What clubs you need – Beginner vs Advanced Golfer

This question I hear quite often: “What clubs do I need? How many clubs? What am I looking for?….
Well.. that depends on your skill level. Let me explain this with my short primer on golf clubs…….

You are allowed 13 clubs (plus your putter) in your bag, for a total of 14 clubs. When you first start playing golf, you most probably won’t need to use all of them. I tell my beginner students that you  would need, at the least, the following:

BEGINNER Golf Set Makeup:

Driver, 5 or 7 wood, 6 hybrid, 8 iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge, putter.

DRIVER – You will need this club to advance  the ball off of the tee. However, all drivers are not the same! You will need a driver that has enough loft for you to get the ball in the air, plus the right shaft flex for your swing speed. I’ve see too many golfers with a driver with  not enough loft and too stiff a shaft flex for them to use. You lose distance and accuracy with improper loft and flex. If you see a great sale for a driver- there is a reason it is on sale. I had a student that bought one of those “sale” drivers because it was cheap – but it was way too stiff and he barely got the ball off the tee. I changed him into more loft, more flex – a lot more distance – and he was happy!

5 0r 7 fairway – I say use these clubs instead of the #3 fairway. I Don’t recommend a #3 because it has very little loft. Unless you have a powerful motion with your swing then it is not the club for you. Another way to put it. If you only use your #3 to tee off  – and that’s it – then you are wasting a better club you could use in its place. You probably will find that the #5 or #7 will get more distance than the #3. Because of loft! The #5  and #7 are easier to launch – thus getting you more distance than the #3.

6 hybrid – hybrid clubs are designed in such a way to make it easier to hit off the fairway and out of the rough. I would not recommend using the “long” irons  3-4-5. Use a hybrid equivalent instead. For beginners, a 6 hybrid will work. On the PGA and LPGA tours (probably  more on the LPGA), many use hybrids instead of the long irons.

8 iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge you will need an 8 iron for shorter shots to the green and for chipping. The pitching wedge is for hitting little pitches and chips from off the green. You MUST have sand wedge for the sand. (You can also use the sand wedge for pitching).

Putter – Choosing a putter is a personal preference. You want a putter that is not too heavy or too light; has a comfortable size grip, and looks visually appealing to you. Trying out different putters before you buy one is a wise move. What works for someone else may not work for you.

So as you can see, if you are a beginner, or do not play a lot of golf, or  have a tight budget- you don’t need all 14 clubs. At the beginning. But when you get better, a lot of players find that they have “gaps” in their yardages. So when that time comes – time to get a fuller set of clubs.

*Important note: It’s okay to have a different named brand driver than your fairway woods or hybrids. It’s also okay to have different brand hybrids than irons. BUT – do not mix hybrids brands and irons brands. Golf club manufacturers make their clubs with specific lofts for each hybrid and iron – and they match them (usually 4 degree increments throughout the hybrids and irons). By mixing the hybrids/irons with a mish mash of different brands with inconsistent loft gaps will make it really hard to be consistent in choosing which club to use and when.

The advanced golfer- 

This golfer is “advanced” because they have a solid swing foundation and practice their short games and know what club to use when. They would need more clubs because they would notice  the “gap” in their set – they would need a full set of irons. They have a driver that is the proper flex and loft for them. They also may have a #3 fairway, and maybe also a #5 fairway. They would use a combination of hybrids and irons. If someone like this wanted to get a new set of clubs, I would put them on the Trackman or maybe another launch monitor to find their proper shaft flex and club head speed. I would make sure the gaps in their hybrids and irons have consistent intervals between them. Every golfer is different. Thats why what one golfer uses may not be what another golfer would use.

In conclusion – if you are new to the game of golf and want to get a “basic” set of golf clubs – you don’t need to get the whole set. However, the better player is better off with a full complement of clubs because they know what each one does and they know who to use each one.

We at SchiavettaGolf are certified Callaway Club Fitters. We have 2 PGA Professionals on staff who are Staff Fitters. You can always contact us if you ahve any questions or to  schedule a Callaway fitting appointment.


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