"Golf is a curious sport whose object is to put a very small ball in a very small hole with implements ill-designed for the purpose."
That quote is from Winston Churchill articulates what every golfer has thought at one time or another. The great British Bulldog never did figure out how to wield those oddly designed implements and abandoned golf in short order, so imagine what a beginner thinks holding a golf club for the first time - how is this EVER going to work? The notion of shooting a ball across great distances and having it miraculously land exactly where intended can be quite overwhelming but, with the right equipment, you can take a step in the right direction.
Start With Ease
Not all gear is created equal and, more importantly, clubs are not "one size fits all." Most new golfers will be well served by standard-length shafts, but the tall and short among us will need custom-length shafts. The more bending you do this way and that to reach the ball, the more angles you introduce into your swing. Unnatural positioning will have a negative effect on your aim.
When starting out, you are likely to see golf clubs for beginners that are marketed to men, women or seniors. That is an industry golf club buying guide for how hard you swing so don't automatically gravitate to golf clubs supposedly geared to age or gender. An aggressive-swinging female will need a set of "men's clubs" and a smooth-swinging man may get better results with a club engineered for "women." The difference is how much the shaft flexes - the harder the swing the more the club "bends" and the harder the shot is to control. You want to start with a club flex that matches your swing speed (tempo) so hitting those first balls will be that much easier.
What's in the Set?
For decades a beginner's set of clubs included a driver, a fairway metal, 3-5-7-9 irons, a pitching wedge and a putter. These days, hybrid golf clubs that combine the ease of hitting metals with the loft of irons have infiltrated the game, making it more common to see bags without long irons. Also, since a beginner will be hitting many more approach shots to greens from inside 110 yards than an experienced player, don't be afraid to stock your first bag with different golf wedges.
The iron sets you do decide to play with come in two general categories: performance irons and player development irons. The first category consists of sleekly forged weapons with most of the weight concentrated behind the center of the clubface - the sweet spot. They are sometimes referred to as "muscle-back" irons. The second grouping features gear with the weight distributed around the entire clubface with a "cavity-back design" that makes these irons much more forgiving to miss-hits.