I bought some new golf clubs a few years back. I had been playing the Tommy Armour 845 irons for as long as I could remember. They were cavity back, easy to hit, and I never thought I needed anything else until I put a blade in my hand. I was carrying around a 7 handicap at the time and was playing golf any chance I got. But, when I landed a job at Galyan’s Sporting Goods (now Dick’s Sporting Goods) in the golf department I had the chance to hit a lot of different irons. That is when I fell in love with the MacGregor V-Foil blades. I put my order in, got the discount for working at Galyan’s, and began carrying a new set of irons.
The only reason I switched was because I added distance as well as control with these new irons. I had a hard time giving up the other sticks but it was time for me to move to better and more consistent irons. I have since dropped to a 1 handicap and have, over the last few years, been playing some of the best golf of my life. But what if you do not have the luxury of knowing when the time is right to buy new golf clubs? Hopefully the list below will help you in your decision this off-season to get out, try some new equipment, and start playing the best golf of your life.
1. When was the last time you bought a driver?
On a normal day and on a normal golf course you will hit your driver maybe 14 times. This club, as few times as you do hit it, is not one you can ignore. The further you hit the ball the less club you will have into the green and the straighter you hit the better your chances at landing a good lie will be. The driver is very important to your golf game regardless. So when was the last time you bought a driver? If it has been more than two years since you last replaced the big dog in your bag it is now time to consider a new stick. (The driver is usually the first club people tend to pull when he or she steps on the driving range, too.)
The reason why you should consider replacing your driver is simply the increased technology that has been released in the last few years. Sweet spots have gotten bigger, the ball is flying further and further off of these new designs, and the control that you can gain with these new drivers is off the charts. I am currently hitting a Titleist 975JVS driver. This driver has been in my bag since high school. I hit it straight, I hit it far, and the club has never let me down. The shaft has a lot to do with it, but it works so why switch? (I am actually in the market for a new driver. I have been for a couple of years but have been having a hard time pulling the trigger.)
2. What is your actual handicap?
How many clubs are in your bag? The limit, according to the rules stated by the USGA, is 14 clubs. That is all you can carry including your driver, irons, wedges and putter. You can carry less but never more than 14 total. If your handicap higher than, let’s say a 5, you should be playing alternative long irons such as the popular hybrid clubs. The were originally released for older players as they were able to hit the ball further and straighter without as much effort, but when the younger guys picked it up and realized that they in fact could get the same benefit, these guys started using them too.
So, unless you are carrying a lower handicap than most (the average golfer shoots 100 or more on an average 18 hole golf course) then you need to be carrying a set of these hybrids. A buddy of mine actually put a couple in his bag recently and he is a fairly low handicap. He states that they are easy to get the ball out of the rough and their distance control is more accurate than his long irons. He claims they were a great improvement for him. Perhaps it would be a positive switch for you as well.
3. When was the last time you cleaned out your grooves?
If you want any form of control over your shots from 120 yards and in your wedges need to have some fresh grooves on them. The USGA actually made some rules this past year regarding the differences between U and V grooves, and it actually made some PGA players upset. Some of the guys on tour can stop a ball on a dime or even throw the ball to the back of the green and spin it to the front with no problem.
I myself have some issues spinning the ball back, but I hit the ball quite high which forces the ball to stop on one or two bounces. So, if you are out there trying to stop the ball on a dime or put some backspin on it then you should invest in some new wedges this season. The more you hit the ball with these wedges whether on the golf course or on the practice range, the weaker those grooves get. A decent wedge will hold a life of about two years depending on how much you play.
4. Get rid of those useless fairway woods.
Just like the long irons in your bag, the 3 wood is just about as hard to hit. I am actually carrying a Tight Lies in my bag that is between a 3 and a 4 wood. I have never, in my entire golf career, carried a 3 wood. It is just not a club that I ever felt I could hit. And that seems to be the case here as well. You can replace that 3 wood with a hybrid, or even a 4 wood which has a smaller head but a bigger sweet spot and easier to hit. The smaller head will cut through the rough a lot better and give you a better chance to hitting the sweet spot off of the fairway. Regardless, the 3 wood has always been a hard club to hit so why makes this worse on yourself if you don’t have to?
5. Are you custom fit to the clubs in your bag?
The last time you bought clubs did you just get them off the shelf and throw them into your golf bag? If so, then you are losing distance, control, and basically throwing away shots every time you tee off. Every club in your bag from the driver to the putter should have the shaft set to your height and the flex to match your swing speed. Did you know that some guys on tour have steel shafts in their drivers because they swing so fast a graphite shaft is too flexible?
When I bought my irons I actually had them custom fit by the representative from MacGregor. They were then sent to the headquarters, matched with each and every club, and shipped to me already fit. I then went and saw a PGA professional and had them resized to match any differences between the original specifications. Even my driver had a few inches shaved off the shaft to give me a touch more control over distance. To me I would rather hit a six iron from the fairway than an 8 iron from the rough. So, the next time you go out to purchase some irons, a driver, wedges or other make sure you invest to have them custom fit to your body. Your scorecard will show a difference.
I hope that the next time you visit your local pro shop that you take the time to research your next club purchase. There is no question that the equipment, even down to the ball that you play off the tee, has a lot to do with the score that you post at the end of the day. So before this season comes along jump online, research the products you think you are interested in, and then head over to your local pro shop and hit them. You will not regret taking the time to invest in some new equipment. In the end it will simply make you a better player.