Golf Buying Guide

How To Buy Golf Equipment:

The Official Rules of Golf mandate, no more than 14 clubs are allowed in your bag during a round of golf, and that includes your putter. So it is vital that you choose a selection of clubs that best fits your swing, where you play and your ability level.

1) Determining Your Ability Level:

a) The Low-Handicap Golfer
b) The Mid-Handicap Golfer
c) The High-Handicap Golfer

2) Determining the Type of Club:

a) The Shaft
b) The Club Head
c) Iron

Determining Your Ability Level:

Players can be divided into 3 basic ability levels--low-handicaps,mid-handicaps, and high-handicaps. A handicap is the golfer's way of measuring their performance against the par on a course, usually in relation to a par 72 regulation course.

The Low-Handicap Golfer:

A low-handicaps player has a single-digit handicap, meaning he or she generally scores less than 10 strokes over par, or an 82 or less on a par-72 course.

1) Woods:
The low-handicap player should carry a driver and at least 1 fairway wood, most likely the 3-wood

2) Irons:
The low-handicap player will benefit from lower irons in his bag, because the 3 or 4-iron is a difficult club to hit, but can be very useful if it can be controlled

3) Wedges:
A minimum of 3 wedges--pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge--in their bags, with a maximum four-degree difference between each one.

The Mid-Handicap Golfer:

The mid-handicap golfer plays "bogey golf," meaning his or her score averages out to 1 over par on each hole, or somewhere in the 11-20 handicap range.

1) Woods:
In addition to the driver and a 3-wood and a 5-wood, consider adding a 7-wood or even a 9-wood. These fairway woods give much better control and consistency than the harder to hit long irons.

2) Irons:
Most sets are comprised of the pitching wedge and irons 3 through 9

3) Wedges:
Three different wedges are recommended--pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge.

The High-Handicap Golfer:

The high-handicap golfer is either a beginner or has not had the time to hone his game to reach the mid-handicap level. The high-handicapper usually shoots close to or over 100.

1) Woods
You may not even want to have a driver in your bag. Instead, go with the 3-wood as your off-the-tee wood and add the easier-to-hit 7- and 9-woods.

2) Wedges
Up to 3 wedges--pitching wedge, sand wedge, and either a lob wedge or approach wedge--should be carried

Determining the Type of Club:

Various shafts and club head compositions and designs make it possible to select the right combination to suit every individual's golf game.

The Shaft:

1) Materials:
Golf club shafts now primarily come in 2 materials, steel and graphite

a) Steel shafts
b) Stronger, more durable and generally less expensive
c) Offer greater consistency from shaft to shaft
d) More control on shots, but requires a faster swing speed to generate the same distance as graphite
e) Recommended for stronger players who could use a little extra control in their game

2) Graphite:

a) Generally lighter than steel and can be made in many more variations
b) Graphite is generally more expensive than steel and less durable
c) The lighter shaft allows greater swing speed for more power, but it sacrifices control
d) Graphite absorbs shock in a swing

3) Flex:
a) Flex refers to the amount of "bend" in a shaft. Your shaft flex needs to match with the speed of your golf swing
b) Beginners and players with less powerful swings will benefit from a more flexible shaft
c) An average player has a swing speed of 75-90 mph, and should look for a regular shaft
d) Players with powerful swings - in the 90 -110 mph range - should purchase a stiff or firm shaft. This will e) provide a stiffer club for more control.
f) Many shafts are now available in a uniflex that will fit most any golfer's swing

The Club Head:

1) Woods:

a) Standard:
- Better control but a smaller sweet spot
- About 150-155 cubic centimeters
b) Midsize:
- Positioned between standard and oversized
- About 195 cubic centimeters
- Different club head materials allow for a combination of benefits with a medium-sized sweet spot and lighter weight than an oversized head
c) Oversized:
- The largest club head size, up to 250 cubic centimeters
- Offers the largest sweet spot of any head size, and is the most forgiving on mishits
d) Wood materials:
- Stainless steel
- Less expensive, but slightly heavier than the more modern titanium and other alloys
- The slightly smaller head gives a more traditional look and feel to the club
- Titanium
- Lighter weight allows for the creation of even larger club heads
- Larger sweet spot

Types of Irons:

a) Cast irons:
- Cavity back construction, also known as perimeter weighted irons
- Most of the head weight on the outside of the head
- A larger sweet spot because it puts more weight on the edges of the club face
- Beginners who tend to mishit the ball more often would benefit from cavity back/perimeter weighted irons because they are more forgiving

b) Forged irons:
- No special weight distribution on the back of the club head
- The centre of gravity is in the centre of the club head
- Small sweet spots, offers lower handicapper more control
- More advanced players who tend to strike the ball consistently in the centre of the club would benefit from forged irons