Do you need a full set of golf clubs?

If you’re heading to the golf course you will need a full set of golf clubs, without them you are going to handicap yourself. According to the USGA a golfer is allowed 14 clubs in their bag.

This can include:

  • Three woods (driver, 3-wood and 5-wood)
  • Eight irons, (3-9 iron and pitching wedge)
  • Putter

These are the standard 12 clubs in most golf bags, which you can then add two more. This maybe a hybrid driver to play on the fairway, or sand wedge to get you out of a difficult bunker or a lob wedge which offers more lift.

What clubs would an advanced golfer carry?

For a more advanced or seasoned golfer, they would carry more hybrids than a beginner, this will give them more options when playing difficult shots from off the fairway. They can handle a driver, and will be hitting for distance. With their skill level a pitching wedge is probably good enough to get them onto the green.

  • Driver
  • 3 wood
  • 4, 5, and 6 hybrids
  • 7, 8, and 9 irons
  • Pitching wedge
  • Putter 

What clubs would the intermediate golfer carry?

A golfer at this level would normally be hitting a three wood off the tee. It would help them control the ball better than using a driver. Their short game will be of a better standard than a beginner and they would probably include a gap or lob wedge to help them around the greens. Hybrids would normally also be in their bag, rather than the difficult long irons.

  • Driver
  • 3 wood
  • Sand wedge
  • Pitching wedge
  • 4 and 5 hybrids
  • 6, 7, 8, and 9 iron
  • Putter 

What clubs would the beginner golfer carry?

A beginner will be weaker in most areas, and will need all the help they can get. Adding three wedges, gap, pitching and lob, will give them more options when pitching into the green or getting out of difficult positions. The hybrids will help them control the ball, and get longer distance off the fairway, than using an iron.

  • Driver 
  • 2 hybrids or 3 wood
  • 3 iron to 9 iron 
  • Gap wedge
  • Pitching wedge
  • Lob wedge
  • Putter 

How many golf clubs do you really need?

If your a beginner then there is no need to carry a full set of golf clubs. Carrying less can help you when practicing, and will cause less confusion when it comes to choosing a club for a particular shot. More choice more headaches!

Lets’s see what clubs we can discard…

Taking a 1, 2, 3 or 4 iron onto the course nowadays is not needed. With the advent of hybrid clubs, these irons are becoming obsolete. The reason especially for a beginner but also professionals is that hybrids are much easier to play with. These irons are difficult to control unless you’re a low handicapper or professional.

If your a beginner check out are ‘Ultimate beginners guide to playing golf’ >

Why should I choose hybrids?

If you’re a beginner, having hybrids in your bag are going to help your scorecard at the end of each round. They are now the favoured club over the low irons, for many.

Hybrids are a fairly new invention into the world of golf, although some still favour a 3 wood to take them down the fairway, but slowly more and more golfers are switching to hybrids.

Hybrids look similar to small woods. With a wider sole, low centre of gravity, and a larger sweet spot. They are a great addition for most situations.

As the name suggests the hybrid combines the features of a fairway wood, and a long iron. The combination of this design makes it much easier to strike the ball.

The swing is helped by the shorter length of the shaft, which is approx 3 inches shorter than an iron.

Manufacturers are now producing more hybrids, and with more than 50% of golfers now choosing a hybrid over long irons. It’s a good idea to add them to your bag.

Should I buy a full set of clubs or individual clubs?

Buying a full set or individual clubs, depends on your skill level. I would normally advise that a full set of clubs is better for a beginner. Choosing individual clubs is for the more experienced golfer.

Golf sets are made by most of the leading golf equipment manufacturers. They make buying a golf set an easy choice for a beginner. The shafts will all be the same quality, they will have the same feel, the same grips, and you’ll find that it will make it easier to learn using the same clubs.

Best golf sets for a beginner reviewed >

Cost will also be cheaper when buying a complete set, plus you’ll get the extras like a bag, stand, and covers.

If you purchase a good quality set, you can always replace or add the odd club like an additional hybrid, or a different putter. as you become more experienced.

Technology and design has made even the cheaper sets better than the old sets that were around 10 years ago, so it’s worth buying a set if it means replacing a mixed bag of old clubs. Your game should improve!

Buying individual clubs

There is a wealth of different golf clubs available from low to high end. This gives you the advantage of choosing individual clubs for each spot in your bag.

If you’re more experienced you’ll have a good feel for what is the right club for you. Maybe you prefer steel shafts to graphite, or a particular putter design. You have the freedom to make that choice.

If your weakness is driving off the fairway you may prefer a hybrid to a fairway wood, the choice is yours.

You may want to save up for a top range driver or iron or get the latest hybrid you’ve been trialling. Or maybe you don’t need a full set of clubs and can manage with a smaller set.

Finding the right clubs for your individual needs will not only help your game improve. The chances are that they will out live a golf set.

Related questions…

What if I have more clubs in my bag?

You will likely incur a penalty if you carry more that the allotted 14 clubs in your bag if competing in a tournament like match or stroke play.

Carrying more than 14 clubs when playing with friends is acceptable, but it would be worth speaking with your playing partners first in case they have any objections.

If you were to carry more than 14 clubs a two-stroke penalty would be incurred for each hole played where the extra club was used. with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round.

Can I borrow clubs when playing?

The USGA ruled that you are entitled to borrow a club from your playing partner who is in your team during a tournament.

You may need to do this if your club head becomes damaged i.e a club head becomes loose during playing a round.

If when you’re playing a round and you run out of golf balls, it’s acceptable for you to borrow golf balls from anymore.