Golf is one of the most popular games in the world, and it is also one of the most expensive. If you know someone who is just starting out, the game of golf can be intimidating for a lot of reasons. The first thing is that it is hard to know where to start. Which clubs work best for beginners, lessons first or driving range first, what rules do I need to know, and what are “golfing manners” are all a few of the initial questions that beginners may need answered. The game can also be quite expensive, especially starting out. You have to buy all the equipment you need for your first round and then you will have to replace that equipment soon after. It is also hard to know which courses are good for beginners and which ones you should stay away from to start.
The bottom line is that if you know someone who is just starting on their golf journey, they could use some help. The following are some gift ideas for a beginning golfer. Some of them are practical and some of them are fun, but all of them are things that could help someone get started in the sport.
Best Golf Gifts for Beginners
A good glove is important for golfers of all skill levels. A good glove will help you grip the club well, give you confidence over the ball, and probably comes with a ball marker. A beginner may not immediately realize the importance of a glove and may not even think about it prior to heading out on the course. For these reasons, it is a great gift to give any beginning golfer. We would suggest a good brand like Titleist, TaylorMade, Under Armour, or Callaway even if it is their lower end product because the name on the glove will give the beginner confidence.
Purchasing someone a pair of golf shoes is a little more intense than buying them a glove. It shows a more personal relationship and you need to know both the person’s shoe size as well as knowing something about the game yourself so that you pick out the right pair. Like with any pair of athletic shoes, some brands are better than others and you need to decide if the golfer would prefer metal spikes or soft spikes. For a beginner, the answer to that question is almost always soft spikes, and you cannot go wrong with brands like FootJoy, Adidas, or Nike.
This is a no-brainer for anyone starting out in the game of golf. Very few people in the world have a really natural golf swing, and even those who do often use a coach. We all bring our tendencies from other sports into the game and having someone teach you how to grip the club, what “inside-out” means in a swing, and which club to use in which situation is vital for a first-timer. If you know of someone who is starting out, getting them golf lessons early on in the process could save some money and some frustration later on.
Golf is expensive and the cost can keep some people from ever really getting into it. If you give someone the gift of greens fees, they pretty much have to get out on the course with you and it usually only takes a couple of rounds and a couple of good shots to get hooked. Giving someone a free round or 2 both helps get them on the course, and it gives you a playing partner for a couple of rounds as well.
If you are reading this and have been playing golf for a while, you may want one of these as well because they are great. Basically, with a subscription box like “Swinger Box” or “Short Par 4,” you receive a box full of apparel and equipment each quarter. The box takes into account your personal preferences, but it is different each time and you do not pick out the individual items that are sent. This is a great way to try new things and to add to your golf repertoire without spending full price on a lot of stuff that you do not need. Gifting someone a subscription box will give beginners things they had never thought about before and will make sure they have stylish clothes and good accessories.
Alignment sticks are used for far more than simply fixing your alignment. They are actually one of the most versatile training tools in the game of golf. You can take them to the range before a round and work on your swing path, your alignment, or even your putting. You can also use them before a round to warm up your swing and get your shoulders loose. Even on the course, they are lightweight and easy to carry so in the beginning stages you can take them with you to help you out mid-round. Alignment sticks are one of the most underrated and useful tools in golf and would be a great gift for someone starting out.
There are a lot of rules in golf. From how certain lies and out-of-bounds works to what you can and cannot do in a bunker, it can be a lot to remember. Luckily, until you are playing in tournaments or competitively with others, most people will let you forget about some of those minute rules while you are learning. The problem is, you will not be a beginner for long, and it is important that you understand the rules of the game. “The Official Guidebook to The Rules of Golf” can be found on Amazon and is a good choice, but just googling the phrase “Golf Rule Book” will turn out numerous good options.
A Book of Manners
Aside from the written rules of golf, there are probably just as many unwritten rules that every golfer needs to know. Not walking through someone’s putting line, being careful not to hit into another group of golfers, not talking during someone’s backswing, taking the right amount of time in between shots, and many many more. There are so many unwritten rules and so much that goes into golf etiquette that helping someone figure these things out in the beginning is vital.
The old saying, “it never rains on the golf course” is not even close to truth. Sometimes, it does rain too much and too hard to play, but just as often a little rain should not stop you from getting a round in. Wearing soaking wet golf clothes and trying to play a round, however, is not ideal. A good rain suit will give you the opportunity to play in inclement weather, and can help keep you warm at the same time.
