An Expert Guide to Junior Golf ClubsPublished on 09/18/2023 · 14 min readReady to help your young golfer find the perfect set of clubs, but not sure where to start? Delve into this guide for everything you need to know!
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Tl;dr: Historically, one of the biggest mistakes in putting golf clubs in the hands of young golfers has been giving them cut-down adult clubs. This is not good for many reasons. Improper weighting, length, and other aspects that result from this practice will hurt the young golfer's development as they learn to play. From a toddler and their first set of clubs to a more competitive teenager looking for an entire set to help them play the best game possible, putting properly fitting clubs in a junior golfer’s bag is vital to their development and enjoyment of the game.
For most of the past two decades, I have been known as a leader in the youth golf arena. I am a U.S. Kids Golf Master Kids Teacher, a six-time GRAA Top 50 Growth of Game Teaching Professional, a five-time GRAA Top 50 Growth of Game Elite Teaching Professional, a four-time East Central Chapter of the North Florida PGA Section Junior Leader Award winner, and the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award winner, to name a few.
It is fair to say that I know quite a bit about youth golf teaching, coaching, competition, initiatives, and, especially important for this article, youth golf equipment.
From smaller clubs with smaller grip sizes, lighter shaft options, and clubheads with ample forgiveness and durability to a lightweight golf bag and a kid-centric head cover for their driver, your kiddo deserves something better than hand-me-downs or cut-down adult clubs. Luckily, I will share companies that have made it their mission to ensure this happens.
What to Consider When Buying Junior Golf Clubs
When looking to buy a set of golf clubs for your junior golfer, there are primary aspects I believe are important in making your final decision.
Buy New If At All Possible
In most cases, I always suggest buying new, no matter a child's experience level. Secondhand clubs, especially pretty used ones, may not help your young golfer as they learn and develop their skills and love of the game. If you find it necessary to buy used, for budget reasons, make sure you purchase clubs in good condition. Only buy secondhand from a reputable dealer or seller.
Get the Right Fit; Do Not Buy a "Size Up"
As a parent of an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old, I know that kids grow incredibly fast at specific points in their development. It's crazy sometimes trying to keep them in clothes or other items that fit them.
Many times, parents will weigh the cost and a child's growth rate and look to buy a "size up" to save money. I understand that thinking and temptation. However, if your child is taking the game seriously and looking to advance in it, resist that temptation and ensure they always have a club in their hands that is the correct size and weight.
Weigh Your Child's Commitment Level
This may be a more complex point to consider if your young golfer is relatively new to the game, as it will take a lot of work to tell what their expectations are initially. In that case, starting with a basic set, so long as it meets height and swing weight requirements for their age, is a good choice.
However, suppose they are more advanced and are looking to compete, and you have already invested in them with coaching and playing competitively. In that case, a more advanced set is necessary for continued growth. In that case, a professional fitting may be in order depending on their age, of course.
Something to Be Aware Of
One of the drawbacks of box sets for junior golfers that the major manufacturers mass-produce is that they are just that, a box set. Most companies indeed have good quality clubs in these sets, but golf is more than just a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
The idea of box sets in size ranges is great in mass production, but again, it is not always going to be an exact match for every kid who may fall into a particular size on a height chart.
Unfortunately, for kids, individual customization is not a typical thing and is something more reserved for teens and adults. However, the evolution of kid's golf equipment by most manufacturers has improved year over year for the past few decades, so that can give you some peace of mind.
The Best Golf Clubs for Younger Golfers
Today, I will share some of the game's best equipment offerings for the youth golfer. The following brands have proven that they are dedicated to putting quality golf equipment in the hands of junior golfers. These companies offer the best junior clubs in golf, with plenty of different size options.
U.S. Kids Golf
U.S. Kids Golf is the godfather of the junior golf club market. I have been honored to have been acknowledged by them as one of the world's most notable junior golf coaches. Through our relationship with each other over the years, I have gained much knowledge about their equipment and fitting philosophies.
U.S. Kids Golf is much more than a youth golf company. Through their nonprofit arm, they help introduce young golfers to golf by providing high-quality competitions worldwide.
Additionally, they help educate and certify golf instructors so they can become knowledgeable leaders in the youth golf industry.
U.S. Kids Golf Fitting Process
The cornerstone of what makes U.S. Kids Golf the leader in the youth golf industry stems from their singular business model of only being a junior golf equipment company. That is something that many in the golf industry can not say.
