There has always been talk at Aces about when is the right time for students to purchase a set of golf clubs of their own. Today I wanted to shed some light on the topic of buying your child's first set of clubs.
1. Experience and Interest: The first thing to consider is your child's experience and general interest in the game. I think we can all agree that there is no point of running out to your local pro shop and buying an entire set of clubs when you are not even sure that your child will enjoy golf. My recommendation is to start small. Enroll in a beginner golf course where clubs are provided and let your child learn the basics with minimal financial commitment. After your child has learned the basics and are interested in playing outside of class, consider a new or used set of clubs!
2. The Bare Necessities: The time has come, your child has or is currently learning the basics, is excited about golf, and you have chiseled out some time in their week for practice! Junior golf sets will come with between 4-14 clubs. Your beginner golfer will only need a basic 4 or 5 club set. All beginner golfers will need 4 clubs when developing their skills: 1 or 3 Wood, 7 or 8 Iron, Pitching or Sand Wedge, and a Putter! Lucky for parents today, the days of cutting down an old set of adult clubs are over. In fact, Now there are so many junior golf club manufactures it is a bit confusing on what the difference maybe.
3. All clubs are created equally, but the manufactures are very differenT: In today's junior club marketplace there are many companies making junior equipment. From my experience, they are made of similar materials and casts. The larger differentiators in the manufacturers are the availability set depth(more club selection) as children advance and the ability to insure perfect fits as they continue to grow. We recommend our friends at U.S. Kids Golf. When it comes to junior golf equipment U.S. Kids Golf is the hypothetical gold standard.
4. Getting the right Fit: Fitting junior golfer for the correct size club has always been a challenge. Historically many of the big club manufactures (Callaway, Taylor-Made, and Cleveland ) have made there junior clubs to fit and age range. An "age" range? As you know from being parents you can line up five fourth graders and see that their heights can be very different, right? Please be careful if you are considering one of these sets, they can work, but must be fit by player height. Lastly, please note that players should not grow into their clubs. They should grown out of their clubs. A child swinging clubs that are too big for them (even if they choke down) can lead to some devastating losses in distance and technique. Choking down also introduces the subject of "counter weighting" and is another beast, for another post. In short keep it simple and use the U.S. Kids Golf Fitting System. All you need to do is grab a tape measure find your child's height in inches. Then pick the corresponding set!
5. Where to buy? You can find Junior sets at U.S. Kids Golfs Website, second hand on Craigslist.com, or through our trusted partnering golf courses.