Golf club manufacturers are constantly releasing new golf clubs that boast of incredible technology features. Since their innovations are often marketed as “game-changing”, it’s only logical to wonder…
How Often Should You Buy New Golf Clubs?
If you are a casual golfer, you can get at least 4-5 years out of your current club set (and even more out of your putter). Quality golf clubs are designed to take a beating and they should hold their own for at least 300 rounds before showing any signs of degradation.
If you’re a PGA professional or competing regularly, the shelf life for your clubs may be a bit shorter. We’ll discuss that in detail later.
But what about all the new golf club technology? Am I missing out?
There’s no doubt that golf club technology is continually reaching new heights. Golf club shafts have improved, irons continue to be more forgiving and drivers offer more distance off the tee than ever.
So it’s no wonder you may be tempted to make a move.
But unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket, it’s not necessary to upgrade your golf clubs every time new clubs are released.
As a general rule, I’d say if your clubs are more than 5 years old, you can begin to consider a new club purchase. You don’t want to fall too far behind in the technology department, but golf equipment is expensive and it’s easy to get shiny object syndrome.
If you were to take a look in a PGA Tour professional’s golf bag, you may be surprised to find some clubs that are a few years old. If their clubs can hold up for more than a season, I promise you that yours can as well.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So the original question was “How often should you buy new golf clubs?”
My original answer was “not for at least 4-5 years.”
That timeframe can be longer if your golf game looks pretty good with your current set. An old club that you hit well is a better option than a shiny new long iron that you can’t hit consistently.
Furthermore, golf clubs are a pricey investment, especially if you’re buying a set from one of the top tier manufacturers. My new set of Ping golf irons cost about $1,000. I once bought a sweet motorcyle for $3,000.
So what’s my point?
If you’re playing well and you’re happy with your swing speed, ball flight/loft, and other important metrics — keep playing with your current set and save your money for bigger things.
Feeling better about your clubs may be as simple as replacing a golf club grip (Golf Pride has some great golf grip options), instead of purchasing a completely new set.
However, if you feel like your golf game is suffering because of your old club set, then it’s time to get a club fitting and start shopping around.
How Long Do Golf Irons Last?
There’s obviously some variables that play a role in how long your golf irons will last. Some research suggests that 300 rounds is a safe number to keep in mind if you’re considering a new iron set.
Though that number is somewhat specific, the shelf life of your irons (and wedges) will vary by use. You probably don’t use your 4 iron as often as you use your sand wedge, so a long iron will experience less wear and tear than a more commonly used club.
Keep that in mind as you start planning for a new set.
We wrote an article a few months back that dealt with the question: Do golf clubs wear out?
The answer, of course, is yes. Over time, clubs will deteriorate from constant play. It makes sense that the more you play, the quicker your clubs will deteriorate.
What Golf Clubs Wear Down the Fastest?
As I mentioned previously, some clubs will need replacing more often than others.
For example, a putter can hold its own for decades. In fact, most golfers prefer to keep their putters for as long as possible because of familiarity. This goes back to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule.
Meanwhile, clubs like wedges tend to wear out quickly due to regular use and the nature of that use. If the club face can longer grab the ball, then the wedge becomes a liability rather than a help.
According to Golfweek, a PGA professional may will go through multiple sand wedges a season.
The golf driver is used almost as much as a putter, but it takes way more stress on the shaft and with each golf ball/club head impact.
The driver is another club that may need to be replaced sooner than others.
Why should I change my golf clubs?
There are a few reasons to change your golf clubs.
Reason #1 – Clear Damage or Deterioration
If your clubs are clearly showing signs that they are breaking down, you should make a move.
Rust, a crack in the shaft, worn down club face grooves — these are all signs that you’re playing with compromised golf equipment.
Reason #2 – An Obvious Decrease in Performance
If you know your golf swing fairly well and you notice that your game seems to be declining for no apparant reason, it may be a signal that your clubs have run their course.
You could also opt for some golf instruction (in case there’s something you’re missing), but usually an unexplained change in your game is the result of worn-out clubs.
Be on the lookout for sudden changes in ball trajectory or driving distance.
Reason #3 – Your Game has Changed
If you’re still using the same set of clubs that you bought when you first started to play golf, it may be time to change your clubs.
In theory, the more you play the better you get (again, in theory).
You may need to add a hybrid club in the mix or change the amount of shaft flex you’ve been playing with.
As your game changes, you may need to shift to a club set that’s more closely aligned with your swing. A club fitting can help you find the best match.
New clubs offer a variety of advancements that may help you lower your scores, so you may be pleasantly surprised by a club change.
Competitive golfers vs recreational golfers: when should they change their golf clubs?
Competitive golfers will need to change their golf clubs more often than recreational players. The more you find yourself on the golf course, the more likely it is that you old golf clubs with eventually need a refresh.
Meanwhile, recreational players and weekend hackers don’t have the same concerns as someone who plays regularly in competitive tournaments.
Recreational golfers tend to get more years out of their set of golf clubs than competitive players, but if you’re a recreational golfer who has noticed club damage or a decrease in performance, you may want to start looking for new clubs.
How well do you care for your clubs?
It sounds crazy, but clean golf clubs will last longer than dirty ones.
Some golfers take great care of their clubs. Other leave that mud and grass caked onto the club face for months.
If you want your investment to last as long as possible, focus on keeping clean golf clubs.
Avoid throwing clubs in the pond, smashing the club head against tree roots, etc. Clean the grooves after each round.
If you don’t take time to regularly clean your clubs, don’t be surprised if when they show signs of deterioration.
How often should you clean your clubs?
It’s a good idea to do a light cleaning of your golf clubs after every round. You can do this by simply rinsing them in a bit of soapy water and then wiping them down with a towel.
This will help remove dirt, grime, rocks and debris from the grooves and other parts of the club. Many golf courses have special club washing boxes on the driving range or throughout the course to help with this.
You should also consider a more in-depth cleaning once every two weeks. You should use soap for this and make sure to get in all the grooves and tight spots you may have missed when cleaning your club after your round.
Although it’s not the most fun thing to do, cleaning your clubs prevents them from being exposed to unnecessary wear and tear.
So back to the question at hand: How often should you buy new golf clubs?
That depends on a variety of factors, but for the casual golfer, every 4-5 years is a good rule of thumb.