It used to be that everyone had the same clubs in their bag… you had your three woods (1, 3, 5), your eight irons (3-PW) and your putter. What more could a person need? Golfers tried their best to make due with what they had but some clubs were just too difficult to use.
They would then go out and buy a brand new set… with three woods (1, 3, 5), eight irons (3-PW) and a putter. What a vicious cycle…
Then came a bigger variety of wedges, advances in woods and new hybrid clubs. Golfers now had more more clubs to choose from. With these clubs came confusion… golfers didn’t know which clubs to add and which ones to drop.
We get lots of confused golfers in our shop all the time. They want to find a club that will make the game easier but they don’t know what to look at. Let’s make this easy… let’s map out your golf bag…
Club #1 – The Tee Club
Every golfer should have a club that they use when teeing off. 99% of you automatically think “driver” here but most golfers are better off with something else. This club should have a fairly deep face… this makes it easier to hit it off the tee. It should also be the club with the least amount of loft. Look to titanium here… whether it is a driver, 3 wood or 5 wood. If you can’t hit a driver then look to a higher lofted wood. There is no law stating that all golfers must have a driver… check your ego and find something that works. Companies are starting to tap this market. We're seeing more "strong" 3 woods… designed to be versatile enough to use both off the tee and the fairway.
Club #2 – The Putter
This one is pretty obvious. We’ve done lots of writing on various putters and how to pick one that is right for you. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money here… the putter is the most used club in the bag!
Clubs #3,4,5,6 – The Long Clubs
These clubs serve a few purposes… they are often used off the tee but many golfers try (sometimes successfully) to hit them from the fairway. The “traditional” set would have had a 3 wood, a 5 wood, a 3 iron and a 4 iron in this section but today’s technology allows for other options. Most golfers fill these slots with woods or hybrids. Do you hit your woods fairly well? Try 3, 5, and 7 woods. Have more success with irons? Try a 3 wood and then fill the gap with a few hybrids and maybe even a traditional cavity backed iron. The most important thing to remember here is to not have two clubs that do the same thing. If you play a 7 wood, you don’t need a 3 iron. If you choose a #4 hybrid, stay away from a 4 iron. Focus on lofts and lengths of the various clubs to fill your gaps properly. A strong “long clubs” section can cut strokes on long par 3’s and par 5’s… allowing golfers to hit shots that were too difficult in the past. You really need to play to your strengths here… understand your options and find the clubs that work best.
Clubs #7,8,9 – The Mid Clubs
These are some of the most used clubs in the bag… most golfers would say their “go to clubs” fall into this section. A traditional set would have a 5 iron, a 6 iron and a 7 iron as “mid clubs”. Most golfers use irons here… although there are a few other options. A golfer that hits their woods better may look to a 9 and/or 11 wood to fill this gap. Some companies offer hybrid clubs in these lofts too. These clubs are primarily used for controlled tee shots, approach shots and mid-length par 3’s. If you can control and iron better… go with and iron. Don’t be too concerned if clubs in this category don’t go a long ways… it’s better to be short and in the fairway than long and in the trees.
Clubs #10,11 – The Short Clubs
A traditional set would have an 8 iron and a 9 iron here and irons are probably the way to go too. Your main concern here should be finding clubs that hit the ball straight and high. Length is not a huge issue here. Some companies make hybrids and woods to fill these slots but most golfers should be able to hit an 8 and 9 iron without too much problem. A better player may want to look at a blade iron here… blades provide a bit more control and feel but less forgiveness.
Clubs #12,13,14 – The Wedges
People get so confused about wedges, lofts and distances so here is a brief outline. A traditional pitching wedge (PW) is about 48 degrees but they now range in lofts and can be as low as 45 degrees. A gap wedge, approach wedge, attack wedge… it has a million names (GW, AW…) is usually between 50 and 53 degrees. A sand wedge (SW) is usually between 54 and 57 degrees. A lob wedge is usually 60 degrees. There are other wedges available (some people use a 64 degree wedge) but these are the main ones. It all boils down to degrees and gaps here… fill the PW – LW gap with “X” number of wedges. You’ll probably want a PW and a SW…. so that leaves one other club. Do you want a club in between these two? Try an AW. Want something with a bit more loft for short chips and flops? Try a LW. Try to space these clubs so you can cover the most ground without leaving a huge gap in degrees.
So there is a really rough layout of what a golf bag should look like. Don’t be affraid to move clubs around to fit your game and the types of courses that you play. Do you hit long tee shots and need more help with short approach shots? Try taking the #2 club out of the “long clubs” section and put it into the “wedges” section… add a wedge. Play a course with a lot of long par 3’s? Take the #13 club out of the “wedges” section and add a 2 iron or #2 hybrid in the “long clubs” section. Many golfers will have more than 14 clubs in their arsenal at home… this allows them to customize their bag before they head to the course.
Maps are useful things… they can lead pirates to buried treasure and golfers to lower scores. Ok, ok… they aren’t the same types of maps but you get the idea! Sit down, think about things that you do well and then go build a bag around your strengths. There is NO excuse for having a useless club in your bag!