What Gear You Need To Start Playing Golf

We run through all the essential gear and equipment you need to get started playing golf.

Reduced memberships for younger golfers
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What Gear You Need To Start Playing Golf

If you're looking at taking up the game of golf you may be overwhelmed by the amount of gear out there, but don't worry, we're here to help you work out what equipment would work best for you.

Before you get looking into some new clubs, it would certainly be worth heading to your local driving range and hitting a few buckets of balls to work out what your generic ball flight is. By doing this you will be able to give your local professional some feedback on what your best and worst shots are which well then help them to place in product that will suit your game the best.

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Golf Clubs

Do You Need A Full Set Of Irons To Start Playing Golf?

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The main tools of your trade is a good place to start, that is of course your golf clubs. The maximum number of clubs you are allowed to carry at one time is 14 but fear not, you definitely don't need to purchase 14 clubs from the get-go. Purchasing a half set or one of the best package sets are a great way to get some quality golf clubs and are generally designed for beginners. Starting off with a few irons - a 5, 7, 9 iron for example - followed by a wedge or two and a putter will be more than enough to get you started when venturing out onto a golf course. Add to this one of the best drivers, and you'll be more than ready to go. 

Certainly, as you play more and more, you might find the gaps between these irons frustrating, or you may want to add a longer iron or another wedge and that is when you’ll be ready to buy a full set

When entering the market for your first full set, it's important to know you don’t have to instantly go for new products because there is a great second hand market. Manufacturers produce new golf clubs every year, so clubs that are one, two or even three years old are still very good and come at a fraction of the price for a brand new set. 

Second hand websites like Golf Bidder have a vast range of second hand products at a great price. The most important thing to be aware of when buying second hand is that the clubs haven’t been custom fit to someone with different specifications to you. If you are an average height golfer, you don’t want to be picking up a used set of clubs that were made for a 6ft 5” golfer. Second hand club sellers will note down if a club is longer, shorter or has had its lie angle drastically changed so keep an eye out. 

It's also important to select the right kind of iron. Whilst the bladed irons sat in Rory McIlroy’s bag might look the part, they’re certainly not for golfers just starting. Look to purchase a game improvement set of irons with a cavity back for the most help possible to get the most enjoyment out of the game. 


5 Things

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Next, you’re going to need to find the best golf bag to put your new clubs in. There’s a little variety to look out for in the market for which bag will suit you the best. A stand bag is the easiest and most basic option to get started. It comes with two straps so you can carry it on your back and stands up on its own when put down. 

If you think you’re going to use a cart to get around the golf course, you can get a cart bag that exclusively sits on a cart. These bags are a lot bulkier than stand bags so be sure you are going to use a cart, as these bags are very awkward to carry around if you don’t. Some manufacturers make bags that are a hybrid of the two - they are stand bags that fit flush onto trolleys. If you think you’ll do a mix of carrying and using a cart these are great options that mean you have one bag for every occasion. 

If you are starting with a half-set as we recommended earlier, a pencil bag is a great option for something very lightweight and easy to use that will easily fit six or seven clubs. Pencil bags usually come at lower price points as well, offering good value if you just want a small, lightweight bag.


What Is The Most Used Ball At The Ryder Cup?

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When it comes to what gear you need to start playing golf - of course, you'll need some golf balls! There are quite a few options here too. If you’re serious about the game, you can pay up to $50 for a dozen of the best golf balls. However, if you’re just starting out, there’s no real need to pay a lot for golf balls and you’ll hardly notice the difference in a cheaper dozen

There’s two great options away from premium balls for a golfer just starting out. Firstly, you can go for a cheaper, new ball that is at the lower end of the price spectrum. Secondly, buying lake balls is a great way to get cheap golf balls for a fraction of the price. These are golf balls that have been lost, found again and then reconditioned, making them ideal for beginners looking to get into the game. 


How To Make Golf Shoes Last Longer

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If you are just starting out at the driving range, trainers will do the job and you won’t require a specialist shoe just yet. When you venture out onto the golf course however, the best golf shoes are essential pieces of kit. Once you are out hitting on the grass and varying lies, you’ll need the performance and comfort benefits that come from a good golf shoe. 

There are a couple of options here too. Spikeless golf shoes are brilliant in the summer and are comfortable to wear off the golf course too. Alternatively, you can go for spiked shoes - often soft cleats in modern shoes - that provide a bit more traction and are a bit more traditional when you think of an archetypal golf shoe. 

Modern golf shoes also come in lots of different designs too. Gone are the days where the classic brogue was the only option and now you can even get a Jordan basketball shoe in a golf version. We should also mention that most brands offer not just premium models, but also shoes that come with lower price points. For example adidas has the Tour 360 22, all the way down to the EQT and both are excellent. 

So it is just a question of knowing how much you want to spend on a pair of golf shoes, because whatever your budget, there will be a model for you.


Ping Norse S5 Zoned Hooded Jacket

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As you start out, a smart pair of pants and a polo shirt do a sufficient job at making sure you look the part on the golf course. As with everything in this list, as you start playing more and getting better, you're going to want some clothing that is more golf specific. 

There are plenty of performance benefits from proper golf clothing. Jackets that will keep you warm and dry in inclement weather and polos that will keep you cool will help you focus on your game and not the weather around you. 

Finally for apparel it is the all important glove. You wear this throughout the round on the opposite hand to how you play - so if you are right handed, wear it on your left hand and vice versa for left handers. If you are new to golf this certainly feels a bit strange to start out but there is a marked difference to how easy it is to grip the club when you are wearing a glove. Again, there are many options in the glove market from cheaper synthetic gloves, to full leather gloves. If you are just starting out, a synthetic glove will do a perfectly good job.

One final point to make on apparel and gloves, is that because of how many different brands and models there are on the market, you can always find a good deal somewhere so it is a case of scouting around on golf retailers, and of course reading our buyer's guides. 


The case of the Blue Tees Series 3 Max Laser Rangefinder on a golf bag

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Now you’ve got all the big essentials to get started, there are a few smaller accessories to put in the bag that will make playing the game that bit easier and more enjoyable. 

Firstly, golf tees. There are loads of different sizes of tees and they are often made from either wood or plastic. You’ll be using these at the start of every hole to tee off with and it's important to have a variety of sizes in the bag to give you the option to hit a range of clubs from the tee box. Longer tees will be used when you hit drivers and these will help you get the ball in the air and shorter tees will be used to hit irons off the tee if you are playing a short par 3. 

Secondly, a marker pen. When you are playing you should always mark your balls with an individual and easily recognizable mark so if your ball does end up next to another ball, you can easily identify which is yours. 

Finally, a pitch mark repairer. These are used to repair the indents you make in the green where the ball has landed. There’s nothing worse for a golfer than putting on an uneven putting surface so repairing these indentations in the greens helps your fellow golfers out and keeps the greens in good condition for everyone to use.

Once you start playing more and understand your distances, that's when you can also look at investing in a rangefinder which will help you measure distances to hazards and pins so you can be far more precise with your aim. 

Dan Parker
Staff Writer

Dan has been with Golf Monthly team since 2021. He graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe, golf bag and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 6.5 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands. 

Dan is currently playing: 

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 

Fairway: TaylorMade Stealth 2 15°, Ping G425 Max 21°

Hybrid: Ping G425 

Irons: Cobra King Tec Utility, Ping i230 (5-PW) 

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

With contributions from