What are the Best Cheap Golf Clubs in 2018?
Let's face it:
The Global Recession has had an impact on both golfers and the golf industry as a whole.
Although interest in the sport remains quite high, not all is well.
- Club sales are falling.
- Courses are steadily closing down all over the US.
But as they say, every cloud has its silver lining.
The “Game of Kings” has become somewhat more inclusive in recent years, thanks to a gradual decrease in course fees and club membership fees.
Don't get me wrong, golf remains an expensive proposition compared to other sports. Brand new clubs from top manufacturers can set you back by thousands of dollars, especially if you buy into all the marketing hype and rush out to buy the latest and greatest clubs on the market.
But there's no need to empty your wallet if you know where to look.
So rather than reviewing the latest technical wizardry conjured up by golf club manufacturers, let's take a look at some of the “diamonds in the rough,” with our comparison of the best cheap golf clubs.
Our shortlist includes:
Our Roundup Selection
Editors Choice: Cobra Men's Bio Cell Golf Driver
The Bio Cell was one of the highest rated drivers released in 2014 by Cobra Golf.
Named after the honeycomb patterned Bio-Cell design inside the clubhead, this game improvement driver can be found at retailing at at fourth of its launch price or less. For a driver optimized for distance, that is a fantastic price.
And to make things sound even more crazy, this driver has the MyFly adjustable loft settings, SmartPad sole, and E9 clubface, features that are still found on the latest 2017 drivers from Cobra. If you are on the hunt for a driver in the best golf clubs for intermediate players list, look no further.
- A really good looking driver, available in nearly a dozen different head colors.
- Class leading distance shots in the game improvement category.
- Settings be altered to suit different swing styles.
- Meaty feedback on shots, with a crisp sound on impact.
- Outstanding accuracy and forgiveness, the E9 face really shines here.
- Some golfer struggle to get the settings right.
- A few fail to get good height on shots.
Best Value: Adam Tight Lies 2013 Fairway Wood
If 2013 sounds old to you, just remember that the first club in this series was launched decades ago in 1995. And these game improvement woods stay true to their name, providing admirable workability from all kinds of fairway lies.
The sole may look a bit odd, but it has been designed that way to improve CoG and the ability of the clubface to connect well with the ball in tough lies. The higher lofted versions provide performance similar to hybrids and might be great choice if you prefer swinging longer woods but need the extra versatility.
And being a 4 year old version, you can scoop these up for a steal if you can find them on sale.
- One of the clubs for slow swingers, great for tricky situations on the fairway.
- Forgiveness is also on the higher end of the spectrum.
- Excellent distance from bad lies.
- Feedback is vivid and smooth thanks to the stock Mitsubishi graphite shafts.
- Elegant looking clubs with a black finish, small profile and slot in the crown to help with alignment.
- Distance is not its strong suit from regular lies.
- Stock shaft is not suitable for faster swingers.
Best Seller: TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Rescue
If there is one place where hybrids lag behind the longer fairway woods, it is in the distance game. TaylorMade launched these rescue clubs back in 2013 with a bunch of features that improved their long distance performance, making these one of the “hottest” hybrids in business.
If you want an easier to hit club to replace your aging woods, this could be considered a suitable choice. With a lower CoG and higher launch, this hybrid can get some serious launch height when you need it.
And with a speed slot, and a thin, fast flexing steel face, this club is from the category of good golf clubs for average player.
- Easy to swing from all lies, works really well in fairway bunkers.
- Decent forgiveness allows you to get good distance even on mishits.
- On good hits, the distances are comparable to some fairway woods.
- Good impact, the power behind shots is easily recognizable, even on mishits.
- Graphics on the crown offer excellent aid in shot alignment.
- Draw bias is somewhat on the higher side.
- Mishits get good distance at the cost of accuracy.
Worthy Competitor: Callaway XR Individual Irons
If you want an upgrade to your old irons, these cavity back Callaway irons might be the best golf club sets for the money.
For a two year old release, they offer excellent distance performance, with technology borrowed from the highly regarded Callaway XR drivers and fairway woods.
You get the 360 degree cup face tech that guarantees distance on all shots, along with a lowered CoG and MoI thanks to the Standing Wave feature ensuring higher forgiveness and accuracy.
