Let your game choose your clubs…
For over a hundred years golf has been played with basically the same set of clubs. The traditional set includes 3 woods (1, 3, 5), 11 irons (2-9, PW, SW) and a putter.
Does this golf club set configuration work for everyone?
No way! It’s time to take a brand new look at what a golf club set can and should be. Instead of selecting clubs based on “tradition”, why not select clubs based on what YOUR golf game requires.
Playing the game of golf requires many kinds of shots. Sometimes a shot requires distance and sometimes accuracy. Some shots we hit from a tee, some from short grass and sometimes from ungodly places like rough, sand and dry dirt (hardpan). Each situation requires a different club. Based on our abilities, some shots will be relatively easy and some will be very difficult.
If the shot requires a 200 yard carry over water to a tight pin on a small green, the right club for a beginner, intermediate or advanced golfer will be different.
The beginner will need all the help and forgiveness possible (they might even need 2 shots).
The intermediate may need a little less forgiveness but still wants to be comfortable with their club.
The advanced player may want more subtle characteristics of feel and clubhead response that a beginner can’t even imagine.
In the past all three were left with only a few choices. Thankfully today there are many more.
Which Clubs Are Most Important
As mentioned, golf requires several kinds of shots – drives, long approach shots, short approach shots, pitches, chips, sand shots, putts and a variety of so-called trouble shots. By far the most frequent shot is a putt. For an average golfer, the putter is used more than twice as much as any other club. If a golfer shoots a score of 100, 35%- 40% of those strokes will be putts. So based on shear numbers, the putter is the most important club.
For better golfers, the driver is used the next most often-a possible 14 times from the tee, or roughly 12-20% of the time depending on ability level. That first shot from the tee sets the tone for the hole. That makes it a very important club. A good drive makes the rest of the shots on that hole easier. A bad drive means …well trouble.
For beginners who have a hard time hitting the green in a regulation number of strokes, the wedges may be the second most used category of clubs. On a good day a beginner may hit 1-4 greens. So they spend a lot of strokes chipping up to the green (15-20).
The remaining strokes in a round are spread among the rest of the set. It is likely that no one club will be used more than a few times. So in terms of frequency of use, the putter, driver and wedges are clearly used the most frequently with the rest of the clubs bringing up the rear.
On the other hand, the importance of a club has a lot to do with it’s effect on our games. A club that has the potential to cause problems (strokes) must be given added weight. The more difficult a club is to hit the more likely that it may cause disaster. The driver, the long irons, and fairway woods are the most likely culprits to cause that errant shot that never is heard from again. Good bye ball.
It’s no coincidence that these problem clubs are also the longest clubs in the set. We can all agree that the longer the club, the harder to hit. As our abilities improve we can begin to take advantage of what the longer clubs offer (distance) but to help our games now, finding forgiving versions of these clubs is a priority. Thankfully, we have many new possibilities with higher lofted drivers, fairway woods and the new hybrid clubs.
Let’s take a look at how a set for a beginner, intermediate and an advanced golfer should be configured.
How swing speed effects set configuration and fitting requirements
|Driver Carry Distance||Swing Speed||Shaft Flex||Iron Head Type||Shaft Type||Iron Set||Driver Loft||Wood Set||Hybrid Set|
|200-225||95-100||F||GI||G & S*||5-SW||11-12||1,3,5,7||3,4|
|225-250||100-110||S||GI||G & S*||4-LW||10-11||1,3,5||2,3|
|250-275||110-125||S||GI, P||G & S*||4-LW||9-11||1,3,5||2,3|
|275+||125+||X||P||G & S*||3-LW||8-10||1,3||2|
|* graphite in woods, steel in irons||LW=lob wedge|
L-ladies, A-amateur, R-regular, F-firm, S-stiff, X-extra stiff
SGI-Super Game Improvement