The dedication to properly fitting young golfers with clubs with the correct weight and length is at the heart of what makes U.S. Kids Golf different. They are the originators of devising a straightforward yet powerful fitting process for juniors.
The video below shares the U.S. Kids Golf process for getting kids into the right equipment.
U.S. Kids Golf Equipment Offerings
The basis of the U.S. Kids Golf club offerings stems from the ranges, based on a child's height, that you find in their fitting process.
The following are the 12 different sizings for clubs in the U.S. Kids Golf system.
- (Infant) Baby’s First Club
- Player 36” Height (36” - 39”)
- Player 39” Height (39” - 42”)
- Player 42” Height (42” - 45”)
- Player 45” Height (45” - 48”)
- Player 48” Height (48” - 51”)
- Player 51” Height (51” - 54”)
- Player 54” Height (54” - 57”)
- Player 57” Height (57” - 60”)
- Player 60” Height (60” - 63”)
- Player 63” Height (63” - 66”)
- Player 66” Height (66” - 69”)
Within those sizing categories, there are four models of clubs to choose from based on a young golfer's experience level and swing speed. These include the following:
In terms of a child's experience level and swing speed, the chart below can help in deciding which model is right for your junior golfer:
Without question, U.S. Kids Golf is a leader in youth golf equipment. They are one of the only golf manufacturers that put all their efforts and resources into the junior golfer, making it a natural first contender to consider.
Next up, Cleveland-Srixon Golf. If you have read any of my previous articles, I am a big fan of Cleveland and Srixon Golf. I have been a staff professional with them for a long time and love their products.
Cleveland Golf Equipment Offerings
The Cleveland brand, specifically, produces the youth golf offerings from Cleveland-Srixon. They offer three lines: Small, Medium, and Large sets.
- Cleveland Junior Small Set (36”-43” Tall): These 3-piece set clubs are specifically for ages four to six or kids between 36"-43" tall. The set includes a 22° fairway wood, a 7-iron, a putter, and a stand bag.
- Cleveland Medium Set (44”-53” Tall): These 6-piece sets are specifically for ages seven to nine or kids between 44"-53" tall. The set includes an 18° driver, a 28° hybrid, a 7 and 9-iron, a 56° wedge, a putter, and a stand bag.
- Cleveland Large Set (54”-63” Tall): These 7-piece sets are specifically made for ages 10-12 or kids between 54"-63" tall. The set includes an 18° driver, a 22° fairway wood, a 28° hybrid, a 7 and 9-iron, a 56° wedge, a putter, and a stand bag.
For the more advanced junior, Cleveland and Srixon offer the option of putting KBS 560 or 580 shafts, ideal for young golfers, in any of the irons and wedges they sell. In doing so, better junior golfers can have their clubs custom fit, which has typically only been reserved for adults until now.
In 2018, TaylorMade Golf introduced the Rory Junior Golf Club line. Clubs are available in a five or seven-club set option for both boys and girls.
Rory McIlroy is a household name in golf. With his relationship with TaylorMade, which started in 2017, it was a no-brainer to collaborate on a line of quality junior golf clubs.
TaylorMade Golf Equipment Offerings
The TaylorMade Rory Club sets offer junior-appropriate lightweight shafts with clubheads that are very long and very forgiving, ideal for helping young golfers as they learn and develop their games.
Like Cleveland and Srixon, TaylorMade now offers a Junior Spec custom fitting program. Through this, juniors can get custom fit with any of their products normally reserved for adult golfers.
In a March 2023 article I wrote for PGA.com, I talked to Tony Starks, a Program Manager and Copywriter for TaylorMade Golf. He said the following regarding the Junior Spec custom fitting program that TaylorMade Golf offers:
“We utilize top-end products, ensuring high-level performance throughout the bag for the competitive or aspiring junior dedicated to improving.”
Tony went on to say the following about TaylorMade Golf’s commitment to junior golf:
“Our commitment to junior golf goes beyond the equipment we make. We've been a trustee of First Tee since 2007. In the last two years, we have developed a deep connection with the non-profit Youth on Course, helping to develop an initiative called DRIVE Club to support and inspire diverse juniors along their golfing journey.”
Another leader in the youth golf club arena is Callaway Golf. Jason Finley, Callaway’s Global Director of Golf Balls & Packaged Sets, told me back in March, in the same PGA article, the following regarding the company’s youth golf offerings:
“We’re a big supporter of junior golf and committed to offering sets of clubs that make for an easy and enjoyable entry into the game for junior players. Whether they’re just getting into the game or looking to improve, we have equipment designed to help them hit good shots and have fun.”
