When exploring the world of golf for the first time, it’s easy to feel daunted by all of the jargon. And there’s certainly no shortage of it when it comes to golfing equipment! As a beginner, though, there are only certain pieces of kit that you really need to know about.
Buying golfing equipment can be a bit like buying a phone: there are plenty of sophisticated and expensive products around, but beginners don’t generally need to fret about the pricier stuff. While many products are intended to suit advanced ways of playing, if you’re reading this, you’re presumably not at that stage just yet.
So, don't worry about investing in, say, fitted clubs, GPS devices or adjustable drivers. For now, you’ll just want ‘the essentials’ geared towards golf for beginners.
Clubs are obviously crucial if you want to go golfing, and you need a set of them, not just one. That’s because you need different clubs for different situations – such as when you’re initially teeing off with a driver, or digging the ball out of a particularly awkward spot.
Fortunately, all that you need to do at first is buy yourself a set of clubs specifically labelled as ‘beginner-friendly’. This set will likely include woods, irons and a putter.
The woods and irons will be numbered, with the lower-numbered ones able to send the ball a greater distance. A putter, meanwhile, is a flat-faced club. While you might have to make many strikes with your various clubs before you land the ball in the hole, the putter would be the last one you use to nudge it in there.
For beginner golfers, we recommend starting with what is known as a ‘half set’. These sets contain seven clubs that will help you to learn the basics, while also allowing you to improve and play golf on the course when you’re ready.
It’s tempting to presume all golf balls are basically the same. In truth, though, golf balls differ subtly to account for different player skill levels. For beginners, two-piece balls are best; the less durable three-piece balls are best left to the experts who know how to handle them.
Keep in mind that, unlike the situation with golf clubs and golf shoes, a lot of golf courses won’t give you the option to rent golf balls. Given how easy they are to lose, you might even see that as a positive!
Click through to read our more comprehensive guide to choosing the right golf balls for you.
What’s a golf tee? It’s the little stand that golfers place into the ground to support a stationary ball, thereby making the ball easier to strike. Golf tees are available in various lengths, and you should be careful which of them you choose for your own comfort on the course.
Since you’re new to all of this, you might be drawn to large tees, given how easily you can adjust the height simply by pushing the tee further into the ground. However, if you still find the tees you come across a little unwieldy for your taste, don’t be afraid to shop around for better options.
You might assume you don’t need to be too picky with your choice of golf bag – and to a certain extent, you’d be right. Indeed, a lightweight and cheap bag should be enough, but you should seriously consider choosing a carry bag. After all, you might need to carry your bag for miles at a time!
Opt for a comfortable bag with well-padded straps, and consider buying a golf trolley too for wheeling your golf clubs around the course. Having said that, some courses ban the use of trolleys, especially at times of heavy rainfall, so it might ultimately be more of a ‘nice to have’ than an essential.
You need to give some serious thought to your choice of golfing attire, and not just because of its potential practical effect on your playing. Most golf courses have specific dress codes that you will be expected to comply with. So, it’s a safe bet to stick to the most typical golf attire, including:
- A long or short-sleeved polo shirt
- Golf trousers or chinos
- Golf shoes with short white socks
In such a notoriously rainy part of the world as the UK, it’s also a good idea to ensure your clothing is waterproof - including waterproof golf shoes, for which you can choose between spikeless and spikes.
We would also recommend clipping a towel on the outside of your bag, so that you can reach for it whenever you feel the need to wipe down your clubs or your own sweat. However, even if you forget to bring a towel, clubs do often provide them in changing rooms for after the round. An umbrella may also be well worth taking.
The ‘Little Things’
Even with the help of information like the above for assembling your golfing kit, you might end up easily overlooking certain essentials until you are actually on the course. Oops!
Golf gloves, for example, are a vital piece of equipment for all golfers, from beginners to experts. If you’re right-handed, you’ll need a glove for your left hand, and vice versa for left-handed golfers. Golf gloves help you to grip the club and prevent blisters forming at the most inconvenient times, such as halfway through your round.
Also don’t forget to pack a pen or pencil so that you can regularly update your scorecard, as well as a pitch mark repairer, which could really save your bacon by fixing those unsightly pitchmarks left in the ground as you play. This helps to maintain the course for your fellow golfers!
Consider bringing some coins as well, and not just for spending on drinks in the clubhouse after the game. That’s because coins are great for marking your ball’s location on the green, although you should be careful to only use silver coins; as copper coins, from a distance, can be too easily mistaken for blemishes.
When it comes to golf for beginners, this equipment is pretty much all that is needed. As you chat to your fellow golfers on the course, you may find that they slowly introduce you to other, more advanced equipment that becomes increasingly suitable for you to take up as your golfing prowess grows. Good luck, and happy golfing!