Golf, by nature, is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. For a beginner golfer, there are plenty of ways to save money and gradually make your way into a more expensive setup. But the first year you play golf does not need to cost you thousands—only a couple hundred.
New clubs, used clubs, custom clubs. They all come with different price tags and can be fit to whatever budget you set for yourself. Thanks to a movement to make it more accessible, golf has never been as affordable as it is now.
Beginner Box Sets – $200-$500
If you want to make one purchase and have everything you need to walk onto a golf course and play, you need to buy a boxed set of clubs. You’ll find these in the “Complete Set” section of any golf store or website and they’re truly that—complete.
These sets, which start as low as $200 include a putter, driver, woods, hybrids, and full set of irons. You’re only allowed 14 clubs per the rules of golf, and these sets come with as many.
The best part about these. Everything is new. All the clubs are standard length and flex, and are perfect for learning to play. As your game develops, you can swap individual clubs out as needed.
Used Golf Clubs – About 50% Off
Like any market for a used product, golf club prices vary. A set of clubs used for only a round or two will have nearly the same price tag as they would new. A set of clubs used for 40 rounds on the other hand, that’s where you start to save.
A set of used golf clubs can cost half the price of a new set while still being high quality.
When you’re shopping for a set of used golf clubs, it’s okay for them to have some scratches and dings. These are cosmetic for the most part. If it’s not cosmetic, it’ll be obvious.
You should avoid used golf clubs where the grooves have worn out and are shallow. This type of wear is what will actually affect how well you’re able to play.
High End Clubs New – $2000+
You know how the complete sets of golf clubs start at around $200? Well, the most expensive drivers and putters will cost triple that. A fairway wood costs a few hundred and a hybrid only a bit less.
Irons cost $150 or so (each) when purchased in a full set, usually around seven clubs, coming out to over $1000. If you need to buy one individually, it will cost closer to $200.
So yeah, this is where golf clubs get expensive. These clubs are highly customized for specific types of golfers and made of premium materials. When you’re playing competitively or at any high level, these might be worth the price they carry. For most golfers, it’s a bit excessive.
Is there a difference between affordable and expensive clubs?
Yes, there is a difference between affordable and premium golf clubs. But when you’re starting out, the differences aren’t a big factor.
You will have just as good of a time playing with a complete set or set of used golf clubs as you would top of the line Titleist, TaylorMade’s, Callaway’s.
But what are the actual differences?
Premium golf clubs come in varying flexes and are made of different materials. A proper flex will allow a golfer to hit the ball further and more consistently. This goes both ways and benefits golfers who swing slow or fast. Higher quality materials also make for more durable clubs that wear down slower.
Where should I spend my money?
If you’re a beginner golfer, don’t. Buy an affordable set of golf clubs and figure out your needs before making any big purchases.
No matter what though, as you progress in golf, you’re going to slowly replace the clubs in your bag one-by-one. If a club breaks or goes missing, it needs to be replaced first. That’s obvious. Don’t find yourself in need of a 7-iron and you lost your 7-iron two months ago.
If you’re in a situation where you can pick and choose, do so in a calculated way.
- A driver makes a big difference. One that is properly fit can add 20 yards to your drives and keep you in the fairway.
- Irons last longer than most clubs. As a whole, they’re the most expensive, but you use them for the most shots each round.
- Wedges need to be replaced the most frequently. Good ones cost $150 each and you usually carry 2-3 of them. They’re a worthy investment, but not unless the rest of your bag set.
If you ask us though, a putter is the best place to spend money. A well taken care of putter can last longer than a decade and you can find a good, new one in the $200 ballpark.
What else do I need besides clubs to start?
There are some things you need to buy once, and other things you’ll have to buy constantly. For a bare bone set up, you need a bag for your clubs and some balls. People unload bags online for less than $50 all the time. Check Facebook marketplace and other online sites that aren’t professional golf retailers for the best prices.
Buy some cheap balls to start. Most pro shops will sell used balls for less than a dollar a piece. And don’t be afraid to grab a few from the woods or water if you come across them. Just don’t take another golfer’s ball. That’s a big no-no.
Shoes. New golf shoes aren’t cheap either. Shocker. Scour eBay for a used pair in good shape and you’re good to go for under $50 here as well.
If you don’t want to spend money on footwear at all, you don’t have to. Sneakers are also fine on a golf course. But as you become more of a regular, you’ll tire of slipping on the grass and eventually make the move to golf shoes.
Golf clubs aren’t your only expense
Golf in and of itself is an expensive hobby. Yes, there are ways to make it more affordable, but nothing will make it inexpensive.
The reason it continues to cost money well after you buy your first set of clubs is because everything else related to golf costs money. You will need to budget money for golf balls, gloves, tees, and other small expenses. Other things that’ll cost you money is the privilege to play (greens fees) or balls at the driving range.
Again, golf costs money—beyond the cost of clubs. Don’t go all in on the initial purchase and leave yourself nothing in the wallet to get out there and play.