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PR III

Noob asks: New Clubs first, or Lessons first?

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Question: Should I take lessons at the driving range first, or get proper 'Fit' clubs first?

55 and have played some (less than 25 games in my life) over the years, and I've done alright. Had cheap starter set that I garage sale'd as prerequisite agreement with my wife to get a better set.

So then to my surprise for xmas she gets me a $600 gift cert for a new set at Golfsmith and an addl $100 lesson gift cert at a local driving range. Nice! :-D

I may even add some addl $$ to that for the clubs or lessons if I feel the addl will def make a noticeable difference.

I'm guessing lessons first, because I'd hate to think I'd be in buying clubs on the Tee simulator at Golfsmith with a swing some Pro is going to later say is all messed up, and adjust dramatically.

Thanx for the help! :beer:

--PR

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You'll certainly hear a resounding 'get lessons first' from the folks here.  But let me temper that thought with something similar:

I used to teach guitar to kids.  Some would come in with a piece of crap, yard sale acoustic guitar that couldn't be played by anybody let alone an 8 or a 10 year old kid.  By the same token, don't buy a set of yard sale clubs that aren't going to work for you.

Sometimes, I'd allow new students to sign up and play on one of my guitars so start with.  If they were still interested after a couple of lessons and making any kind of progress, I'd provide the parent with a basic gear list that the child could grow with while taking lessons and learning guitar.  Again, I didn't recommend going to a yard sale and buying a piece of crap acoustic guitar that you could fly a plane under that strings, I recommended a quality instrument that fit the child's size and something that could be tuned, stayed in tune while playing and provide a quality learning experience while taking lessons.

My advice on golf clubs?  Go buy something that's going to HELP you learn.  Stay away from yard sales.  It's ok to buy used, but make sure they are no older than 2-5 years.  See how you're doing with decent clubs then by all means, find a professional and take some lessons!  If there are less obvious activities than golf and guitar playing, I don't know what they'd be.

dave

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You'll certainly hear a resounding 'get lessons first' from the folks here.  But let me temper that thought with something similar:

I used to teach guitar to kids.  Some would come in with a piece of crap, yard sale acoustic guitar that couldn't be played by anybody let alone an 8 or a 10 year old kid.  By the same token, don't buy a set of yard sale clubs that aren't going to work for you.

Sometimes, I'd allow new students to sign up and play on one of my guitars so start with.  If they were still interested after a couple of lessons and making any kind of progress, I'd provide the parent with a basic gear list that the child could grow with while taking lessons and learning guitar.  Again, I didn't recommend going to a yard sale and buying a piece of crap acoustic guitar that you could fly a plane under that strings, I recommended a quality instrument that fit the child's size and something that could be tuned, stayed in tune while playing and provide a quality learning experience while taking lessons.

My advice on golf clubs?  Go buy something that's going to HELP you learn.  Stay away from yard sales.  It's ok to buy used, but make sure they are no older than 2-5 years.  See how you're doing with decent clubs then by all means, find a professional and take some lessons!  If there are less obvious activities than golf and guitar playing, I don't know what they'd be.

dave


I agree with you. They don't have to be great clubs but they need to fit.

P.S. I also play the guitar and know just what you are talking about. In fact the only guitar I have right now is so uncomfortable to play that I don't get the urge to play very often.

I also have seen many kids show up to baseball camp with a glove that I wouldn't have been able to catch a ball with or a bat that Hank Aaron wouldn't have been able to get around on a fast ball with.

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I'm fairly new to the game myself over the last couple years. I learned very quickly that "off the rack" clubs are a mistake many amateurs make. We are all different sizes and default shaft length/clubhead lie angle are set up for an average. What you learn in your lessons will not vary based on the clubs you use, but your results will. For me, I'm 5' 6" so not exactly tall. I was getting frustrated with my off the rack clubs I started with, and my original golf instructor suggested cutting some off the shafts. That helped a little, but since they were cast clubs the lie angle couldn't be bent, so I was still having issues. Ultimately, I got fit for a set and noticed an immediate difference. Not only were they new clubs (Ping G25s, love them!), but they were fitted exactly for me, and gave me the best chance to have success with what I was learning in the lessons. At the end of the day, fancy new clubs won't do you a bit of good without proper instruction, so when it comes to improving your game lessons are going to be the best route. However, if you have the means to do both, you will absolutely not regret getting fit for a set that match you. Hope that helps!
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Don't get a fitting right away or get an expensive set right away.  Here's why:

Clubs are all designed differently and have different game improvement qualities.  You need to start with some basic fundamentals and build your swing to have a fairly consistent ball flight.  I would suggest for your first year get a decent game improvement set of clubs.  They do NOT have to be expensive or top of the line.