Callaway Golf Equipment Offerings
Callaway Golf offers the following set options for young golfers:
Each set is composed of the following clubs and gear:
The driver is made with a titanium head and graphite shafts in the three sets that carry one, the Callaway XJ2, Callaway XJ3, and Callaway XT. All sets are made with the same care and cutting-edge technology that Callaway puts in all their other equipment, with a little extra love for the young, up-and-coming golfer.
PING has long been an innovator in golf equipment manufacturing. So, it is no surprise that they are among the youth golf club market leaders.
PING Golf Equipment Offerings
PING’s Prodi G Junior Clubs are some of the best-engineered youth golf clubs on the market. These are unlike the more traditional “box sets” you see from others, as sets are custom-fit using the same custom-fitting philosophies that PING introduced nearly 60 years ago.
Using a custom fitting chart based on a young player's height and wrist-to-floor measurement, PING determines your junior's correct lie angle and club length. Before ordering, PING walks you through their WebFit digital fitting tool to find your son or daughter's correct specs. Based on that, a custom set will be built straight from PING’s headquarters in Phoenix, AZ.
The following 11 clubs are options you have in building out your child’s set:
- 15° titanium driver
- 22° fairway wood
- 27° hybrid
- Perimeter-weighted irons (6-9, PW)
- Wedges in 52° and 56° lofts
- A blade-style putter
PING suggests the Prodi G irons for kids between 4’5” and 5’2” in height.
One of the coolest things about the Prodi G offering from PING is its “Get Golf Growing” program. Through this initiative, those purchasing five or more club sets get a one-time, no-cost, club-lengthening adjustment. This is a big money saver for parents with growing kids.
How to Choose the Right Junior Golf Clubs
Finding the perfect clubs for any golfer is an often tricky proposition. With junior golfers, it gets a little more complicated at times. With teens and adults, there is a much wider array of options and countless ways to customize each of those basic options in club choices.
Junior golfers have a far less broad range of options for clubs. What is available is more limited, but it will get the job done in many cases by allowing a young boy or girl to play and develop their skills.
Below are three youth golfer stages, key features to look for, and club examples to consider.
Younger Beginner (Ages 3-8)
Key features to look for:
- Look for a set that offers a significant amount of clubs. At this stage, three to seven clubs are sufficient.
- Ensure a manufacturer’s “size ranges” or “age ranges” for each set option are not too wide.
- Regarding price, remember that you get what you pay for. Longevity with youth golf clubs is a relative concept. Quality matters so the clubs will last, but chances are your child will outgrow them long before they deteriorate. That is, if they are of decent quality, of course.
- U.S. Kids Golf Ultralight
- Cleveland Junior Small Set
- Cleveland Junior Medium Set
- TaylorMade Rory Club Set 4+
- Callaway XJ1
- Callaway XJ2
Younger Intermediate to Advanced (Ages 6-12)
Key features to look for:
- Consider a set that offers more clubs. A set of seven and up to a complete set of clubs (14) is sufficient at these ages and ability levels.
- Again, ensure the manufacturer’s “size ranges” or “age ranges” for each set are not too wide. Keep in mind that the older side of this range, such as 10-12-year-olds, may be too big for some options.
- Regarding price, as I mentioned previously, it is essential to remember that you get what you pay for. Quality matters so that the clubs will last, but again, chances are your child will outgrow them quickly in these age ranges. That is just a reality of golf and kids.
- U.S. Kids Golf Ultralight
- U.S. Kids Golf Tour Series
- Cleveland Junior Medium Set
- Cleveland Junior Large Set
- TaylorMade Rory Club Set 8+ (Blue or Pink)
- Callaway XJ2
- Callaway XJ3
- PING Prodi G Junior Clubs
Teen Intermediate to Advanced (Ages 12-18)
Key features to look for:
- A full set of clubs (14) is recommended at these ages and ability levels.
- Kids are pretty much out of box set “size ranges” in these cases. Customization and a formal fitting are highly recommended, especially for more advanced players.
- Clubs can get expensive, but if your child is a competitive player or moving in that direction, having proper equipment that fits is critical.
Find the Best Junior Golf Clubs for Your Kiddo
I hope this guide has helped you understand the best options for your young golfer. Ensuring that you get the right clubs in your kiddo's hands can be tricky. However, if you follow my suggestions above, you will be better positioned to make the best decisions for the junior golfer in your life.
Feel free to contact a Curated Golf Expert for personalized advice if you have any questions or other golf-related needs.