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Technical Tips

June 2017

Every club in your bag needs a purpose

By: David Dusek | April 18, 2017

An amateur golfer surprised me last week while I was on a range, setting up a tripod to create a video on a new piece of gear.

Often the advantage of these urethane covered balls vs. ionomer or Surlyn covered balls was 800-1,500 rpms of spin. What does that difference mean in terms of proximity to the hole? A little or a lot. Depends firstly on how firm the greens are: the firmer the green the more spin can be beneficial in stopping the ball. It’s also noteworthy that the lower spinning balls tend to launch higher so that may help them stop after landing because of their steep angle of descent. Still, the Foresight Sports ballflight simulation software suggests that the spin difference might mean 15-18 feet of extra rollout after landing compared to the highest spinning balls.

Alex, a former football player and a current 16-handicap golfer, walked over, looked at my phone atop the tripod and asked if I was going to record my swing. As I explained what I was doing, he looked inside my bag and started asking a few questions about my clubs. He picked one up, took a few practice swings and said he loved how it felt. Then he said that he was falling out of love with his 2-year-old irons – he couldn’t hit the 4-iron at all and was missing everything to the right.

“Well, why are you still carrying a 4-iron?” I asked. “During a typical round, how often to you hit it?”

“I only hit that club when I miss a fairway and have to punch out,” he said. “Maybe once a round, twice tops.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “You get to carry 14 clubs, and one of them you only hit once or twice per round if you need a low punch shot. Are you serious?”

Go get your golf bag before you continue reading. I’ll wait.

Okay now, take a look at your clubs, think about the last three rounds you played and pull out the clubs you can only remember hitting once or twice. How often do you hit your 5-wood, your 3-iron or your 60-degree wedge? If your answer about any of your 14 clubs is almost never, maybe that club should come out and be replaced by a club that will serve you better?

Most recreational golfers play their golf on the same two or three courses. You probably tee off using the same clubs on the par 4s and par 5s even though the holes and the tee boxes change. Most players wind up hitting the same clubs on approach shots and layups, too.

Personally, I like to play courses that are 6,300-6,500 yards long, so par 3s are typically 140-180 yards – that’s 9-iron to 5-iron for me. My 3-iron was replaced years ago by a hybrid that goes 210 yards, and last season I took out my 4-iron and replaced it with hollow-bodied, game-improvement iron fitted with a graphite shaft that carries 195 yards.

This season, you will not find a 5-wood in my bag. I almost never hit it, so out it went to make room for an extra wedge.

I now go driver, 3-wood, 3-hybrid and carry a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge.

Ollie Schniederjans did not carry a fairway wood or hybrid at the RBC Heritage. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) Pros are not afraid to modify their setups based on their strengths and the courses they play. For example, Phil Mickelson rarely carries a 4-iron because he knows he will get more use from a fourth wedge.

The Hall-of-Famer can choke down on his 3-iron if he needs, and his 5-iron’s loft is slightly strong, so the gap is manageable.

Ollie Schniederjans finished tied for third last week at the RBC Heritage and had only one headcover in his bag. He used a 9-degree Callaway GBB Epic driver with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited 70 TX shaft, and he had no fairway woods or hybrids. His next club was a Callaway Apex UT 2-iron with a Nippon NS Pro Modus3 120 TX steel shaft.

Schniederjans’s average clubhead speed with his driver is 124.25 mph (fourth-best on Tour), and he averages 299 yards per tee shot. He didn’t need to hit a fairway wood or hybrid into a par 5 at Harbour Town Golf Links, and if he wanted to go with something besides driver off the tee, his 2-iron could fly far enough to set up a good approach shot.

Sure, Schniederjans is an outlier, but a good custom-fitter should be able to help you create the perfect mix of clubs that will help you handle the most common situation on the course while still having the versatility to handle surprises. Every golfer should remember to think about matching clubs to the courses played and having a reason for carrying every club in the bag.

Full article here


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