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14-Step Guide to Purchasing Golfing Equipment

guide to buying golfing equipment

Over the last thirty years, golf club design has been revolutionised thanks to modern science. You may be surprised to hear that principles of rocket design have even influenced the design of modern golf clubs. For the novice, all this technology may mean the entire process of buying golfing equipment is hard-work and confusing.

To remedy this, here we offer you 14 steps you should consider when you are ready to purchase your next set of golf clubs. This includes the purchase of a driver, hybrid and putter. However, this advice should not substitute the need to utilise a professional club fitter, so please bear this in mind when you come to purchase your golfing equipment. Please use the below for guidance purposes only.

Now we outline 14 steps you may consider when purchasing golfing equipment:

Step #1. Purchase a short driver

The shaft plays an important role in the overall performance of your driver. Shorter shafts tend to enhance control. Longer shafts generate more club speed, but they tend to be more difficult to control.

Unfortunately, many of today's drivers are too long. The average shaft size is typically 45 inches or longer. When it comes to your driver, less is definitely more. For instance, the average driver length during a PGA Tour is 44.5 inches.

Why is a shorter driver better than a longer driver? The answer is simple. The shorter the club, the easier it is to hit the ball squarely.

Step #2. Swap your 3, 4 and 5-iron for a hybrid

Unfortunately, over the last decades golfing manufacturers have continued to lower the loft on 3- and 4-irons each year. This is so the player is capable of 'hitting the ball farther' when using irons, something manufacturers like to promote in their marketing materials. However, this lack of loft means 3- and 4-irons are difficult to hit for average golfers.

To resolve this problem, use a hybrid instead. We recommend you match the hybrid to the iron you intend to replace it with. You must match the height of your iron and locate a hybrid of the same height.

Step #3. Choose an iron with a wider sole

The sole is the bottom part of an iron. A wider sole reduces the chances of the club sticking into the ground when you hit too far behind the ball. A wider sole also means additional weight is concentrated in the sole.

This extra weight means the iron will have a lower centre of gravity. This makes it easier to launch your shots at a higher trajectory. Choose a sole that measures at least the width of two fingers. Avoid an iron where the sole is less than one finger in width.

Step #4. Avoid "one-size-fits-all" clubs

If a club is marketed as a "one-size-fits-all" solution, please do not consider purchasing this club because in our opinion there is no such thing. The club must account for your unique characteristics such as your height, skill level and shape etc.

If you purchase a club that's unsuited to your unique characteristics, your game will suffer. To ensure you purchase the correct clubs that are suited to your unique characteristics, utilise the services of a professional club fitter. This is particularly important if you are very tall or short since most clubs are designed to suit a man or woman of an average height.

Custom clubs are a must, even for beginners. Get the most out of your game by always insisting on custom clubs. This is particularly true for a driver. This is because the various head designs across the market offer very different launch commissions. Be sure to go to a reputable club fitter who utilises a launch monitor and one who sells a good variety of drivers from different manufacturers.

Step #5. Never use cheap and inferior balls unless you are a beginner

In today's modern game of golf, the ball is all important. This means you should invest in good quality golf balls. Choose a ball with a low spin off a drive and a high spin off a wedge. And remember for the majority of golfers, choose a ball that is designed to give you distance rather than spin when hitting off the tee. 

The price you pay for balls should also reflect the number of balls you lose during a round of golf. If you lose most of your balls, there is no point investing in expensive balls. When your game has improved so you reduce the number of balls you lose during a round, the time has come for you to invest more money into buying quality golf balls.

Step #6. Buy last year's models

Each year golf manufacturers tweak their products in light of new technological advancements. This means last year's equipment is sold at a discount. These clubs will more than suffice but mean you could save several hundred pounds in the process when compared to purchasing the latest technology.

Step #7. Know your shaft options

When it comes to buying golf clubs, you can either opt for a graphite or steel shaft. A graphite shaft is lighter and capable of generating a faster swing speed and more distance than a steel shaft. Graphite is ideal for female and senior golfers. Steel is cheaper and more durable than graphite. Steel is also heavier than graphite. We recommend steel shafts for young male players.

Step #8. Ensure your shaft flex matches your swing

Flex refers to the shaft’s ability to bend when the club hits the ball. The shaft flex must match your swing. If the shaft flex does not match your swing, the trajectory of your swing will suffer. Purchasing clubs with the correct shaft flex will maximise your distance and improve shot dispersion.

Step #9. Avoid online club fitting

In recent years, we've seen the rise of "online club fitting." This is where you enter your height, weight, handicap and hand size into an online calculator. The calculator will attempt to match your details with your ideal golfing equipment. However, the results of this exercise are usually incorrect and not comparable to using a human club fitter who utilises a launch monitor.

Step #10. If you are a beginner, opt for an oversized club head

If you are a beginner, opt for a perimeter-weighted club head design with cavity backed and oversized club heads. Large club heads affords you an enhanced "sweet spot." This is because a larger club head has more room to make contact with the ball resulting in more distance and accuracy.

As your game improves, you may wish to opt for clubs with a smaller head. A smaller head will mean you sacrifice forgiveness, but gain workability.

Step #11. Determine your preference for regular-flex or a stiff-flex shaft

Before you invest in golf equipment, determine if you prefer a regular-flex or a stiff-flex shaft by trying out both at a driving range. If you have a fast swing, you will probably prefer a still-flex shaft. You will generally recognise your preference because one of the two will feel easier to control.

Step #12. If you're a beginner, start with the essentials

When you play golf, you are permitted the use of 14 clubs. As a novice, you will not require every possible golf club that's available to you. We recommend you save your money by only purchasing a putter, a driver, a sand wedge, a pitching wedge, a fairway wood/hybrid and a 6- and 8- iron.

Why choose these clubs? The answer is simple. The above clubs are the most forgiving and the easiest to get the ball airborne whilst you improve your game.

Step #13. Opt for clubs with maximum loft

When it comes to purchasing clubs, purchase those with the maximum amount of loft. Why? Because the additional loft will make it easier for you to get the ball airborne and reduce the amount of sidespin. This will mean the ball flies straighter compared to clubs with minimum loft.

For drivers, opt for clubs with a minimum of 10 degrees of loft. For fairway woods, opt for clubs with at least 17 degrees of loft, not 15 degrees.

Clubs with a shorter loft are designed for experienced players or for beginners who've gained experience with "stick and ball" sports such as tennis or hockey.

Step #14. Consider your adjustability options when buying a driver

Most drivers offer adjustability options. However, you must consider which adjustable options will best improve your game and make your purchase accordingly. Some drives offer the ability to tweak the lie angle/loft whilst other allow you to adjust the face angle. Some even allow you the ability to change sole weight so you may vary the ball flight. We recommend you utilise a professional club fitter when making these choices.

 


Published on: June 10, 2016