If you’re like most golfers, you may be wondering how long your current set of golf clubs are going to last you.
With proper care, the average set of golf clubs has a lifespan that can last at least 10 years. For the average golfer, this equates to playing 300 rounds of golf. Drivers and Woods have a shorter life expectancy of only 2 to 7 years.
Average Lifespan of Golf ClubsI have produced the table below that gives you a good indication of how long you can expect your golf clubs to last. This is provided you take good care of them and use them in the manner they were intended for.
I have grouped each club by type, and given my best average time on club life expectancy and the minimum number of rounds they should last.
|Club Type||Lifespan Expectancy||Number of Rounds|
|Driver||3 - 5 years||90 - 150|
|Pitching Wedge (PW)||10 years||300|
|Sand Wedge (SW)||10 years||300|
|Gap Wedge||10 years||300|
|Lodge Wedge||10 years||300|
|3 Iron||10 years||300|
|4 Iron||10 years||300|
|5 Iron||10 years||300|
|6 Iron||10 years||300|
|7 Iron||10 years||300|
|8 Iron||10 years||300|
|9 Iron||10 years||300|
|3 Wood||5 years||150|
|4 Wood||5 years||150|
|5 Wood||5 years||150|
|6 Wood||5 years||150|
|7 Wood||5 years||150|
|8 Wood||5 years||150|
|9 Wood||5 years||150|
Life Expectancy of Golf Irons
Typically, golf irons will last a very long time. In fact 10 years is the most common number thrown around by other golfers. But I wanted to see if the figure matched up with my own experience.
What I decided to do was go into my storage garage and gather up all the irons I had from my past and present.
Most of my irons consisted of the Callaway and Titleist brands. I found a couple pieces from the mid 1990’s where the grooves had clearly worn out.
Meanwhile, 90% of my irons that were 10 to 12 years remained in excellent condition!
This leads to me believe, that the 10 year timeline that I have been seeing is an accurate estimate go by.
How Long Do Golf Drivers Last
We now know that your irons could last you a decade or longer, but how do drivers fair in comparison? Not so good.
I noticed among my golfing friends that they seem to replace their drivers a lot more often than any of their other clubs. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just imagining this. I asked my friends John and Mark about this and got quite similar answers.
John has replaced 3 drivers in 6 years, while mark seems to get 3-5 years life out of each driver. Knowing John, this isn’t too surprising as he does have a heavy hand to say the least.
Mark takes more care of his clubs so naturally his drivers enjoyed a 5 years lifespan.
I was expecting a longer life to be perfectly honest, but after thinking about it more, it’s not so surprising.
Your golf drivers will take on more punishment than any other club you use. While drivers are designed for powerful shots, they are just another club at the end of the day. There is only so much a metal stick can take.
Why Do Drivers Wear Out Faster
Another reason for the shorter life expectancy of a driver is due to them being made differently from other clubs. While titanium is an excellent material for a driver, stainless steel is still the favorite when it comes to your irons and other clubs.
Generally speaking, a driver head will be made from primarily titanium. However being an alloy, it won’t be made from 100% titanium. Small amounts of other metals like aluminium and vanadium are mixed in to produce a better mold.
In the 1990’s Titanium was a revolutionary innovation in the golf club industry. Being a strong yet lightweight metal, titanium and golf drivers were a match made in heaven.
An effective way to keep your clubs in excellent condition is to store them correctly. I wrote another article that can help you with this called golf club storage ideas
Woods Life Expectancy
Another often used type of golf club are the woods. The term wood goes back to the time when club heads were actually made from wood. Although wood was replaced with metal, the name has continued to live on.
Woods are used on the fairways and unfortunately have a shorter life expectancy of about 5 years. This is because they are made from similar materials to a driver which also doesn’t tend to last very long.
Titanium or graphite is prominent in the design and construction of a wood club. These unique metals allow for a lighter club weight, and allow the ball to travel further.
With a longer shaft and larger head a wood is easily spotted in a set of clubs. However the unique size of the head and metals creates a club that simply isn’t as durable as other clubs.
When To Replace Golf Irons
It’s inevitable that all your clubs will deteriorate over time. However each type of club will wear out at different rates. The more play time you have with them will result in them wearing out faster. Additionally, if you tend to smack your club into the turf, or throw your club out of anger, this too will add to the damage.
Knowing when to replace your golf irons is going to depend on how serious your game is. If you’re just a casual player it’s fine to want to use your clubs for as long as possible.
On the other hand, if you’re very competitive with your friends, you’ll want to replace them sooner.
So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your irons?
When They Lose Their Pop: If you notice your iron or driver losing its pop, this is a tell tale sign that your club has reached the end of its life.
Furthermore, it’s time to upgrade when you notice your shots are just not making their normal distances or accuracy.
Worn Out Grooves: Inspecting the grooves on your clubs is very important too. Worn out or dirty grooves will affect the clubs drag, spin and lift, so it’s important to keep them in good condition.
If you notice your shots travelling higher and further than usual, this is a sign that your grooves need checking. This may sound like an advantage, but your accuracy will surely be decreased.
More often than not your grooves will just be dirty. Remove any dirt or grass with a damp cloth and utensil.
However if you see the grooves worn out, then it’s time to replace the head. Although it would be cheaper, I never replace the head. I always opt to buy a brand new golf club instead.
Another important component of a club is the shaft. A shaft is the long skinny stick which joins the face head to the handle.
A golf club shaft generally won’t wear out. In fact it’s one of the only parts of a club that stays pretty much in the same condition it arrived in. You can expect a shaft to last 20 years, with other components failing way before any shaft will.
The reason for the shafts longevity is because there is little to no force imposed directly on to the shaft.
However there is evidence that a shaft made from graphite will have a longer lifespan than a steel shaft. This is because a steel shaft can potentially rust from the inside, weakening its strength.
Do New Golf Clubs Really Make a Difference
One question I get asked a lot is if buying a new set of clubs really makes a difference? This is a question I can definitely help you with as I have many clubs ranging from the 1980’s to the present time.
Quite simply, clubs from the 1980’s are clearly outdated. Club technology has come a long way since then. While modern clubs certainly look very snazzy compared to models from years ago, there are some worthwhile advancements too.
I would certainly look at upgrading your whole set of clubs if your set was made from the 1980 to 2000.
New clubs do hit further, provide better spin and are much lighter. All these factors do improve your game. With hybrid clubs, and those with graphite shaft being all the rage, there is a clear performance boost seen.
However do you really need to buy new golf clubs? The answer is not so clear cut.
Pro players will certainly want to upgrade as soon as you new technology arrives on the market. But for the average player, I wouldn’t be so quick to make the jump.
The reason why new clubs are not necessary for average players is because there’s so many other ways to improve your game.
Any player on the pro circuit would beat an average player even if they were using a wooden club from the 50’s!
Provided a club is in good condition, models that are 10-15 years old will be just fine to play with.
Clubs only need to be upgraded if they predate the 2000’s, or if they’re clearly on their last legs. However I must admit that there’s nothing quite as exciting as unwrapping a brand new set of golf clubs.
With so many greatly designed clubs these days, the choice really is yours.
Why Do Golf Clubs Break? Read my answer