What To Know When Buying Your First Set of Golf Clubs

first set of golf clubs

So you’ve decided to take up golf and it’s time to buy some clubs. With so many options (and temptations) on the market, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in your search. I’ll fill you in on what you need to know as you look to buy your first set of golf clubs. I cover the different approaches and ups and downs to each of them.

Options For Your First Set of Golf Clubs

Box Set

callaway strata set

A box set is the easiest option for your first set of golf clubs. These complete packages come with everything you need, from driver to putter, and usually include a golf bag. These complete sets are often relatively inexpensive and the convenience of the one-stop shopping experience can be very enticing. There are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding these sets.

The biggest thing to remember is these sets are meant to be beginner sets. They do have some great technology and are solid in construction. However, players tend to outgrow them (either physically or skill-wise) in a year or two before needing to upgrade to something else. So, if your goal is to play occasionally for fun and you simply need the tools of the trade, a box set is right up your alley.

The other thing I want to mention is that as a beginner, there’s a good chance you’re going to unintentionally hit the ball on parts of the club that aren’t ideal (think crown of the driver).  Don’t worry. This happens to everyone starting out. The resulting mishits can leave some pretty ugly marks. Skying a ball with your brand new driver and leaving a large scuff mark on the crown is pretty frustrating. That brings us to our next option, a used set that is pieced together.

Used Clubs

used golf clubs

Used clubs are a great option for your first set of golf clubs. They offer better technology and durability while still saving you money. Choosing a model from the previous year or two will last you a few years and still be in reasonable shape. Since it’s already used, it takes the pressure off marks from mishits. Be aware that it takes a little more effort to piece together an entire set. Finding an iron set, hybrids and woods, a putter, and bag takes time.

On the flip side, you don’t have to invest in everything at once. As a true beginner, most players hit a lot of their clubs the same distance or may not be able to hit them at all. For example, the driver is the most difficult club to hit due to its length and low loft. Thus, most players spend the majority of those first sessions only hitting a higher lofted wood like a 3 wood. With that in mind, you’ll save money on a club you aren’t comfortable yet. Then, once you’re ready, you can upgrade to a driver.

Individual Clubs

individual irons

There’s an option for those of you that are simply trying out golf to see you like it or not. It involves purchasing individual clubs to use until you make the decision to dive in. The primary clubs beginners typically use are a putter, pitching wedge, 7 iron, and 5 wood.

If this is the route you choose, I suggest buying clubs a little older. You won’t want to spend too much money until you know this game is going to stick. If golf isn’t for you, you don’t have a ton of money tied up in it. Should golf tickle your fancy, having a handful of clubs makes it easier to complete your first set of golf clubs.

Side Note About Custom Fitting

The last thing I want to mention is in regards to club fitting. There’s no question that having clubs built to the right length and lie angle for you is extremely important to your success and enjoyment of the game. That being said, going out and getting custom fit for your first set of clubs is not highly recommended. Keep in mind that your swing is going to be very basic and a brand new for you. As you improve, your swing is going to change. Unless you’re extremely tall or short, a standard set of clubs will work just fine for starting out. The last thing you’d want is to spend the time and money on a full fitting only to have them not fit when your swing changes.

What To Remember For Your First Set Of Golf Clubs

You have 3 main options when getting your first set of golf clubs; getting a box set, piecing together a set of used irons, or just getting a couple individual irons. Choose the option that’s best for you and join us in our love for this great game.

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Mizuno ST180 Driver: Simple Yet Satisfying

Previous Mizuno drivers, like the JPX-900, had many ways to adjust the club to fit your swing. The company’s latest driver, the ST180 simplifies the design while still giving the club tons of performance. This review looks at how the Mizuno ST180 driver converts design into raw power.

Mizuno ST180 Driver Traits

Face

The face of the ST180 driver is made of a material called SP700 Titanium. This exotic, fine-grain material increases speed and distance with its strength and thin design. The face is able to flex more at impact, creating what engineers call a “greater responsive force.”

As seen on the JPX 900 driver, the ST180’s face has CORTECH technology, a multi-thickness design to also increase ball speed. Strikes across the entire club face, and especially in the center, gain ball speed. The weight that’s saved by varying the thickness expands the COR (energy transfer to the ball) area for more ball speed.

Sole

ST180 driver sole

The sole of the ST180 driver is where you first see its simplicity compared to previous models. The JPX 900 was the company’s most adjustable driver. It adjustable weights to change the ball flight, CG, and face angle at address. This new iteration does away with all of that. “Wave Technology” on the sole is a series of ridges and valleys. These ridges compress and rebound at impact for greater COR area and higher ball speeds. Translation, distance. The lack of adjustment tracks also moves more weight lower and forward for high launch, low spin drives.

