The Best Golf Clubs For The Money (2021 Buyer’s Guide)

Your golf experts: Jordan Fuller & John Marshall.
Updated September 16, 2021. This article was thoroughly audited by multiple golf experts and coaches for its accuracy. You can read more about our rigorous testing protocol here.

The Rundown:

Best Overall: Callaway Strata Ultimate Golf Set
“If you’re just starting out or getting back into the game, you can’t go wrong with the Callaway Strata. It is an excellent set, with 12 clubs, including 2 hybrids and a wedge, and a bag – all at an amazing price. We recommend it.”

If You’re On A Tight Budget: Wilson Ultra Complete Golf Set
“This is the set you want if you are short on money. With 10 clubs, you get all the essentials, fairly good clubs and a bag too so you can focus on what matters: practicing & learning the game.”

If You Want A Single Driver: Ping G410 Plus Driver
“If you’re looking to start out with a single club to hit tee shots further & straighter, look no further. A tried & tested driver who stood the test of time – at an amazing price.”

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Getting into golf can be intimidating. If you weren’t introduced to the game as a child, you might look at all the clubs, the golf course and wonder how exactly it all fits together.

While I always suggest you take a few lessons at a driving range before you hit the course, even that can be tough: what clubs do you need at the driving range? Do you need a full set of the latest and greatest? 

In this article, we’ll look at the best golf clubs you can get for little money. 

Product Name
Best Driver
Our Rating
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway, #3, 15 Degree Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex
Our Grade
Rating 93.2 / 100
Rating 93.2 / 100
Rating 92.4 / 100
Feature 1
Easier to hit tee shots further & straighter
Twist Face Technology increases forgiveness for straighter shots
Heavy club head works well out of the sand
Feature 2
Tried & tested driver, a reference for the money
V-Steel sole improves turf interaction for clean contact anywhere
Classic, tried-and-true design
Best Driver
Product Name
Our Rating
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Our Grade
Rating 93.2 / 100
Feature 1
Easier to hit tee shots further & straighter
Feature 2
Tried & tested driver, a reference for the money
Best Fairway Wood
Our Rating
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway, #3, 15 Degree Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex
Our Grade
Rating 93.2 / 100
Feature 1
Twist Face Technology increases forgiveness for straighter shots
Feature 2
V-Steel sole improves turf interaction for clean contact anywhere
Best Wedge
Our Rating
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Our Grade
Rating 92.4 / 100
Feature 1
Heavy club head works well out of the sand
Feature 2
Classic, tried-and-true design

Last updated on 2021-09-17. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Product Name
For Golfers on a Tight Budget
Our Rating
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf Men's Strata Complete 12 Piece Package Set (Right Hand, Steel)
Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men's Complete Golf Set — Long, Right Hand,Red (Long)
Our Grade
Rating 94 / 100
Rating 89 / 100
Feature 1
Affordable complete set from reputable manufacturer
Excellent price point to get started and fall in love with the game​
Feature 2
Comes with 2 hybrid, sand wedge and a bag
Irons are quite forgiving
Best Complete Set
Our Rating
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Callaway Golf Men's Strata Complete 12 Piece Package Set (Right Hand, Steel)
Our Grade
Rating 94 / 100
Feature 1
Affordable complete set from reputable manufacturer
Feature 2
Comes with 2 hybrid, sand wedge and a bag
For Golfers on a Tight Budget
Product Name
Our Rating
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men's Complete Golf Set — Long, Right Hand,Red (Long)
Our Grade
Rating 89 / 100
Feature 1
Excellent price point to get started and fall in love with the game​
Feature 2
Irons are quite forgiving

Last updated on 2021-09-17. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

With all the different types of clubs, not to mention the hundreds of different manufacturers and price ranges you’ll find, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And you don’t want to pull the trigger and spend the money only to find that you paid too much for expensive clubs that aren’t right for you.

This article will help you figure out the best deals on the best clubs for each facet of the game of golf. We’ll cover drivers, fairway woods, wedges and putters, as well as a few complete sets in case you want to make one single purchase and be done with it.

