As in many hobbies, new golfers need encouragement and the right set of tools to help them make progress.
With the right set of clubs, you can learn as you go. Your first set of clubs should be a welcoming, accessible toolkit to bring you into the magic of the game, and keep you striving to get better.
Naturally, there are lots of ‘beginners sets’ on the market, but if you’re new to the game, how are you supposed to know what you need in those initial sets of clubs?
Time to tee up. We’ve found you the best sets of golf clubs for a beginner.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
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This is our Winner!
Best Set Of Golf Clubs For A Beginner - Comparison Table
Best Set Of Golf Clubs For A Beginner - Reviews
If you’re new to golf, you need to avoid Information Overload. That can be a real turn-off if you’re handed every club under the sun with no idea how to use them effectively.
The Callaway Men’s Strata Complete 12-piece set helps to damp down some of the complexity – it’s worth noting that Callaway also sells this 12-piece set in variations with higher numbers of clubs, including a 16-piece version (see later in this list), and even an 18-piece version. The point of some of those is to give you a pathway to progress in your new favorite game once you’ve got the hang of the basics.
This 12-piece version helps you master those basics, with a set of clubs which helps you maximize the sweet spot of your drives and distance shots, a putters that’s more forgiving than those you’ll find as you progress into the game, and some mid-range ‘irons’ that are actually hybrids to help you get the most of your swing, while tweaking your hook or slice to teach you how to get better without discouraging you from the game.
The Callaway 12-piece is a greatest hits collection, rather than a full box-set of albums. It’s missing a few clubs which more experienced golfers will tell you are essential, like a 5 wood and perhaps more significantly, a sand wedge.
The point of which is that you probably won’t have any use for a 5 wood or a sand wedge when you begin playing golf, and what you don’t know, you can’t really miss. As you progress in the game, feel free to add these extra weapons to your arsenal, but in the quest for engagement, inclusivity and growing your confidence with shots and clubs, Callaway slims down the choice for you here.
The 12-piece does not mean 12 clubs. It means 9 clubs, a bag and some head covers to keep outside temperatures from damaging the woods.
Those 9 clubs include a driver, a 3 wood, a condensed set of irons – everything from a 6 iron to a 9 iron, to practice getting from the fairway to the green, a pitching wedge for a bit of up-and-over help when straight line play is likely to take forever, and a putter.
The back to basics feel of the Callaway 12-piece set has been a hit with thousands of new golfers, who appreciate both the stripped-back set of must-haves that allow you to get round a course while learning appropriate shot and club choices, and some of the specifics of the included clubs.
Both the driver and the 3 wood in this set for instance have extra large sweet spots, so that if you’re new and you hit them wrongly, they’ll still transfer power to the ball in a reasonable way that should get you some acceptable distance down the fairway.
The irons and wedges, similarly, are designed with progressive sole width and perimeter weighting technology, to give you more control than an average iron would.
Even the putter has a T-style mallet shape and an increased moment of inertia, which means it’s more forgiving than standard putters would be.
The whole ethos of the Callaway 12-piece set is to get you into the game, teach you how to handle clubs and make good choices with them, and get you up and holing golf balls, leading you on to other sets with a broader range of possible stroke and club combinations, and a more realistic, less forgiving nature.
The Callaway 12-piece is a very novice-friendly, confidence building set that helps you feel the point of golf and leads you on to bigger and better things.
Likewise stripping everything back for the beginner so they can get the fundamental feel of golf, the Pinemeadow PGX set takes minimalism perhaps further than comfort allows – there’s no golf bag with this set, no sand wedge, and also no putter, which makes the coup de grace that ends the hole rather tricky.
That said, there’s enough in this set to get you excited. The driver is slightly deceptive – with a graphite shaft and 460cc of volume, it gives you a chunky sweet spot, so it might not feel like the ball has much power when you hit it, but it will travel pleasingly far down the fairway, giving you the sensation of that professional first shot.
The same is true of the fairway wood and the hybrid in the Pinemeadow set – they each have more ‘loft’ than would be natural in equivalent non-beginner clubs. More loft, more lift, more soaring through the air for your ball. In particular, watch out for the hybrid, as it seems to be addicted to loft, which if you’re not used to it can take you by surprise.
The irons in the Pinemeadow set range from a 5 iron down to a pitching wedge and look like they’re there to do some serious golfing business. That sense of seriousness can help the amateur golfer focus on their game and get good distances from their iron play. The irons here have steel shafts, which give them a heftier feel in the hand and a slower swing. For more experienced golfers, that might be a significant hindrance, but for those who are new to the sport, it aids with the delivery of stronger, more meaningful shots, encouraging new players to understand what they’re doing right and wrong.
As with the Callaway set the lack of a sand wedge is a little troublesome, because it’s such a golfer’s helper when it comes to getting the ball finally onto the green. Here, you’re also missing a putter to finishing off any hole – which could leave you frustrated.
That said, while it feels like a less complete set of training wheels than the Callaway 12-piece, there’s good thought and design in the Pinemeadow set that can get new golfers out there and swinging towards the pin, which after all is most of the battle with a game as focused and detail-oriented as golf. It would probably work best as a very first golf club set – especially given it’s available for an entry level price – to let new would-be golfers decide if the game is for them.
Also at the budget try-out end of the market comes the Confidence Golf Power V3 set. You get a bag of nine clubs in this collection, as with the list-leading Callaway set, and yes, you get a putter in the mix, so once you get to the green, you can practice the crucial skill of that ‘final round’ of any hole of golf, where the focus shifts from distance and pace to precision, and you really have to zone in on slopes, wind, breaks in the green and the like.
