Golfclubs as gift
August 12, 2008 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for golf clubs for my recently retired father (preferably around $400 new or used)

(I've read the previous golfclub questions, but I haven't quite found the answer I'm looking for)

My father retired this month and has expressed an interest in starting golf again. He says he used to be pretty good, but the last time he played was around high school. The clubs he has are in good condition, but they're from 1960.

My siblings and I would like to get him some new clubs as a retirement gift, but we're limited to a budget of about $400. I think we're all willing to go used too.

What I'd like are any suggestions askme has on this purchase. A few questions I have just from researching:

-Graphite or steel shafts?
-Senior or regular flex (he is 65, but he's in decent shape)
-Should we look for irons with hybrid 3/4s?
-Where's a good place to find used/new clubs in Chicago (or possibly San Diego, but we'd have to ship them back)
-What brand names should we go for? (especially if buying used)
-What brand names should we avoid? (new or used)
-We'd like to get them by the end of August (his birthday's then), but we could wait if there are going to be some end of season sales.

As a bonus, I want to start playing too, and I'm borrowing his old clubs to take a few lessons. Assuming I get hooked, I'll be looking for clubs of my own, so if some of your advice is good for a 65 year old, but not a 25 year old, I'd like to hear why.
posted by chndrcks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since your Dad hasn't played in so long, I would suggest you not spend a ton of money on name-brand equipment just yet. I suggest looking at beginner sets.

Most golf shops will have beginner sets for under your target price, especially if you catch a sale. They won't be name-brand clubs, of course, but some of the ones I've seen (and hit with) are actually pretty good for someone starting out, or starting-over. They will definitely play better than 1960-era clubs, which will certainly be heavier and less forgiving. Contemporary clubs are simply easier to hit and much more forgiving of mis-hits. Most of the beginner sets I've seen come with graphite shafts.

Even building a set of used name-brand clubs can push you over your target price, especially when you add-in a name driver and putter.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:08 AM on August 12, 2008

my mother in law gave me a $500 gift certificate to, and i was able to get a complete set of excellent brand new taylormade rac-os irons & a putter with that. of course i still needed to get the woods and a bag, but there were complete sets that were not as expensive as the taylormade set i bought, and they have specials constantly. check it out.
posted by fumbducker at 6:10 AM on August 12, 2008

-Graphite or steel shafts? graphite shafts
-Senior or regular flex (he is 65, but he's in decent shape) flex since he's played before
-Should we look for irons with hybrid 3/4s? YES! I would suggested getting more than 2 hybrid clubs for your Dad. The hybrid clubs nowadays are way more advanced and in some ways replace long irons. Your dad will thank you for getting him some decent hybrids, but the drawback is that they will cost you some $$
-Where's a good place to find used/new clubs in Chicago (or possibly San Diego, but we'd have to ship them back)
-What brand names should we go for? (especially if buying used) most older golfers I play with prefer callaway, but then again more money.
-What brand names should we avoid? (new or used) Anything NOT brand'll save on money, but you'll lose on quality
-We'd like to get them by the end of August (his birthday's then), but we could wait if there are going to be some end of season sales.
I agree with the gift certificate...that way he can try out different clubs and pick out the ones he wants.

$400 won't get you great clubs, but with a little luck and looking around I'm sure you'll find some decent clubs for your father.
posted by Plug1 at 7:51 AM on August 12, 2008

For your dad you definetly want the woods to be graphite shafted, it's lighter and pretty much no one these days plays steel shafted woods. Irons are different, you said he's 65, generally people who swing slower tend to use graphite shafted irons too, traditonalists swear against graphite shafted irons but for seniors it's pretty common. Hybrid 3-4 irons is a good idea, those are the tougher irons to hit and having them as hybrids will make it much easier to get the ball in the air. Ebay is a great place to buy clubs, I've bought clubs on their before and had great results. Some brands to look for are Callaway, Titleist, Nike, Taylormade, Ping, Cleveland makes some decent stuff (good wedges and some decent irons). I suggest if buying clubs go to your local place and definetly buy used. Also, if you don't mind using technology that's a few years old you're gonna get much better prices. I'm using a Titleist 975D driver, it's about 5 years old and was retailing for roughly 300$ in it's day, it's ebaying now for like 25$ and it's still a great driver. Just because it's the latest thing out there doesn't mean it's the best. Also, don't put too much weight into the brands, if you're just starting out it won't really matter how great your equipment is but if you're determined to start off with good gear go for one of those brands I listed above.
For you the advice is a little different, still graphite shafted woods but you definetly want steel shafted irons. Hybrids are still probably a good idea, they're all the rage these days and even a lot of the tour pros are using them. I used to play a lot of golf in highschool......
posted by BrnP84 at 7:54 AM on August 12, 2008

With a gift certificate he can get what he likes. And if what he likes costs more, he can just add some of his own money.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:27 AM on August 12, 2008

Ignore any and all suggestions, skip go, do not spend $200, and get him fitted for clubs. No one should seriously expect their suggestions to be any good unless they know a lot about how your father hits the ball.

Seriously, he will do so much better by going to a professional fitter who will have him hit a few balls with different clubs, flexes, length, heads, etc. He will then be able to tell your father exactly what will work best for him. Clubmakers will do this for you. I wouldn't really try a golf or sports megastore for this.

I laugh inside when I see irregular players with clubs that are obviously not meant for them. A great majority of men will want stiff or X-stiff shafts. They would hit the ball so much better with a flex that is tuned to their swing, but then I guess they wouldn't feel so manly with regular or senior flex clubs.

I am 100% sure you and your father will have a better game with properly fitted clubs. Buy him a fitting and give him a gift certificate for the balance so he can buy some clubs after he knows what he needs. Once he knows what flex, grip, length, lay angle he needs he should be able to go to a store and pick out an appropriate club and get it fitted properly (for example most drivers on the market are much too long for amateurs, and some cases even pros). Once he has properly fitted clubs, there is little reason to buy new ones unless he intends to be very serious about the sport.

If you would like to learn more about all this, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club is a very good book.
posted by splice at 10:45 AM on August 12, 2008

Thanks for all the advice so far. I like the idea of a club fitting + gift certificate and am running it by my siblings.

Where would we be able to get him a good fitting and how much should we expect to pay? Is that something most proshops would do or stores that specifically sell golf equipment? (as opposed to the all sports stores)
posted by chndrcks at 11:12 AM on August 12, 2008

A custom clubmaker will fit you no problem, and may be able to get you better prices on OEM clubs than you could get in brand names. A proshop might be able to fit you, depends if they have the equipment to do it or not. Call ahead and ask them, see if they seem knowledgeable or just want to steer you to whatever is this year's hot item.

You can get some more details as to what's involved in a club fitting here (full disclosure: this is my uncle's web page). At a minimum you will be hitting balls in front of a launch monitor, and then hit a few balls off a lie board with your irons. Likely the clubmaker will suggest building clubs, but if this out of your price range I am sure they will be able to steer you to clubs that will at least fit you better than just picking one off the rack based on what they look like and what pros hit them.
posted by splice at 11:59 AM on August 12, 2008

Oh, as far as price, that wholly depends. Usually it's free if you purchase clubs from the fitter following it. I would imagine about $40-$80 would be a fair price if not, but do enquire first.
posted by splice at 12:00 PM on August 12, 2008

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