Junior clubs are no longer viewed as hand-me-down sticks. Manufacturers are realizing the importance of catering to the fledgling golfer, creating fitting systems to make the game more fun while promoting proper form. Though the industry has upped its offerings, two companies making a particularly strong effort are U.S. Kids and Ping.
The U.S. Kids’ line has something for every age and experience. For beginners, there is the RightStart Yard Club. An oversize aluminum head provides a bigger hitting area that helps get the ball in the air, and a super-lightweight construction makes it easy to move. The Yard Club comes with a special training grip to build a foundation of proper hand position that will lead to a fundamentally sound swing.
U.S. Kids also has the UltraLight set for the intermediate level. The woods feature frequency-matched shafts and lightweight heads to improve player performance. Weighting has been increased in the irons’ toe and heel to boost forgiveness, and turf interaction with wedges is made easier with a progressive sole grind.
For kids in the transition stage, Ping’s 11-club Prodi G set features the same technology used in the company’s adult lines, including aerodynamic crown turbulators and draw-bias in the driver. Joining the big stick is a fairway wood, a hybrid, cavity-backed 6-iron through pitching wedge, two specialty wedges and a Voss-style blade putter. Better yet, Ping gives kids (and their parents) a one-time option to get the set refit with updated specifications on weight, length and flex for no charge.
BEGINNER: U.S. Kids, RightStart, $45
INTERMEDIATE: U.S. Kids, UltraLight, $105-$230 (includes bag)