Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Junior Set

PGA Professional Gary Balliet recommends
PGA Professional Gary Balliet recommends starting your junior with a higher-lofted club so he can get the ball up in the air.

In Golf Club Assembly & Repair, we’re building a junior set. Before you’re ready to build a set of junior golf clubs, there are a lot of decisions you have to make and a lot of questions you have to answer. How old is the junior you’re building the set for? How tall is the junior? How many clubs should the set contain?

PGA Professional Gary Balliet recommends starting your junior out with a club that has plenty of loft so he can get the ball up in the air. There is no “best” age to start, but you’ll want to choose a time when your junior can focus on learning the game without running off to chase lizards or butterflies at the driving range.

There are several companies and products out there to get juniors interested in the game. There may be none better than BirdieBall and SNAG Golf. SNAG stands for “Starting New At Golf” and is a fun and easy way to teach the fundamentals of golf. It provides cutting-edge learning techniques never before seen in the world of golf and is a proven player development program designed for all ages.

SNAG incorporates developmentally-appropriate equipment and instruction allowing golf to be learned and played in non-traditional venues such as a soccer field, gym, or beach. The game has its own simplified rules and terminology that adds fun to the experience. With SNAG, golf is seen, heard, and even felt:



But back to the junior set. The worst thing you can do is to cut down one of your old clubs and give it to your junior. Trimming the shafts will make them a much stiffer flex and will make the clubs unbalanced. They will feel very heavy – like little sledgehammers. You want the shafts in your junior set to be very whippy, meaning they have a lot of flex to them, and the kick point should be low. The lower the kick point, the easier it will be to get the ball up in the air. Then you have to decide if you’re going to build a one-club, a three-club, a seven-club, or a full set.

Golfsmith has a great article on its website entitled, “How to Select Junior Golf Clubs.” It has some really good tips. Having the right equipment cannot be understated because using the proper clubs from the outset can help a junior avoid learning bad habits and/or compensations. Here are some of their do’s and don’ts:

Jaron Tso clamps down a recently-assembled driver so he can install a grip on it.
Jaron Tso clamps down a recently-assembled driver so he can put a grip on it.

Start With a Few Clubs
Children are sometimes overly enthusiastic about a new activity, then lose interest. Rather than waste money on a full set of 14 clubs, select a few clubs they can use in the backyard or out on the range.

Consider the Junior’s Age
Start with a putter and a 9-iron for younger players. Add an iron as they get better, and wait on buying the woods. Young juniors don’t have the strength to hit the ball very far. That means they can’t take advantage of using different woods. Consider substituting a hybrid club until your junior can hit the ball hard enough to understand the difference between clubs.

Juniors Need Clubs Scaled to Them
Measure your junior’s height. Junior clubs are sold individually and in sets for children 27 to 63 inches tall. A lanky ten-year-old needs a longer club than a shorter 12-year-old. A more individual fit is obtained by selecting individual clubs; however, sets are often less expensive than the cost of buying each club separately. Sets are sold by age and height.

Ignore Fancy Technology & Expensive Materials
Until your junior grows to where he is close to adult height and strength, expensive equipment isn’t going to help his game much. Clubs of appropriate weight and length are more important. Don’t be afraid to check your junior’s specs every six months or so because junior’s can outgrow their clubs very quickly. Consider shopping for used sets of clubs if you’re not sure whether your junior will continue to play golf.

Golf Digest has another great article called “Picking the Right Junior Clubs.” Tiger Woods got his first fitting at the age of four.

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