Golf Club Sets: How to ChoosePublished on 05/17/2023 · 13 min readWith so many options when it comes to golf club sets, how do you decide which ones are right for you? Golfing Expert Ryan Graybar breaks it down!
Photo by Jopwell
Tl;dr When buying a complete golf set, it's important to consider factors such as the number and type of clubs included; the quality of the clubs; the fit of the clubs; and how all that relates so you can get the best set for you and your budget. The best sets feature quality builds and durable materials, and a great mix of woods, irons, wedges, and a putter to cover all the shots you need on the course.
My name is Ryan Graybar, and before joining Curated as a Golf Expert in 2021, I was a college golf player and a caddie at a private club for players of all skill levels. I am now a certified product and fitting specialist from many of the top manufacturers in the world. Aside from that, I just love playing and talking about golf! I help fit players into clubs that work for their game all day.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know about complete sets before diving into a few of the top recommendations for each skill level.
What Is a Complete Golf Club Set?
A complete golf set typically includes all the clubs one needs to effectively play a round—including woods, irons, wedges, and a putter. Some sets may also include a golf bag and accessories, such as headcovers or a towel. The specific composition of a complete golf set can vary depending on the manufacturer, the intended skill level, and one’s budget.
What to Consider When Buying a Golf Club Set
1. What Is Your Skill Level and What Types of Clubs Do You Need?
Your skill level and playing style will impact the types of clubs you need. Beginners should consider sets with more forgiving clubs, while advanced players may prefer sets with clubs that offer more control and feel.
2. How Many Clubs Should Be Included in a Set?
Most complete golf sets come with 10–14 clubs, but the specific composition of the set can vary based on the manufacturer and skill level of the player. Consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting the number and types of clubs to include in your set. If you’re looking for a starter set just to get out and play, you can start with 9–10 clubs. If you want a set that will give you more options for each shot, you will need a set with 12 or more clubs.
3. What Types of Clubs Should Be Included in the Set?
A set should include a minimum of a driver, one fairway wood or hybrid, a few irons, a wedge, and a putter. More experienced players typically require multiple woods and hybrids, and a more complete wedge set.
4. How Much Should a Complete Set Cost?
When setting your budget, it's important to consider what you can afford and what features are most important to you. Generally, golf club sets can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the quality and composition of the clubs.
Beginner-budget boxed sets range from $300-$1000, and a build of the best clubs on the market range from $1500-$3000+. Like most other things, you do get more quality and performance as you move up in price. Establish a budget range, note what features are most important for you, and find a set that matches your goals with the help of a Golfing Expert.
What Are the Different Types of Complete Sets?
1. Beginner Sets
These sets are designed for golfers who are new to the sport and are still learning. They typically include more forgiving clubs and fewer specialized clubs than other sets—which makes starting the sport much easier.
- Designed to be forgiving and easy to use
- Can help new golfers learn the game faster
Keep in Mind:
- May not be suitable for more advanced players as they lack the club variety and performance needed
2. Intermediate Sets
These sets are designed for golfers who have some experience and want to improve their game. They include more clubs and are typically of a higher-quality build. Benefits:
- More specialized clubs can help intermediate players improve their game and play more difficult shots
Keep in Mind:
- These sets can be a little difficult for new players to start in
- Often higher priced than beginner sets
3. Advanced Sets
These sets are designed for experienced golfers who have a specific playing style and want more adjustable and high-performing clubs. They may include more high-tech features—such as adjustable weights and hosels within the included woods—and allow for more customization to fit a player's exact needs.
- High-tech features and specialized clubs can help experienced players fine-tune their game and hit all the shots they need
Keep in Mind:
- More expensive and may not be necessary for players who don't play a lot, or who don’t need the top-performing clubs on the market
4. Women’s Sets
These sets are designed specifically for women and feature clubs with shorter shafts and smaller grips to fit their hand size and swing speed.
