The Best Clubs for High Handicappers or Beginners

As a golfer with a high handicap, you want to be looking for clubs that offer the most forgiveness. Golf Expert Tyler Osantowske breaks down his suggestions below.

Photo courtesy of Callaway

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With everything going on over the last year, golf has skyrocketed in popularity in nearly every measurable statistic in terms of players out on the course more regularly. Maybe for you, this past year was your first year of playing because you had to get out of the house to do something. Maybe you've been involved in this sport for a few years and now want to take it a bit more seriously. No matter where you're at in the game of golf, when it comes to golf equipment, it can be a bit confusing. If you're new to the game and simply want to start looking at new equipment to help drop a few scores, I'm here to help!

Over the next few paragraphs, I want to break down for you what to look for when it comes to finding the best clubs for you as a beginner golfer. I will preface this by saying that I thoroughly believe that the best way to get better at your golf game is through practice. There's not a golf club or piece of golf equipment out there that will automatically drop your score ten strokes or help you start hitting putts like Tiger. Only practice can do that. With that being said, there is one common thing that many of the clubs below will have in common—they all offer the max forgiveness. As a golfer with a high handicap, you want to be looking for clubs that offer the most forgiveness. With that said, let's begin!


Two TaylorMade SIM2 Max Driver in blue lighting.

The TaylorMade SIM2 Max Driver. Photo courtesy of TaylorMade

Being a Curated golf expert, one of the most consistent struggles I hear golfers with high-handicaps talk about is the dreaded slice. It's common whether you're right-handed or left to struggle with a slice, especially when it comes to the driver. What I love about golf right now is the amount of technology that is being put into clubs. So many of the current drivers out right now are made to counteract the exact tendency of a slice that we all fight.

For example, my favorite driver on the market for high handicap golfers is the SIM2 Max Driver. Being the second rendition of the TaylorMade SIM Max, I believe TaylorMade has created one of the best golf clubs on the market with this driver. The technology in this club is insane. The speed injected twist face technology creates maximum ball speed, high launch, and maximum forgiveness. Engineered to have more weight towards the heel (also known as CG back), as compared to the toe of the club, it's built with a natural draw tendency to fight the slice we all tend to hit.

My recommendation: SIM2 Max Driver

I believe that TaylorMade is becoming one of the leaders in artificial intelligence designed in drivers over the last few years. You can find the SIM2 model line of drivers played by your average Joe on the course to professionals playing on tour. You can't go wrong with one of these models.


3 Callaway Mavrik Max Irons held in front of a coastal golf course at golden hour.

The Callaway Mavrik Max Irons. Photo courtesy of Callaway

When it comes to a new iron set, there are so many different options on the market. One of the most important factors when picking out the best irons, if you're a high-handicap golfer, is the amount of forgiveness that the clubs will offer you. One thing that I would always suggest for someone who's trying to be better with their irons is to look for what's called a cavity back iron.

Also known as “game improvement irons,” cavity back irons are clubs that come with a wider sole, a much larger club face, a low center of gravity, and a large sweet spot on the club face. This is where you'll find where your forgiveness comes from in a set of irons. With the help of these attributes, game improvement irons can help your ball much straighter and even farther in most circumstances!

One caveat to this discussion is what to do with your longer irons. Normally, when speaking of longer irons, I'm referencing your 3 or 4 iron. Most game improvement iron sets offer what most of the industry considers a "combo set." This means that the longer irons come as hybrids rather than standard irons.

Should I use hybrids or long irons?

This is a question that will be debated for a while moving into the future of golf. Hybrid clubs have recently become a very popular option that many players have begun using. Simply put, for the majority of high handicap players, hybrids are an easier club to hit compared to a longer iron. For starters, they don't require as fast of swing speed as a longer iron would. They come built with a graphite shaft, compared to a steel shaft of a long iron, which helps with higher launch angles and are lightweight in comparison. Hybrids tend to be easier to hit out of the rough. What you do tend to sacrifice when putting a hybrid in your bag over a long iron is the ability to shot-shape and a bit of accuracy. When I look in my own bag, I personally play with a 3 hybrid and a 4 iron because that's what works for me! I like having a hybrid model because of the higher launch direction.

So what's the catch? Why doesn't everybody play these types of irons? The sacrifice you make with getting game improvement irons is that because of the way they are designed, one may struggle to control the shape of their shot, which in my opinion shouldn't be a priority for a high handicap player in the first place. As a high-handicap player, one has to focus on consistent ball striking, smooth tempo, etc., but that's for another article.

My Recommendation: TaylorMade's SIM Max Irons or Callaway Mavrik Max Irons

When it comes to irons, I believe these are the best golf irons compared to other models. Not only do they have technology built in to help with distance and forgiveness, but they look good at address. Available in sets including 4 iron to pitching wedge, there's no going wrong with either of these sets.


The Cleveland CBX2 Wedges in a golf bag on a course.

The Cleveland CBX2 Wedge. Photo courtesy of Cleveland

The very first wedge set that I ever bought, I decided simply on the look. They were black matte finish, had some cool studs, and let me tell you, they looked sweet—until I decided to try and hit a ball with them. My point is, never buy simply based on looks. Like other clubs, there are certain designs of wedges that simply help with forgiveness and help you more than they hurt you. As I mentioned above with irons, finding a solid cavity back wedge will make a world of difference if you're trying to lower your score. Something new being integrated into wedges are what's called a "wide sole" wedge. Whereas traditionally, a solid divot goes a long way with a wedge shot, a wedge with a wide sole will help avoid those shots that come out fat and therefore short of the green.

When looking at a general score overall, I believe there is not a spot where more strokes can be saved than when you're within 120 yards from the pin; whether it's a dart from 90 yards out or a crucial up and down. While it's easy to make the mistake I made and try to purchase either the slickest looking wedges or grab the set your favorite tour player is using, it's imperative that you find the right set for you.

My Recommendation: Cleveland CBX2 Wedge

This is one of my favorite wedges on the market for a high handicap golfer. Created with a heel-to-toe V shape technology, this allows a player to open up the club face a bit without losing ability to stay versatile. This set comes with a variety of different loft angles, so you can customize to your liking.


Just like most of the other clubs in the bag, weight can play an important fact, but with putters, it's a balance. The heavier the putter, the more forgiveness there is, but you never want to have a putter that is so heavy, you can't seem to ever get a smooth tempo. With that being said, there are two different styles of putters: blade and mallet.

A mallet-style putter has a large head. These tend to be a bit heavier, but offer a bit more forgiveness because of the weight dispersion in the face of the putter. A blade-style putter is one that you'll see a lot of professional golfers playing with, and tends to be a bit lighter and gives you more feel in your putts. The honest truth about putters is that they are all about feel and personal preferences. Head to your local shop to try a few out and pick what feels right to you!

While I believe the best course of action to decrease your score in golf is through practice, there is proof to a certain degree that specific types of clubs can help aid in that goal. I hope this article has given you insight into what to look for when it comes to getting a new set of clubs. Before you know it, you'll be hitting fairways more consistently, bombing tee shots, and seeking pins! Need a place to find the best set just for you? Feel free to chat with me or another Golf Expert here on Curated and I'll be glad to help!

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I've been golfing since I was able to swing a club. Starting from a plastic set my parents got me when I was just learning to walk, to a junior set used through high school, to my first set I've ever purchased on my own, I've always loved the game of Golf. ​ From the competitive aspect of playing in...

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