I always get the question at one of my clinics: Stan, what irons should I play? What metal wood should I use? What putter should I carry in my bag? You know, sometimes these things are kind of personal, and that’s just one of the reasons we have so many choices in clubs and manufacturers today.
That being said, I do have a couple of thoughts that you might find helpful as you think through what type of clubs may work best for you. First, I have worked with Titleist for many years, and I play a combination of irons and metal woods by Titleist, wedges by Bob Vokey and my putter is a Scotty Cameron. So, I’m in the family so to speak. But, there are other brands in the market that may be better for you. How can you tell?
Well, I’m a fan of going to the practice range with a couple of demo clubs from various manufacturers. Make sure the shafts are the same stiffness so you can really sense the differences in how the ball feels at impact, and how it accelerates, flies and the distance you get, from the different manufacturers. Some of my students are into the “look” of a club, and they lean toward traditional blades with a thin topline as you look down on the club at address. Remember that a lot of the game depends on the mental aspect, so getting comfortable with the look and the feel of a club sets you up for the right mindset as you play the game.
Other players need some “forgiveness” because they don’t always hit the ball in the exact center of the sweet spot. Many of these students are best with a cavity-back model that spreads out the sweet spot and makes it quite a bit larger, helping mitigate mishits while providing a solid feel.
The point that I am trying to make is that picking out individual clubs or an entire set of clubs is based on feel and comfort, which are both in line with the way that I teach the short game. Having the proper set of clubs for your particular skill set is very important if you want to score low. So, choose metal woods, irons, wedges, hybrids and a putter that you feel most confident with when standing over the ball. Try them in a hitting bay at a local retailer, or use a demo club at your home course to see what you think.
What’s good for me may not be right for you, and that’s why we have so many wonderful club choices from some outstanding manufacturers, all of whom use the latest in technology innovations. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what’s right for you. One of the things that all good golfers may have at home is an old, unused golf bag sitting in the corner of the garage. You’ll usually find it filled with clubs that they’ve bought, experimented with and then put into the “bin” while they try a new replacement club. Occasionally, they’ll go back in and pull one out for a particular course they are going to play, or because they just want to try the club again. To be a good golfer, you’ll find that tinkering with your mix of clubs is going to be a way of life.
Try to find a way to enjoy it!