Sources researched
12
Sources researched
Customer reviews
11,378
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
21
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Golf Clubs For The Money
(2021 Buyer’s Guide)

Here are the best golf clubs for the money:

  1. Best Overall: Callaway Strata Ultimate Golf Set
  2. If You’re On A Tight Budget: Wilson Ultra Complete Golf Set
  3. If You Want A Single Driver: Ping G410 Plus Driver
  4. If You Want The Best: TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Driver
  5. Best Fairway Wood Value: TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Wood
  6. Best Fairway Wood for Stopping a Slice: Cobra FMax 20 Fairway Wood
  7. Top Wedge For The Money: Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge
  8. Best Value Option for Wedges: Lazarus Premium Wedges
  9. Best Putter for the Money: Cleveland TFI 2135
  10. Alternative Option: Ray Cook Golf Silver Ray SR500

Complete Sets

Callaway Strata Complete Golf Set

Our Top Complete Set For The Money: All you need to get started in a simple package

Callaway Golf Men's Strata Complete 12 Piece Package Set (Right Hand, Steel)
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PROS

  • Includes two hybrids to replace hard-to-hit long irons
  • Comes with a sand wedge
  • Affordable complete set from reputable manufacturer

CONS

  • Bag is cheaply made

If you’re just starting out, or just getting back into the game and don’t know where to begin, the Callaway Strata Complete Set is an excellent jumping-off point. Complete sets like this Callaway Strata are here to take the burden off and get you onto the course faster.

With 12 clubs, including two hybrids and a sand wedge, and a bag, this is an excellent starter kit for those golfers on a budget. 

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If you don’t have the time or interest to learn about the intricacies of selecting a driver, woods, an iron set, wedges, and a putter, you can look into a complete set like the Callaway Strata. 

It’s like buying a complete tool kit – you get all the basics and then you can customize it to your liking once you’ve had some time to learn.

The Callaway Strata set has an especially nice touch in that it includes a 4- and 5-hybrid instead of long irons. 

Long irons are the most challenging clubs to hit. They’re so difficult that even many pros have stopped using them and opt for hybrids instead. 

I always recommend that beginners skip long irons and start off with hybrids. It makes golf more fun and reduces the learning curve.

My biggest issue with the set is the putter. The face is inconsistent to the point that two putts hit with the same pace of stroke wind up rolling different distances. 

It gets the job done well enough, but it’s the first piece of this set that I’d recommend upgrading when you have the time and budget space.

It’s nice that it comes with a golf bag, though it seems like the bag might wear out more quickly than the clubs. The zippers feel a little cheap, so be careful with them. 

It’s good enough to get you hooked on the game, and once you’re hooked, you’ll know exactly what components you’d like to upgrade.

Ram Accubar Complete Set

For Golfers on a Tight Budget

Ram Golf Accubar Plus Golf Clubs Set - Graphite Shaft Woods and Irons - MLH
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PROS

  • Wide-soled cavity-backed irons offer high launch and carry
  • 10.5-degree driver with 460cc head delivers distance
  • 12-piece golf set with sturdy stand bag, great for walking

CONS

  • No sand wedge
  • Only 9 clubs included

The Ram Accubar Complete Set is our choice for the best set for golfers on a tight budget. 

The set begins with the 10.5-degree 460cc driver, a strong club that offers distance with a wide sweet spot along the face. While we would rather see a higher loft on this driver, especially for beginners, the 10.5-degree angle opens the door for mid handicappers to use this set if they are looking to save a few bucks on their next set.

A 15-degree 3-wood and a 24-degree hybrid are also included in the Accubar collection. Both feature a low profile, great for getting underneath the ball and creating high launch with a soft landing.

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The main accolades for the set belong to the cavity-backed irons. Although they lean a little heavy, these game-improvement irons provide a strong approach to the golf ball with outstanding lift and marvelous distance. On shots from inside 150 yards, the set delivers high spin for shot-stopping power into the green. The set comes with five irons, starting with a 6-iron and running through a pitching wedge.