Some people prefer not to wear sunglasses on the golf course, but not many. Almost all seasoned golfers also have a seasoned pair of sunglasses that they love and do not like to play without. The good thing about golf is that it is not as active as many other sports so that almost any style and brand of sunglasses works. We would suggest a pair of polarized, lightweight, comfortable, and stylish pair of shades because looking good and being comfortable will help you play well. Oakley, Nike, Costa, Ray-Ban, and many others make really good golf sunglasses that do not take anything away from your vision.
A round of golf can take upwards of 4 hours and sometimes even more. While some courses have on-course refreshment, many of the courses that beginners will be playing do not. Having a cooler full of water or your beverage of choice is important both for hydration and for the enjoyment of the game on a hot afternoon. A small, lightweight cooler that can go with you on a golf course is a great gift for a beginning golfer.
Once you start playing and you get the “golf bug” you want to play more and more. At the same time, you cannot always make it to the range or for an entire round. A practice net is a great way to get some swings in at home without spending any money. The more you hit the ball, the more you get used to your swing and the better you can start performing on the course. A practice net is a great way for a beginner to get some muscle memory built in a short amount of time.
This may seem like an insignificant gift that anyone could run down to Walmart or Target and buy for themselves, but it is actually very thoughtful. Sunscreen could be the most forgotten “accessory” on the golf course and if you have ever spent 4 hours in the middle of the day in direct sunlight, then you know forgetting your sunscreen can turn a great day into a terrible one. The gift of sunscreen could save some much unwanted pain and help ensure a great playing experience for a beginning golfer.
A golf umbrella is not your normal, average pop-up umbrella that you keep in your car. These things are huge, and they do more than just keep your head wet while your pants and feet get soaked. A golf umbrella can cover your whole bag when it storms, it can keep the sun off of you while you sit in the cart, and it can keep you sheltered from the rain from head-to-toe while you re waiting for it to stop so you can play again. The bigger, at least to an extent, the better.
A gift card to a pro shop is great because you can get whatever it is you need that day. You can get anything from a new polo, a golf jacket on a surprisingly cool day, a new driver, a new hat, and pretty much anything in between. Pro Shop markups are real, but the convenience of purchasing what you need when you need it cannot be overestimated.
I personally do not like to wear a hat on the golf course, but I am in the 5% of golfers who feel this way. A good golf hat can look good, keep your scalp unburned, keep you cooler, and make you look like you know what you are doing even if you do not. These are all things that beginning golfers need. If you are buying a golf hat for someone, make it a good golf brand like Titleist, Callaway, Adidas, or Under Armour so that they can at least look and feel like a golfer even if they cannot swing like one.
You can get 100 tees for a very small amount of money, but every golfer always needs tees. Simple wooden tees that are easy to stick in the grass and that are high enough for a beginner to tee their ball up high for driving will work fine.
At many municipal courses or less expensive clubs, divots line the course up and down the fairway and rough. That does not mean you should not fix your own.
A divot tool will allow the beginner to repair all the damage they are bound to do on their first few rounds of golf as they dig their club a few inches into the ground on one shot and then completely top the ball on the next. It is important for beginners to learn to replace their divot and they cannot do it without a good divot tool.
We are going to lump putting mats, chipping games, golf swing trainers, and any other training tool not previously mentioned into this section. The best thing to do here is, if you are a golfer, to gift a beginner with the training tool that most helped you become the golfer you are today.
If you do not play golf, google “best golf training tool” and figure out what other beginners are using successfully. When someone is just starting out, almost any training tool that is out there will help them improve their game.
Playing golf with sweaty hands does not work, that is exactly why every golfer wears a glove on one hand, and takes a towel for their other. Find a cool, bright, and inexpensive towel for the beginner to stick on their bag and use during a round.
Extra bright and extra ugly golf towels are great and so are towels featuring a specific brand of golf, the choice is up to you and what the preferences of the person for whom you are buying the gift.
