Buying a Full Set of Clubs vs Individual Clubs

Is it better to buy a full set of clubs or build up a set of individual clubs? This is a question many golfers face, particularly those just getting started. When you start out, there is so much to think about and learn and selecting the right clubs can be an added challenge. There are pros and cons to both options so it is important to understand this before you make a decision. Even if you find a great bargain, it is still a major investment that you want to work for you for some time to come. So, what is there to think about in the battle of buying a full set of clubs vs individual clubs? Let’s find out!

Structure of a Golf Set

Before we weigh the options up, it is important to understand the golfset and how it is typically made up. The rules of the game stipulate that you may carry a maximum of 14 clubs when you play a round of golf. You can tweak how you make the 14 up and you can carry less if you wish, but no more than 14 clubs. The set will consist of a combination of woods which include your driver and fairway woods, irons, hybrids, wedges, and a putter.

To break that down a bit further:


These normally consist of a driver for use off the tee and 2 fairway woods.


Most sets include 7 irons although the longer irons are often replaced with hybrids these days.


Hybrids have been around for awhile, but have become increasingly more popular over recent years. They combine the benefits of woods and irons by giving you a club that is easier to control and more forgiving. They are also easy to get a good loft on and better when you have a poor lie. Hybrids are great for beginners as well as more experienced players.


A golf set will normally include a pitching wedge as well as a sand wedge.


The putter is used on and near the green. Although that sounds fairly straightforward, if you are a beginner, it is quite a bit to think about. The other factor is that, as a beginner, you do not know what your strengths and weaknesses are. As your game develops you will understand your game as well as the different clubs better.

Factors to Consider When Buying Golf Clubs

Whether you chose to buy a set of clubs or build one up, you should consider a number of things to:


A full set of clubs can set you back a few hundred dollars to several thousand. It is important to consider your budget before you start shopping around.


Golf takes time and dedication to get into and you never stop learning. Think about how much time you will have for the game when making your selection. Some people only play 2 or 3 times a year while others play frequently.


It is hard to judge your skill when starting out with golf, but if you are a beginner, there is obviously a lot to learn. While your skill level will impact the clubs you decide on, if you are a beginner keep it simple. Start with the basics when you are learning and perhaps include a few hybrids. As your skills improve and you become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your game, you will be able to identify specific clubs that will help you improve your game even more.

Upgrade as You Go

There is a good market for used clubs so do not feel you need to be stuck with your set for years. You can always sell off clubs and add to your set with new ones as your game develops.


Older or lady golfers will want a bit more flex whereas stronger players can go for a standard flex. If you have a fast swing you will want a stiffer shaft. If you are not sure of your swing speed, speak to a more experienced golfer or a pro.

There is also a choice of steel or graphite shafts, particularly with irons. Most modern woods have a graphite shaft. A steel shaft is less expensive while graphite is lighter and easier to get a faster swing.


With a budget set you generally will not get an option to have them professionally fitted but if you are spending a bit more, this is often a great advantage. They will help you select the ideal clubs based on your swing speed and style. If you are especially tall or short, consider this when selecting clubs.

Advantages of Buying Clubs in a Set

There are a number of advantages to buying clubs in a set, especially for beginners. They are an economical way to get into the game and get a feel for it. It is less expensive to buy a complete budget set with all the basic clubs needed. This means less decisions which are difficult to make when you are not sure of your game or the clubs. As you learn and improve you can always upgrade or add to the set.

Sets are available for juniors, ladies, seniors, and left-handers. They will all have a similar feel to them so it is easier to get used to when you are learning and they will all match. Sets often include a bag and sometimes a few other accessories. If you compare the cost of a full set to building a set up, you will see that it is a lot cheaper.

After a while you will have some idea of your enjoyment for the game and how much time you intend to spend on the sport. You will also get to know and understand the various clubs and your own. This will help you determine what you need to add, upgrade, or replace in your golf set.

Buying a full set of clubs is not only for beginners. There is a wide range of sets available, many that would suit more experienced players. If you do not have a huge budget or you are playing with older clubs, a set might be an economical way of upgrading. Golf equipment design and technology has advanced exponentially over the past 10 years or so and the newer clubs could make a massive improvement to your game. A full set will allow you to get the latest technology without breaking the bank.

Advantages of Building a Set of Clubs Up

The advantage of buying separate irons, fairway woods, drivers, wedges, and a putter is that you have a lot more freedom. Some manufacturers specialize in or are better at specific types of clubs. You might find that you like a driver from one company but prefer the irons of another manufacturer and the putter from someone else. Buying the pieces separately allows you to mix and match to suit your preferences.

As you develop, you will get to know your strengths and weaknesses and there are specific clubs you can look for that will help to minimize your weak areas and take full advantage of your strengths to help improve your game and your score. Getting the right combination of clubs that suit your style and skill will make a significant difference to your golf.

This way will cost a bit more and you need to know what you are doing or, if not, consult a professional. It will allow you to get a set that is perfectly suited to your game.

Final Thoughts

Before spending your money, do your homework and give the purchase some thought. Think about your skill level and how serious you are about the game. If you are a beginner, a full set might be a cost-effective starting point that you can build on and develop as you go. If you have the budget and want the freedom to select a range of clubs that might better suit your game, you can buy the various elements individually.

Ryan S
Author: Ryan S

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