What golf clubs do beginners need?

Thomas Tanner
Sep 02, 2020
6 minutes
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If you're new to golf and looking forward to getting out for your first game but don't know what actual golf clubs you'll need to start, this page is especially for you. In the guide below we're going to put any thoughts about not having the right or enough clubs to bed, and show you that golf can be played and enjoyed with just a few clubs in your bag.

What do the rules say?

Under the rules of golf, you're allowed to bring a maximum of 14 clubs out on the golf course with you. In reality, you might only use 6-8 during a round.

What's the difference between them all?

The golf clubs in your bag are going to fall into three categories - woods, irons, and a putter.

What are woods?

Your woods are the big-headed clubs which hit the ball the furthest. They used to be made of wood (hence the name), but modern woods are made from metal and carbon. The most prominent wood of them all, and the one that hits the ball the furthest is called a driver. If you are hitting off the tee box and feel like using your driver, you can make it easier to hit the ball by teeing it up. The driver used to be known as a 1-wood - more on the numbers and what they mean below.

Also in the wood family, you'll find smaller headed clubs called fairway woods. These can be hit off a tee to start a hole, just like the driver, but with enough practice, you'll also be able to hit your fairway wood without a tee and just off the grass.

What are irons?

Irons are part of a set and have numbers stamped on them to differentiate them and indicate how far they'll each hit the ball. For instance, the iron with number 7 on it, and once you get used to hitting shots, you'll quickly figure out how far it goes. Down from the 7-iron is a 6-iron which will hit the ball a little further, and a 5-iron further still. If you compare the 7 to the 5-iron, you'll see the face of the 7 points up in the sky more than the 5-iron, it has more 'loft'.

In the other direction, one club up from the 7 is the 8-iron which will hit the ball a little shorter. The 9-iron will also follow this pattern. Comparing the 7 to the 9-iron, the 9 has even more loft. So as the numbers get higher, the loft gets higher, and the shorter the ball go.

What do the letters mean?

After 9-iron (no, not a 10-iron!) you'll have a pitching wedge with a P or PW stamped on the club. A pitching wedge is a great club for hitting a short high shot into the green. The lofting pattern follows down from your irons into your PW and beyond.

Finally, in the irons, we have the sand wedge. It'll hit the ball shorter than your pitching wedge, but as the name suggests it is a specialist club for hitting the ball off sand which is in bunkers. The wide sole helps bounce the club through the sand and makes it easy to get the ball out!

We have a great video on this if you want to learn more about these clubs.

What's a putter?

The final of the three club types is the putter, and this is the one you will use on the greens to putt the ball into the hole.

What clubs do you need as a beginner?

  • You're going to need to get off to a good start on each so bring you driver and your fairway wood.
  • With regards to irons, you only a 7-iron and down. Pop in you 8, 9, pitching wedge and the sand wedge.
  • And of course, you'll be needing your putter.

That's a total of 8 clubs, plenty to get you up and running and your bag will be even light enough to carry!

Which club should you pick form the 1000s of models available?

When it comes to your driver, the job is pretty easy; you essentially want something with a big head, and thankfully most modern drivers have that. Some drivers have lots of moveable weights and screws (avoid these), while others, like the TaylorMade M2, are already set up and ready to go.

With your first irons, look for ones with big chunky heads, that have an opening on the back called a cavity back.

And when it comes to your first putter, choose something that feels comfortable to you. Something you think you can line up the ball nicely with, and have a go at rolling the ball to the hole.

Your first round packing list

  • Driver
  • Fairway wood
  • 7, 8, and 9-iron
  • Pitching wedge
  • Sand wedge
  • Putter
  • Golf balls

Further reading

If you are new to golf and are a little bit confused about what all the numbers and letters on your golf clubs mean, that's understandable. Depending on the clubs you have, you could have two or even three #5s, others with a single-digit number, some with a double-digit number, some with numbers in various places, and even some with letters!

Wedges are the clubs used for the shorter and more accurate shots in golf. Approach shots, chip shots, pitch shots, bunker shots, lob shots to mention just a few. There are different types of wedges generally defined by the lofts they have.