With advances in technology, how often should the average amateur golfer be looking to get new clubs?
19 Professionals Contributed
To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?
It seems that companies come out with the ‘latest and greatest’ technology every year. But if it’s not going to help your game in a drastic way, should you upgrade? Most amateur golfers do not see a big difference in new clubs year to year, but I would recommend changing out your set every 3-4 years if possible, especially if you are playing with hand-me-downs that are older that you are. Be mindful of the lofts on the latest irons. Make sure you do your research and compare them to your current set. Most companies have stronger loft angles than a few years ago, making you think you’re hitting the ball further with new clubs.
Go to your local club fitter or golf club/store and try out some new clubs, compare them to yours, and don’t be afraid to keep your own set if they are only a few years old and still get the job done.
Fitting is not just for tour pros…
Repeatable golf swings can benefit from modern club fitting technology. This goes for swings that consistently produce good shots or bad shots. If the club path and club face consistently move through impact changing lie angle and changing shafts can improve dispersion. So getting fit is not just for tour pros!
The average high handicapper today can have clubs custom fit to help offset their marginal turf engagement pre or post impact. The variety of shaft options available at your typical custom fitting can help players pick up 10-20 yards of carry distance irrespective of handicap.
If you do not spend money on instruction as a means to change how you strike the ball then definitely get yourself custom fit; your clubs will last 10 years or more. The technology used to make todays golf equipment is vastly different than the equipment of yesteryear.
Get properly fit clubs; then find the right ball for your short game needs or desired shot shape.
It may be expensive but if you play a few times a week you deserve to have properly fit equipment.
Feel is real
Every two years there are changes in design and technology. In the last ten years massive advances in golf balls, clubs, putters, and wedges have allowed us all to have a greater choice for a more enjoyable golfing experience. So those that can afford to stay up with the latest in high tech should change every two years, the average player three to four.
The driver gets the most advertising and interest with huge gains in what goes into the shaft and clubhead. Driver fitting is important no two swings are the same so I would advise off the shelf to be a second and last choice.
Finally design changes effect the eye. If you look down and see a clubhead that you instantly don’t like, find one that suits your eye. The final thing is the feel and sound that the contact is giving you off the club which you are trying. The sound of a solid hit can change everything on the way to making a decision of the clubs you are going to buy.
Buying a new set of irons, fairway metals, driver, wedges, and putter ignite passion to play more. With new memories not old ones that the old set had given. Trusting in yourself with a new set can make a significant difference.
Do it right and less often
The biggest difference for am and juniors in club fitting is the amount of change a junior can go through. If you have a big clubhead speed increase or junior growth then you need new clubs and fitting. If not much has changed in your swing or game you can wait.
The biggest issue most players make is buying right off the rack or off eBay. You can get what seems like a deal but the clubs shaft is not as labeled or wrong clubs for you. It’s much better to spend some money and get properly fit by a good fitter than to try and save money. In the long run buying equipment that isn’t right for you.
How often should one buy new irons?
For dedicated golfers and practicers, more than 150 rounds per year and consistent practicers, one should consider replacing their irons every 2-3 years. The wear on the faces and grooves will dictate this.
As for wedges, every season. If staying with the same bounce and loft and brand, keep the old ones to practice with so the grooves on your playing clubs stay fresh.
New Clubs? Not so fast!
Even with the advances in technology- I think the average golfer needs three to five years to fully incorporate the new technology into their games. So probably a couple years after that. Wedges can probably be replaced every couple years.
Test Current Clubs Against New Model
When buying new clubs take your current set with you and head to a reputable shop with a launch monitor. This will track your carry, total distance and spin rate to name a few specs. Then during the fit if they can’t hand you something that increases carry and total distance, stay with your current clubs. You’ll know when a club outperforms your current clubs and don’t change just to have something new. Stay with what you’re used to!
Get new irons to reduce side spin or increase ball speed
I see way too many people trying to buy a better game. The job of the iron is to produce higher ball speed and or reduce side spin. If you’re looking to change irons get a fitting (outdoors) using a launch monitor! You want to see what’s wrong with your current numbers i.e.: peak height under 100, spin too low or too high, ball speed too low. Ideally your teacher should be fitting you, no one knows your swing better and can let you know when the time is right to get fit.
A great fitting can add distance, a great lesson can add distance, consistency and direction!
