Tips for buying golf clubs

Tips for buying golf clubs and golf equipment

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A common myth is that the higher the price of a club, the better your game will be: “This club cost me $799.00, I must be playing great now!”. Just think about it, are drivers really worth $600 to $1000 and iron sets $1500 to $3,000? The big manufacturers spend millions of $$ to promote their stuff and still make huge profits. Who you think pays for that? Paying high prices does not lower ones handicap, but a properly chosen club will, even a cheap one.

If you’ve ever wondered why those name brand golf clubs cost so much we recommend you read this great article over at Pinemeadow Golf Lesson #5: Golf Club Clones vs Brands (will open in a new browser window). You may also want to get our very own Golf Beginner Guide, produced by the publishers of LearnAboutGolf.com. This 272 page resource covers everything a Golf Beginner has to know.

Once you have achieved a decent level of play, you can consider custom clubs with proper fitting. And even then, go for value rather than show. If you need some extra advice on what clubs are good (for your) I suggest you take a look at these Golf Club Reviews and our own Golf Reviews.

Some points you should consider before buying Golf Clubs:

1. The shaft is the axle of the club, the better the shaft, the better the club.

2. Shaft flex has a major effect on the feel of a golf club and a medium effect on distance, thus an important determination in choosing clubs. If you do not know your speed swing (mph or km/h), some local golf shops can measure it for you. Otherwise the following chart may be helpful.

SWING SPEED CONVERSION CHART

LADIES FLEX

Driver speed swing less than 60 mph (100 km/h). Driver carry distance less than 180 yds. Club used from 150 yds. a 3 iron or wood.

SENIOR or A FLEX

Driver speed swing 60-75 mph (100-120 km/h). Driver carry distance 180-210 yds. Club used from 150yds. a 4 iron.

REGULAR FLEX

Driver speed swing 75-84 mph (120-135 km/h). Driver carry distance 210-240 yds. Club used from 150 yds. a 5 or 6 iron.

STIFF FLEX

Driver speed swing 84-93 mph (130-150 km/h). Driver carry distance 240-260 yds. Club used from 150 yds. a 6 or 7 iron.

X-STIFF FLEX

Driver speed swing over 93 mph (150 km/h). Driver carry distance 260+ yds. Club used from 150 yds. a 8 or 9 iron.




3. Shallow face metalwoods are well established game improvement clubs on the market. Pinemeadow Golf have a top quality and good priced selection (I personally like the Command Q Ti 3 Wood, they play great and represent excellent value for money). Generally, shallow face metal-woods are easy to hit and extremely accurate due to their low center of gravity – something every golfer will appreciate.

4. Beginners and novice players choosing a set make-up, should consider eliminating the 2, 3 and 4 irons from their set, replacing those hard to hit irons with #3 and #5 hybrid clubs. You may want to check out this great value for money Hybrid Club selection.

5. All golfers should use standard length clubs unless he or she is short or tall. Standard length clubs allow players to hit the ball on center a higher percentage of the time, thus increasing distance and accuracy. In recent years, light weight Titanium driver heads and Ultralight graphite shafts have extended driver playing lengths from a standard 43-431/2″ to 44-46″. This is good news and bad news. The good news is, when you increase length, you will increase distance. The longer the club, the more club head speed generated, thus more distance. The bad news is, the longer the club the more difficult it is to control, thus less accuracy. To put this into perspective, the following information will be helpful. A driver hit on center at 43″ = 250 yds. 43 1/2″= 262 yds. 44″ = 270 yds. 44 1/2″ = 275 yds. 45″ = 275-280 yds. As you can see a significant increase in distance is achieved up to 44″. After 44″, distance increases only a minimal amount . CONCLUSION – It is not worth sacrificing accuracy for the minimal amount of distance gained past 44″. Keep driver playing lengths to 44″ or less.

Men’s Standard Shaft Lengths (deduct 1″ for Women’s Standard Shaft Length)
Club Length with Steel Shafts Length with Graphite Shafts
Driver 43.5″ 44″
3 wood 42.5″ 43″
5 wood 41.5″ 42″
7 wood 40.5″ 41″
9 wood 40.5″ 41″
1 iron 39.5″ 40″
2 iron 39″ 39.5″
3 iron 38.5″ 39″
4 iron 38″ 38.5″
5 iron 37.5″ 38″
6 iron 37″ 37.5″
7 iron 36.5″ 37″
8 iron 36″ 36.5″
9 iron 35.5″ 36″
PW 35.5″ 36″
GW 35.25″ 35.75″
SW 35.25″ 35.75″
LW 35.25″ 35.75″

 

6. In case you are not ‘standard’, determining the proper length for your clubs is very easy and free of guess-work by taking a wrist to floor measurement. You need a helper. In street shoes, stand at ‘attention’ with your feet about a foot apart. Stand straight, shoulders up, but your arms relaxed by your side. Have your helper measure (RH players) from your left wrist at the crease where it meets your hand, to the floor. LH players measure from right wrist. Shorter players will measure in the low 30"s, the average height players in the mid 30"s, and tall players 35" & up.

