If you are like most players, you carry at least 14 clubs. I say this with tongue in cheek because during friendly matches, I have watched players carry a few more than the legal number. Regardless of other players do, I only carry 14 clubs unless I am experimenting; then I do not record this round for my handicap. Anyway, every few years I analyze the clubs I carry to ensure that I have the proper equipment to match my every evolving game. Well, 2021 is the season where I take an important and critical look at how often (and where) I use my clubs. In the past, this process lead me to replace my 5 wood with a 60° lob wedge. It is not time to see if my changes are still valid or do I need to make another adjustment.
Part of my goal and journey to being a scratch golfer, I think it is important to critically analyze the make up of my equipment. Do I play the proper ball, use the proper tee height, have the right grip thickness, or have the best club composition to compliment my game. As I continue to lower my handicap, my game changes such that my abilities to play certain shots change or I rarely use a specific club and need to find a better solution. I actually have a process to ensure I gather the proper data before making my decision. This is a self-developed system and I am open to any suggestions you might have to improve my research.
I gather the following data:
- Select the proper size sample group: In this case I use 5 rounds. It might seem small, but my season is short and I do not want to waste and entire season collecting data. Additionally, the number 5 is arbitrary and if I feel I need more data, I will expand it.
- Capture the number of times I hit a specific club. This step is a straight forward counting of golf shots and very simple.
- Was the shot effective. This part of the process is a more subjective. I try and weight the success and difficulty of using a specific club. For instance, in the past I hit my long irons very poorly, hence the change to hybrids. I want to ensure that this type of data is captured.
- Do I need a specific club that I do not carry. How often do I need a 5 wood for example. I have most distances covered, but this part of the data collection drives whether I should replace my sand wedge because my gap and lob wedge do the job (for example).
Will there be any value to adopting a change. Does my data point to any glaring hole in my game related to not the right equipment. If it does, I will make a change and try it for a few rounds. I am not adverse to changing back if I do not gain any real or perceived improvement in my game. The process is a training aid and I am explicably tie to the results.
Part of the evolution of any golf game is to analyze whether we are using the right equipment for our game. If we take a lesson from the professionals, they will adjust the make up of their bag depending on which course they are playing. “In 2006, Phil Mickelson famously used two drivers – one to hit a draw and one to hit a fade – at the BellSouth Classic, where he won by 13 shots, and a week later at the Masters, where he won his second green jacket.” (PGA Tour) Maybe, my data this year will point to this approach of adjusting the clubs I carry to the courses I play. I have never really thought about doing this, so it will be something I will think about after I collected my data.
My golf game, by choice, is in an ever-evolving of flux. I have my foundation set (for the most part), yet I am compelled to periodically to confirm that I am on the right path. Analyzing my club use is all part of this process. I am not sure what I will find, but I am entering this process with an open mind with the few that there should be no white elephants in my golf game.
Do you have an analysis process to determine the best equipment you should play?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!