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Chris Stewart

Where to start in a new set of clubs?

12 posts in this topic

I'm 29 now and I'm getting back into golf.  I used to play often when I was in my late teens (15-19) and then occasionally during my early 20s.  It's been a good 4 years since I've played much at all and I've just recently gotten the bug back that I had ~10 years ago.

The set I have now are the ones I've had since I was 15.  My Dad bought me a box set from WalMart and I honestly don't even know the name of them.  They're pretty crummy but they held me well for what they were.  My driver is definitely broken to some extent, as it has something jumping around in there.  My biggest concern with them is that the club heads are turned in a little, to compensate for slicing.  I'm concerned that's grown on me and getting normal clubs will make me relearn some things.  But that said, I feel like I just need to get away from them to be able to make the move to getting better.

I've been doing some research on finding a new set and I'm quite at a loss on what to look for.  I haven't set a budget yet, as I'm afraid it might keep me to boxed sets only.  I could do it piece by piece (irons, then driver, then bag, then putter, then wedge, etc).  I have a decent putter that I bought separately, and I'm comfortable with.  With a new irons set, I'd have a wedge I could get by with until I could buy something more specific.  My existing bag would be sufficient for awhile as well.

I've read that many people advise to go and get fitted, but I feel like my budget wouldn't allow me to really purchase what they're selling so I wouldn't want to waste someone's time.

I'm curious to hear what advice you all may have for someone looking to get back into the swing of things (sorry, that just rolled...). I feel like the clubs I have just don't make sense to continue moving forward with, even if that means I have to get another boxed set.

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Hi Chris, first let me say - welcome to the site.  It is great to hear that you are picking up the game again at 29.  It is an amazing game and one I and many others on here love.

My recommendation is pretty simple...

1.) Determine a budget - first and foremost.  This is the most important part because you could go get a nice shiny set of clubs, then not have enough cash to get out on the course... I don't know your financial situation, but you should definitely to consider it.  Golf is an expensive sport if you let it be... But it can also be played on a beer pocket book too - if you know how to make good on what you've got, or where to find deals.

2.) If your budget is very low - then I would take your existing set and decide what clubs you have that you can make do with... And what clubs you need to perhaps upgrade.  Once you decide what you're going to keep - and what you're going to upgrade, then start looking for deals at various outlets - see item 3.

3.) Various Outlets for buying clubs

(a.) Craigslist is a convient way to find used clubs - located in your local area... I know of several folks I've played golf with over the years who have had luck going to check on a deal they found on Craigslist - and buying the clubs for significant discounts over retail.  One friend in college bought a new / slightly used set of Callaway irons for $300 which at the time were only a year or two old and - originally retailed for $1000.  You would be surprised what you can find on there if you hunt around enough.  There are even 'trades' you can work out with people.  Maybe you have something you no longer need - or want - and sell it for a little extra cash - or trade for a club or set.  Something you should consider if you're on a tight budget.

(b.) Ebay you can find used clubs for sale - and shop around... Personally, I'm not a big fan of Ebay, but many people are.  And if you follow the best practices of purchasing through their site, then you should have a solid experience.  Again, this gives you a way to maybe buy quality used clubs - or even new retail clubs - at a lower price point.

(c.) Play it Again Sports - Golf Galaxy - XYZ Sports store... Most of these retailers have used items that they sell.  You can often go and find deals on items that are still relevant to today's technology and purchase at a significant discount over retail.  For instance, I've seen used Burner irons for $275 which retail for $399.

(d.) Driving ranges, Pro shops and Practice Facilities - typically they will have demo clubs that they sell at larger discounts as well.  You just have to look and ask around when you're at these places.  This is where the die hard golf fanatics often live and work... Go and tell them you're getting back into the game and looking for advice on where to find a deal on some clubs.  Typically you'll find a guy or gal that is 'street smart' and they know their way around the local nooks and crannies and can tell you where to find a deal here and there.  You just gotta be an extravert and go seek these folks out.  Everyone loves to share stories on where they found this deal or that deal... So go talk to these folks and see what they can offer you.

If you go about it the right way - you can be very thrifty and have a very game ready set of sticks.  This would be my advice... Put together a nice set of used clubs and keep working at your game via practice and putting in actual course time playing.  Then in a year - if you find your still loving the game and looking to improve... Then go out and make a splash with a purchase of a driver and set of irons fine tuned to your personal settings.

Good luck!

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If you were my brother, just starting back up, I'd suggest:

1. Find an instructor you want to be your pro and get a lesson or even group lesson. Make sure that first lesson helps you learn a good setup and ask your new teacher to fit you for that setup and swing. Lie and length for sure. Shaft stiffness suggestions. Even grip size and wraps.

2. Armed with lie and length that you fit the swing you are working toward , start looking for clubs that you like. Stick to SGI clubs. Consider last year's model to save money. Consider a set that starts with 5,7,9 PW and fill in the gaps as you gain consistency. Look for used sets in good shape.

My instructor often says that a $5 set of clubs from a yard sale that you fit you are better than a $5,000 set that do not fit you. Choose fit over all else or you will teach yourself a swing with compensations for your ill-fitted clubs.

BTW, I don't have a brother.

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I know my advice is contrary to most on here, but I wouldn't waste time on an instructor or fitting at this time.  I would get a used set of SGI irons that you like and go with those as you start out.  Or a new box set would do too.  As mentioned, depends on your budget, and how much effort you want to put in it.

