with golf. After all, a round of golf without golf clubs is just called a walk!

But it can be difficult to know which golf clubs you should carry as a beginner.

Woods, irons, wedges, putters, shaft-flex, loft, grip – the terms used to describe golf equipment could fill an entire dictionary all on their own! This can be very overwhelming.

What Clubs Should a Beginner Golfer Carry?

To understand which golf clubs you’ll need to have in your bag, first let’s take a look at the different types of golf clubs that are actually out there. There are 6 main types of golf clubs:

  • Drivers
  • Woods
  • Hybrids
  • Irons
  • Wedges
  • Putters

Each of these categories of clubs is designed to be used for a different purpose. For example, drivers are meant to hit the golf ball off the tee and irons are typically used to hit the ball onto the green.

Of course, there are unique situations in which these clubs could be used in different ways, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll keep it simple.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) states that golfers are permitted to carry as many as 14 clubs in their golf bag.

However, as a beginner, that’s not always necessary. At the very least beginners should carry the following clubs in their golf bag:

  • Driver
  • 3-wood
  • 5 Iron or 5 Hybrid
  • 7 Iron or 7 Hybrid
  • 9 Iron or 9 Hybrid
  • A Wedge
  • Putter

You’ll notice that this totals 7 clubs, just half of the 14 clubs permitted by the USGA.

This will help keep you focused on improving your golf swing rather than overthinking which club you should hit.

As your swing improves, feel free to add additional clubs to your bag to fill in any gaps in distance you might begin to notice.

What to Look For When Buying Beginner Golf Clubs

Now that you know the basic golf clubs you’ll need in your bag, let’s take a look at the different components to consider when buying golf clubs:

Shaft

The shafts on the golf clubs you choose to buy can have a major impact on how easy they will be to use.

As a beginner, you’re still learning the motion of the golf swing. This means you’ll probably have a slower swing speed compared to someone who has been golfing for several years.

That’s why most beginners will benefit from using golf shafts with more flex. This will help you feel the golf club more during the swing, and help you hit the ball a little further.

Clubhead

The clubhead will change depending on the type of player it is designed for. For example, some golf club heads are designed to be more forgiving. This means that you will be able to get away with shots that do not make contact with the center of the clubface.

When selecting clubs, beginners should stay away from “players clubs” or “tour models.”

Grip

The grip is largely a matter of personal preference. It’s important that you choose one made out of a material that feels comfortable. There are many different options.

If you have large hands, you can also purchase grips that are thicker. This will make it much easier for you to control the club throughout the swing.

Price

As with any purchase, price is one of the most important factors to consider.

If you’re a beginner, you’re probably not going to want to break the bank on a new set. Instead, I’d recommend going with a set of clubs that’s a few years old. 

Sun glaring off used set of beginner golf clubs

There are plenty of places where you can buy used clubs that are in fantastic condition. For example, globalgolf.com has an enormous selection of both new and used golf clubs that are available for purchase online.

Clubs purchase from their site include:

  • Flexible Shipping Options
  • 60-Day Return Window
  • Wide Selection of Top Brands
  • 6-point Inspection Process
  • 1-Year Limited Warranty

Click here to browse used golf clubs. 

You could even buy a new set, just from a previous model. Large retailers will often sell clubs that have never been used at a steep discount to make room for the new inventory coming in.

For example, they might have a clearance sale to get rid of 2019 models before the 2020 shipment arrives.

If you’re interested in learning about more ways to save money on golf, we’ve distilled our top 18 money-saving tips for golf into this post.

2. Golf Bag

Once you have a set of clubs, you’re going to need a golf bag to put them in. There are 2 main types of golf bags:

Carry Bags – This is the best option for those who are planning on walking the golf course. Carry-bags are much lighter than cart bags and will have legs that allow you to stand the bag up when you stop to hit a shot.

***Tip: Test out the straps of the bag before you buy it. An 18-hole round of golf requires you to walk 3-4 miles. That’s a long time to be carrying clubs on your back and you want to make sure the straps on your bag are comfortable and adjust nicely to your body. 

You might also want to invest in a pull cart. This way you can still get the exercise from walking the course, without compromising the health of your back.

Cart Bag – If you know you’re always going to be riding in a cart, a cart bag is your best option. These bags are typically much larger than carry bags and have a lot more room for golf balls, tees, and other supplies.

However, if you’re unsure if you’ll be using a cart or walking, go with a carry bag.

They still fit nicely on the back of a golf cart. The last thing you want is to be stuck lugging a heavy cart bag around the course.

Setting Up Your Golf Bag

Now you have your golf clubs and golf bag, but how should you organize it?

