Golf 101 – What’s In The Bag: Essential Golf Starter Kit

whats in bag featured

As a new golfer just starting, having the right equipment in your beginner golf bag is crucial for success and enjoyment on the course. The plethora of gear choices can be a bit overwhelming at first:

This guide aims to simplify the beginner golf bag, highlighting the essential gear for newcomers, ensuring you step onto the course with confidence and the right equipment by your side. Once we cover the basics, we’ll give you some tips on enhancing and evolving your experience and taking it to the next level.

Being new to the game, you will need more than just a well-equipped bag, so check out our “Golf 101 Series” for more tips. In this post, we’ll follow our new golfer through the store as he shops for his gear and accessories to build a beginner golf bag that will help him to make the most of his on-course experience.

Choosing Your First Golf Clubs: The Essentials

The rules of golf allow you 14 clubs, with a “traditional” set consisting of 3 woods, 7 irons, 2 wedges, and a putter. The 14th club is sometimes another wedge or an extra hybrid club. With the advent of easier to hit hybrid clubs causing players to carry fewer irons, the make-up of a set is very personal and comes down to filling yardage gaps as skill level progresses.

So, off the bat, you have some decisions to make. New or used, beginner set? How many wedges, hybrids? What kind of putter? It can be a lot to deal with. Our partners at Global Golf have you covered with this How-To-Guide for beginners.

  • Trying clubs before buying through their UTry program. For $25 you can test a single club for 2 weeks, or test an entire iron set for $100.
  • A beginner golf bag doesn’t necessarily need a full 14-club set. Focus on essentials like a driver, fairway wood, 6-iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge, and putter.
  • Game improvement club designs offer maximum forgiveness and are ideal for beginners.

If you’re struggling to decide between new and used, see our post on Pre-Owned Clubs. Personally, we suggest investing in a good putter to start with and building up a set up clubs around it. See our post on “Putting Aids,” for some data to back this point.

golf 101 clubs

Selecting Golf Balls: Best Choices for New Players

When starting out in golf, one of the most important equipment decisions is choosing the right golf ball. As a beginner, focus first on finding a ball that balances quality and value. Avoid the urge to buy the most expensive Tour-level balls, as most new players won’t yet benefit from their high-performance designs. Instead, look for balls made specifically for slower swing speeds under 100 mph.

Our partners at Cut Golf make a variety of models worth considering and popular brands like Titleist, Callaway, Srixon and others all make balls formulated for beginners. Test different models like the Titleist TruFeel or Callaway Supersoft to see which gives you the best combination of distance and control. While premium balls cost $4 or more per ball, you can get quality options for under $2 that meet the needs of most high handicappers. Investing in the right ball for your current skill level will give beginners the best opportunity for improvement and enjoyment.

You don’t need to buy big name brands, especially when starting out. Check out our post “Finding the Right Golf Ball for Your Game,” for more details.

How many balls should you carry in your bag? It’s a personal choice. Are you walking or riding? What’s your skill level? The best advice is to start between 6-12 balls in your beginner golf bag and adjust from there.

golf 101 balls

Golf Bags: Finding the Perfect Match

Choosing the right beginner golf bag is an important decision that can impact your experience on the course. Our partners at Stitch Golf, Sunday Golf, and Worldwide Golf have you covered with a wide selection of lightweight stand and carry bags that are perfect for beginners.

As a beginner, opt for a lightweight stand bag that is easy to carry and provides ample storage. Look for a bag with 5-7 dividers to keep clubs organized and protected, along with pockets to hold essentials like balls, tees, gloves, snacks, and a water bottle  Prioritize comfort with wide, well-padded dual straps for stress-free carrying.  Water-resistant materials will keep gear dry if caught in rain.

Avoid overstuffing a beginner bag with too many club pockets since you might only need room for basics like a driver, irons, wedge and putter to start. A lightweight stand bag with the essential features will allow new golfers to focus on improving their game. Once you progress as a golfer, you can always upgrade to a larger cart bag or staff bag with more storage and club dividers. But a versatile, comfortable stand bag provides everything a beginner needs to get started and develop a love for the game.

golf 101 bag

Stepping Up Your Game: Choosing the Right Golf Shoes

When starting out in golf, choosing the right golf shoes is an important decision that can impact comfort and performance on the course. As a beginner, prioritize comfort and stability over style or high-end features. Look for shoes with soft, cushioned soles that provide shock absorption when walking. Breathable uppers like mesh help prevent blisters while making them lightweight. Both spikeless and spiked shoes can work well, just ensure the spikes are soft plastic or rubber for optimal traction.

