Building Your Golf Bag
When setting up your golf bag, you get to choose 14 clubs for your bag. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of clubs to choose from. Drivers to putters, and Callaway to Ping, finding your ideal set up can be tough. It can also change between courses depending on the lengths and hazards. Most people don’t have the luxury of multiple full sets to alternate between, but buying an extra club here or there can help. My typical bag consists of a driver, 3 wood, 5 hybrid, putter, 60 degree wedge, 52 degree wedge, 56 degree wedge, and irons. The irons include; 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. Let’s look at what some of the club options are.
Woods get their name because they were traditionally made of wood. Today, most are made of steel or titanium for durability and better impact to maximize distance. The most common wood, the 1 wood, is also known as the driver. This club will usually hit the ball the furthest and is used on most tee shots for longer holes. These clubs have the largest heads, and the longest shafts, allowing for the most power in swinging them. When building your bag, you will need a driver, and probably at least one fairway wood. Some people choose 2, but a hybrid can replace the second one quite easily.
Hybrids are a mix between an iron and a wood. They get more loft than a wood, with a little less distance. These are often useful for second shots to get to the green. A long par 5 can give you a great opportunity to break out a hybrid or a wood. Often a player will use a 3 hybrid instead of a 3 iron, as they are often easier to hit. A 5 hybrid can also replace a 5 wood, or you can carry both in your bag if you have the room for it.
Irons are a key part of the game and typically make up over half of your bag. These have various angles of the club head for varying distances and loft. These are crucial for getting over, under, and around obstacles. If you hit a wood to the green, they often stay low and flat with alot of roll, casuing your ball to roll over and past the green. With an iron, you can pop the ball higher into the air, and possibly put some spin on it. This allows you to drop the ball onto the green with less chance of rolling off.
Your irons are also a good point of reference with distance as well. If you have alot of irons to shoose from, one club up or one club down can make the difference between being on the green, just short or just over. To best learn your distances, hit the range and get a feel for how far you can hit each one.
Your wedges are the bread and butter of your short game. They are great for putting the ball in the air from shorter distances and dropping the ball close to the pin. Wedges are also your go-to club for bunker shots because they are able to get under the ball well in the sand. Bunkers are usually concave so you need the loft to get out of them. If you blade the ball or hit it flat, it will often hit the edge of the bunker and you have to try again. With a wedge, you are also able to put spin on the ball much easier than other clubs. This can allow you to hit the ball with enough force to get over an obstacle. Putting enough backspin on the ball allows you to land close to the pin.
The putter is a simple club that is used on the green to roll the ball to the hole. Sometimes the putter is good for hitting just off the green when you have a smooth lie. There are many aspects to the putter, such as the handle, the balance, and the area of the head that the shaft connects to. Some connect at the center for a better balance, and others are offset to the back of the club head. Some people use oversized handles on a putter, or longer shafts for a pivot grip.
Putting is one of the simplest, yet hardest parts of the game. The speed of the greens, slope, and pin location all require a precise putt to get the ball in the hole. Also note that in the morning, when there is still dew on the grass, your put will move slower. Greens in the shade will stay like this longer into the day than a green in the sun. Putting often will make or break your game. If you can get to the green in regulation on every hole, but 3 put everytime, you are doubling your strokes.
Golf can be very fun, yet very challenging. To find the best way to set up your bag, practice makes perfect. Hit the range, go to the course, and find your strengths and weaknesses. If you are thinking about getting a different club for your bag, see if a friend has one you can try to see if you like it. Many shops also allow you to test clubs first, to see if it will fit your play style. Go out, have some fun, and improve your game!