Tell the truth
"Be honest about how you hit the ball, how you strategize and what clubs you favor," Sven Kessler of Edwin Watts says. Telling the truth about your game is the only way to get a proper fit.
"A fitting for woods, irons, a driver, grip size and balls takes at most 30 minutes," says Kessler. Most stores have a launch monitor or a simulator so the salesman can fit you and then recommend clubs for your game.
Test your eyes
"Good sunglasses will have no distortion when you look at the ground through the bottom of the lenses," Kessler says. Take a pair outside for a two-minute test--if they darken up and take the glare out of the parking lot, they're a keeper.
Go alone and let the salesman help you make decisions. "I've seen bad purchases based on advice from one high-handicapper to another," says Sven Kessler, Edwin Watts' vice president of retail operations, a 29-year golf-retail veteran.
Cap your wallet
Follow a budget to prevent buyer's remorse. "Set a price range for the final bill rather than for each individual item," Kessler says. "This will give you the flexibility to spend more money on one thing and less on another."
Step in it
"Make sure a shoe is comfortable right out of the box. It's not going to fit any better on the course," Kessler warns. Also look for a lighter athletic or sneaker-type shoe if you prefer to walk more than you take a cart.
Reach for synthetic blend fabrics--like the kind found in Greg Norman's PlayDry, Nike's DRI-FIT and Cutter & Buck's DryTec lines--that wick away moisture and prevent wrinkles. You'll get the most value from neutral colors you can mix and match without thinking about it.
Iron out your bag
"The average golfer needs more hybrids and fewer long irons," Kessler says. "Once the salesman knows what type of courses you play, he can tell you what ratio of irons to wedges to hybrids you need."