The values in the table then show you (in inches) how much longer or shorter than the standard length your clubs should be. For a more accurate set of measurements you can visit the
‘club fitting wizard’ at Pinemeadow Golf, it is are free and easy to use.

Your Height
4′ 10″ – 5′ 0″ 5′ 0″ – 5′ 2″ 5′ 2″ – 5′ 4″ 5′ 4″ – 5′ 7″ 5′ 7″ – 6′ 0″ 6′ 0″ – 6′ 2″ 6′ 2″ – 6′ 4″ 6′ 4″ – 6′ 7″ 6′ 7″ – 6′ 9″

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40″ +2.25″ +2.25″ +2.25″ +2″ +2″ +2″ +1.75″ +1.75″ +1.5″
39.5″ +2″ +2″ +2″ +1.75″ +1.75″ +1.75″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″
39″ +2″ +2″ +2″ +1.75″ +1.75″ +1.75″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″
38.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1″ +1″ +1″
38″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1.5″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″
37.5″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″
37″ +1″ +1″ +1″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″
36.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″
36″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.5″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″
35.5″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ S S S
35″ +0.25″ +0.25″ +0.25″ S S S S S S
34.5″ S S S S S S -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″
34″ S S S -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″
33.5″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″
33″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.25″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″
32.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″
32″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.5″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″
31.5″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -1″ -1″ -1″
31″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -0.75″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″
30.5″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″
30″ -1″ -1″ -1″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″
29.5″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.5″ -1.5″ -1.5″
29″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.25″ -1.5″ -1.5″ -1.5″ -1.5″ -1.5″ -1.5″

 

7. STEEL SHAFTS vs. GRAPHITE SHAFTS – These are general recommendations:

A. Men (Age 13-55) Steel shafted irons, graphite shafted woods.
B. Men (Age 55+) Graphite shafted irons and woods. Note the switch to graphite irons. As we get older the speed swing slows, lighter weight graphite shafts may recover some of the lost speed, thus regaining some lost distance. A switch to a softer flex shaft (senior, A-flex) is also recommended.
C. Ladies (All Ages) Graphite shafted irons and woods. The lighter weight graphite shafts are much easier for ladies to swing than heavier steel shafts. A little more costly, worth the investment.

 

8. Loft angle has a major effect on distance off the tee, so its important to choose the correct loft for your driving club. The slower speed swingers (ladies, seniors and some regular flex players) need higher lofted driving clubs. Increased loft will allow a better launch angle, higher trajectory, greater carry, thus more distance! This may be a surprise to a lot of long time players who have always thought less loft, more distance. Case in point. Many regular and senior flex players have fallen prey to the ProLine model hype and purchased $300.00+ drivers at 10 or less degrees, only to find they were hard to get airborne and produced low line drives. Live and learn. Faster speed swingers do require less loft to obtain maximum distance. The following information should be helpful in choosing the correct loft for you driving club.

RECOMMENDED LOFTS FOR DRIVING CLUBS:

NOTE: Because of certain swing movements high ball hitters may want to decrease 2 degrees from current driver loft.

LADIES and SENIOR shaft flex players with less than 60 mph (100 km/h) speed swing, 13-15 degrees.
SENIOR shaft flex players with 60-75 mph (100-120 km/h) speed swing, 13 degrees.
REGULAR shaft flex players with 75-84 mph (120-135 km/h) speed swing, 12 degrees.
STIFF shaft flex players with 84-93 mph (130-150 km/h) speed swing, 10-11 degrees.
STIFF or X-STIFF shaft players with more than 93 mph (150 km/h) speed swing, 10 or less degrees.

9. Slicing the ball off the tee may be the single most problem confronting golfers. The face angle of the club has a major effect on accuracy off the tee. Face angles of drivers are open, square or closed. Closed face drivers come 1-6 degrees closed. Slicers need closed face drivers for correction, expect a 5-7 yard correction in slice for every degree the face is closed if your current driver has a square face angle.

EXAMPLE: You aim for the middle of a 30 yard wide fairway using a square face driver, but your ball ends up 5 yards in the rough. Same shot, using a driver with a face angle 2 degrees closed, your slice would be corrected approximately 12 yards, which puts you 7 yards in the fairway!

10. DISTANCE – What makes a golf ball go far? There are 4 basic reasons to how far a player can hit a golf ball.

a. The composition of the golf ball. Some balls go farther than others. Any name brand 100 compression ball will go farther than a 70 compression driving range ball.

b. Loft of club. Less loft for faster speed swingers = more distance. More loft for slower speed swingers = more distance.

c. Length of club. The longer the club (up to a certain point, see above) the more distance.

d. Last and most important is swing speed. The more clubhead speed a golfer can generate at impact, the more distance. Why do you think Tiger Woods hits it as far as he does? He generates 200 km/h of clubhead speed with his driver. Most Pros are not close to that. Because #d has the biggest effect on distance, golfers should understand clubmakers and manufacturers are somewhat limited in trying to aid golfers to achieve more distance. We cannot change the physics of the game.

A final note on distance. Many players are led to believe metals (Titanium, Maraging Steel, Cyro Plasma, Cermet, etc.) have a major effect on distance. Once again, more hype. If metals have an effect on distance, its very minor at best.