If you are a beginner, do not be afraid of second-hand equipment. This is particularly important because golf equipment can be expensive, and if you are unsure as to whether golf is for you, equipment may be an expensive investment. An example in this regard is balls, as you may loose a significant amount of balls in your first few rounds on an 18 hole course, and you should consider purchasing second hand balls.
Second-hand equipment such as bags and clubs can easily be purchased online, however, make sure that you do research into the brand and if possible, ask the seller if you can take the equipment for a test run to ensure that the equipment is in good condition, and suitable for your needs.
Golf courses generally have pro shops within their premises. These are beneficial because the staff are specially versed in golf equipment and in particular, they are used to assisting players of all ages and expertise. Most pro shops also have particularly good deals on equipment.
How much you intend to spend on equipment will be dependant on how often you plan to play golf. If planning to play often, it will be well worth your while to invest in quality equipment.