Advice on a beginner's set
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An often unthought of option is Golfworks. The KE4 range are quite nice and come in left handed. They will build to your specs and you can order whatever shaft you want. They assemble a set for $40. You could get Driver, 5 W Fairway, Hybrid, Irons and Putter for around $500 this way if you stuck to shafts like Axe (very good reputation) graphite and FST steel.
Thanks for your input solarbear,
I actually didn't think about the hybrids. My last set was 4-SW irons and 3W 5W D. I think I was able to hit at least from my 5 iron down decently. I'm not sure how having a 4h and 5h as opposed to irons would be for a beginner like myself. In fact, I actually have never hit a hybrid before.
As for extensions, was your experience poor because you didn't like the feel of the added length? Or do extensions change the swing mechanics of the club differently than a club of the same longer length but with no extension (ie. longer shaft vs regular shaft with extension). I don't have much knowledge but I feel like a club shaft with and extension shouldn't flex the same as one with a longer shaft without and extension. Which is why I'm a little worrisome about getting extensions, but getting clubs with a correct shaft length will probably be out of my budget.
My experience was poor because the fitting did not suit me. I guess with the swing I had at the time +1" might have made some sense. But it made zero sense based on the fact almost every good shot I'd hit I'd choke up. After some practice and a different fitter, I was found to need -1/2".
So my experience, which was rather unique, was not good. I realise this is not the norm and hoped someone else could fill you in better.