Personally, I went with used Big Bertha's from ebay.  Got the irons for $120.  Late model, very nice, drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids can also be had for cheap.

Find some clubs you like that give you some confidence, and just go out and play and have fun.  From there, you can determine if a bigger investment in equipment, fittings, and lessons are what you want.

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If you were my brother, just starting back up, I'd suggest:

1. Find an instructor you want to be your pro and get a lesson or even group lesson. Make sure that first lesson helps you learn a good setup and ask your new teacher to fit you for that setup and swing. Lie and length for sure. Shaft stiffness suggestions. Even grip size and wraps.

2. Armed with lie and length that you fit the swing you are working toward , start looking for clubs that you like. Stick to SGI clubs. Consider last year's model to save money. Consider a set that starts with 5,7,9 PW and fill in the gaps as you gain consistency. Look for used sets in good shape.

My instructor often says that a $5 set of clubs from a yard sale that you fit you are better than a $5,000 set that do not fit you. Choose fit over all else or you will teach yourself a swing with compensations for your ill-fitted clubs.

BTW, I don't have a brother.

Great advice! I would suggest the same.

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I'd go with a used set, check ebay or globalgolf.com. You can get a decent set of SGI (super game improvement) for the same as some 'box' set, new. The same advice goes for drivers. Look for Adams or Wilson for brands, as they make solid clubs and were less expensive new, so will be an even better bargain used. A quick look saw several adams or taylormade used sets on globalgolf for $100 - $300. They had an Adams a4 set for $99 and a Burner 2.0, good condition for $199. You can get a decent set with driver & putter for under $500. I also say don't bother with a fitting. What are you getting fit for, a swing that is not cosistent? Anything beyond a basic fit for your height is a waste.
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Thanks for all of the feedback everyone, greatly appreciated.  I got out today and shot 96 and felt pretty good about it.  I've been to the driving range, but that's the first 18 holes I've played in nearly 5 years.

As for my budget, I think the way I'm going to approach it is replacing one of the major pieces (driver, irons, bag, woods) on a most needed basis.  Right now I feel like a driver would benefit me most.  I hit a TaylorMade Burner 09 this morning at Dicks and it felt night and day compared to the driver I currently have, and is only $129 new.  Once I buy a new driver, I'll move on to the next most needed item, and then the next, as my budget allows (a wife and 3 kids makes for a small budget!).  I definitely want to spend my money on the driving range and in green fees to practice, practice, practice, as that is what I think is most important for me right now.  Just getting back to where I was previously, shooting mid 80s consistently, is my goal and I was doing that with the set I have now.  Once I get there again, all while gradually piecing together a better set, I think I'll be ready to set another goal.

rustyredcab, can you explain more around what you said about the swing I'm working toward?  I have a sense of what you mean, but maybe some detail or external links I could read up on would be helpful.  When I first learned, it was just me and my Dad playing and finding what worked.  I do try to do the typical things on my swing, but it wasn't something I researched much prior to making it work for me.  I'm curious how I can learn to better myself moving forward.  Certainly lessons are in my future, once I can get myself back to where I was prior, but anything I can research online would be welcome as well.

I've read all of your replies a number of times and I greatly appreciate everyone taking a few minutes and sharing thoughts.  I had a great time getting back to the course and felt like I played pretty well considering my layoff.

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TheGeekGolfer, thanks for the recommendation on globalgolf.com.  Looking at some of the items you suggested and the prices are quite good.

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I'd also highly recommend callawaypreowned.com and rockbottomgolf.com if you're on a budget. I got back into golf in the fall after not playing for about 7 years, and bought my whole set on those sites following the advice of the forums here.

It worked out very nicely. Callawaypreowned gave me quality used irons that were in good shape (TM R7s) for $140, I got a new Nickent 4dx driver on RBG for $50, and I've slowly filled out the set since.

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I would also suggest callawaypreowned.com. Even though I haven't purchased anything from there, one of my friends has, and got great results. If you're into Taylor Made like you said with the '09 Burner you could check out Taylormadegolfpreowned.com. I purchased my R9 driver, and '09 rescue from there. Search the internet too for coupon codes to use during checkout. I got the driver and rescue for just over $200 including shipping a year ago in excellent condition. I just looked on there for a '09 Burner and found this for you: http://www.taylormadegolfpreowned.com/golfclub.aspx?pd=1016616 $95! And don't be afraid of eBay. As long as the seller looks legit from the comments and reviews you can get great deals there. I just picked up a set of Callaway RAZR X tour irons which were barely hit floor models for $280 including shipping, and I picked up a Rife 2 bar putter for $70 including shipping. There are great deals out there to be purchased, just hunt around and do your research!

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Those are great deals!  This morning I ended up buying a Burner 2.0 for $129 from Global Golf (http://www.globalgolf.com/product/golfclub/-/sku--1019741-abn/driver/taylor-made/burner-superfast-20.aspx?gd=3&cdt;=3).  I hit it at Dick's and it felt pretty good, especially compared to what I have now.  I'll give eBay a look as I start the search for irons.

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Nice! I actually just got an R9 3 wood from Global Golf last week, and I have nothing but good things to say about the company. It came very quickly, it said it was in "excellent" condition but didn't have a ball mark on it at all, and I got it for a great price! Congrats! Just don't let the buying new clubs bug hit you like it hit me... and my bank account.

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