What Comes First: New Clubs or Lessons?

As someone who has taught exclusively, fit exclusively, and done both together, I’ve been asked many times, “When should I get fit?  Should I take lessons first or get the clubs first?”  Here are my thoughts:

The Short Answer

Clubs first, assuming they are fitted for you.

The Long Answer

If you’re planning to start playing golf seriously or are re-committing to improvement, there’s no reason to play with clubs that are too long or short, too stiff or soft, too upright or too flat, or have the wrong size grips. All of these things will cause you to start building compensations into your swing: things that you will later have to work to remove.  For example, someone who is very tall, very short, or just uniquely proportioned might end up with a very odd posture if they played standard length clubs.  There’s no reason for that.

On the other hand, does the beginner need to be fit to the highest level?  Of course not.  Someone who doesn’t know their swing yet probably doesn’t need to be dialing in spin rates with different high end shafts.  It is likely that they will be changing a number of things about their impact conditions, so that’s not going to be money well spent.  For now, a decent stock shaft should suffice, as long as it’s the right flex.

The toughest question is, “What type of irons should I get?”  There are lots of ideas about who should play what type of clubs, so I will address that question on its own at a later time.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know your thoughts, post a comment below.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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  1. I totally agree with your comment on club fitting. At age 58 I am now a 4 hdcp, but I could have been long ago with good instruction and good clubs. thanks. tom

  2. I am so brand-new to golf I don’t even have clubs yet! :) I’ve taken a couple lessons and am looking at some starter sets now. I googled irons or wedges and your “Build Your Best Bag” series came up. There’s great variation in which clubs come in sets. After reading your articles I’m thinking less is more at this point. I’m going to rent clubs for my very first 9 holes tonight because I think that will help me decide which clubs to focus on. Thanks for the very helpful info. I’m sure I’ll revisit website as I progress! :)

    • Matt Saternus


      I’m glad you’re enjoying the site! Stay tuned in the coming weeks – we have a feature on club fitting for the beginning/recreational golfer that might help you out a bit.



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