Rounding out the set is a mallet-style putter that minimizes twisting through the impact zone for smooth, straight putts. The putter also offers a large alignment guide, roughly the width of the ball, along the top of the head for easy visualization of the upcoming effort to the cup.

All of the clubs are held together in a first-rate stand bag with sturdy pop-out legs to anchor and balance the bag.

An impressive set for players looking to save money, the Ram Golf Accubar Complete Set is well worth your consideration.

Drivers

Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue Driver

Our Top Driver: Elite features, incredible distance

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PROS

  • The adjustable features on the Rogue are highly usable and create a great flight path for golf ball every time
  • Jailbreak Technology gives the Rogue one of the most forgiving sweet spots we’ve ever tested
  • Multiple options available on shaft as well as loft specifications

CONS

  • Expensive, but worth the trouble if you are serious about improving your game.

One of the most customizable drivers (and most expensive drivers) on the market is the stunning Callaway Rogue driver.

The Callaway Rogue driver is the model that the entire golfing world has been raving about since its release.

This driver is a marvel of technology with an aerodynamic clubhead aided by Jailbreak technology that keeps the club light throughout the swing. The Rogue delivered eye-popping drives throughout our testing time making it one of the best overall drivers we’ve ever seen you can get for your buck.

TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Driver

If You Want The Best: Simple, effective design, TaylorMade quality and a great price

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Driver Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 10.5 Degree KuroKage Silver
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PROS

  • Forged Ring Construction offers low CG with lightweight feel
  • Speed Injected Twist Face increases forgiveness without losing shot speed
  • Three loft options; 9.0, 10.5, and 12.5 degrees

CONS

  • Lacks the numerous adjustability options found on most modern drivers

The TaylorMade SIM2 MAX is our choice for the best driver on the market delivering exceptional distance with outstanding forgiveness. The driver offers several unique features that offer dynamic playability for mid and low handicappers looking to increase their length off the tee box.

Starting with the Forged Ring Construction, the SIM2 MAX offers a lightweight feel throughout the swing. The crown, made from strong aluminum, benefits from the reduced weight ramping up the swing speed with exceptional force.

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Another worthwhile feature on the SIM2 MAX is the 24-gram tungsten weight on the rear of the head. Placed low along the sole, the weight maximizes the MOI for minimal twisting. The tungsten weight also increases launch and reduces side spin for straighter drives that find the fairway with more regularity.

An aerodynamic head also allows the SIM2 MAX to move smoothly through the air with reduced drag. The rounded sole works in unison with the crown to maximize club speed to the golf ball. 

The driver’s Speed Injected Twist Face also boosts ball speed with the curvature of the face redirecting the drive toward the target line with maximum velocity. Even on shots that leak toward the toe, the SIM2 MAX powers the ball down the fairway with strength.

A Split Mass Weighting is another new feature on the revamped driver. The TPS weight, located toward the sole of the club, weighs 16 grams helping increase forgiveness while minimizing the side spin that causes slices and hooks.

Great for mid and low handicappers, the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX driver is the best driver on the market, easily helping players power the golf ball with better consistency and accuracy.

Fairway Woods

TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Wood

Best Fairway Wood Value

TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway, #3, 15 Degree Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex
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PROS

  • Twist Face Technology increases forgiveness for straighter shots
  • V-Steel sole improves turf interaction for clean contact anywhere
  • Composite Carbon Crown offers lightweight feel and response

CONS

  • White shaft and head isn’t for everyone
  • Shots sometimes balloon into the wind

The TaylorMade SIM MAX Fairway Wood delivers marvelous performance as the golf ball simply jumps off the face with each swing. Along with its affordable price, this TaylorMade fairway wood offers reliability and consistency to help any player starting their golfing journey. 

Along with the rounded shape and low profile that easily glides across the turf, the V-Steel sole delivers clean contact to the golf ball with high launch and soft landing.