Our partners at Squairz and Puma Golf are making some of the best shoes on the market today, with great style, comfort and even some game improvement technology. Check out our post “5 Golf Shoes for Fall Fairways,” for more.

All of the popular brands like FootJoy, Adidas, and Nike make quality golf shoes tailored for beginners. Try on different options to find the best fit for your foot shape. Investing in properly fitted, comfortable golf shoes will allow beginners to focus on improving their skills rather than dealing with foot pain or slipping around on the course. Start with the basics and you can always upgrade as your game progresses. Proper golf shoes provide the stable foundation beginners need to build solid golf fundamentals.

golf 101 shoes

Accessories: Essentials and Extras

Having the right accessories in the bag can make a big difference in enjoying your time on the course. We have already covered the essentials, but there are many other handy items that beginners should also carry to be prepared for anything.


Focus on finding a comfortable, durable glove for the lead hand that provides good grip without restricting motion. Popular entry-level golf glove brands include Callaway, Titleist, FootJoy and TaylorMade. Try on different sizes and models to find the right snug fit that feels like a second skin. Buy value packs so you have spares when one glove gets worn out, as beginners tend to go through gloves more frequently. Expect to carry 3-5 gloves in your bag, rotating to keep a dry glove available. Replace old gloves periodically as they lose tackiness. Letting gloves air out after a round helps them last longer. Be open to experimenting with different brands and materials to determine what works best for your game. Finding the right glove improves grip, prevents blisters, and builds fundamentals. Our favorite glove is the Bionic Stablefit – see our post “The Hand-y Guide to Blister Prevention,” for more.

golf 101 gloves 1


While not essential, a Rangefinder will definitely remove some of the guesswork and give you the confidence you need to step up to each shot, fully aware of your distance to the target. For new golfers just learning the game, using a rangefinder can be an invaluable tool to help improve skills faster. With the simple press of a button, rangefinders provide precise yardages to any target on the course, removing all guesswork and allowing better club selection.

Beginners can learn exactly how far each club carries through the instant feedback rangefinders give. By taking the frustration out of mis-hit shots caused by distance misjudgement, rangefinders build confidence and consistency. Their compact, lightweight designs make rangefinders easy to use and carry in any bag without hassle. While basic models are affordable, higher-end rangefinders like our partners, CaddyTalk CUBE, offer advanced features like slope calculation to consider elevation changes.

For any player wanting to accelerate their learning, a quality rangefinder is one of the smartest investments they can make. Knowing precise yardages takes the stress out of shot decisions and allows beginners to focus on proper swing mechanics to ingrain good habits early.

golfer shopping for rangefinder

On Course Gear

One of the most useful accessories is a high-quality golf towel, either clipped to your bag or tucked in a pocket. Use it to wipe down clubs, keep your grips clean, and dry your hands and equipment if the weather turns wet.

Tees are also a must, as you’ll go through plenty while learning. Look for durable plastic tees that won’t bend or break. When you’re ready to start fine-tuning your game, check out our post on finding the right tee height to optimize your carry distance. Ball markers are needed to mark your ball’s position on the greens and should be kept in an accessible pocket. Don’t forget an umbrella!

A ball mark / divot repair tool lets you repair indentations on greens left by other players. Carrying extras of these is considerate.Some other handy accessories include a ball marker or Sharpie to identify your golf balls, a small brush to clean club grooves.

golfer shopping for golf tees

Wrap Up: What’s in the Bag?

Start with the basics like towels, tees, and ball markers, then add other accessories over time as you progress in the game. Having the right gear makes golf more fun for beginners while helping ensure etiquette and course care. Accessories round out your starter kit so you can play your best.

The proper equipment is essential for beginners to enjoy and excel in golf. To develop skills, start with fundamental clubs like woods, irons, wedges, and a putter. Use value balls and carry 6-12 in your bag. Invest in a lightweight, comfortable stand bag with ample storage. Prioritize stability and cushioning when selecting golf shoes. Rotate multiple gloves to prevent blisters. Rangefinders provide helpful yardage while accessories like towels, tees, and ball markers prepare you for anything on the course. Building a solid starter kit tailored to your needs allows beginners to focus on improving fundamentals rather than fussing over gear. With practice and the proper equipment, golf becomes an enjoyable, lifelong pursuit.

golfer checking out





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