The irons are available from 3-9, as well as a PW, SW, AW and LW.
- Simple “point and shoot” clubs, high and straight is what you get on the fairway.
- Available in both steel and graphite shafts, with multiple flex levels.
- Best in class forgiveness even on long irons, thanks to all that face technology.
- If you need distance from your iron shots, you cant do better than these XR irons.
- Classic looks with an understated style, looks great even with the oversize cavity back design.
- Feedback is not its strong point, though not surprising considering the forgiveness on offer.
- The large cavity back design is not very popular among many golfers.
Worthy Competitor: Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge
The Wilson brand is guaranteed to figure prominently in any list of the best budget golf clubs and the best cheap golf clubs.
We simply couldn’t have list without including at least one club from a brand that is a mainstay for beginner golfers everywhere.
While the prices are extremely low, you still get commendable durability and performance on almost all of their products.
The Harmonized series offers some of the best cheap golf clubs for beginners and are highly recommended if you want to add some specialized wedges to your starter iron set.
The wedges are available with steel shafts, in 50, 52, 56, 60 and 64 lofts, covering the usual GW, SW, AW and LW slots.
- Excellent balance between performance and price.
- Polished chrome finish with classic looking heads.
- Tour grinds make them versatile, with good performance on all kinds of lies.
- The performance is often better than other top brands that cost times as much.
- Some golfers find the clubs a little too heavy to suit them.
- The grips are smaller than average.
Best Golf Set for Your Money: Callaway Strata Complete Set
If you’ve just started the game or are looking for your first “real” set of clubs, the Callaway Strata Complete Golf Club Set is a wonderful, well-rounded set of clubs that contains everything you need to dive into golf with both feet.
With a 460 cc forged titanium driver, 3 Wood, hybrid club, full set of irons to Pitching Wedge, putter and even a roomy but light and durable bag, Callaway gives the beginner literally everything they need to start the game in one box.
The driver feels powerful with a big enough face to afford some forgiveness from the tee while the irons are well-balanced and gapped nicely to give the player some options from the fairway.
The bag has ample storage for golf balls, tees, a rain jacket and even includes a cooler pouch for drinks. The backpack-style harness is also a nice addition for the player that prefers to walk the course.
All in all, for a beginning golfer that wants a simple, affordable but highly functional complete set to begin their golfer’s journey, the Callaway Strata is extremely tough to beat.
- All necessary clubs for a novice golfer are included
- High quality and well-made
- Woods have nice a nice feel with decent length
- Irons also have nice feel
- Very good price for what you get
- Potential bag wear and tear
- Lightweight can lead to breaks
Best Value Driver for the Money: TaylorMade AeroBurner
Obviously one of the biggest names in golf, TaylorMade is one of those companies that releases a new technological marvel of a club every year.
However, as thrilling as those new clubs tend to be, they aren’t exactly easy on the wallet. For that reason, TaylorMade also produces their AeroBurner set of woods and irons.
While the AeroBurner driver might lack adjustable head weighting and loft, it is still an absolutely fantastic driver with distance and feel to spare. TaylorMade still uses lightweight, cutting-edge materials and aerodynamics to form and shape the muscular club head.
When coupled with their Speed Pocket technology to maximize the sweet spot, the AeroBurner is smooth, powerful and incredibly responsive at the point of impact. The loft and hosel design also allowed me to get ample height off the tee as well put a subtle draw on the ball after just a handful of swings.
Whether you’re a low or middle handicapper, the TaylorMade AeroBurner is the best driver for a budget on the market today and would be a welcome addition to any golfer’s bag.
- Much easier to swing than a regular driver.
- Shorter shaft makes hitting consistent shots from the center of the club head a breeze.
- Speed Pocket on the sole guarantees high ball speeds and increased forgiveness.
- Can be a replacement for 3-woods, with excellent performance on the fairway as well.
- Essentially two clubs (a driver and wood replacement) at a very competent price point.
- Not equal to a full-sized driver on long distance shots.
- Not a good choice for firm turf conditions and windy courses, when compared to high lofted woods.