That said, the Confidence Power V3 set is a little more caveman than some of the higher hitters on our list. It’s not crammed with hugely technological of psychological design to hold the beginner’s hand as they swing – but there’s still some forgiveness built into the irons, which have larger sweet spots and a useful offset – useful because it teaches new golfers the right way to drive their hands through the ball, which will probably mean an easier, faster transition from beginner clubs to more hardcore golfing equipment.
The whole point of a set of beginner clubs is to engage the new golfer, teach them the basics and move them on to other equipment as fast as possible. The Confidence Power V3 set delivers that balance between engaging new golfers, teaching them something, and letting them outgrow the clubs relatively fast, meaning by the time you’re no longer sure whether the V3 set provides everything you need, you’ll know whether you’re going to go on to be a golfer, or whether it’s ultimately not the game for you.
Yes, we topped our list with a cut-down version of a Callaway set and then moaned that it didn’t have a sand wedge, only to include the fuller, more high-spec version of the same set slightly further down the list, even though it includes the sand wedge.
Hear us out.
The 16-piece Callaway set comes with 11 clubs (along with the bag, the head covers etc). That’s a driver, a 3 wood, a 4 and 5 hybrid, 6 to 9 irons, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge and a putter.
You don’t need to spend money on all those clubs if you’re fresh on your very first tee. You need some clubs that than do the fundamentals – get you off the tee to the fairway, get you from the fairway to the green, get you from the green to the cup. Bam, job done, less money spent on clubs you may not need.
It’s that sense of cutting to the chase, while giving you everything you need to make the basic shots of golf, that puts the Callaway 12-piece at the top of our list.
The 16-piece is the boss level. The thing you unlock by playing enough with the basic set that you actually feel both the need for some wedges, and the confidence to handle them.
That, in a sense, is why the 16-piece is so much lower down the list, despite offering more. Its use to an absolutely new golfer is actually less than the 12-piece. It offers clubs that the new golfer won’t necessarily see the need of, but which the slightly advanced golfer will absolutely understand and want.
So the 16-piece is more use to the now-committed golfer – at which point, why would they not just buy the extra clubs separately?
The Callaway 16-piece then is chiefly aimed at that specific sub-set of people who are new to golf, but want to go in with more club than they can necessarily handle, just in case they need them along the journey from beginner to medium handicapper.
That said, if a new golfer spends the money on a 16-piece Callaway set, there’s plenty of pleasure to be had from it – all the consideration that goes into the 12-piece is here, along with a couple of sand wedging cheat modes to get them out of trouble. What’s more, if a new golfer pays for a 16-piece set, it feels like like a disposable hobby and more like a commitment, which helps them persevere.
While Precise is not among the best known names in golf, it’s building a reputation fast, and this 18-piece set makes it easy to see why.
Particularly for beginners, this is a set that compresses all the possible fun of golf into a bagful of tricks and invites you to go play. A thundering belter of a driver (and yes, that’s official golf parlance now, feel free to use it), a sturdy 3 wood, a couple of hybrids so beginners can get their head and their swing around those, irons from a 5 iron down to a pitching wedge, (no sand wedge!), and a mallet putter. The price is decent, and the Precise set is reliable enough to take you from beginner to intermediate level, making it an economical set.
Users have praised the Precise set not only for its price and the length of its usefulness, but also for its forgiving nature, especially the driver and the two hybrids. So while it may not have the biggest name as yet, Precise’s generous 18-piece set has lots to recommend it to the new golfer.
Best Set Of Golf Clubs For A Beginner - Buyers Guide
Getting your first set of golf clubs can be anything from a tentative exploration with the basics to a full-on commitment to learning a new skill and spending a lifetime on the course.
You need to consider some things before you buy your beginner set.
Try-Out Or Committed Golfer?
Do a self-assessment. Are you just going to try it out, or are you absolutely committed to a life on the links? The answer can determine what you need – and what you need to spend. If you’re just trying golf out, you can absolutely get away with a cut-down set like the Callaway 12-set. If you’re determined to master the game, suck it up and go for the more expensive but more fully-featured 16 or 18-piece sets, which will help you make faster progress.
Be aware that when you’re new to a game, you’re probably going to suck a bit at first. It’s natural – you’re training your body and your instincts to do things they’ve never done before. Some sets of clubs have more forgiveness designed into them than others. You’re eventually going to have to perfect your stance, your grip, your address and your swing, but doing all that work as a new golfer can be disheartening. Decide what you’re willing to pay for additional forgiveness (bigger sweet spots etc), and buy the clubs that help you make some early progress.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the point of beginner clubs? Can’t I just start off with ‘real’ clubs?
You certainly can, but people start out with beginner clubs because golf is not, in any sense, easy. Like learning any new skill, most people find it best to start off with equipment that rewards intent, doesn’t punish failure, and encourages more use and practice. That’s the point of beginner clubs – they’re your apprenticeship in the game.
What should I look for in a set of beginner clubs?
Forgiveness of your newness to the game. That will mean clubs with bigger sweet spots, forgiving attacks and delivery, and even putters that increase your moment of inertia so they translate your intention to the ball, rather than your inexperience. You want beginner clubs that will help you master the basics in a reasonable amount of time, and let you improve your play so you can move beyond them.