The main features of the SIM MAX include the company’s patented Thru-Slot Speed Pocket for increased flexibility, ultra-low CG for higher launch with maximum ball speed, and C300 steel face construction for high-performance power directed straight to the golf ball.

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The low center-of-gravity cannot be understated either as it helps lift the ball when sitting on the fairway. Even if you like teeing off with your fairway wood, the SIM MAX will continue to provide exceptional launch and distance.

The Thru-Slot Speed Pocket remains a standout in all TaylorMade clubs and here in the SIM MAX, the feature helps maintain speed on off-center hits. If your shot finds its way toward the toe, the Speed Pocket keeps the shot straight with dazzling velocity.

The best feature of the SIM MAX is the Twist Face Technology. The curved face on this fairway wood might look a little strange at first glance, but we can assure you that the shape actually helps you on off-center strikes.

Instead of watching the ball go off-target, the Twist Face redirects the ball toward the target with minimal side spin for straighter shotmaking.

Great for mid and low handicappers, the TaylorMade SIM MAX produces wonderful performance along with its lower cost for outstanding value that will last for many years to come.

Cobra FMax 20 Fairway Wood

BBest Fairway Wood for Stopping a Slice

Cobra Golf 2020 Airspeed Fairway 7W Black-Blue (Men's, Right Hand, Reg Flex, 23.0)
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PROS

  • Carbon crown produces forgiveness and extra distance
  • Lightweight design helps high handicappers increase swing speed
  • Low profile with rounded leading edge that improves turf interaction

CONS

  • Clunky looks
  • Not as much resale value

From Cobra comes the FMax 20, our choice for the best fairway wood to help you stop a slice. Featuring a lightweight design and an offset, golfers struggling to hit straight shots with their fairway wood will find better consistency with the FMax 20.

Cobra has installed a light Carbon Fiber Crown that saves 10 grams in weight, moving it instead to the back rear of the head for a lower center-of-gravity. With the wood’s lower profile and deep CG, golfers can easily hit high arcing shots from the fairway with softer, more accurate landing.

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A back/heel weighting design also helps reduce the slice that plagues too many beginning golfers and high handicappers. The weight helps close the face of the FMax 20, returning it back to square for straighter shotmaking, even if you use the fairway wood on the tee box.

The weighting works in concert with the club’s offset hosel to further reduce the side spin that causes slicing. The offset allows golfers to get a clear look at the golf ball at address, also helping with alignment for clear targeting on the hole’s layout.

One of the big reasons why the FMax 20 increases swing speed is because the shaft is 5 gram lighter than the previous versions, allowing golfers to dial up the MPHs for maximum distance. 

The fairway wood comes in three different loft options, starting with a 3-wood at 15 degrees, a 5-wood at 20 degrees, and finally, a 7-wood at 23 degrees.

For inexperienced golfers, the Cobra FMax 20 can minimize the wayward shots that blow up a scorecard, instead providing better reliability from the fairway.

Wedges

Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge

Our Top Wedge For The Money: Solid performance from a reliable brand

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PROS

  • Heavy club head works well out of the sand
  • Classic, tried-and-true design

CONS

  • Cheap-feeling grip
  • Chrome finish wears off quickly

The grooves are nice and tight and put more than enough backspin on the ball to keep it on the green. I was even able to “pull the string” and spin some full shots back.

Either way, you’re going to need a wedge you can trust. The Wilson Harmonized wedge is a classic, tried-and-true design that comes at a very attractive price. 

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You can get a gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge for about the same price as you’d normally pay for a single wedge.

Of course, wedges are only as good as the shots they produce. Fortunately, the Wilson Harmonized wedge is a very useful club. 

The club head is on the heavy side, which I found helped with both greenside chipping and with sand shots.

I could write an entire article — heck, maybe even a whole book — about hitting good sand shots. But it boils down to this: use the “bounce” of the wedge to slide the club through the sand below the ball. The sand then propels the ball up onto the green.

On a greenside bunker shot, the clubface never actually touches the ball — just the sand. With a light clubhead, it may glance off the sand and contact the ball, sending it rocketing over the green and guaranteeing double bogey or worse. 