This will depend on the bag. For example, some of the newer models will have 14 pockets – one for each club.

If this is the case, simply put one club in each slot. It’s also helpful to organize them by club type so you know if one is missing. For example, keep all of your irons close together rather than just adding your irons, woods, and putter at random.

Other golf bags will have less than 14 compartments.

If this is the case, you might need to group a few clubs together in the same slot. Again, make sure you keep similar clubs together.

3. Golf Shoes

Golf shoes are important for beginners and advanced golfers alike because they help provide traction. If you try to use regular shoes on the course, you’re going to be sliding all over the place, especially if the grass is wet.

Not only does this look silly, but it also prevents you from making a consistent golf swing.

When buying golf shoes, comfort is the number one priority. Even if you’re going to be riding a cart, you’ll still need to walk from the cart path to your ball. A 4-5 hour round in shoes that hurt your feet is the last thing you want.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the shoes you buy are water-resistant. There’s nothing worse than having wet socks for the entire round because you stepped in a puddle!

4. Proper Golf Attire

Most golf courses enforce a dress code. This makes it important to have proper golf attire. Here are a few articles of golf clothing that are considered okay for use on the golf course:

What Should Men Wear on the Golf Course?

  • Long pants with belt loops
  • Dress shorts
  • Collared golf shirts
  • Rain jackets
  • Belts

What Should Women Wear on the Golf Course?

  • Golf-shirts with an acceptable level of modesty
  • Dress shorts
  • Golf skirts
  • Capris
  • Rain jackets

What Not To Wear on the Golf Course

  • Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Tank-tops
  • Tube-tops
  • Hoodies
  • Clothing with offensive designs
  • Short shorts
  • Workout gear
  • Cutoffs
  • Flip-flops
  • Street shoes

Keep in mind, these are just general guidelines. It’s safe to assume that at smaller local courses you’ll be able to dress more freely, while large well-known courses will have stricter rules for attire.

5. Golf Balls and Tees

As a beginner, chances are you’re going to go through a lot of golf balls. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend being too picky with the balls you use.

Many large retailers like Walmart will sell bags of slightly used balls for a very cheap price.

Or, you could stock up the old-fashioned way and look for golf balls in the woods!

Also, make sure to have plenty of tees to use throughout the round. Consider buying plastic tees because they are more durable and will last much longer.

6. Accessories

There are also a few accessories you’ll want to keep in your pocket during your round.

Ball Marker – In golf, it’s always the person who is farthest away from the hole who goes first, so you don’t want your ball to get in the way of their putt. Ball markers are used to mark the position of your ball on the green when other people are putting.

Most courses give them away for free so it’s always a good idea to keep a couple in your pocket. If all else fails, feel free to use a coin to mark your ball.

Divot repair tool – Sometimes when you hit a shot onto a soft green, it will leave a dent. A divot repair tool is used to repair the impression your golf ball makes on the green.

Using this tool is considered good etiquette because then you won’t be leaving marks on the green for golfers in the groups behind you.

7. A Practice Plan

Golf has perhaps the largest learning curve out of any sport. The technical nature of the golf swing means you’ll need to practice to see improvements.

Be sure to take some time to hit the driving range and putting green to work on your weaknesses.

beginner golfer practicing their putting stroke on green

But exactly how much time should you spend practicing golf?

This will depend on your goals and the amount of time you have at your disposal.

For a complete overview of how much you should practice (and how to know if you’re overdoing it) feel free to check out this article we created that explores this question in depth.

***Tip: the fastest way to lower your score is by improving your short-game (putting & chipping). In fact, the vast majority of shots by both amateur and pro golfers are taken within 100 yards of the green.

That’s why it’s a good idea to spend about two-thirds of your practice time hitting chip shots and putts and about one-third on the driving range working on your full swing.

8. Patience

I know, I know… it’s not as exciting as flashy clubs or stylish apparel, but patience is arguably the most important thing that is needed to start golfing.

Think about it – you’re trying to hit a tiny ball hundreds of yards into a 4 ¼ inch hole in the ground. That’s hard enough as it is, but once you factor in environmental conditions like wind and rain, the task might seem downright impossible!

To improve at golf, you need to commit to regular practice and accept the fact that it will take some time to see results.

Wrapping Up…

Golf is a sport with many gimmicks and accessories that can distract from improving the one thing that will make you better – your golf swing. This article provides an outline of the bare essentials needed for beginners to start golfing.

As you begin to improve, you’ll be able to find more equipment that can help lower your scores. But for now, stick to these essentials and focus on practicing the golf swing!

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