Many of us have fond memories of watching or playing golf with parents and grandparents. Whether we kicked around the golf cart, played a few rounds in the backyard, trying not to break the neighbor’s windows, or actually got to play games, the game of golf is both a great sport and a little bit of childhood wrapped in one.
If you’re new to the game as an adult or teen, or just in need of replacing your clubs, finding the right set of clubs can be difficult, unless you already have a favorite brand. We’ve pulled together a list of the best golf clubs for men and women to make the process easier, but we also wanted to share some of the fascinating history behind the wonderful game of golf.
The History of the Game of Golf
The game of golf that we play today, of course, has evolved over the centuries. In the beginning, golf clubs were merely bent sticks or clubs, and the golf ball was simply a pebble or small rock. The actual origin of the game of golf is a bit up for debate, but most people accept that the game started in Scotland during the Middle Ages. The game first took form around Edinburgh, the royal city of Scotland, and quickly grew in popularity.
The game particularly became popular with those in the military. The nation’s pursuit of the game actually led to many neglecting their military training. As a result, the parliament in Scotland banned the game in 1457. It wasn’t until 50 years later that golf was permissible again. During that half century, however, many people ignored the ban and continued playing. In 1502, however, King James IV of Scotland became the first golfing king, and thus the ban was lifted.
The ruling class loved the game of golf, and through their participation, the game grew more popular with the masses. Unlike many sports, golf was the game for everyone, no matter their socio-economic class, though the varying classes did not play together. It’s believed that the term “caddie” came from Mary, Queen of Scots, who called the students who carried her clubs about “cadets.”
Over the next few centuries, the royals not only lifted various bans on the game, such as the Sunday ban, but also created national and international matches, including the first international golf game between Scotland and England. This first international match was held at the premier golf course at Leith, near Edinburgh, in 1682. The Duke of York and George Patterson represented Scotland, and beat the English in the match.
There were golf “academies” beginning in the 17th Century, though they were almost exclusively attended by nobility and royalty. The first golf club opened in 1744, which is when it’s said that golf became an official sport. This club kicked off other competitions, specifically annual competitions, that resulted in prizes of silverware. When tourism in Scotland expanded due to railroads and royal praise in the 1850s, golf’s popularity grew. New golf balls that worked better than previous forms helped the expansion, and more golf courses opening only increased popularity for the already thriving game.
Professional tournaments began in 1860 with the first British Open tournament. After that, the other three major tournaments came to life.
- United States Open in 1895
- Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) in 1916
- Master’s Tournament in 1934
The first golf game broadcast on television was out of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1947 when a local station broadcast the game to its local viewers. Six years later, the first national broadcast of a golf game was the 1953 World Championship of Golf, played near Chicago. Interestingly enough, what got that particular game broadcast was the significant purse of $25,000, rather than the game itself.
Golf Terms You Need to Know
Types of Golf Clubs and How to Use Them
With a rich history, golf has remained a passionate sport of many people around the world. This passion has demanded improved courses, better instruction, and excellent equipment.
Best Golf Club Manufacturers
There are more than 50 well-known golf club manufacturers around. For those who don’t know anything about golf, any of these brands would do. But for anyone who takes golf seriously, a quality club will make the difference between a mediocre game and quality play.
Some of the best golf clubs manufacturers include:
- Tour Edge
- Honma Beres
Types of Golf Clubs
There are a variety of types of golf clubs. Each type is used for a different aspect of the game.
- Drivers – Used for long-range hitting.
- Wedges – Designed for getting balls out of hazards, like sand traps and bunkers.
- Putters – Used for sinking the ball from the green.
- Irons – Smaller heads and shorter shafts give a different kind of leverage. You will need a few different irons for optimum play capabilities.
- Fairway Woods – Also used for long-range strokes, but work on the fairway and do not require a tee.
The Best Golf Clubs
While it may not seem necessary to some, there are differences between men’s and women’s golf clubs. Typically, a woman’s club is shorter, lighter weight, and has more flexible shafts than a man’s golf club. If a woman is more in the range of the “average” man’s height and strength range, she may wish to consider men’s clubs instead of women’s clubs. The reverse is true. Having the right style, size, and weight will make the difference for your game. Before deciding on any club, however, you should consult your instructor on your needs.
We’ve pulled together information on some of the best golf clubs for men. Be sure to check out specs, read reviews, and ask the pros about any others they might recommend.
This driver from Titleist offers a combination of classic style and modern technology for your golf play. The weight in the sole allows for adjustment that promotes draw, and the angled shape of the head helps to prevent spin.
The TaylorMade M3 is perfect for mid and low handicap players looking for maximum adjustability and cutting-edge technology. This driver is a game-changer because of the technology in the Y track, which allows precise placement of the weight, front to back and side to side.
The M3 is a serious power hitter that helps off-center hits fly towards the fairway more often with other drivers.
Golf Digest ranks this particular club as one of the best on the market. The weights in this iron work great for that off-center-hit stability you’re looking for in an iron. It also looks pretty cool.
The Odyssey EXO 7 is a large, but not too large, putter. It’s easy to see and keep to your line with this putter, and helps using this club feel automatic.
Experts have used it, and some said it felt like their ball was on rails, headed straight to the hole, staying aligned with the direction in which the putter sent it.
Odyssey EXO 7
The Odyssey EXO 7 also offers seamless transition to the bag, and has consistent distance control.
Best Golf Clubs for Women
Callaway Women’s XR OS Hybrid/Irons
This beautiful driver from Ping is designed specifically to maximum performance for those with a slower swing. The Rhapsody is lightweight and forgiving, and drives a powerful launch.
Off-center strikes are no issue for this club, and offers a variety of settings. The carefully placed ridges on the driver reduce drag, and increase speed.
Ping Women’s Rhapsody Driver
The M2 Rescue for women is specifically designed to allow players to replace a long iron with a more draw-based performance hybrid club. Deemed as having exceptional feel and sound, this beauty can help improve your game through its unique engineering and geometric design.
TaylorMade Women’s 2017 M2 Rescue
Finding Your Best Gold Clubs
If you’re buying some clubs for yourself or a loved one, these drivers, putters, irons, and woods should do the trick. The pros love them, and amateur golfers believe these clubs have improved their games.
Be sure to check with your instructors or long-time golfing friends before purchasing a new set of clubs to learn your exact needs, then go have some fun looking at the reviews. You’ll find the right clubs in no time.