What Golf Clubs Do You Need, Really?

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Look around golf forums and you’ll see questions like “what golf clubs do I need?” come up.

Well, what clubs do you need, really?

The thing is, there’s no definitive answer for this.

Let’s look at two different golfers, “Jack” and “Jim”.

Jack:

  • is very good with his wedges
  • struggles with distance

Jim, meanwhile:

  • has very good distance
  • can’t control his wedges

Two distinctly different golfers.  Regardless of the score they shoot now, both would benefit with a proper set makeup.

Golf Club Fitting Isn’t Just For The Driver

Too many golfers think a fitting is just finding the right driver or having their lie angles checked… but it’s so much more!  Finding your ideal set makeup- the specific 14 clubs you carry- goes a long way towards giving you the correct options to make every opportunity a scoring one.

Let’s take a look at Hypothetical Jack’s hypothetical set:

  • Driver
  • Irons (3-PW)
  • GW, SW
  • Putter

Remember, Jack struggles with distance.  Since he’s got a strong wedge game, he doesn’t really need a LW.  He can either open the face of the SW, or go with a wider loft spacing (ie: 46* PW, 52* GW, 58* LW that doubles as a SW).

From there, the real help begins.

How many clubs does he have?  Twelve, so he has two clubs to work with.

Depending on his ball-striking ability, he might be able to keep his 3 and 4 irons.  If not, he’s going to need hybrids (maybe single-length hybrids?).  Since he’s distance-challenged, there’s a high probability he’s going to need them, anyway.

Why?  The hollow construction of the hybrid has more COR (“springlike effect”) than solid irons.  The ball’s going to come off the face faster; the extra ball speed will create more natural distance.

Hybrids are also lighter and longer than irons, but heavier and shorter than fairway woods.  This is another part of the set makeup; the fitter can adjust the hybrids so that they feel more like the irons, yet give some distance benefits.

So that leaves two clubs.  They should be fairway woods, but which ones?

Don’t assume it should be the “traditional” three and five woods.  A four and a seven could also work.  It really depends on which of the two (3 or 4 wood) you hit better, then base the next wood off of that.

Remember also that they should fit in with the hybrids.  There’s no point of having a 7W if it goes the same distance as a 3H.

READ ALSO: Is Driver Backspin Worth Worrying About?

How to Score

Jim doesn’t have a distance problem.  He hits his driver very well, along with his 3 wood.

Let’s take a look at Hypothetical Jim’s hypothetical set:

  • Driver
  • Three Wood, Five Wood
  • Irons (3-PW)
  • SW, LW
  • Putter

He has an obvious issue with his scoring clubs.  So, what does he do?

Well, for starters, he should ditch the five wood.  I’d swap the the 3 iron out for a comparable hybrid.  Between those two clubs and the driver, his long game is well-covered.

Now to his bigger issue: his scoring clubs.

Since Jim struggles in the short game, we can surmise that much of his short-game swing skills are lacking.  Unlike Jack, Jim would benefit with more wedges.

You can see the obvious gap in-between the PW and GW.  That’s the area, really the only area, we can address.

By adding a GW and ensuring each loft gap is consistent from one wedge to the next, Jim will gain more consistency in his short game.

How?  He doesn’t have to guess.  If he knows that on full swings, his PW goes x amount of yards, his GW will be roughly 10-12 yards shorter, his SW 10-12 yards shorter than the GW, etc., just like with his irons.

That carries over into his pitches and chip shots, as well.  One swing using different clubs to get the desired results.

RELATED: What’s a Good Beginner Set of Clubs?

In Conclusion

Next time you want to know what golf clubs do you need, think about your set makeup and how you play.  While we only covered two possibilities with Jack and Jim, you may fall into a different category.  The key is to work with your club fitter to have the set complement your strengths while masking your weaknesses.

 

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