How should a beginner go about purchasing their first set of clubs? Should you purchase a full set that includes everything from a driver to your putter? Or, is better to get fitted and purchase each club singly?
My advice to aspiring golfers is to find the most affordable way to start playing the game. The reason for this is that if you stop playing after a few months, you won’t be out of pocket.
My suggestion is to always look for a full set that gives you everything you need, which leads me to this post, where we are conducting a Top Flite XL review. We aim to make it as easy as possible for you to determine if these clubs are for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying Golf Clubs
The golf club market is diverse, with options from dirt cheap to eye-watering. There is something for everyone. By identifying a target price range, you can filter out cheaper or more expensive products from the outset. This saves you from looking at hundreds of sets and allows you to see what you have to work with.
Sets Or Individual
Once you have a budget in mind, you can start shopping. The next step is to decide if you want to purchase clubs individually or in a set.
Sets are more affordable overall, as you are receiving a package deal. They often include a driver, fairway woods, irons, wedges, and a putter. However, individual clubs give you the option of customizing your set.
A set may be the right move for beginners, as it is a less costly exercise. It is also easier to sell a whole set should you decide that golf is not for you.
The most effective way to identify the best clubs for your game is to visit your local club fitter or pro. They will set you up on their simulator and help you find the ideal loft, shaft flex, and clubhead design.
While I am a huge proponent of getting fitted and doing it right, you may only want to commit to this when you are ready to spend more on equipment.
The lofts of your clubs are vital to consider if you want to achieve a consistent and high launch. Your swing speed is an excellent indicator of the degree of loft that is best positioned to help you send your ball skywards.
Center of Gravity (CG)
Modern technology has enabled club manufacturers to optimize the CG in a clubhead to make life easier for the average golfer. As a result, they reposition the CG low and back to promote a high and powerful launch with reduced spin.
Drivers, fairway woods, and irons are designed with varying head profiles to cater to all golfers.
Clubs with oversize head profiles typically contain an enhanced sweet spot to optimize forgiveness. This design offers the most value to beginners and high handicap players. Conversely, clubs with small profiles offer less forgiveness, but they enable you to shape shots in your preferred direction. Such clubheads were constructed superior golfers looking for maximum workability.
Cavity Back vs Blade Irons
When you are considering a new set of irons, you need to decide if you want the forgiveness and consistency of cavity backs. Or the feel and acoustics of a blade or player’s iron.
The forgiveness that cavity backs provide is handy for beginners and high handicappers, who have not yet mastered ball striking. Conversely, blades are for lower handicap golfers and tour players looking for feel and workability.
The final factor to consider is the type of shaft you want on your clubs. Shafts vary in flex and weight and impact the ball flight and accuracy of your shots. In his article comparing shaft flex to swing speed, Golf.com’s Zephyr Melton explains that there are five types of shaft flex.
Extra-stiff shafts work best for players who swing a driver over 105mph, while stiff shafts pair better with swing speeds between 97 and 104mph.
Those of you that swing at 84 to 96 mph should find that a regular flex sufficient. Speeds below 84mph may want to consider a seniors flex, but if that is too stiff for your swing their is always ladies flex.
Top Flite XL Set Review
Flite XL Set (Currently Out Of Stock, Will Update Soon)
- Forgiving driver
- Consistent distance off the tee
- Maximum forgiveness from the irons
- The set includes a bag
- The set comes with woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and a putter
- Easy-to-align putter feature
- The oversize clubheads reduce shot workability
- Does not include a 5-iron or sand wedge
- Bag wears and tears easily
- The clubs are not suitable if you exceed 6 foot 1.
Kicking off the Top Flite XL set is a Ti driver with a graphite shaft. The oversized driver head measures 460cc, which is the legal volume limit as prescribed by The USGA on page 53 of this document. The manufacturers placed the CG low and to the back to induce a high consistent launch with low spin, for added distance and forgiveness.
The larger clubhead enables the manufacturer to enhance the size of the sweet spot to bring maximum forgiveness off the tee. Finally, the driver is set with 10.5 degrees of loft, which Golfweek’s Jackson Lewis feels is best suited to moderate and faster swinging players with an average swing speed between 95mph and 104mph.
If your swing speed is slower than 95mph you may find it easier to launch a weaker lofted driver than the 10.5-degree option.
The only fairway wood included in this set is a 3-wood. At 15 degrees it contains a moderate level loft, which most players should be able to launch high. The club also provides you with a reliable alternative off the tee, should your driver let you down.
