Golf Instruction for Novices

Without a sure, having the correct equipment is beneficial, but you won’t need to empty your bank account to get started. Instead, concentrate on locating the tools that will allow you to improve your sloppy talents for the least amount of money. There will be plenty of time to go after the newest, hottest things on the market (and when you do, make sure to start your search with one of our top 100 clubfitters), but for now, focus on learning rather than buying. — Senior Editor of Equipment, Mike Stachura

Only a few clubs are required.

You can carry up to 14 clubs in your bag, but you won’t need quite that many when you’re just getting started. Start with a driver, putter, and sand wedge (the club with a “S” on the sole or a loft of 54 to 56 degrees) and add a 6-iron, an 8-iron, a pitching wedge, and a fairway wood or hybrid with 18-21 degrees of loft to complete your set. These are the clubs that are the easiest to fly with and the most forgiving. Most larger golf and general sporting goods stores also have racks of discounted and/or used clubs. You can find used and new titanium drivers for as little as $75 and putters for much less than online, but most larger golf and general sporting goods stores also have racks of discounted and/or used clubs.

The higher the ceiling, the better.

If you’re not a strong and well-coordinated athlete who has played stick and ball sports (baseball, softball, hockey, or tennis, for example), choose loftier woods. Why? The greater loft makes it simpler to get the ball in the air and reduces sidespin, allowing shots to fly straighter. So opt for drivers with at least 10 degrees of loft and fairway woods that start at 17 degrees rather than 15 degrees.

Take advantage of beginner-friendly clubs.

Some clubs are more difficult to hit than others. For starters, hybrids are a better option than 3-, 4-, and 5-irons. Also, irons with wider soles (the bottom half of an iron) will reduce the likelihood of the club sticking in the ground when you hit too far behind the ball. Additionally, with more weight concentrated in the sole, the iron’s centre of gravity will be lower, allowing shots to launch higher. A more forgiving iron will often have a sole that is roughly the breadth of two fingers (from front edge to back). If the sole of an iron is less than one finger width, you should only use it if you’re paid to. Browse our Hot List of great game improvement irons to find the best one for you.


Balls are purchased on a sliding scale dependent on the number of balls lost in a round. Buy balls that cost roughly $20 a dozen if you’ve never played before or lose two sleeves or more per round (if you can’t decide between one brand and another, try putting a few to see how they feel going off the putter face). Purchase balls that cost less than $30 per dozen once the number of lost balls has been reduced to three to five per round. Only consider the $40 a dozen balls if you’re losing less than a sleeve per round. See our ball Hot List for a complete list of golf balls.

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