Smacking the dimples off a golf ball is one of life’s great small pleasures. And one that you’d love for your kids to enjoy as much as you do. Which is why even though you can’t make them want to spend three hours at the driving range, you can help nudge them toward golf with an age-appropriate set of sticks.
Shopping for youth clubs is a lot more straightforward than buying their grown-up counterparts. The boxed sets are bereft of claims of leaps in materials science, infinitesimal center-of-gravity tweaks, and next-level shot shaping customization. Shorter, lighter, and far less gimmicky than adult clubs, junior sticks are simply optimized for pint-size folks looking to get the ball up in the air and have a blast. They’re classified by age, and the club’s height and weight is determined accordingly. So, unless a kid is noticeably taller (or shorter) than their classmates, you should be safe buying a set straight off the shelf.
With that in mind, here are five sets of starter clubs (organized by age) that should help bring your kid one step closer to being your lifelong playing partner.
Ages 2-3: Little Tikes Clearly Sports Golf
Because nobody wants a 2-year-old swinging a metal rod around the house, the plastic all-purpose Little Tikes — which stows four balls in the shaft – is a solid starter club. All your kids need do is depress the trigger to release the ball onto the tee and then have at it attacking the flag. The ramped lip on the target works as well on carpet and hardwood as it does in the backyard. My son took to this chunky toy like Rickie Fowler to a flat-billed hat. While it took a few whacks before he rattled one into the cup, once the deed was done he went ballistic and celebrated with a victory lap around the playroom.
Ages 3-12: Tour Edge HT MAX-J Junior
Tour Edge’s junior sets come with a 350cc titanium matrix high MOI driver for power off the tee and a higher launch angle for hitting long bombs. Stainless steel irons sport oversized heads and are perimeter weighted in order to make the sweet spot jumbo sized — always a plus for kids still learning how to hit a tiny ball. Not only that, but these graphite shafts have a low kick point making airborne shots a little easier to hit. Best part: The clubs are sold by age range (3-5, 5-8, 9-12) and individually — so you can start with a wedge and gauge your child’s interest before springing for a full set.
Ages 5-8: Callaway XJ HOT
As with most youth clubs, XJ Hots are designed to maximize power and distance while simultaneously sounding like a Nick Jr. friendly rapper. Callaway’s junior clubs feature an increased hosel offset which helps young golfers square the face on impact — a recipe for greater accuracy. The set of seven light graphite shafted clubs is also designed to make mastering liftoff a snap, since the faster a young player stops whacking ground balls the higher the likelihood they are going to catch the golf bug.
Ages 6-7: Ping Moxie K
This four-stick starter set is geared for beginner boys and girls who stand 42-47-inches tall and are looking to crush it. You get a right-sized stainless steel fairway wood, a 7 iron, a sand wedge, and an Anser putter — the bare essentials, but pretty much all a 6-year-old needs to give the game a legit go. The clubs are equipped with flexible graphite shafts which will make achieving that all important liftoff a lot easier. They also come with a lightweight stand bag that kiddos can easily tote while scampering down fairways.
Ages 9-12: TaylorMade Phenom
We all think our progeny are, as the L.L. Cool J song goes, “something like a phenomenon.” And by going with TaylorMade, the idea is that yours could be something like a Sergio Garcia or Paula Creamer. Graduating to an eight-weapon bag should help develop tee-to-green proficiency and distance gapping all while fueling their passion for the game. Along with providing good feel, there’s also a feel good element to the purchase: TaylorMade donates $20 from every set bought to the PGA Junior League program.