The clubs you carry in your golf bag depend on your athletic ability and your golf ability. Let your skill as a golfer determine which clubs you carry.
The club make-up for a low handicapper is quite different from those of a beginning golfer. Just because the rules allow you to carry 14 clubs doesn’t mean you have to have that many.
If you already play golf, you should keep track of your last five to 10 rounds of nine or 18 holes and see which clubs you used the most. I did a club audit and realized that I didn’t use a 3-wood, 4- or 5-iron. I do use a number of wedges.
Therefore, I got fitted for a new set and these are the clubs I now carry: driver; 5-wood; 3- and 4-hybrid; 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-irons; pitching wedge, gap wedge and sand wedge; and a putter.
If you don’t use certain irons in your bag, get rid of the them and add hybrids and wedges. Hybrids are much easier to hit than the irons they replace.
Hybrids combine the head shape and loft of long irons and fairway woods, but have a lower center of gravity that makes it easier to get the ball in the air. They are easier to hit out of the rough and fairway bunkers.
Adding more wedges in your bag will improve your short game.
Don’t choose the clubs you use by what the manufacturer puts in a boxed set. It is okay to use a 3-wood to tee off instead of a driver. If you have a driver, practice with it on the range and then leave it in the bag when you play until you can get your 3-wood airborne and relatively straight.
Here are my suggestions for a high-handicap golfer:
3- and 5-wood; 4-, 5- and 6-hybrids; 7-, 8- and 9-irons; pitching wedge and sand wedge; and a putter. Add a gap wedge as you improve.
Here are my suggestions for a low-handicap golfer:
Driver, 3-wood, 3-hybrid, 4- through 9-irons; pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge; and putter.
Finally, make sure the clubs you play have the correct shaft for your strength and athletic ability. I have way too many students come to a lesson with shafts that are too stiff.
Also replace your grips at least once a year if you play regularly. The size of your hands should determine what grips you should have on your clubs.
I suggest you go to your local golf shop and go through a golf fitting that will help you with the correct clubs you should buy. I am more than happy to accompany my students to a fitting.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com