Confused About When to Upgrade From Beginner Clubs? My Story


I have been a golfer for over forty years, and during most of that time, I have been an eight handicap player. In this article, I will try to clarify any confusion regarding when to upgrade from beginner clubs. 

The reason for the article is to give you a better idea and time frame for when you should consider two things: when to upgrade your beginner clubs and what clubs you should upgrade first in your golf bag.

I have had a lot of experience with this and have changed clubs three times. I have also made a lot of mistakes and want to help you not to make those mistakes.

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When To Upgrade From Beginner Clubs

Do not upgrade from beginner clubs until you have an established swing; this is around a 15 handicap. A beginner’s swing will change a lot. Even if you get fitted for golf clubs, you might think your golf fit was incorrect, but in reality, your swing changed.

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First, if you are extremely rich, you can upgrade any time you want, and you know it. But the question remains, when should you upgrade, and the other four topics will answer that.

The second topic is age, and it matters most in younger people like teenagers and older people who have retired.

If you have arthritic joints and can not move well but pick the game up late in life, stay with the starter set as long as you can. You probably will not hit the ball better regardless of what clubs you buy.

If you are a younger person, how much time are you putting into your golf? Then, dedication will be the next issue, but I see young people change their minds quickly about what they like to do or not do.

So many parents have an upgraded set of clubs costing hundreds of dollars in the garage and a son or daughter who no longer cares for the game. This next part will help you as well.

The third topic is dedication, and as far as I am concerned, this is the most important thing you need to consider when making a change and how well you will play this game!

In my opinion, you practice twice as much as you play, or at least 60%, and play 40%. You need to have a reality check at this moment. If you practice every two weeks and maybe play once a week, you have probably not improved very much since you have bought your starter set. 

So many people are misinformed by their friends, who tell them that they need better clubs to improve their golf. Wrong! It would help if you practiced a lot more to get better.

You should not even consider upgrading your starter set until you are a 15 handicap or less. Here is the reason why!

Xander Schauffele is a golf professional who won several tournaments this year and was on the Ryder Cup. He is a consistently long hitter on tour. He belongs to our country club! If he came by and started hitting my clubs, he would hit every iron at least 50-75 yards further, and the driver would be 100 yards further!

What does this tell you? “It is not the arrow, but the Indian.” 

You want to get better, practice a lot and develop a good golf swing! Then you can buy other clubs, or you are just wasting your time. You will not hit the new clubs much further either!

It brings us to our fourth topic, getting professional help. You will get better so much faster with a professional helping you.

You can either take group lessons very cheaply and an individual task every so often, but you need that professional golfer looking over your shoulder and watching your swing! Discover what you can expect in a golf lesson in my detailed article and the 11 ways they improve your game in my article.

I will use myself as the best answer why! I practiced for a year and a half without professional help.

When I saw the golf pro, he told me my swing, which I had ingrained, was a terrible swing with a loop in it. It took one and a half years of my life to correct the mistakes that I had made erroneously!

Now, let us put this all together! The question was— when to change from beginner clubs to an upgrade of clubs. The answer is to practice a lot, get much better, like a 14 handicap range, and have that professional look at your swing!

No one can tell you better when to upgrade to better clubs and what clubs you can upgrade.

That golf professional sees and corrects swings all day, every day!

The fifth topic is the upgrade. 

You can talk to the professional about getting a nice used set of clubs in the $600-$800 range on eBay or Amazon.

Or you can buy a more expensive new set of clubs. Again, the professional will help you decide. All you need to do is tell him how much you can afford.

In my case, I was practicing at the driving range four days a week and playing two days, and this was my major sport! My handicap at the time, which was about four years into playing, was 14. So the golf pro advised me to buy Pings, and I did. And I used them for 25 years.

So, to finish this part, you need to be dedicated, practice a lot, play a lot, and spend time with your golf pro, and you will know when it is time to change from the beginner set.

What Should I Upgrade First In My Golf Bag?

The putter is the most important club in the golf gag, so it should be upgraded first, followed by the driver.

It has been said that putting is almost 50% of the game, so the putter is the most important club in the bag!

Yet, many golf professionals will tell you that if they cannot hit the ball 300 yards so that their second shot can be 10 feet from the pin, what good is the putter?

So take your pick! 

If we were to pick the things that need to be upgraded, they would be in this order:

  1. Your swing or overall game (I told you so!)
  2.  A new putter.
  3.  A new driver.
  4.  New fairway woods or hybrids.
  5.  Wedges.
  6.  Irons.

The thinking here is that all the woods are the most likely to have improvements, so people like to change them more often to get better accuracy or distance. And the irons will really not show you much improvement in either distance or accuracy, so they are at the bottom of the list.

Here is a final thought for you! People of all ages and every skill level can enjoy this game of golf! However, if you learn how to play better, you will enjoy it so much more!

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