Hi, I work as a Golf Advisor my job is to advise people what they should be buying at the level they are at, My handicap at date of this guide is 6 working to 4 so that I may eventually become Pro (Not a circuit pro but a coach/trainer). However even those better then me including scratch golfers ask me what they should be doing. In other words I know how it should be done, I just can't do it yet, that probably counts for a few of us out there.
When you are buying clubs there are many factors to look in to. Ebay is a great sauce for clubs and decent prices...
HOWEVER many are fakes, heres some tips to make sure you're getting what you thought you were. Then after i'll help you chose what would be best for you at your level of play.
1 You should contact buyers and ask them questions to verify that the club is genuine, ask them questions as to 'Why it is so cheap?', 'What shaft does it have?', 'Is the pictures you are showing the club I am buying?' ask as many as you want, if it is a genuine seller, selling a genuine club they won't care how much you ask them, if they get touchy then there is a reason.
2 If the offer looks to good to be true..it is. Or police are looking for the item you're buying.
3. Second hand clubs should never be looked down upon, mostly these are genuine clubs with low or no use, a second hand Sasquatch or R7 goes for about £60 on Ebay, The photos are usually the club so you can see the condition and get a good club at a very good price.
4. Contact buyers who did not seem too happy with the seller, they can tell you more then most. However be careful some may simply be bitter grapes, and there are crook Buyers out there as well as sellers. (Those asking for refunds without sending the item back and threatening them with a negative, I've had it done to me).
5. Check their 'Item as described' Star rating box.
Hopefully with these 5 ideas and your own integrity, you'll be fine.
As to what clubs you should buy that is down to your standard of play. If you've never played before and want a custom made full set of top branded clubs then all you are doing is wasting ALOT of money. Here is a list to what you should look for.
Beginner player with no handicap: Search around and look for a good package deal. Completely forget individual clubs, you won't feel the benefit yet or know what you want. Example of a good package set would consist of a 10.5 degree Driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 4 rescue wood, 5-9 irons, Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge and Putter. You should also get a Golf Bag with it. This will give you 12 clubs leaving two spots open in your bag. When you have played a number of rounds you'll begin to see which clubs you like playing with and will give you an idea to which clubs you'd like to try, such as 7 wood, 3 or 5 rescue, Lob or Gap wedge, chipper, different degree driver etc. Until you start working down your Handicap this will be more then ample for you. Forget big brand names and go for middle of the road names such as RAM, Slazenger, Benross, Hippo, Ben Sayers, Palmer etc. you won't feel the differnce between these and the big guns for some time. Another tip, go for balls such as Pinnacle, Maxfli or top flite, splashing out on ProV's and Nike Ones at this point will be of NO effect and very costly (You WILL lose alot of balls). Also check you grip is made by GolfPride atm as date of this guide they are ansd exceptional grip.
Average player of Handicap 12-28: You can start thinking about replacing clubs in your Package that you feel you never use, you may want to replace your 3 wood for a 5, or feel you are better with Rescue clubs of the fairway then fairway woods. You will be temted to go for the bigger name clubs, but as of now you still won't need them. You may want to try a square driver. Hippo make one called the HEX or Rams QUB3 they are good clubs at a great price. No need for ProV's yet either unless you are using them to boost your psychological game. If you want to try big name clubs go for older models like the R5 or first Sasquatches or Callaways Big Bertha, they were selling at hideous prices but now you can pick them up cheap.It will give you a feel for the club.
Good Player of Handicap 5-12: Now you are a serious player and playing often, you can start thinking of the biger names clubs, However here is a VERY important thing to remember. YOU ARE NOT PRO AND NOT ALL CLUBS NEED TO BE THE SAME MAKE!!!! sorry for capitals but so many golfers at this level feel they should be playing with the same club, you simply need to play with the club you feel best with. My bag consists of Ping Irons(Now owned by Nike) a 9 degree sasquatch driver off the tee and a Taylormade R7 12 degree driver for off the Fairway. My wedges are titleist and my putter is a 12 year old bladed palmer. REMEMBER an average of 40% of your shots are with the putter, it is the MAIN club in your bag. at this level i play with pinnacle for a frindly round and ProV1X for tornements. By now you should have a full bag of 14 clubs that you feel are best for you game.
High end Players Scratch to 4 handicap: At this level you can officially look at entering a PGA sequence of becoming a Pro, with a couple of Pro tournaments behind you. Unless you are sponsred by a brand to use their clubs then you stay with what you feel is best as far as clubs are concerned. Now you will feel the difference between equipment especially the ball, so experiment till you find the one. Also remember this very simple fact NO EQUIPMENT IS THE BEST!!! if one specific golf item was far better then any other ALL PRO golfers would use it. Fact is NO EQUIPMENT is that good.
All the best to all fellow golfers, hope to see you out there someday.