Golf Lessons = Lower Scores!
Think You Need New Clubs?
With all the technological advances in golf equipment, its easy to wonder if a new this or that would improve your game. Well, new dishes won’t turn a hot dog into a steak, so lessons are a far better investment. That said, my experience has been that the game has changed, and, as I age, so has my body. With harder, faster greens that we see today, and a slower clubhead speed that has my long irons, driver, and fairways on a noticeably lower trajectory, I’ve opted for lofted fairways instead of the standard three wood, a softer shaft and more loft in my driver, and may soon add a 62 degree wedge in the bag, because the old arsenal just isn’t appropriate anymore. You may have similar issues.
The best way to tell if new gear will help your game is to consult with your PGA professional, who will take all of these factors, and more, into consideration. But as for the new technology being superior, I play just as well with 30 year old Hogan irons as with my new ones. My best round last year was with persimmon woods and a 1960’s vintage set of Haig Ultra irons. Go figure!
I get this questions a lot. My answer is generally the same. If you are playing golf frequently and it is a big part of you life you should try and stay up on the latest equipment. If you only play a couple of times a year and do not see that changing in the near future don’t spend the money.
If you are an avid golfer you should look at Drivers and Fairways every couple of years. This does not mean you have to purchase, just compare the new gear versus what you are playing. If there is no huge improvement, then wait.
In regards to irons, I generally suggest every 4 to 5 years. Again, I am not saying you have to purchase new irons, just compare them to the new models and see how your current set stacks up.
If you are flush with cash and love having the newest gear, have at it and enjoy!
Technique and Technology
The average amateur has technique issues and can’t fully take advantage of the technology. Yes the current technology is better than his or her technology but they need to improve their technique. I am a Master Club Fitter and Club Builder. I am a Performance Fitter for Competition. It’s always technique and technology both, it’s not one without the other.
PGA Tour Superstore - East Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, CA
Only when they are better than your current set. New does not equal better. Better is better. I have a soft spot for old clubs, they work better on their last run. But in general if a new club or clubs perform exceptionally well… Put it in the bag.
It is my belief that the average Amateur golfer if they are content with their scores and distance they hit the ball can have some older equipment. If the amateur is looking to make significant progress in his shot making and scoring then the equipment should be newer. Does not have to be the newest but hopefully it has been fitted for them. I am sure that there are club manufacturers and sales reps that disagree but from what I see on a daily basis not everyone will benefit from spending $1,000.00 or more on golf clubs to have fun playing this game.
My two cents
I’m inclined to say the average amateur player should be spending more money on instruction and relying on the teacher to advise when new club purchase is needed. Just my two cents.
Club fitting and new clubs
Golfers just starting out need to be fitted the most, then golfers whom been playing for a while then advanced. In recent articles I have just read WEDGES need to be replaced every year to 2 years, Irons should be replaced 3 to 5 years and Drivers 5to 6 years. Grips should be replaced every year or 2 unlike some I have seen recently seems like 10 years.
Technology: Help Your Game & Learn to Hit New Clubs
Let’s be honest, it is not the clubs, right? Well…maybe.
The best golf companies hire exquisite engineers to push the state-of-the-art when designing new clubs, so every few years, it is worth trying out the new equipment. However, make sure you do so with a qualified PGA Professional so that the technology works in your favor, and not against you.
Additionally, if you are working with a PGA Professional, they can tell where your game is trending, and can give you the best club fitting.
Keep Up With Technology
Let’s face it, tour players update their equipment annually, because they are contracted to do so. Each and every one of us who wants to improve our game, should do exactly the same thing! The only deterrent, of course, is the expense. New equipment is the key to advancing our golf game. Research and development constantly improves the quality of all golf equipment on an annual basis. All enthusiastic golfers should take advantage and should update their equipment annually!
Visit your local PGA golf professional for regular, annual golf club fittings! Keep up with technology and remember, “it ain’t the arrow, it’s the indian“ is it exactly correct. The most accurate marksman also has the sharpest arrows! Stay up on technology!
Golf clubs are like cars...
Well, the retailers on this page are not going to appreciate this but the truth is (in my opinion), golf clubs are like cars. Year to year the technology improves slightly. or multiple technological ideas are melded together into one product. But like car models, drivers from consecutive years are probably very similar to one another. Conversely, when you get three to four years apart, that is when you will likely notice a difference.