The key is to know YOUR swing.  Where do you miss consistently?  Do you slice?  Do you miss right or left more often?  Do you hit the ball low?  How far are you hitting your clubs?  Once you have an idea of what your working with and you are understanding YOUR swing and your game a little more, go get fit and invest in your golf game with a set of clubs that will work for you.

My basic tips for beginners:

1.  Pre shot routine - step behind the ball and pick our your target (generally it shouldn't be the flag), then get your swing thought that you focus on.  Take a practice swing or waggle (relieves tension in the arms) and focus on your swing thought as you address the ball and swing

2.  Keep your left arm straight and your head fairly still (it may move a little down or toward the target during the downswing but not much).

3.  (This should be #1) Understand that Golf is a game of misses....  Course management is knowing where you can miss your shots, if you understand your tendencies and where you miss, you are miles ahead of the weekend golfer!

Fairways and greens my friend!  Hit em well and enjoy the rounds!

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This would be the sort of clubs you probably should buy

http://www.golfsmith.com/product/30083563/adams-idea-tech-v4-4h-6h-7-pw-gw-combo-iron-set-with-steel-shafts

But do the lessons first.

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Speaking from experience ...

I took lessons from day one ... Never hit a golf b4 / Was as green as they come & feel that I benefited greatly by not developing bad habits on my own.

I had a set of old mizuno's / MX-20's I believe - Way to good for me to begin with but my ball striking is my strength due to learning on the "better" clubs ...

just my 2 cents ...

Rob

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$600 gift card for Golfsmith and $100 for lessons?

Buy a set of irons for $300. Driver and a hybrid or something for $200.  Sometimes they have deals on last years stuff, where you buy a driver for 150-200 and you get a wood or hybrid for free, spend rest on balls and other purchases.

Use $100 for lessons.

Done.

I don't think any kind of fitting is needed.  Unless its something free or costs $50 or so. Develop something repeatable before doing any of that.

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@PR III ,

Check out the on-line fitting guide at Ping.  http://www.ping.com/fitting/nflightweb.aspx

Don't worry about the distances as much as the body measurements.  Put in 30 for the handicap.  Driver loft of 10.5, 200 yards, curve right, etc.  The important thing is what size clubs they set for you.  This will give you an idea if you are close to off the rack or if you need something more custom to your build.

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If "I" were in your situation

1.  I'd stay away from letting Golfsmith making decisions for you.  Everyone else can get up-in-arms about this, but they are there to make money first and foremost.  Their "expert fitting" consists of some +15 handicapper attempting to "guess" which clubs will work for you that will max out your gift cert.

2. Instead, talk directly to your trainer.  If he's worth what you're going to pay him, HE/SHE will analyze your swing (swing planes, swing speed, ability to hit crisp shots) and give you some recommendations on club head types and and shaft flexibility (senior, regular, stiff).   Just be sure to tell them you have a Golfsmith gift cert.

3. I'm going to make a shrewd guess that you will most likely be in the "regular" flex range.  You might benefit from a senior flex, but let the person checking your swing speed and style decide that.  I'm also going to guess that your trainer will want to set you up with some cavity back club heads since they have a bigger sweet spot, are easier to hit, and easier to get good distance out of them.

4.  Don't forget that you will need at least 1 glove, shoes, tees, balls and a bag.  Right there can already add up to $75-$125, depending on how tight you want to spend.  This leaves you with $500 for clubs.  Your trainer "probably" knows someone who can fit and build your clubs for you.  You may also be able to find a used set either online (Craiglist...only buy local!!!) or even at Golfsmith.  Also, get to know your club prices because Golfsmith is notorious for overpricing their used clubs.  Remember, what are YOU willing to pay.  You see a set of Ping G15's for $400?  Tell them that's old technology and you're only willing to pay $300.  They may drop them to $350, which, imho, is a great deal for a first set of clubs! (those prices are completely bogus, but you probably catch my drift). But that leaves you missing a driver, 3w, 5w and your wedges.  I went out to GS this weekend and could pick up several older model woods (still decent) for $150 (for the set) and another $150 for a set of 52, 56, and 60 degree wedges.  They were older, yes, but to get started, this is what "I" would do.  In fact, Dick's Sporting Goods was selling last year's Cleveland wedges for $70 a pop.

5.  Just remember, the game of golf to a man is a lot like shoes or purses for women. lol.  There's always something new out there.  Be careful on wanting the next latest and greatest thing.  Think of these clubs as an old trusty dog.  You'll get more love out of em that way lol.

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