- Might require some loft gap restructuring in your club set if you add this club.
Best Golf Irons for the Money: Callaway X Series 416 Irons
Filling the exact space in the market as the AeroBurner driver, the Callaway X Series 416 Irons are fantastic irons at a very reasonable price compared to the higher level Callaway’s.
With excellent feel and distance, I felt comfortable with the mid range irons while aiming for pins in the 150 to 190 yard range but still having feel and touch with the lower range irons.
The club faces are well-balanced, always providing a sense of control and were more than adequate chipping towards the pin within 60 yards.
The Callaway X Series 416 irons are a great, well-rounded set of irons that provide a nice combination of distance and feel. I would be hard-pressed to find another set of irons that offered comparable performance at their great price.
- Lowered center of gravity for more straight hits
- Offer a uniform punt across its face
- Well balanced to feel comfortable on user’s hands and offer accuracy
- Good price quality ratio
- Relatively high ball flight for long irons
- Relatively lower forgiveness than newer releases
- Balls may balloon slightly at very high speeds
Best Fairway Woods for the Money: Cobra Fly Z Fairway Woods
Although fairway woods don’t get near the attention or publicity they deserve, squeezed between the glamour of the driver, uniqueness of the hybrids and utilitarian needs of irons, fairway woods are a vital part of any golfer’s bag that wants to hit par 5s in two or simply have a more consistent, predictable option off the tee.
With the Fly Z woods, Cobra offers the mid handicap player an excellent set of technologically driven, superior performing woods at a significantly lower price point than its big brothers.
With a large sweet spot, plenty of loft for elevation off the deck and a nice shape and center of gravity for cutting through the short rough when needed, the Cobras felt very well-balanced on the range with a nice, explosive feel at contact.
- One of the best performers in all kinds of lies, even divots and bunkers, thanks to that compact clubhead.
- Just about enough forgiveness to cover marginal mishits, perfect for mid handicappers looking to improve their game.
- Plenty of distance on shots, enough to make you smile on shorter par-4s from the tee.
- Sturdy feel and feedback, with impressive sound on impact.
- Black and orange finish with the innovative “space-port” at the sole make this a killer looking club.
- The trajectory on shots is a bit too flat for some golfers.
- Despite the excellent performance on the fairway, some might find this as more of a driver substitute.
Best Hybrid Club for the Money: Wilson Staff D200 Hybrid
With long irons quickly going the way of the dinosaurs in the average high to mid handicapper’s bag, the relatively new hybrid clubs have rapidly become an important, potent part of the typical golfer’s game.
Although every major manufacturer has at least one and sometimes several different models to choose from, the Wilson Staff D200 hybrid sticks out from the crowd with its performance and fair price.
While hybrids come in a few different varieties, primarily the low iron substitute and rescue club, the Wilson definitely lends itself towards the iron replacement side.
Granted, I hit the 19 degree club, not the 22, so the lower loft is more representative of a traditional low iron game, but I honestly don’t think my opinion would have changed much, no matter the loft I hit.
In fact, getting significant elevation from the 19 degree version is not a problem at all, a pleasant surprise given the head is still lofty enough to elevate out of the tall rough.
Also, considering its relatively normal sized club head and face, the Wilson packs a surprising punch, proving to be a more than adequate replacement for the 2 and 3 irons likely missing from your bag.
In short, the Wilson Staff D200 hybrid is an outstanding club at any price but, given what you can find it for at major retailers, it’s an absolutely outstanding value.
- With Reactive Face Technology, the D200 offers excellent accuracy and forgiveness.
- Easy to swing thanks to its lightweight and flexible shaft.
- Adjustable loft angles can be changed to 9, 10.5 and 13 degrees.
- Excellent value for money at a very affordable price point.
- Some golfers might find the lightweight nature of the club bothersome.
- The matte black and chrome design isn’t too bad but doesn’t look premium.
- Not a great distance driver.
When To Buy Cheap Golf Clubs
Golf club purchases can be a serious investment. Before we get into any debates about the wisdom of buying cheap clubs vs. the folly of buying overpriced new clubs, let's settle the issue of need vs. want. Of course, if you are a beginner, this question is quite redundant.
