When To Buy New Golf Clubs

angry golfer

The biggest question every golfer faces when they go to a course or hit the driving range is “when should I buy a new set of golf clubs?” It is a question faced by all levels of golfers. Newbies who are playing with hand me down sets, golfers that go out a couple of times a month and have had a set for a while all the way to the guys that are retired and spend every weekend and a few other days of the week on a course.

The answer depends on a myriad of things that you need to first decide on and see if you are going to replace your golf clubs…or stay with them for a bit longer.

Hey, we’re all human! We see the commercials for the new golf technology and the promises of clubs that will hit the ball farther and straighter and then we hit the course and watch our golf balls spray all over the place. No matter what level of golfer you are, you will always want the new shiny clubs.

So let’s break down some scenarios or reasons you may want to either stick with what you got, or figure out if it now is the time to upgrade your current set of golf clubs.

1. You Have Used Golf Clubs

You decided to try out golf and one of your buddies gave you his old set of clubs from his garage. Or you took your dads old clubs because he’s given up playing. Even you may have simply bought a set from a garage sale. Regardless of how you got your clubs, they probably are ready to be replaced. If you are into golf and see yourself playing long term it’s time to make an investment in a new set of clubs. Now the other big question…What should I get and how much should I spend? That gets discussed further down the page.

2. Your Current Clubs Are Worn Out

Do golf clubs wear out? Yes! The grooves in the irons or wedges can start to wear and cause less spin on your shot. The novice golf player may not notice but if you play regularly enough you may find that you aren’t getting the same distance as before and the ball isn’t going as straight as usual. Also, clubs can get bent slightly over time, especially if you hit off an artificial tee box at the range. And let’s not forget that ball you hit into the water last week and you slammed your club into the ground. These are all factors that can make your clubs not perform as they should. 

Depending on how often you use them, at the most you will want to look at replacing them by the time they hit the 10 year mark and that’s if you have treated them well and taken care of them. If you toss your clubs around and bang them into the ground on occasion then you may need to look a new clubs even sooner.

golf iron wear

3. Your Age Matters

As you get older, you may need to adjust the equipment that you are playing with. The stiff shafted golf clubs that you bought a few years ago could be hurting your golf game as you get older and lose flexibility and strength as well as your swing speed. Older golfers may want to talk to a golf pro about senior clubs or what the next level of clubs should be looked into. A change in clubs to a graphite shaft or a steel shaft with more flex could improve your scores.

4. Can You Afford An Upgrade?

Hey, new clubs aren’t cheap and replacing a driver every 2 years will cost you big time. If you are flush with cash and golf is your passion then maybe every 5 years a new total set of clubs can be called for but if you have mortgage payments to make and schools to save up for then aim for the 7-10 year range.

5. You Are Comfortable With Your Current Clubs

When I bought my new set of Taylor Made irons 2 years ago I held onto my 3 iron from my old set. First off, my new set didn’t have one since it started at the 4 and I never really loved the hybrid clubs. Mostly I kept my 3 iron because throughout the years that I’ve owned it, the 3 has been my favorite club and my go to. You will have to decide, are you comfortable with your clubs that you can hang on to them a while longer, or is it just time for new ones. When in doubt, keep some of your favorites and ease the new ones into your bag. Hell, even the pros keep old irons, wedges or like Tiger has kept his old putter because they like the way a certain club plays.

Signs You Need To Get New Golf Clubs

  • Deterioration / Wear – as mentioned, grooves wear out on wedges and irons and no long can “grab” the ball like it should.
  • Visible Damage – a bent shaft, loose golf head are some signs that the club is done.
  • Loss Of Distance or Ball Trajectory – If you play enough you know how far you hit your 5 iron and the loft you get from your 8 iron. If you aren’t getting the same results from your shots…the clubs may be shot.
  • Your Scores Are Rising – If your average scores keep going up and you feel like you are still hitting the ball well, it could be the old clubs hurting your game. Although we all know even if you have a brand new set of golf clubs it will always be their fault for a bad day on the course.
  • Driver Face Is Worn Out – There could be cracks (although not always obvious) that are causing a loss of distance or accuracy. Some drivers can go dead from too much usage either at the course or on the range.

When To Get New Golf Clubs?

So after analyzing all the points above, you will have to decide when is the right time to pull the trigger and upgrade your current set of clubs or buy your very first new set of golf clubs.

Like most things in life you can try and find some middle ground.

Again, new clubs are expensive and I read Golf Digest every year for their equipment reviews and I keep those magazines for a couple of years for when it’s time to buy a new set…and then I go back in time. Golf manufacturers put out new clubs all the time but the difference from new ones to ones from 3 years ago isn’t much. Generally, new clubs are simply upgrades on previous models and you wouldn’t see much difference between the couple of years. There are plenty of golf shops that will still be selling old stock that is brand new in the box and you will save 40-60% off what they would have cost 2-3 years before. If you are struggling with the decision, buy a new set… that is a couple of years old.

Can I Keep Some Of My Old Clubs or Irons?

I had an old Korean golf instructor once say to me “Never replace putter or wife”. Although I kept my same wife, I have changed my putter twice…Not sure if it should have been the other way around. Regardless, once you find a putter you like, aside from changing the grips every few years, it should stay in your bag if it’s working for you.

Golfers grow comfortable with their putter and get used to how to hit it on the green. Same for certain wedges. If you have a trusty wedge, don’t worry too much about it unless it stops performing the spin you are used to, then the groves may have worn down too much and it may be time for a new one. If it works for you, keep it until it doesn’t.

Which Clubs Should I Replace?

That all depends on what you have and what you need to replace. If you are using that hand-me-down set mentioned above then you probably need to replace all of your clubs. You can buy a set of irons by themselves and then a set of Driver, 3 Wood and 5 Wood and then buy individual wedges as you may need them. You can also buy a full 14 piece set which some stores will put together using older unused models and throw in a bag to carry them out with. 

The best thing you should do is first decide what you are replacing in your bag. If you have good woods but ancient irons, just get a new set of irons. If all of them are old, look at the complete set but make sure you take them for a spin first in the golf simulator in the store. Most big name golf shops have a place for you to try out new clubs and you will want to get a feel for what you are buying. Be wary though, your results may be great on some clubs and awful on others. It takes some time to adjust to a new set of clubs and you may not get the full measure at the store.

If you are golfer that plays quite a bit, you may just need to tweak your bag and replace some wedges and maybe buy a new driver. Regardless of the level of golf you play at, try them out first at the shop. If you are lucky, you live near a golf course or driving range that has companies that come out and try to sell their equipment and you can swing some of the new clubs on a range instead of a simulator. 

A standard golf bag consists of: A driver (1W) 3 wood, 5 wood, 4-9 irons, PW, SW, Putter, Hybrid rescue club and maybe a lob wedge – a total of 14 clubs. Some golfers mix in other clubs and take out others so it’s up to each individual golfer to decide on his or her 14 clubs.

Golf Club Buying Pro Tip:

If you are investing in new clubs, look to get a proper fitting. Many golf shops will either charge a small fee, or if you are committing to buying a full set of clubs, fit them for you for free. They will put you into the simulator, analyze your swing and measure out the proper length of club for you. Most often this is done with the newest model of clubs but on occasion some shops will do it for older models.

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