Most golfers have a set of golf clubs that they use day in and day out regardless of the course they are playing. I definitely fall into this category. I do not see a reason to change my clubs to suit a golf course because I do not feel that I hit the clubs not in my bag any better than the ones I already hit. I guess my narrow view on this topic is shaped by the fact that I did/do not consider this a viable approach to my golf game. I am not entirely sure I will adopt strategy, but it is something worth a discussion.
The premise of changing clubs in your golf bag to match the course your are playing is to inset a club that will improve their chances of shooting a lower golf score. Using the clubs in my bag, this concept would be to pull out my 60° wedge and add my 5 wood. Or pull out my 3 hybrid for a 5 wood. Or add an additional sand wedge with a higher bounce and remove my 3 hybrid. Regardless, it is a challenge to determine what combination of clubs to exchange to gain the best advantage for that day.
We often hear of professional golfers changing the make up of their bag before different tournaments. Phil Mickelson comes to mind first, but I know there are others that make changes according to their needs. For professionals who have command their game, I can see how this strategy makes complete sense. They have time to practice and adjust and plan and well, prepare their game for the best possible outcome.
Amateurs, on the other hand, I am not completely confident that we have the skill to make such changes. I know for my game, there is very little room to change clubs because I do not hit any one particular club so much better than the clubs I have in my bag. The only club that might make a difference is my 5 wood for my 3 hybrid. The only in distance. I love my 3 hybrid, so I do not see this exchange anytime soon.
This topic is a very interesting one, but I do lack the knowledge or experience to delve deep. If you happen to read this article and have some insight, I would be grateful if you shared it.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
6 thoughts on “Changing Clubs In Your Golf Bag”
I have many sets of clubs dating from 1880 to the present and try to play all of them. My interest in the history of golf has changed the way I approach golf and playing clubs from different eras has enhanced my shotmaking and creativity. As a result, my scores have improved despite the fact that I rarely play the same lineup two days in a row.
I believe that sticking to the same clubs all the time can lead to becoming one dimensional, especially if you are playing the same course all the time. Trying different clubs, especially the more lofted ones leads to developing greater creativity and feel. Even taking out a short set of seven or eight clubs can help develop creativity.
I have had some good discussions with some of the high performance coaches as many are curious about the historic equipment. So much focus has been placed on launch monitors and gapping that frequently creativity and finesse has suffered even at the highest levels. In my opinion, so much focus on data has put shotmaking on the back burner.
Even with modern clubs, I frequently changed up my club lineup, depending on the course difficulty and conditions. I especially find it more important when it comes to wedges.
Prior to playing hickory clubs, I focused on having uniform gapping. I now find that playing a three quarter wedge or nine iron works better than just grabbing a gap wedge. I control my trajectory better, especially in windy or wet conditions.
In short, don’t be afraid of changing the lineup a little or a lot. The need for creativity will make you better.
On a side note, I love the picture of my car and club display. It was great coming to North Bay.
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Of my readers, you likely have the most experience and bow to your points above. I think playing the same course over and over again also leads to a stale game more than playing 14 clubs, but really what do I know. Your ability to switch hickory clubs in and out definitely can improve ones game. Thanks for sharing your story.
Jim, I’ll put in my 3-hybrid if I need more pull hooks into the water on long par-3s. 😀 Nope, always have the same 14 wherever I play.
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Brian……haha. I play the same 14 clubs as well and I do not see me changing that anytime soon.
Pro’s do it for reason’s we generally don’t encounter. For one thing, they’re on a different course, in a different part of the country or world where lots of subtle changes might be waiting. Height above sea level, the grasses used on the fairways and greens, the amount elevation changes on the course, and weather all or any of them might lead a pro to adjust the makeup of his bag to help match his game to what he thinks he needs to play his best on that course.
For us, we should think about our bags makeup possibly in certain conditions. For instance, it might be useful to own a couple extra wedges with more bounce (or less) than your normal to use depending on whether it’s wet or dry out. That can make a big difference in the bunkers too if you play different courses where the sand is thick light and fluffy or weather it’s rain soak or anywhere in between. And you spoke of your 5 wood vs the 3 hybrid. Say there was a hole on your course where you could cut the corner and run that hybrid onto the green consistently on a normal day. Wouldn’t you want the 5 wood when it’s wet so you can land on the green knowing the hybrid isn’t going to run that day? It’s course and condition specific things like that which guide the pro’s decisions and it’s something we can mimic if we have the clubs to do it with that is. And if we practice. It shouldn’t take much though. The bounce differences aren’t a huge issue at all. And swapping between a hybrid and a 5 wood might be harder, but I would think it would be harder the other way around. More sole being the distinctive helper there. Then again, where you play the hybrid might bring the superior ball flight more often. I find that true here where it’s windy all the time. My hybrid flies lower and cuts through it better. And because of that, it’s more consistently accurate when the breezes are up which is most of the time.
But I can only think of one hole, among all the courses I play, where a 5 wood would likely get me on more often than the hybrid and that’s not worth the purchase price. Wedges on the other hand I’m taking care of naturally. Mine are now on the worn side so the next set will come with more bounce and I can use the current lob/sand wedges on days when they might be the better tools.
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I agree that the professionals have a much wider range of challenges and switching out clubs definitely would work for their game. As for us, the wedges would likely make the biggest difference, thus changing them out to suit the course definitely has merit. I just never do it.