Buying golf clubs online: Experts offer guidance on getting the best set

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, check out these helpful tips.

April 2, 2024, 3:38 AM
Shop for golf clubs using this expert advice
Shop for golf clubs using this expert advice
ABC News Photo Illustration, Wilson, Amazon

Spring is here, which means it's time for golfers to hit the links or driving range to keep their swings sharp.

Golf clubs can be difficult to shop for, though, especially if you're just starting out and feel overwhelmed with choices. That's why we reached out to two highly knowledgeable experts in the field and asked them what we should be looking for when investing in a new set of golf clubs. Then we did some shopping for you.

Meet our experts

We first spoke with Jordan Powell, the assistant director of Five Iron Golf in New York City, a "high-tech, inclusive urban golf experience for golfers and non-golfers alike" that has changed the way lovers of the sport can experience it in the heart of the city.

Our second expert is PGA Master Professional Tim Cusick, who is the head coach at the PGA Coaching Center Head Coach in Frisco, Texas. He has been named one of America's top 100 instructors twice by Golf Magazine, and he is the author of "The Four Keys to Improve Your Game." In addition to these accolades and more than 30 years of coaching experience in the Dallas Metroplex, Cusick also achieved the status of PGA Master Professional in Teaching/Coaching in 2018, which is the highest accomplishment a PGA Professional can attain.

Where to start when shopping for golf clubs

The most important aspect of owning good clubs is having them fit your body size.

"If this is your first time ever playing golf," Powell told us, "it doesn't hurt to go to a pro but it will come at a cost."

Even if you plan to buy online, it can be helpful to stop in a store to look at some of your options and feel them out in real life to make sure you know what you're getting into. Someone in store can help you explore your options.

"You've got the eye test of what attracts you to this club: the look of it, the color of it and the finish of it is the first test," Cusick said. "The second test is you hold it, you waggle it a little bit and move it around, and if it feels good, it's passed the first two tests."

He said once the club has passed those two tests, the rest comes down to what feels best when it's time to swing for real -- something every store should be able to accommodate.

What to know about golf club sizes

When it comes to sizing, Powell warned, "If you're of average height, there's really not many adjustments to be made. If you're on the taller or shorter side, though, there are going to be some adjustments made and you would need to go see either a fitter or a pro."

Cusick offered similar advice on seeking out a pro when it's time to get a bespoke set, likening the experience to custom-tailored clothes shopping.

"If I went and bought a suit off the rack, it would probably fit and I would probably look good in it," he said, "but it's totally different from if I went and got a custom-made suit. You could buy a club off the rack and it might do just fine, but it's a totally different experience if you go through a custom fitting."

Whether you order custom clubs or have them adjusted to fit your body, having the right size clubs will lower your score and help prevent stress on the body you might experience from having to stoop, bend over or choke up too high on the club in order to swing.

What's the difference between men's and women's clubs?

Weight and length are the two biggest differences between men's and women's clubs, and women often have a harder time finding clubs thanks to fewer options on the market -- an issue that pops up even on the professional level, according to Powell.

Women's clubs tend to be on the lighter side, often made with materials like graphite shafts that allow for an easier swing than something heavier, such as steel.

Men's clubs are often heavier, sometimes with steel shafts that until recently, Cusick explained, were sturdier than graphite since they could be crafted from a solid piece of steel.

However, the technology behind graphite clubs has improved and offers a benefit regardless of whether you're looking at men's or women's clubs.

"Graphite can be lighter-weighted club which, for a lot of people, is good! They can move the club faster, it's easier to swing and less work," Cusick said. "The biggest thing is graphite has a little more of a shock-absorbing feel, so if you have issues with your elbows, forearms, wrists, shoulders or hands, it's going to be a more advantageous shaft for you to use just for the pain-free element."

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He also mentioned that companies will often pick up on a trending material but do not be swayed by flashy marketing. Instead, focus on what feels good in your swing and stick with that material while shopping, he said.

Using this advice and more collected throughout these conversations, Shop ABC selected several starter sets, drivers and other golf accoutrement to help you start playing or expand your game. Keep scrolling to shop our picks.

By clicking on these shopping links, visitors will leave ABC.com. These e-commerce sites are operated under different terms and privacy policies than ABC.com. ABC will receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Prices may change from the date of publication.

Golf clubs for beginners

As Powell told us, "Golf is one of the most expensive sports there is. Being a beginner is tough because you don't know if you want to invest something if you don't love it yet."

Because of this, he advised in not spending too much on your starter clubs, especially since you haven't developed a real sense of what you'll want when it's time to start spending the big bucks.

Amazon

Strata Men's Complete Golf Set

As far as beginner sets go, this one is a fantastic deal, sold by Callaway and has well over 9,000 ratings with a 4.6-star average. You'll get a lightweight, titanium-head driver that promises a large sweet spot, a 5 hybrid for easier launch even in tall grass, 7 and 9 irons and sand wedge, all packaged in a convenient bag with a stand.