If you struggle to achieve a consistent launch, you should consider a 16 degree 3-wood or a 19 degree 5-wood.
Dick’s Sporting Goods included two hybrids in the Top Flite XL set, a 4 and a 5-hybrid. The 4-hybrid contains 21 degrees of loft, while the 5-hybrid is set at 24 degrees. Based on Elliot Heath’s observations in this article, we see that the 4-hybrid features the same loft as a 3-iron. And, the 5-hybrid is equivalent to a 4-iron loft.
However, it is becoming more common to find irons with stronger lofts, especially in long irons to promote optimal distance.
Hybrids are versatile clubs that promote straighter ball flight and optimal turf interaction to ensure a clean strike from any lie. The clubs are built to promote a higher ball flight which induces a soft landing to hold the green on approach.
While the clubs are forgiving, they often feature a draw bias set up, which reduces one’s ability to shape your shots. For beginners, hybrids are an exceptional club if you are looking to keep straight and out of trouble.
The XL set only features four irons, which include a 6, 7, 8, and 9-iron. These mid and short irons contain a wide sole with perimeter weighting for optimal forgiveness across the face. This design helps you to maintain ball speed and achieve consistent distance even on heel and toe mishits.
The lofts of the 6 and 7-irons in the set are slightly stronger than the traditional design. However, the 8 and 9-iron are what you would expect.
Here are the lofts of the irons below:
One of the downsides of this set is that it only comes with one wedge, a pitching wedge (PW). It would be good to have another wedge option to get more height on shots around the green. However, when I started playing I used a 9-iron or PW to chip, which helped my distance control significantly.
If you can nail your up and downs with a PW, it will stand you in good stead when you add other wedges to your bag.
The final club in the Top Flite XL set is a mallet putter. It comes with an alignment feature that helps you start your ball off on the right line every time. The larger mallet head offers optimal forgiveness by ensuring your desired weight is achieved even on off-center strokes.
Added to the thirteen clubs in the set is a Top Flite labeled bag. It features 6 top dividers that include padded mesh to protect your clubs. The bag weighs 4.1 pounds and includes adjustable padded straps for additional comfort while you carry it.
Furthermore, the bag includes four pockets for you to store your valuables, balls, tees, and rainwear. Finally, it includes a separate umbrella holder and a stand for optimal convenience.
Alternatives to the Top Flite XL Set
1. Macgregor CG3000 Golf Clubs Set
My first 5-wood was a Macgregor, so I can vouch that these guys know how to create clubs for beginners. The CG3000 set includes nine clubs giving you everything you need to get started.
The set includes a weak lofted 13-degree driver that delivers optimal launch for slower swinging golfers and beginners. Furthermore, it features an 18-degree fairway wood and a 24-degree hybrid. Like the Top Flite XL, the set includes a 6 iron through to a pitching wedge, along with a forgiving and easy-to-align mallet putter.
2. Wilson Men’s Complete Golf Set
This Wilson set, provides ten clubs, with a well-rounded selection. Kicking off the set is a 10.5-degree driver which combines with a 5-wood and 5-hybrid to take care of your long game.
Following on from the longer clubs are 6, 7, 8, and 9-iron to take care of your mid-distance game. The irons in the set contain a low CG for a high launch and perimeter weighting to deliver optimal forgiveness. While a pitching wedge and sand wedge are on hand for your greenside shots.
Finally, the set includes a mallet head putter for optimal forgiveness on off-center strokes, and an ergonomically designed bag for comfort and convenience during the round.
3. Callaway Men’s Strata Complete Set
Although it is advertised as a 16-piece set, it only contains eleven clubs, which is still more than most of its competitors. The set features a 12-degree driver and a 15.5 degree 3-wood.
Sticking with the longer clubs it also includes a 22-degree 4-hybrid and a 26 degree 5-hybrid. Added to the longer clubs in the set are your standard 6 to 9-iron setup, along with a PW, SW, and putter. Lastly, the set features a lightweight stand bag that is comfortable and easy to carry over 18-holes.
Overall, this set offers consistent launch, distance, and optimal forgiveness, which is the dream for any golfer.
Final Thoughts On The Top Flite XL Set
While superior golfers won’t be rushing to acquire this set of clubs. they are ideal for beginners and high handicappers who are focused on getting the ball in the air and achieving longer carry and distance. Our Top Flite XL review showcased an affordable set of clubs that offer everything a beginner needs.
From launch to distance and forgiveness this set is worth considering. If you are after a full set of clubs, that helps you achieve consistent distance and forgiveness from tee to green. Take a look at the Top Flite XL set here.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.