The No. 1 Question I’m Asked as a Golf Professional

By: Tina Mickelson - Jan 17, 2024

As a passionate golfer and longtime PGA member, I've fielded my fair share of questions over the years, from golfers who are brand-new to the game to the most seasoned of golf professionals. But there is one question that always sticks with me, and always seems to get brought to the surface when I'm teaching...

I’m a beginner and don’t have my own clubs. When should I invest in a new set, and what should I use in the meantime?

This is a great question. And very important. Beginners (especially women) often borrow a set of clubs when they first take up the game. This is fine, provided you keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, make sure the clubs are not too long or too heavy. These are key factors because clubs that are too heavy or too long can lead to developing bad habits in the golf swing right from the start. Many new women’s golfers have come to me for their first golf lesson using their husband’s/brother’s/male friend’s old set up clubs. They struggle with the weight, especially in the backswing, which leads to an incorrect position at the top. The overall swing is rather clumsy and out of control.

So, generally speaking, if you are a female just learning the game, the best thing to do is simply rent a set of women’s clubs (or men’s senior set if available) until you feel confident enough with your swing to get fitted for your own set. Your swing doesn’t have to be great in order to invest in a set of clubs, nor does it have to be at a point where you’ve successfully made your major swing changes.

You simply want to make sure you have developed a swing that is somewhat consistent, meaning you have the same swing “flaws” most of the time. For example, if you seem to always hit the ball to the right, they will fit you with clubs that can help counter that.

As beginners, though, it takes a while to get comfortable with swinging a golf club so it’s only natural that each swing would be different from the next. But once you become more comfortable with your golf swing, you will start to notice certain patterns emerge in terms of where both your good and bad shots go. Once your swing is consistent enough to know what your general tendencies are, the easier it is to successfully fit your clubs to your individual specifications.

So when you take your first initial golf lessons or hit balls on the driving range, and as you pick up the game in general, you want to make sure you either rent a set of women’s clubs (usually available right there at the golf course), or borrow a female friend’s clubs.

Another benefit to renting golf clubs at a few different courses as you are starting out is the fact that not all golf courses offer the same brand of rental sets. So you have the opportunity to try out a few different brands before you decide to get fitted for your own set. This will help you narrow down which brands you want to look at first.

Keep in mind that your first set of golf clubs does not need to consist of a full 14 clubs. In most cases, beginners don’t really need that many. In general, if a beginner has a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, 7-iron, 9-iron, sand wedge, pitching wedge and putter, they are good to go. Because a beginner’s golf swing is still rather inconsistent, the gap in yardage between clubs isn’t there like it would be with a more consistent swing. So going with a smaller set at first not only helps keep the cost down, but helps alleviate confusion when deciding which club to use. Once you are comfortable with the limited set, you can always add clubs later.

And I would be remiss if I did not point out the benefits of hybrid golf clubs. A hybrid club takes the place of an iron, and they come in a variety of lofts so you can match them to just about any iron in your golf bag. There are sets that offer a hybrid option for every iron. Why are hybrids to coveted? This is an extremely broad explanation, but the center of gravity is a lower and set back a tad so it is easier to get loft on the ball. Definitely try out the hybrids in your fitting session so you can compare the feel of them versus the irons.

And be sure to remember there is no “right” or “wrong” way to assemble the clubs in your bag. If you decide to go with irons because they feel better to you, then great. If you decide you really love the hybrids, then go for it. That is the beauty of this game. Each person, each player is unique with different preferences and factors that work for them.

If you have any questions about the fitting process, feel free to reach out to your local PGA or LPGA Professional. And I invite you to send any questions in general that you or your friends might have regarding the game of golf. We want to address what our readers are curious about. I encourage you to send in any questions you have ever had about any golf related topic and we will try to address them in our upcoming issues. As always, thank you for being a part of our golf community. We appreciate you.

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