Do You Club Up and Swing Easy?

On my road to recovery, I am not a physically strong as normal. This is a by-product of my treatments and something I cope with every day. My fatigue and weaker state has not stopped me from playing golf, however I have modified club selection to account for my inability to crush the ball! Continuing to play into the fall, I realize that I am clubbing up more often than not to achieve the same mid-summer distances. After some thought, I realize that changing clubs to adjust for conditions is a fact of golf most amateurs likely avoid.

Ego is the main problem for most amateurs not changing clubs to match the conditions. They hit a 6 iron from 150 yards and by gumby, they will hit a 6 iron regardless; then wonder why they are 20 yards short! They do not adjust for their physical condition for that day, wind, temperature, ground conditions, etc. They are solely focused on hitting that darn 6 iron.

Playing golf in the fall poses some challenges. The other day it is cold and windy with a bit of sun. I was hitting from 165 yards into the teeth of the wind from a soft lie. I was feeling okay, but not overly strong. Normally, I would grab a 6 iron without hesitation, but on that day I hit a 3/4 3-hybrid to the front part of the green about 25 feet from the pin. It was smooth easy swing with very positive result.

I realize that I probably clubbed up too much on the above shot, but I think it drives my point home. Clubbing up to match the conditions is an important skill most amateurs overlook when playing. Additionally, when clubbing up, they generally do not club up enough and as a result are disappointed when they come up short of the green.

When deciding which club to use, the goal is to determine a distance the ball will play and select my corresponding club. I developed a checklist that allows me to add or subtract yardages. This aide is fluid and must be adjusted for each shot because the variables change on each shot. I thought I would share it with you in the hopes of eliciting comments in order to improve it:

  • Wind in face: add 10 yards
  • Wind from side: add 5 yards
  • Wind from behind subtract 5 yards
  • Cold temperatures: add 10 yards
  • Wearing more than 2 layers of clothing: add 5 yards
  • Raining: add 5 to 10 yards
  • How I am feeling: add or subtract 5 yards
  • Wet ground conditions: add 5 yards
  • Dry, hard ground conditions: subtract 5 yards

As you can see, the list is pretty straight forward. The whole goal is to come up with a yardage and use the corresponding club. Some days, I will club up as many as 3 clubs. The trick is to trust my decision and hit the club in my normal easy swing. The results will speak for themselves as my ball will at least reach my target distance.

As I stated earlier, the above checklist is fluid. The distances for conditions may have to be adjusted, but that is a at the moment call. I stopped letting my ego determine my club selection years ago. I try to make it more cerebral and as such have achieve greater success when clubbing up and down. My method works for me and my scores reflect my approach.

Do you use something similar? Does our list have something I might have missed?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

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5 thoughts on “Do You Club Up and Swing Easy?

  1. I club up all the time, but I don’t really think about swinging easy. Just limiting how far back my back swing goes. I still want to feel like I am coming down into the ball “hard” from however far back that might be. Slowing down the swing is taken care of by limiting it’s travel and limiting travel also makes good contact easier. Slowing the swing as JJ mentioned seems to me to just make the job harder though I guess with enough practice it might also help with our overall proficiency.

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  2. Hey JB,
    Have been trying to figure out my club distances all season. Your list of considerations are fine straight up, but I have found that combining a couple of extra conditions can be frustrating. Tempature is one consideration that we should factor in for all shots as well as up hill, down hill and hanging lies. The idea is not to be perfect but be the best you can be that day, despite the challenges. After all, what is golf without a little adversity?

    Cheers,
    Jimmy K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jimmy K,

      Your points of temperature, up hill, down hill, or hanging lies are important factors. Additionally, flier lies from the rough is a consideration. There are so many factors that they are almost too difficult master. But, as you say adversity is part of golf. I hope you conquer your club distance issues soon. Great to hear from you!

      Cheers Jim

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  3. I read in a book a few years ago that all great golfers should be able to take any club in their bag and swing it all the way to the top of their swing and still hit it just 70 yards (not duffing it). I’ve also read of Fred Couples doing something similar as a warm up drill. I’ve tried it and failed. It requires extreme control of the club, which is what the game is all about. I think your story is a good one and illustrates the importance of playing shots, as opposed to hitting the ball. Good golfers play shots. The rest of us hit the ball.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JJ

      Thanks for weighing in and that is interesting that Fred Couples uses a warm up drill where he swings only one club. I bet he uses this on the course from time to time. I might have to try this on the range myself. Thanks for bringing it up!

      Cheers Jim

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