- Clubs are designed specifically for women, who may have different anatomical needs
Keep in Mind:
- Not suitable for all female golfers
- Taller and more athletic women may be better off choosing a men's set
5. Junior Sets
These sets are designed for young golfers and feature clubs with smaller heads and shorter shafts to fit their size and strength.
- Clubs are designed specifically for young players to maximize performance
Keep in Mind:
- Juniors can outgrow them quickly, and high-level juniors will need a more custom set
6. Travel Sets
These sets are designed for golfers who travel frequently and want a compact, lightweight set to take with them on the go; though these sets may include fewer clubs than other sets.
- Compact and lightweight sets make a convenient option for golfers always on the move
Keep in Mind:
- Does not include as many clubs as other sets, limiting a player's options on the course
Features to Look in a Golf Club Set
- Club Material: Look for sets that use high-quality materials for their clubs, such as stainless steel, titanium, or graphite. Higher-quality materials can lead to better performance, feel, and increased durability.
- Mix of Clubs: Make sure the set includes a mix of woods, irons, wedges, and a putter. A good mix of clubs can help you handle different types of shots on the course.
- Clubhead Design: Consider the design of the clubheads, as this can impact forgiveness, spin, and trajectory. Look for clubs that are designed to help you achieve your desired shot outcomes.
- Shaft Flex: The flex of the shaft can impact the feel and performance of the club. Make sure your set includes shafts with the appropriate flex based on your swing speed and ball flight preferences.
- Club Length: The length of a club can impact your swing and consistency. Some sets are shorter or taller than standard length to fit players of different heights. Make sure your set includes clubs that are appropriate for your height.
- Grips: The grips on a club can impact comfort and control. Look for sets with comfortable and durable grips that fit your hand size.
Features to Avoid in Golf Club Sets
While the specific features to avoid in a golf club set may depend on your individual preferences and playing style, here are a few general things to look out for:
- Poor-Quality Materials: Avoid sets that use low-quality materials for their clubs, as they may not perform as well and may be more prone to damage. The lowest budget set on the market might be the fit for some players but will lack the quality and durability to last a long time.
- Poor-Fitting Clubs: Make sure the clubs in the set you choose are appropriate for your height, swing speed, and skill level. Clubs that are the wrong height will lead to bad posture, decreased consistency, and make the game more difficult overall. Clubs that are the wrong flex can lead to further inconsistencies or kill your distance.
- Uncomfortable Grips: Avoid sets that have grips that are uncomfortable or don't fit your hand size. Cheap grips will need to be replaced quicker than usual.
- Overpriced: While higher-priced sets may offer more advanced features or better-quality materials, they may not be necessary for all players. Avoid overspending on a set that includes features you don't need or won't use.
How to Choose the Right Complete Set for You
Golf club sets feature different technologies, customizations, and budgets to benefit different types of players. Below are some of my favorite golf club sets for players of varying skill levels:
Needs: These sets are designed for players who are new to the game or don’t play very often. These players want a set of clubs to learn the game with without breaking the bank. I often recommend that new players start in a set like this, and slowly upgrade into more quality clubs as they take the game more seriously.
Features to look for:
- 460cc drivers (largest legal driver head size for most forgiveness)
- Oversized woods and irons (larger than standard for larger hitting surface)
- Quality materials
- Mallet putters for more consistency (A mallet putter is larger than a blade, and is more forgiving and easier to line up)
Products to consider: 1. Tour Edge Bazooka 370: This Tour Edge set is one of the best values on the market. It features a 460cc driver and oversized woods for improved consistency. This set’s irons and woods are designed with thin faces to improve speed and distance, and a lower center of gravity to improve launch and help new players get the ball in the air. This set does not feature a mallet putter, but a forgiving and easy-to-align blade-style putter. A sturdy cart bag is included as well, making this an exceptional set for senior golfers as well. Plus, every Tour Edge club is backed with a lifetime warranty against defects. 2. MacGregor DCT3000: The DCT3000 set offers one of my favorite bang-for-your-buck options for newer players. A forgiving driver, 3 wood, and a 3 and 4 hybrid can cover all the long shots on the course. The cavity-backed 5-PW irons also offer a wide sole for tons of forgiveness. A mallet putter tops off one of the most complete beginner boxed sets on the market. 3. Strata Ultimate: Manufactured by Callaway, the Strata Ultimate offers a quality set at an affordable price tag. This set features a lightweight and forgiving 460cc driver, an easy-to-play 3 wood and hybrid set, a blade putter, and a stainless steel iron and wedge set to offer performance for all players.