But with a nice heavy clubhead, it slides through the sand and pops the ball up to the green. 

The stock grip is a bit cheap feeling and the chrome coating of the wedge wears off fairly quickly, but the performance at this price level means the Wilson Harmonized wedge merits the distinction of our top wedge for the money.

Lazarus Premium Wedges (Set of 3)

Best Value Option for Wedges

LAZRUS Premium Forged Golf Wedge Set for Men - 52 56 60 Degree Golf Wedges + Milled Face for More Spin - Great Golf Gift (Black, 3 Wedges (52,56,60)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Creates easy high spin with complete set for all short range shots
  • Raw finish gives the wedges a professional look
  • Wide hitting area makes these wedges ideal for beginners

Although they might be well known among weekend warriors, the wedge makers at Lazrus has created a three-wedge set that offers terrific performance for entry-level prices. The set comes with a 52-degree gap wedge, 56-degree sand wedge, and a 60-degree lob wedge.

Each wedge has been well-crafted with a solid weight that feels nice in the hands. Although the price of this set is low, you can’t tell much difference between the Lazrus and other name brand wedges when comparing performance.

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Inside 100 yards, these wedges deliver a consistent ball flight with nice spin. Regardless of what wedge you choose to execute your shot from the fairway, you’ll find symmetry with each club. 

From the rough and sand, the Lazrus wedges really shine. Not only do they smooth cut through those obstacles to provide clean contact on the golf ball, but the deep grooves impart high rates of spin for shot-stopping power on the putting surface.

On shorter pitch shots, we were pleasantly surprised by how the Lazrus allowed us to be aggressive in tight spaces. After a round or two with these wedges, you’ll find that your confidence grows because these clubs can deliver the shot you need regardless of the situation.

The Lazrus set offers a raw look that is all the rage with professional golfers, so even though these wedges are available at a great price, it won’t look like you are playing with budget clubs.

The Lazrus Premium Forged Wedges are a wonderfully capable three club set for a very affordable price that is sure to lower your scores and impress your playing partners.

Putters

Cleveland TFI 2135

Best Putter for the Money: Excellent balance and distance control

Cleveland Golf 2135 Satin 1.0 Putter (Right Hand, 35 Inch)
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PROS

  • Marvelous distance control on moderate distance putts
  • High contrast alignment guide creates easy visualization
  • Well-crafted balance that slides smoothly through impact zone

CONS

  • Smaller face makes precise putting a must for the golfer

Our choice for the best putter for the money is the Cleveland TFI 2135. This blade-style putter offers premium performance with a balanced presence that keeps putts along the target line with terrific forward roll and accuracy.

Cleveland touts the TFI 2135 as the “softest putter in golf” and once you get the flatstick on the putting surface you’ll see why they back up their claim. This putter delivers wonderful touch from short and long distances with impressive distance control.

Breaking down the hitting area of the Cleveland putter, we first noticed the exquisite milling along the face. The soft polymer TPU insert has been CNC deep face milled to dampen vibration and improve feel.

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The putter also has a clear alignment guide along the rear of the flatstick that makes visualization easy. Using the company’s 2135 technology, Cleveland has created a system that allows golfers to see the line from any angle, whether you are standing over the putt or slightly behind.

From a critical standpoint, the softness of the putter might be a turn off for golfers that like a firmer feel, but the benefits of using this flatstick, if you are having a hard time keep the ball on-line, are undeniable.

Perhaps the most impressive detail about the putter is the price. For the cost of a wedge, you can have one of the best tour-level putters on the market. When you factor in its reasonable price point and reliability, the TFI 2135 was an easy choice for most cost-effective putter.

The Cleveland TFI 2135 is a wonderfully made putter that shines through with fine craftsmanship, and even better performance.

