Do Golf Clubs Need To Match?

When shopping for new golf clubs, many newbies have the following question on their minds – do golf clubs need to match? Those Cobra irons you bought last time were great, but does it matter if you combine them with something from Wilson this time around? 

While questions like these may seem trivial, they can mean the difference between success and failure as a new learner. Understanding how best to maximize your potential while you progress in the sport is vital. 

On this page, we’ll be exploring whether golf clubs need to match. We’ll cover the potential pitfalls, what to look out for, and how best to shop for new clubs. Read on to learn more. 

In Short – Do Golf Clubs Need to Match? 

In the vast majority of cases, this one really does come down to personal preference. Do you like the feel of the putters from one brand but prefer irons from another? Have at it! There’s nothing in the US Golf Association rules about matching clubs either.

The only potential obstacle here would be if you wanted to match more than 14 clubs in your kit. This would be breaking the rules. Otherwise, using options from different brands is completely fine and might even be the best approach for you as a player.

Callaway Golf 2019 Apex Pro Smoke Iron Set (Set of 8 Clubs: 3-9 Iron, PW, Right Hand, Steel, Stiff Flex)

Are There Any Rules About Matching Clubs?

When it comes to determining whether something is allowed in golf – at least as far as the United States and Mexico are concerned – the USGA is usually the first port of call. These guys decide what is and isn’t kosher in the game. 

So, what does the USGA say about matching clubs? 

Let’s take a look at rule number 4 of the USGA. According to rule number 4, all players: 

  • “Must use conforming clubs and balls,
  • Are limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and
  • Are restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial help to your play.”

A ‘conforming’ golf club is a club that adheres to the USGA’s set of standards and rules. This means that as long as your entire set adheres to the USGA’s standards, it can come from as many different brands as you’d like. 

Why Do the Pros Use Matching Clubs? 

You may have noticed that your favorite pro golfer always uses a matching set of clubs when on TV. The reason for this should be fairly obvious – it’s sponsorship deals. These brands pay the pros to always rep their products when playing. 

Next time you’re watching golf on TV, pay attention to the “free agent” players (those players without formal branding contracts). You’ll notice that they are far more likely to play with a mixed set of clubs.

Reasons to Match Clubs 

So if golf clubs don’t necessarily need to match, why would anyone stick to a full branded set? In this section, we’ll outline some of the reasons why a full set from one company might be the best way to go. 

Consistency 

Once you’ve got used to the feel of a certain brand of clubs, sometimes you just want to maintain consistency throughout your entire kit. While there’s some variation here depending on the company you choose, most kits are designed to work well together. 

If you’re brand new to the sport, maintaining consistency can help you progress faster as a player and deepen your training. This does of course depend on your learning and play style too. For some people, the exact opposite may be the case – we explore this further down this page.

To be clear, the entire range of clubs from a given brand aren’t all going to feel exactly the same. However, clubs from the same model line that a company sells can be much more consistent than a mix up of different brands. 

Price 

In some cases, a fully branded kit is a great way to save some money when shopping. It’s certainly the most convenient way to pick up a full set at the very least. A fully matched set can often be picked up at a discount if you keep your eye on a few options for a while.

While it can take a bit more effort, you can also save money by mixing and matching instead. We explore this in the second half of the article.

Customer Support / Warranties 

Looking to get your clubs re-bent or fix up some other issue? You may have a significantly more tedious experience if you play with a diverse set of brands. Going through a lengthy customer service process can be exhausting at the best of times – imagine having to do it with multiple companies! 

Sometimes dealing with just one brand can be way less hassle. Shop around and look out for companies that offer extended warranties for best results. 

Reasons to Mix and Match Clubs 

The magic (and often frustrating) thing about subjectivity is that what works for one player will provide obstacles for another. Depending on your approach to the game, a mixed kit might be the best way to go. We explore this below. 

A More Custom Approach

Just because a brand’s longer hybrids work for you, this doesn’t mean their putters will be the right fit. If you have the time to test out multiple brands, a mixed set can help you find the perfect combination for your playstyle. 

Price (Again!)

Everyone has the club type that they’re most willing to ‘splash out’ on. There are also one or two clubs that get used significantly less than the rest. If you shop smart, you may be able to save a buck or two by spending less on these less important clubs. 

The right clubs to ‘skimp’ on will come down to who you are as a player. In general, though, it’s best to spend as much as you can afford on your irons or wedges of choice.

Do Golf Clubs Need to Match – Conclusion

We hope you’ve found the information above helpful. To sum up, it’s generally fine to use a matched bag and this can even help you find a more custom set that fits your playstyle perfectly. 

The best option to you will come down to the game you play and your preferences as a player. Happy golfing!

Barry