You do need a set of clubs to learn the game, and best cheap golf clubs for beginners (or even used clubs) are the way to go. But if you already have a full set of clubs in your locker, it is always a sound plan to think twice before making any costly purchase decisions.
In several situations, an upgrade can be essential and unavoidable. If you have a broken driver or bent irons or something like that, you can always find some good buys among the best budget golf clubs online.
Also, if you are a not-so-beginner golfer who has outgrown your starter set, an online search into the good golf clubs for average player segment could give you several leads on what you seek.
Age is also another important factor that can prompt the need for a change of clubs. When you enter the senior category, you might find that those trusty irons that served you well all these years simply don't work as well.
A cheap set of easily workable hybrids might be the best golf clubs for the money when you reach the “golden years.”
But if you are a mid-handicapper experiencing a massive improvement in your game, even the best affordable golf clubs may not cut the mustard for you.
If you manage to get a great deal on the best golf clubs for intermediate player, that is fine.
But otherwise, it might be a better idea to just and save up some extra cash for a competitive priced newer set with all the latest bells and whistles.
Used Clubs And The Risk Of Counterfeits
If we were asked to name just one thing the recession has changed in the golf clubs market, we would have to mention the used clubs market.
The passionate golfers never stopped playing their game, but a lot of the casual and recreational players did, and a booming used clubs market has risen in recent years.
Buying a used golf club is not as risky as buying a used car for obvious reasons. But even if the risk of ending up with a lemon on your hands is considerably low, you still have to be cautious.
There are a lot of sites online dealing with used clubs. While many of them are legit, the same cannot be said about many of the clubs being advertised as “used clubs.” There is a lucrative counterfeit market these days and there is a real risk of ending up with fake clubs when you shop online for used clubs.
Manufacturer sites are the safest source of used clubs these days. Since the seconds market became big business, brands like Callaway have launched their dedicated portals for certified pre-owned clubs. Even the PGA has a dedicated service that deals in used clubs, aimed at promoting golf among the public by offering cheap clubs.
If you are set on buying some used golf clubs, check out this YouTube video for some helpful tips:
Closeout Sales: A Much Better Option
An article of Forbes back in 2016 highlighted how manufacturers like TaylorMade were struggling to sell of old merchandise due to low demand and over-saturation of the golf club market.
This a phenomenon that works in favor of golfers seeking the best golf clubs for the money spent. As newer equipment arrives on the market, unsold stock of older clubs get moved to the closeout section.
And TaylorMade are not alone in having a lot of unsold inventory these past few years. Almost all major manufacturers have their older models doing the rounds on discount and closeout sales.
If you want to buy the best golf club sets for the money, or even the best cheap golf club sets, check out the discount/closeout market before looking at used clubs.
You might easily find great deals on clubs in mint condition that were released a few years ago. Unless you are a competitive golfer, you don't really need the performance bump offered by the latest golf clubs.
Most new golf clubs offer small incremental increases in performance over older clubs, nothing more. Beginners and mid handicappers can realistically expect a similar level of performance from a brand new club and its predecessor released in 2013 or 2015!
Is There A Time Of The Year For Good Deals?
Yes, because like any other organized manufacturing industry, golf clubs also have a regular release calender that all brands stick to.
For instance, the newest clubs hits the market around the fall, or immediately into the new years. For example, you can expect to see the earliest 2017 editions of major clubs arriving from October 2016 onwards.
This is not the best period to buy a brand new club, though you might find great deals on its predecessors. Prices of clubs tend to fall as the release date of newer clubs draw nearer, usually a year after their initial release.
So you can expect the price listings for best cheap golf club sets to start appearing in the second half of every year.
Best Types Of Clubs To Buy On A Budget
Individual clubs like drivers and hybrids come to mind when looking at the kind of clubs that you might want to buy on a budget. Drivers tend to be the most expensive single clubs on sale, and you can often find great deals on older models.
Hybrids work great as replacements to any long irons or woods you already own, and you should really get one if you find a good deal online.
By the same logic, wedges are also good choices, especially since most iron sets do not include the higher lofted wedges. Individual irons are also nice buys if you have gaps in your set, but we.