Ray Cook Golf Silver Ray SR500

Alternative Option: Budget-friendly alternative to the Huntington Beach #1

Ray Cook Golf- Silver Ray Select SR550 Putter Navy Blue 35'
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PROS

  • Tour-proven “Spider” design
  • Visually appealing alignment aid

CONS

  • Slightly clunky feel
  • Grip wasn’t installed properly
  • Paint comes off easily

I’m a big fan of TaylorMade’s Spider putters that pros like Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson have used to great success on tour.

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However, Spider putters start at about $300 and go on up from there, so they’re not going to fit into every golfer’s budget. You could play 15 rounds of golf at my local muni for $300! 

Ray Cook Golf offers this Silver Ray SR500 putter at a much friendlier price, and it performs surprisingly well. 

One issue I had right out of the box was that the grip was installed improperly, causing the putter face to be slightly closed. So I did have to replace the grip right off the bat. A putter grip is about $20-25, so even with that factored in, the Silver Ray is still quite a bargain.

The bottom line is that it did make putts. It wasn’t always pretty, it didn’t always feel fantastic, but the ball got rolling on the proper line. That’s the main goal on the putting green, isn’t it?

Distance control was pretty good, though I felt like putts hit out on the toe lost more distance than heel strikes. 

The paint chips off the clubface very easily, and eventually started coming off of the alignment aids on top of the putter. This is a pretty easy fix: just apply some nail polish into the grooves and wipe the excess off. Dry overnight and it’s good to go.

These minor quibbles are to be expected at this price point. The important question is whether the putts go in, and the SR500 excelled at turning good strokes into made putts.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1: Craftsmanship – Will this club last through the season?

When you’re buying a golf club, you need to know that it’s a reliable performer. It needs to be well-designed and put together solidly, with expert craftsmanship.

The grip should be aligned properly on the shaft, the clubhead should feel solidly attached to the shaft, and the paint should be properly applied and durable.

This list isn’t just the lowest-priced options out there. Sure, you want to save some money, but if the club breaks and you have to buy a new one, did you really save any money at all?

Criteria 2: Performance – Does the club work?

I’ve been to a thousand different golf stores and pro shops and tried out clubs in every price range imaginable.

I’ve putted with $10 putters that performed brilliantly, and rolled putts with $500 putters that felt like bricks.

I’ve hit drivers with $1,000 shafts that felt like concrete, and drivers with cheap stock shafts that felt incredible. These are the exceptions, but they prove that price doesn’t automatically equal performance.

The bottom line is: does the club work? Obviously, spending more will usually mean you’re getting a club built with better materials, but that’s not always the case.

Finding comparable performance for less money leaves you with more to spend on lessons and greens fees!

Criteria 3: Feel – The most elusive and toughest to define

OK, I’ll admit it: feel ultimately comes down to personal preference. Look at putters: some people swear by soft, rubbery inserts, while others can’t imagine anything but a solid block of steel. The debate about forged irons vs cast irons is decades old.

I love the buttery smooth feel of a purely-struck shot with a forged iron, but others like to really feel the ball hit the clubface and prefer a cast golf club. A shaft might be perfect for me but too whippy for you, while what feels like an overly stiff telephone pole to me might be ideal for a faster swinger.

For this criteria, I’m going to give you my personal rating but also try to give you an overall idea of how the club responds to a good swing or putting stroke. While it’s hard to define “great feel”, we all know what bad feel is. I’ll help you avoid those clubs.

Criteria 4: Desirability – Is this an in-demand club?

The desirability of a club doesn’t affect the performance of it at all, but it still matters. Why? First off, there’s an active resale market out there for golf clubs. What works for you this week might feel all wrong in a month.

Some golfers will fight through this and try to rekindle confidence with an ill-performing club, but others will look to sell the club and replace it. This is obviously much easier to do with a well-known, desirable brand.

And, let’s face it: we don’t usually play golf alone. While there’s something to be said for playing great with a set of ratty, no-name clubs, it can actually help your confidence to sport a bag full of clubs that you know are in demand.

It’s a good feeling when a golf buddy looks at your driver and says, “hey, let me try that thing out!”

Criteria 5: Bang for the Buck – How good a value is this club?

