Do You Need A Full Set Of Irons To Start Playing Golf?
A set of golf irons can be the most expensive purchase a golfer makes and it can be a daunting investment for those just starting to play golf for the first time. Which is why I would suggest that no, you don’t need a full set of irons to start playing golf. The Rules of Golf state that a golfer is allowed a maximum of 14 clubs, but you don’t need to fill your bag with the full compliment. While a driver, some sort of sand wedge and putter are essential, the number of irons required depends on your ability and enthusiasm levels.
A good starting point with the irons if you’re a newcomer to the game is to opt for a half set (often called a short set) or even just a three-piece set comprising a 5, 7 and 9-iron. This will be enough to cover different approach shot distances while you work out the type of iron you like the look of and the type of performance you want to experience. As a beginner, your strike pattern will likely be quite inconsistent and so it makes little sense to invest in a full set of seven irons from 4-iron to pitching wedge. The benefits from owning a full set come when you are able to strike the ball correctly on a semi-consistent basis in order to hit the ball different distances depending on the shot in hand. A side benefit of having less irons in your bag is that it will be lighter to carry around, therefore placing less strain on the body.
That said, there are some very good beginner iron sets as well as package set options that include a full set of irons without the premium cost. While you don’t necessarily need a full set of irons, it’s nice to have a full matching set and most package sets come with matching metalwoods as well as a bag to carry them around the course in.
When selecting your half or three-piece set, be sure to opt for a model that prioritizes forgiveness. Look for hallmarks such as a wide sole, thick topline and generous overall size – these will increase the margin for error on off-center strikes and produce better distance and accuracy. Observe your ball flight and shot pattern – is the ball flying too high with too much spin? You might need firmer shafts. Is the ball missing right? You might need more offset to square the club face. Consider these factors for your next set once you have learned how to strike the ball more consistently.
Also think about what iron for what distance, when to upgrade your irons as well as where you want your set to start. For many golfers, a 4-iron is redundant because it is too difficult to strike, so think about starting your set at the 5-iron and opting for a gap wedge instead to help you on those fiddly short iron distances.
When you have become a more accomplished ball striker, you may want to make the investment in a full set that has a bit more technology inside the heads while coming in a slightly more refined package. Alternatively, you can fill in the gaps in your set by purchasing the missing clubs individually. Many of the best compact mid-handicap irons still offer plenty of distance and forgiveness despite a slimmed down profile. For irons from premium brands on a tighter budget, consider a set of used irons but be sure to inspect the condition and specs of the clubs to ensure they closely match what you require. We all want to know how to pay less for our next set of irons, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice performance.