Get the Most Bang For Your Buck
Like anything that's technologically driven, a term that absolutely fits modern golf clubs, the newest, fanciest models are usually marvels of design and function, but rarely budget friendly.
Whether it's a laptop, smartphone or titanium driver, you will always pay for that new technology. However, by being smart, choosy, doing some research and being faithful to that tight budget, your golf game doesn't have to suffer just because of your cash constraints.
Although every major club manufacturer is releasing new, cutting-edge sets each year, that doesn't negate the function, efficiency and form of their previous models.
Once again using smartphones as an analogy, the release of this year's newest iPhone doesn't make last year's a technological disaster.
It simply means Apple has released something just a bit faster with a few additional bells and whistles while still making their older models, just now at a significant discounts.
Using this same thought process for your golf game can save heartache in your bank statements while still providing the benefits of new club technology.
A driver from a couple season's ago is still going to have incredible distance, a variety of flex shafts to fit your swing and a head size that provides confidence and reliability at the tee. Similarly, yesterday's irons will feature excellent centers of gravity, perimeter weighting for control and a forgiving face to help you when your ball striking is just a bit off.
However, by choosing that driver or iron set from a few years ago rather than the newest, shiniest models, you could be saving yourself up to 50% without sacrificing much in performance.
This video does an excellent job summarizing the benefits of choosing clubs that are a few years older but still of extremely high quality. In other words, the buying choices discussed will fit within your budget while allowing your game to evolve and improve.
A Baby Benz is still a Mercedes
While golf certainly has a fair amount of brand snobbery among the different club manufacturers, at least from the consuming public's perspective, what matters most is to find clubs that suit you, your game, your goals and your budget.
Even the biggest names in the sport offer different models for those that are looking for performance from a leading designer and manufacturer but not necessarily at the cutting-edge price points.
While not every company might make beginner sets that include everything from the driver to the carrying strap on the bag, most offer woods, irons, hybrids and specialty clubs for every budget, just holding back a bit on the thrills, frills and Ironman-like technologies included within.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stick with a club manufacturer that you trust, have had success with in the past and feel confident in the clubs they make.
However, if you're working within a tight budget, check out all of the models that company has to offer. There's a pretty good chance they're going to make a line of clubs that might lack variable head weighting and adjustable loft control but still be technologically advanced in design, manufactured with cutting-edge materials and extremely comfortable in your stance.
Not All Used Car Lots are Created Equally
This next budget friendly technique needs to be handled with a bit of caution. The market for used golf clubs is absolutely massive.
After all, for those that want to upgrade to the newest models every year or two, they usually have no need to keep those older clubs and choose to sell them through some secondary market channel. Thus, there will always be untold numbers of used sets, ranging from gently used to mercilessly punished, available at great prices.
However, as tempting as those prices might be, please remember there’s basically no way of finding how much life those clubs have left in them until you’ve played with them a few times. Much like cars, golf clubs don’t have an infinite life span.
Grooves get worn, making feel and control nearly impossible, and drivers lose their distance, the materials just wearing out from too many trips to the range.
A Few Final Words of Caution
Finally, when looking to upgrade your clubs, be sure to buy from reputable companies with good track records and customer satisfaction. Once again harkening back to the smartphone analogy, industries with a constant influx of new technologies are also prone to counterfeit products.
To use a well-worn but still pertinent cliche, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just like buying a new iPhone from a small, unknown and foreign vendor is rife with potential fraud, so is purchasing your new set of “brand name” woods or irons.
Unfortunately, the market is filled with clubs that look nearly identical to their namesake but lack the design, materials and quality of the original.
Be cautious and use common sense when researching your new clubs. Both your money and your game are worth the extra bit of research.
With the current state of the economy being what it is, we feel that current trend of budget golf clubs is set to continue in the near future.
Club manufacturers are still trying to shift to a longer release cycle, and until that is fully adopted, you will still find last year’s top clubs selling for bargain prices come fall/end of the year.
In our shortlist of some of the lowest priced and highest performing top brand clubs, we simply couldn’t look past the Cobra Bio Cell driver for the top spot.
For the extremely low asking price you get one of the best golf clubs for intermediate players or mid handicappers out there.