Crown and Hosel

The design on the ST180 driver’s crown is called a waffle crown, according to the company. It’s made to optimize the sweet spot and provide lower spin for increased distance. The blue finish consumers have grown used to over the past few generations of driver provides a clean, sleek look.

Finally, Mizuno’s Quick Switch Adaptor on the ST180 driver makes adjusting the loft/lie angle simple. Users can raise or lower the loft by 2 degrees or set it to “upright” settings for more draw bias.

Summarizing the Mizuno ST180 Driver

Players looking for the maximum in distance and forgiveness in a simple, clean package find it in the ST180 driver. Choose from 9.5 or 12.5-degree heads, pair it with 1 of 5 no-upcharge premium shafts and over 30 grip choices and experience the performance for yourself.

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Catching Up With Callaway On And Off The Course

callaway on and off the course

Welcome to the first Catching Up With Callaway of the new PGA Tour season. As the joke goes, what a LONG offseason it has been. This month, we look at what is going on with Callaway on and off the course. There were Tour cards earned, one new (and one unsurprising) signing, plus something to do with baseball. We begin with who’ll play on the PGA Tour in 2017-18.

Callaway On and Off The Course

Players earning their Tour Card for 2017-18

Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd, the 39-year old journeyman, has had an up and down career. His roller-coaster first full season on Tour, 2002, ended with a bang, winning the Buick Challenge that October. He sprinkled 4 more wins from 2002-2015. Perhaps no win is as famous as his 2010 win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. On the 4th playoff hole, Byrd aced the par-3 17th hole to beat Martin Laird and Cameron Percy.

Byrd lost full exemption status after the 2015 PGA Tour season. He put together a decent season on the Web.com Tour in 2016, with 3 top-10 finishes. Unfortunately, he finished just outside the cut line to earn back his card, something he remedied in 2017.

jonathan byrd web.com tour champ

Determined to make it back to the “Show,” Byrd rode the wave and won the Web.com Tour Championship. The victory vaulted him to 3rd in the standings and secured his card for the upcoming PGA Tour season.

Talor Gooch

talor gooch news sentinel open

From a seasoned vet like Byrd, we move now to rookie Talor Gooch. In his first season on the Web.com Tour, Gooch had 5 top-10 and 9 top-25 finishes. His 2 best finishes of the year came in back-to-back weeks, finishing runner-up before winning the News Sentinel Open. Those performances, combined with the rest of his play throughout the year, was more than enough to earn him his card for the 2017-18 season. At the season-opening Safeway Open, Talor held his own, making the cut and finished T54.

Aaron Wise

aaron wise trophy

Photo credit: Alex Wood/PGA Tour

Wise turned pro after helping win the 1st National Championship for his alma mater, Oregon, in the 2015-16 season. He played well the rest of that calendar year, making 5 of 8 cuts on the PGA Tour before the full Web.com Tour schedule started. Wise was off and running, with 2 top-5 finishes in his first 8 starts of the year. His win at the Air Capital Classic, which we touched on in an earlier post, propelled him to full status for the 2017-18 PGA Tour season.

Callaway Signings

maverick mcnealy

Two big names have signed on to play Callaway equipment next year (and for the foreseeable future). Maverick McNealy, former #1 World Amateur, played his college golf at Stanford, a traditionally Nike school. With the company’s exit from the hard goods industry in 2016, McNealy decided on Callaway. He currently plays a GBB Epic driver, Mack Daddy Forged Wedges, and the Chrome Soft X ball, with irons to come. He used that equipment at his first pro tournament, the Safeway Open, where he finished one shot better than fellow rookie staffer, Talor Gooch.

The next signing isn’t much of a surprise. Phil Mickelson joined the Callaway team in 2004. Half of his career victories and all but 1 of his majors have some using Callaway equipment. Therefore, it’s no surprise that his new deal keeps the Chevron in his bag for the rest of his competitive playing career.

Cool Off The Course Callaway Happenings

2017-the-links-at-petco-1

This year marks the 3rd year for The Links at PetCo Park. This event converts the San Diego Padres baseball stadium into a fun 9-hole golf course. Players tee up at various spots around the stadium, aiming at “holes” set up on the field. Besides the golf, the event also raised money for some different charities, like K9s for Warriors.

The other cool thing Callaway is doing off the course is their “Golf Lives” series. The series chronicles how non-professional golfers came to start playing golf and how they’re trying to get better. The first episode of the series focused o the rapper, Scarface. The following 2 episodes added former NFL running back, Arian Foster, to the mix. It’s enjoyable to watch each man progress in their game.

Closing Up Shop

Thanks for checking out what’s going on with Callaway on and off the course. Stay tuned for next month’s edition, where we’ll look at some new equipment out this fall and cover the first few events of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season.

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