Golf Education: Filling The Gaps – Be Sure You Have The Right Tools In Your Bag

In the 1938 the governing bodies of golf placed a 14 club limit on those who play the game. Prior to that it was not uncommon for golfers to play with as many as thirty clubs. Many were specialized for unique uses – playing out of deep bunkers, hitting chip type shots, and even for extracting a ball from water.

Today, clubs are generally more versatile but we still want to make sure we have the tools to do each job that we may face during a round of golf.

During one first lesson with a mid-handicap golfer last season I performed the usual assessments, including a look at her golf equipment. While she has been capable of breaking 80 on an occasional basis, she noted struggling with consistency in her short game. After glancing in her golf bag it was easy to see that it did not have everything to do with her technique.

Her tool box was a little lacking.

Within her 14 golf clubs her playing yardage ranged from 80 (pitching wedge) to 200 yards (driver). That meant she had 13 clubs to use for those 120 yards (80-200) while she had but two weapons (PW and putter) to use for shots of 80 yards and less.

When I pointed that out to her, she was startled by the observation.

The situation forced her to adapt a pitching wedge for any shot off the green under 80 yards, an easier task for a very skilled player, but one even tour players do not take on. They ensure they have a variety tools to make the job of scoring (the whole point of the game) much easier.

By the next lesson we altered her set make-up and gave her a balanced set with more short game options (added a sand wedge). The availability of clubs that could help her “do the work” resulted in improved scoring. All without a drastic technique change. (we did work on controlling shot distances)

The lesson for all is to make scoring easier you don’t always need to make a huge swing change, a simple adjustment in the tools you are using can lead to greater success.

The next time you take a lesson, have your teaching professional assess your equipment to ensure it will help you meet your goals.

Scott MacLeod, Associate Publisher, Flagstick & PGA of Canada Class A Professional 

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