What to buy when you’re new to golf

Golf is a great way to get exercise, develop skills and socialize. Depending who you ask or what you read when you are a beginner, however, can make the sport seem expensive.

Like any hobby or sport, once you become comfortable with the game you might want to invest heavily, but for beginners, golf starter equipment does not have to break the bank. Here is the essential equipment list for new golf players:

A Sturdy Golf Bag
Before choosing a golf bag, it is important to know if you will be walking the course or renting a cart. For walking, choose a lightweight golf bag that is easy to handle. Walking styles include stand bags with retractable legs or carry bags that are the lightest weight possible. If renting a cart, consider a staff bag or a cart bag. While heavy, these bags can hold a lot.

Your First Golf Clubs
Determine if you will need left or right-handed golf clubs. Unlike other sports that involve striking a ball, golf involves standing on the left or right side of the ball when facing your target and striking the ball with the face of your club. Knowing whether you will swing left or right-handed is critical when choosing your clubs. Since prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for clubs, consider used golf club sets or just buy the three main types required to play, which are a driver, and iron and a putter.

Golf Balls
You’ll want to avoid spending top dollar on golf balls until you have gained some skill. Even the most advanced players lose balls on the course and as a beginning golfer; you will need plenty of backup balls in your bag so you don’t run out mid-game.

Golf Tees
Ranging from 2 1/3-inches to 3 ¼ -inches in length, the golf tee supports your ball when you swing. Once you perfect your swing, you will know what size suits you best and can narrow your inventory. Since tees are a relatively inexpensive item, it’s best to outfit your new golf bag with multiple sizes.

A Sturdy and Comfortable Pair of Golf Shoes
This game involves a lot of walking, so golf shoes that fit comfortably are a necessity in starter equipment. The spiked shoes also provide traction on the golf course.

Golfing Glove
Designed to give you a better grip on your clubs when swinging and help prevent blisters, most golfers wear a glove on their lead hand (the hand that rides highest on the club.)

Golf Apparel
Most golf courses will have a dress code so invest in a polo-style shirt with a collar, a pair of khakis and a pair of dress shorts for warmer days. Women can also wear collared shirts without sleeves and golf skirts.

Sunglasses and Headwear
Choose a pair of sunglasses that are comfortable and protect your peripheral vision as well, since you will be spending plenty of time looking across distances and at various angles. Headwear to consider include a golf hat or visor for added protection.

As a new golfer, shopping for used golf equipment can save you money and as you gain skill, you can easily upgrade any pieces as necessary. If you really want to look like a pro on the course and wow your friends with your skill, consider taking lessons from your pro shop. They will help you with your stance, grip and swing so you don’t start out with bad habits and before you know it, you’ll be looking for upgrades!