Whether you are a scratch golfer or a 20-handicap, your golf clubs are essential to giving you the best possible chance for success. Young, strong scratch golfers shouldn’t use graphite-shafted clubs designed for players with turtle swing speeds, while the last thing a high-handicapper should play is a pro-style blade iron with little forgiveness.
Before deciding what clubs to put in your bag, take a hard look in the mirror to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your game. Selecting the hottest new driver that the pros are launching 350 yards isn’t going to make a major difference if you have the same, faulty swing and lack of body turn. And if you’re constantly hitting irons off the sweet spot, you’d be wise to choose clubs that will produce positive results even when contact is slightly astray.
Scratch golfers know their game and how to choose clubs. So in this forum I will focus on the majority of the golfing population. In other words, those who score 85 one day and 105 the next, and then walk off the course muttering to their partner, “I know I can play better, I just never do.”
You’re probably familiar with the old cliché that you drive for show and putt for dough. That’s only partially accurate. If you can’t keep it in the fairway off the tee or drive it a respectable distance, you’ll be putting for bogeys, and that won’t win many matches. So selecting a driver that feels comfortable and fills you with conviction is a must. I began playing the TaylorMade R11S adjustable driver two years ago and have fallen in love with it. It can be set for multiple lofts and face angles to induce a power draw or eliminate a weak fade. It is light and forgiving, and it will keep you within hailing distance of the big boys.
It’s said that great players don’t use hybrids. When you win the U .S. Open, you can stick a 3-iron in your bag. Until then, a Callaway X-Hot hybrid, a TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2 Rescue or a Titleist 910H hybrid should be an essential part of your arsenal. Hybrids will cover most golfers from 180 to 210 yards, and a 3 or 5-wood can take care of longer distances. The Callaway Razr Fit, the TaylorMade Superfast 2.0 or the Titleist 910F fairway woods are among the most popular on the market.
With the hybrids safely in place, you’ll only need irons from 5 to 9, leaving plenty of room for wedges of varying degrees. It’s essential that average players select irons that fill them with confidence when they place the club behind the ball. Blades will only cause anxiety for many golfers. Irons with cavity backs might not say you’re a great player, but they sure are easier to hit. The Titleist AP1 710 irons give golfers the best of both worlds. Sleek-looking yet forgiving, these dual cavity irons provide feel without sacrificing performance.
Finally, wedges of 52, 56 and 60 degrees are critical to scoring around the greens. TaylorMade, Titleist and Callaway all offer a variety of choices sure to get the job done when you must summon up your inner Phil Mickelson and play a lob over a bunker to a tight pin.
Is the putter the most important club in your bag? Perhaps. But there’s no doubt about this: It’s the club that largely depends on intangibles unique to each golfer. Like beauty, its appeal is often in the eyes of the beholder. Find one that feels good in your hands and stick with it. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly changing putters when balls don’t drop. Remember, it’s usually the singer, not the song.