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What Golf Clubs Are Right for Me?

by Bill Herrfeldt

    Whether you are just starting out and buying your first set of golf clubs or you are a seasoned veteran who is interested in finding new ones, it's important that you choose clubs that fit you and your game. To narrow down your choices, there are only three elements of any club that are important: the shaft, the clubhead and the grip. But within each category are alternatives, and there are a few basic things you should know about what's available.

    Step 1

    Decide on what shafts are best for you. You must choose between shafts made of graphite or steel. Steel shafts are somewhat less expensive, and if you are a better golfer than average, steel shafts are probably the ones you should have. But if you're just starting out or your game needs work, you probably will do well to buy graphite shafts for these reasons: First, they are lighter, so they are easier for you to swing. Second, graphite shafts tend to twist in your hands less so you will hit more accurate shots.

    Step 2

    Choose the right flex. Flex is how much your shafts will bend at the point of impact. There are five categories: Senior, Ladies, Normal, Stiff and Extra-Stiff. A good rule of thumb in choosing the right flex is how far you can hit a driver on the fly. If you hit it 180 yards or less, buy Senior flex. If you hit it 20 yards farther, pick Ladies. And if you can hit the ball 225 to 250 yards, you're ready for Normal flex shafts. Only some of the playing professionals should choose Extra-Stiff shafts because they can hit the ball 300 yards or more.

    Step 3

    Pick out the type of clubhead that is right for your game. In years past, this choice was easy because you only had woods and irons from which to choose. Then several years ago, so-called hybrid clubs became very popular. They tend to be much easier to hit because they have an expanded “sweet spot,” or hitting area on the clubface. Whether you choose to include hybrids in your bag or more traditional metal woods and irons is a matter of personal choice.

    Step 4

    Buy clubs with grips that will enhance your game. There are several types of grips from which to choose. First, there are thicker grips for people with large hands. Then there are grips that repel water for those golfers who perspire excessively. There are grips made of rubber, leather and synthetic materials, and even grips with fabric interwoven in them to stay tacky even in the rain. Since your only contact with the club is your grip, don't discount its importance.

    Step 5

    Have your clubs fitted. A professional club fitter will measure you so that your new clubs fit. Clubs are made for the average player, so up to a quarter of them are sold to people who should modify them.

    About the Author

    Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.