Why 14 Clubs – Part Two

As previously discussed, the 1938 rule limited the number of clubs during a round of golf to 14.  If you ask 100 golfers I bet most would say that 14 is plenty.  However, if you ask a professional golfer they would say it is not enough.  Why the discrepancy?

When I started golfing 37 years ago…..OK, no old jokes….I had a started set.  It consisted of a driver, 3-wood, 3-5-7-9 iron and a putter.  As a beginner, this was plenty.  I did not have to over think club selection or worry about any finesse type shots.  Basically, I bashed the heck out of the ball and developed a passion for the game.  Slowly, my game improved I started looking for another set of clubs.

My first full set of clubs was Spalding Rebels.  I bought them 34 years ago; the set included 1-3-5 wood, 3-pw irons and a putter – 12 clubs in all.  They were my first cavity back set of clubs and I used them for about 10 years.  My game did not really improve because I played on and off during that time.  This set was perfect for me because I did not have much money invested and they were of a good enough quality that it matched my game.  I was about a 16 handicap during this period.

In 1990 things changed.  I was given an old set of Ping Eye 2 red dot clubs and started golfing more seriously.  1990 was the first year I broke 80.  I went from a 16 handicap to a solid 10 handicap in no time.  I carried a 1-3-5 wood, 3-pw irons, sand wedge and a putter – 13 clubs in all.  I used these clubs for about 10 years and only replaced the ping eye 2 persimmon woods with Callaway Warbird 1-3-5 metal wood.  It was during this time that I had quality equipment, practiced 3 days a week and played approximately 100 games per year.  The result of my increase play was a solid 8 handicap, which stayed that way for about 10 years.

Whats in your golf bag?From 2000 to present, my game improved exponentially. I have hovered around a 5 handicap with runs of breaking par once in a while. My success resulted in some club changes. I removed my 5-wood, added a 52 and 60 degree wedge, and change to hybrids for my 3-4-5 iron – I now carry 14 clubs.

This transition to more wedges has propelled my game to a new level.  The extra wedges help with the scoring around the green and that is where most amateurs should focus.  Currently, I use Cleveland Launcher irons, Callaway Razr Fit driver and 3-wood, Titlest vokey (52-56-60 degree) wedges and a pro gear putter.

The 14 club rule is limiting for some players.  Personally, I would add my 5-wood and 64 degree wedge.  The reality is that I would only hit these clubs once every 3 rounds because my other clubs cover all the normal gaps in distance and position. So I stick to 14 clubs because 16 clubs is not legal.

Ultimately, the skill and experience of any golfer will have a direct impact on the type, quality and number of clubs in their bag.  As most players improve the number of clubs will change to match their abilities; there is not set rule or rule-of-thumb.  The reason for club changes will vary, but low handicap players identify early that focusing on their short game will result in lower scores.

See what is in the pros golf bag:

What do you carry in your golf bag?

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

What is Your Favorite Club

What is your favorite club?  You know, that one club that no matter where the ball lies, no matter what is between the ball and the hole or which way the wind is blowing you are almost assured of a great shot.  Everyone has one, but which is yours?

Cleveland Launcher 7-ironIt is important to have an answer to this question.  It is definitely a shot saver!  The old adage of “take your medicine” when you play a poor shot is really important.  Because most often you will use your favorite club to get you out of trouble. Playing many rounds of golf each year, I have found that using my favorite shot to set up my next shot or putt is vital to my success.

In my case, it is my Cleveland Launcher 7-iron.  I am so confident from 150 yards with this club, that no matter where my ball lies, I can manufacture a shot.  I feel I can hood it, punch it, chip it, loft it, or just nuke it with a high degree of success.  It really is my favorite club.

I remember breaking 70 last year at my home course where my 7-iron saved my bacon.  I was on the 9th hole and hit my ball directly behind a huge tree (that is in the middle of the fairway, but that is another discussion) 150 yards from the green  At that time, I was 1 under and feeling great about my round.  Unfortunately, I could not go over the tree, so I decided to go around it.  I hooded my 7-iron; played a low sweeping hook around the tree and rolled the ball on to the middle of the elevated green like it was nothing.  I was so confident that I could make this shot with my 7-iron I did not even hesitate.  As a result, I finished 1 under for the front and 1 under for the back (par 71 course).  It was my second best round of the year…..thank you 7-iron!