Needs: The intermediate golfer is someone who has been playing the game for several years or has improved quickly. This golfer normally shoots between 85 and 110 and can benefit from a higher-quality set. Intermediate golfers still require forgiving clubs throughout the bag and a quality build to last them several years of normal use. Seek a full set featuring woods, hybrids, and wedges.
Features to look for:
- 460cc driver (large clubhead for max forgiveness)
- Multiple woods and hybrids (giving players more options for different shots)
- Multiple wedges (wedges are scoring clubs and more loft options gives you better scoring chances)
- Special technology in some of the clubs (i.e. Hyper Face Channel in the Callaway XR and the Speed Pocket in the RBZ Speedlite are great examples)
Products to consider: 1. Cobra Fly XL: The Cobra Fly XL offers performance for intermediate players who want a great boxed set for the price. There are no breakthrough technologies in these clubs, but they are large, forgiving, lightweight, and built well. This set is complete with a nice milled blade putter for a better feel with your putting stroke. 2. TaylorMade RBZ SpeedLite: The Taylormade RBZ SpeedLite is one of the most complete boxed sets on the market. It features a lightweight and aerodynamic driver and wood set. The Speed Pocket in the woods allows for better results on mishits. The irons feature a special perimeter weighting design to promote higher launch and more distance, while the wedges are versatile for around-the-green shots. For players who want some great performing clubs at a mid-range price point, this is a great option. 3. Stix 14-Piece Set: This is a very versatile set for beginners and intermediates alike. Stix allows for customization in the length and flex, which is rare to see in a boxed set. That customization allows you to get the correct specs for your height and speed. For players who don’t fit into standard length or flex and want to stay in a mid-range budget, this set is a great option. These clubs are modern looking, forgiving, and high performing. 4. Callaway XR Packaged Set: Callaway XR is a little bit different from most boxed sets on the market. The Callaway XR was released as a boxed set in 2023, but the original XR technology was released in early 2016. This set offers what was once the top-performing set on the market, at a discount for being older technology. There is no question about the quality, durability, and performance of this set. For players looking for a high-end package set on discount, this is a great option.
Needs: Advanced golfers take the game seriously and need clubs that allow them to hit all the shots on the course. These players will want to seek out the top clubs on the market. A great way to get top-performing clubs but keep the budget down is to shop from last year's top clubs. These clubs are not often found in boxed sets and instead must be compiled using individual clubs. These will feature the newest and most innovative technologies, use the highest quality components, offer adjustability and customization, and give the advanced player everything they need to perform on the course.
Features to look for:
- Adjustable weights and hosels
- Top brands on the market
Products to consider: Truly advanced players should be building a set of more quality clubs. For a step up in price, quality, and performance from the above options listed, players should be building a set around some of the top clubs to come out over the last few years. Callaway Mavrik, SIM2 Max, Cobra RadSpeed, and several others from the 2020-2021 seasons offer this performance at a great discount. Callaway Rogue ST Max, TaylorMade Stealth, Cobra LTDx, and several others from the 2022 line offer more recent technology but still at a discounted price. For the most advanced players who play several days a week, the top technology on the market includes the likes of the Callaway Paradym and TaylorMade Stealth 2, among several others from the top brands in the world. For help with building a truly elite set, reach out to a Curated Golf Expert.
Chat With a Real Expert
Out of the many golf sets on the market, each offer distinct differences that make them a great fit for certain players. If you have any questions relating to golf sets, or need advice on what set is best for you, chatting with a Curated Golf Expert, like me, is super easy! We offer free, customized advice to get you offline and on the course quicker.