Best Golf Gifts: Equipment
Every golfer loves a good driver. Bragging about how far you drive the ball is one of the first thing every self-respecting golfer learns to do, and you cannot drive the ball far or consistently without a very forgiving driver. To begin with, distance and workability do not matter nearly as much as forgiveness. Beginning golfers are not going to strike the ball well to begin with, it is almost impossible, and when you are driving the ball poorly it can mess up your whole round. Hitting from the trees and hazards on every second shot is one of the quickest ways to discourage and frustrate a beginner. The best way to help a golfer keep their ball at least visible is for them to have a forgiving driver that allows even mishits to go a little straighter and a little farther. Pretty much every brand of golf equipment has a forgiving driver, and most of them perform very well.
High Lofted Fairway Wood
If your ball does end up on the fairway and you need to make a long approach shot, a beginner and a long-iron usually do not pair together well. On the other hand, a 7-wood off the deck is one of the easiest and most fun clubs in your bag to hit. Even an inexpensive high-lofted wood looks good on the ground and feels great when you make solid contact. The sweeping motion of a fairway wood swing is much easier than the downward strike of an iron, so a high lofted wood is a great gift for a beginner.
Hybrid golf clubs are as popular as any club in the world right now. Even some tour players are beginning to put at least one in their bag now. A hybrid takes the high ball flight and soft landing of a long iron and pairs it with the ease of use and distance of a fairway wood to make it a must-have for any beginning golfer. You want to make the game as easy as possible for beginners and that is exactly what hybrids do.
Most people suggest using a blade putter to begin with, and a lot of players still think of the blade design when they think of putters. Mallet putters, however, have taken a huge leap in popularity over the past 10 years, and they continue to become more and more popular with Tour players and beginners alike. They help a ton with alignment and they are much more forgiving than blades. Distance and feel come a little easier with a blade putter, but the alignment aids and forgiveness of most mallet putters make them the ideal choice for beginners.
It is time to face it, most people just do not walk golf courses any more. Whether it be time constraints, ease, laziness, or a combination of everything listed, cart bags are the way to go because most beginners will ride the cart much more often than they will walk. Cart bags are bigger, have more pockets, hold more clubs, and help a golfer stay more organized on the course and beginning golfers will benefit from all of these advantages.
Really, a cavity-back version of every wedge is ideal, but the PW is easily the most important wedge in a beginner’s bag. Some beginners may even carry just a PW to begin with and we would suggest a cavity-back wedge. In the past, pretty much every wedge on the market was a blade because of the increased feel and control around the greens. Many wedge designers are now making cavity-back wedges for extra forgiveness on full shots, but it also gives you increased forgiveness with chips and pitches as well.
Laser rangefinders, while not allowed in professional tournaments, are very common and very useful on the amateur level. For the first few times on the golf course, exact distances probably mean very little because you are not really sure how far your clubs should go. That changes pretty quickly. Even if you do not make great contact on every swing, knowing the distance from where you are to the flag gives you confidence and helps you to choose the right club.
We would suggest the TaylorMade Noodle because these are classic beginner’s golf balls. They perform well without breaking the bank, so even if you lose a few every round to start with you do not feel that badly about it. You can get these balls for less than $20/dozen, but they give you great distance and decent spin and softness around the green. Most beginners will not be able to tell a huge difference between a range ball and a ProV1 to start with, but a good ball will help ensure that the few good strikes they make go long and land softly.
Beginner Club Set
A beginner club set usually consists of between 7 and 10 clubs along with a bag, putter, and head covers. Most sets only go down to a 6-iron and include at least a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, at least 4 irons, at least 1 wedge, and a putter. This is the perfect way to go from having nothing to having everything a beginning golfer needs to get out on the course as early as the next day. There are some really good beginning club sets out there, and we would suggest looking at the Callaway and Cobra brands to begin with.
Sometimes, as a beginner, a ball retriever can be one of the most important “club” in your bag. Creeks, lakes, ditches, woods, and all other types of hazards can get in the way of a good score on the course, but with a good ball retriever you can go home with almost as many balls as when you started. For a ball retriever, the longer the better.
The main thing that beginning golfers need are…Everything! The best gifts to give people who are just starting out in the game really depends on how well you know the game of golf and how well you know the person. You can never go wrong with a good sleeve of golf balls, but if you have a real relationship with the person, you may want to do something a little bigger. It is also important to remember that some gifts, like clubs and shoes, really depends on the preference of the player, so be careful with those gifts. In general, you cannot go wrong with any of the golf gifts listed above.