  • $275.57
  • Amazon
7% off
PGA Tour Superstore

Wilson Magnolia Navy Package Set w/ Cart Bag

Another beginner-friendly set, this time created with women in mind, is the Magnolia set from Wilson. As Powell told us, "women just don't have as many options," but this comprehensive set aims to address that issue by offering right or left hand orientation, a high lofted driver, easy to hit 3 fairway woods and 4, 5 and 6 iron hybrids, a limited edition wedge and putter plus a premium cart or carry bag for ultimate convenience. This setup has a 94% "would recommend to a friend" rating, and you can even choose between Petite and Standard lengths to best fit your swing.

  • $599.98
  • $649.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore
18% off
PGA Tour Superstore

U.S. Kid's Golf Ultralight 42 4 Club Complete Set

Start them young with an all-in-one set that is built for junior players with the option to get right- or left-hand oriented clubs. You can also choose between the pink or grey and yellow color combinations, and each set comes with a driver, iron, wedge and putter -- plus, 100% of reviewers recommend it.

  • $179.98
  • $219.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore

Full sets for intermediate golfers

Once you've established yourself as a golfer and feel ready to drop a bit more money on the game, there are plenty of higher-quality sets from legacy brands like Callaway ready to come home with you.

PGA Tour Superstore

XR 13-Piece Complete Set w/ Graphite Shafts

While there aren't a huge number of reviews out on this set yet -- just 17 at publication time -- 100% of them would recommended this set to a fellow golfer. In addition to the stylish stand bag it all comes in, you'll get a driver, 3 wood, 4 and 5 hybrids, 6 through 9 irons, wedges for pitching and sand, a putter and five head covers.

  • $1499.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore
PGA Tour Superstore

Kalea Premier 11-piece Package Set

Another popular set created with women in mind is the Kalea Premier that optimizes speed, forgiveness and easy launch. In addition to skillfully engineered clubs, this set comes with a heathered nylon cart in three color options that allows you to traverse the course with ease and style. Reviews of this set praise its lightweight feel, versatility and durability.

  • $1699.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore

Drivers, putters and more for the advanced golfer

When shopping as an advanced golfer, you might be more likely to prefer certain brands you've come to know and love over the years. One valuable piece of advice Cusick left us with touches on avoiding that pitfall.

"Some golfers are very brand-allegiant and think, 'I'm only going to play this brand,' and that's just the way it is," he said of those who gravitate to the same makers over and over. "There's nothing wrong with that, but to me, I feel like it's much better to have an agnostic approach and say, 'OK, let me see the feel, let me see what they look like.'"

We're including a short list of top sellers and other favorites here for advanced golfers, but don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when shopping for new clubs.

And, as Powell warned, don't feel beholden to big luxury brands that might put out a branded set of mediocre clubs at a staggering price. As with other luxury items, such as cars or clothes, paying more doesn't always mean getting better golf clubs.

43% off
PGA Tour Superstore

Taylormade SIM2 Max Driver

One of the PGA Tour Superstore's top-rated drivers is this Taylormade model, with an average 4.8-star rating on more than 500 reviews. Left-handed or right-handed players are accomodated when ordering, as are those seeking regular, senior or stiff flexibility. 

  • $299.98
  • $529.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore
PGA Tour Superstore

Qi10 LS Driver

This high-end driver promises a 60X Carbon Twist Face that is noticeably lighter than the more traditional titanium, creating a more efficient energy transfer to the ball. You'll get more stability and lower spin, plus the promise of a straighter shot -- and with the PGA Tour Superstore's 90-day guarantee, you can return it for full store credit to use that same day in case you're not thrilled with the club.

  • $629.99
  • PGA Tour Superstore
Amazon

PGM Golf Putter - Blade Putters for Men & Women

Despite its low cost, this popular putter is praised across reviews as a solid, quality club that has a great weight, balance and appearance. It's a top seller on Amazon and averages a 4.5-star rating, making it a simple choice for anyone who needs to fill out their golf bag or step up from their old putter.

  • $29.99
  • Amazon
7% off
Amazon

HB Soft 2#1 34" RH

Selected as one of the year's best by Golf Monthly, this putter is one of the best for your money you'll find. It has a larger striking area for a more consistent, controlled putt, and a 20g weight in the butt of the shaft offers impeccable balance for a beautiful swing.

  • $138.04
  • $149.99
  • Amazon
Amazon

Callaway Golf Rogue ST Max Iron Set

You have the option to get graphite or steel shafts, choose between various configurations and enjoy Callaways new A.I. face optimization that's unique to each model and promises spin rate consistency. Reviews love the quality and value and say they're easy to hit with, solid and forgiving.

  • $799.99
  • Amazon

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