Through the years, I have played Nike, Ping, Wilson, and Spalding clubs, and regardless of the brand my 7-iron has always been my favorite club.

Everyone has a favorite club….which is yours?

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

Titleist Vokey Wedge

As I said yesterday, I did go to golf town and bought a new 56 degree 11 degree bounce Titleist Vokey wedge.  I went with the SM2 not the SM4.  For the $40 difference, I can live with the reality that it may be illegal in 2020.  Until then, I am good to go!

One interesting thing happened while in the golf store.  As usual, I went to the putting green (artificial) and tried all the new putters.  I tried the New Odessey putter, Callaway, Nike, Titleist, Scott Cameron, and others.  The prices ranged from $350 to $75.  You know what I found, I putted the exact same way with each putter.

I used a mallet, blade, offset, goof heads, traditional heads….they were all the same.  So it started me thinking and I decided that I did not need to buy a new putter.  I bought a new putter grip for $8.  I figure that my old “Billy Beru” will do just fine for another year.

The point about my story is that new equipment is not always the answer.  Sometimes it is important to purchase new technology, but really, how much does it change from year to year.  That answer is really up to you!

So, did anyone buy new equipment this year?  If you did, what do you hope it helps improve in your game?

Well, see you on the links!

Buying a New Sand Wedge

Image from:  http://www.vokey.com/wedges/pages/wedge-selection-guide.aspxToday is the day!  I have waited, researched, and mulled over the purchase of a new sand wedge.  Currently, I use a 30-year-old Ping Eye 2 Black Dot that has been golden for many years.  But, I rarely use it in the fairway because the bounce is too high….so it is time to retire one of my favorite clubs.

On an earlier post, “Choosing a New Wedge” I went through all the aspects to consider and linked you to Goldsmith.com for a more in-depth discussion.  I used these two sites extensively.  They were very helpful and greatly aided in my decision.

Next, I look at reviews.  Reviews are very important to cut through the hype of advertisement.  Virtually every site I went too rated the Titleist Vokey Wedge as the top wedge to buy.  Additionally, I looked at customer reviews because the average golfer has plenty to say and generally are more honest.  The Titleist Vokey Wedge still came out on top.  Next, I went to the Titleist website and found a very good guide to Vokey Wedges with information that could be applied when choosing any wedge.

After all of this, I have chosen to by the Titleist Vokey 56 degree wedge with an 8 degree bounce.  When I hit the links, I will let you know how my decision made out.  \Well, I am off to Golf Town….any thoughts?

Only 75 Days to Go!

Today marks my official count down to golf season in Northern Ontario!  I usually use 15 April as my target date for the opening of the golf courses in my area.  Sometimes the courses open earlier (like last year – 3 April) and the odd time later (two years ago 21 April).  Regardless, it is now time to start preparing for success.

I have all the equipment I need for this year – thanks Santa!  I purchased a new driver and three wood.  Both are Callaway Razor Fit.  Not the extreme, but last years model.  I know it sounds crazy, but I prefer purchasing last years technology and paying a quarter of the price.  We shall see how my strategy works out.  I have a new carry bag, golf balls, and shoes.  Needless to say, I am ready.

I start to make my goals list for this year.  For example, last year I wanted to break par at least once.  I wanted a hole-in-one.  I wanted to improve my greens in regulation stat.  Finally, I wanted to play in 3 stroke play tournaments.  I achieved all my goals except the last one.  Stroke play tournaments are becoming rarer and rarer.  I have not made my list for this year yet, but when I do I will be sure to share.

I start my focused training program.  At this stage, it is mostly stretching.  Some may say it is a bit early, but I have found that I as I get older it takes me longer to get ready.  Besides, stretching has other health benefits that I like.  Additionally, I focus my weight and aerobics training.  There are certain exercises that will improve my swing.  Again, I will share when I figure out what I am doing.

Lastly, I look to see which course I want to play the most.  I always try to play at least 60 rounds home and 20 rounds away from my home course.  I have 5 options in my area and each course offers something unique.  The course I played last year was awesome.  It allowed early birds, walk ons and the owner always stopped to talk to me.  If I get a membership again, I am leaning towards the same course.  But, this will not stop me from doing my cost comparison.

Well my yearly ritual always starts around this time.  I am really looking forward to another season.  I am a grateful golfer.

When do you start preparing for golf season?