If money was no object, you’d probably just go to a nearby golf professional, spend all day getting fitted for clubs and walk away with a bag full of clubs that cost as much as a midsize car. But for most of us, that’s not an option.

Each year, we have limited funds to put towards new golf equipment. It’s great if we have a driver that works and is still in good shape, but the grooves might be wearing down on your irons and wedges – and that can cause a seriously negative impact on your game.

Or you might have improved over the past year and feel like it’s time to upgrade your whole bag.

But when a driver alone can run over $500 before you even think about aftermarket shafts, you might find yourself with limited funds left over for a new putter, and wedges, and irons, and fairway woods, and balls, and shoes….and so on. So here we’re looking for bang for the buck: the best clubs at the best prices.


Questions & Answers

What clubs do I need to get started?

If you’re just starting out, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you need. You know there are golf clubs and putters and you’ve heard of a driver, but are wedges and irons the same thing? They look pretty similar! Here’s the basic rundown of an average golf bag with 14 clubs, which is the maximum amount allowed by the rules.

Driver – use this off the tee to hit the ball as far as you can. The largest clubhead, usually made of titanium and/or carbon fiber composite. They all come with graphite shafts nowadays.

Fairway wood – these can be used off the tee for more control, or on longer holes to hit your second shot or your approach to the green. Usually steel or composite, and graphite shafts are the norm.

Irons – these comprise the majority of the clubs in your bag. They come in a range of 1-iron to 9-iron, but for most players, you’ll only want 4 through 9 iron or 5 through 9 iron. The 1-, 2-, and 3-irons are just too hard to hit for all but the most experienced players. You use irons to hit the ball to the green.

Wedges – these look just like irons but have more loft for hitting higher shots, for chipping around the green, and for hitting shots out of sand traps. I recommend that players carry four wedges: pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. Aside from the wedges mentioned here, we also recommend the Square Strike Wedge.

Most iron sets come with a pitching wedge, but you’ll generally buy gap through lob wedges separately. The lofts of these are typically: gap wedge – 52°, sand wedge – 56°, lob wedge – 60°.

Putter – the putter is used on the green to roll the ball into the hole. Putters have the widest variance in design of any club, and are the most likely golf club to be found at the bottom of a lake.

Do I need to get fitted for my clubs?

Getting custom-fitted for clubs is all the rage nowadays. However, many golfers don’t know where to begin, or if they need to improve first before custom-fitted clubs can really help them.

While it’s true that custom fitted clubs can improve your scores, it’s not always the best way to spend your money. A full-bag custom fitting can cost over $500, and that’s before you factor in the cost of the clubs!

Custom-made clubs are rarely available at a discount, so after a full fitting and the cost of the new clubs, you could be looking at several thousand dollars.

Beginners and golfers looking to just put a few dollars towards improving their game can still benefit from new technology without getting custom fitted. 

Getting a few lessons from a local pro will go a long way, and the pro will be able to assess your equipment and tell you if the expense of clubfitting is necessary.

Until then, articles like this are here to help make sure you’re getting the right equipment for your game.

Do I really need all those clubs?

For a true beginner, having 14 clubs in your bag can be too many. It gets overwhelming, and you won’t always have someone with you telling you what club to hit.

When I was starting out as a child, I had a 3-wood, 5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, sand wedge and putter. I actually recommend that setup to juniors and beginners today! Until you start hitting decent shots with those clubs regularly, having more clubs will just confuse you.

Once you can consistently hit a 3-wood into the fairway off the tee, then it’s time to invest in a driver. 

Then, when you figure out that you hit a 5-iron 170 yards and a 7-iron 150 yards, you’ll realize you need a 6-iron for 160 yard shots. So it’s time for a full set of irons.

Around the green, once you start chipping well with your sand wedge, you’ll realize you want to hit chips that fly higher or lower. And that’s when you’ll want to invest in a gap wedge and a lob wedge.

But at the beginning, focus on making good contact and keeping the ball in play. If you’re hitting it out of bounds or into water hazards, having more clubs won’t help! Just work on your swing and the rest will fall into place.