Read These 10 Tips Before You Buy Your Next Golf Club

Because golf equipment is based on rocket science (or at least is derived from it), you may need some assistance to get the most out of your next purchase, whether it’s a driver, hybrid, putter, or simply a sleeve of balls. For decades, I’ve been designing and fitting clubs, and through my expertise assisting golfers in finding the finest clubs for them, I’ve gathered some knowledge that you may use the next time you come into a shop. Working with a professional clubfitter is highly recommended, but following these 10 steps could suffice.

  1. When purchasing a driver, shorter is preferable to longer, and closed is superior to neutral. Many modern drivers come with shafts that are 45 inches or longer; the average PGA Tour driver is 44.5 inches. What do the professionals understand that you don’t? The longer the club, the more difficult it is to hit it straight. When it comes to woodlands, the shorter the better. Getting fitted for a driver with a closed face angle will help with slicing, which is likely caused by an open clubface at contact.
  2. Think of using your 3-wood as your “driver.” Do you hit your 3-wood as far as you can with your driver? Then your driver doesn’t have enough loft. For most golfers, even 11 degrees of loft isn’t enough, so instead of the typical driver, 3-, 5-wood arrangement, why not get a 3-, 5-, 7-wood combo and put three clubs in the bag that will genuinely benefit you? With that simple improvement, most golfers could save five strokes at least.
  1. Don’t even consider throwing in a 3-, 4-, or even 5-iron in your next set. Manufacturers have been steadily and quietly lowering the loft on their irons for the past 25 years in order to claim that their products “hit it farther.” As a result, the 3- and 4-irons have such little loft that the ordinary player can’t hit them. What’s the answer? Hybrids. This leads us to…
  2. When purchasing hybrids, make sure they are a perfect fit for the irons they are replacing. The goal is to replace your long irons with hybrids that are simpler to hit and go the same distance—not longer or shorter. To avoid distance gaps, replace your long irons with hybrids of the same length and loft.
  3. Fairway woods and hybrids are not the same thing. They are two different creatures. Hybrids should, in my opinion, be iron substitutes, but some hybrids have the same lofts and lengths as fairway woods, which can be perplexing. What’s the point of using fairway woods when hybrids are just as easy to hit? But here’s a general rule: Fairway woods are for you if you sweep shots smoothly off the turf. You’ll be better off with hybrids if you have a steeper swing.
  4. Golf clubs do not come in one-size-fits-all sizes. You wouldn’t buy a one-size-fits-all suit, so why would you do the same with golf clubs? Golfers of diverse shapes, sizes, and swing abilities require clubs of various lengths, weights, lofts, and lie angles. You will not consistently deliver the clubhead square upon impact if the club is too long, too light, or too heavy. Even if you make a beautiful swing, if the lie angle is incorrect, the heel or toe will be up, resulting in a push or a pull.
  5. Consider your home course when choosing wedges. Are the greens little, quick, and high? You’ll need a lot of loft. Is there a lot of soft sand in the bunkers? Your sand wedge should have a wider sole or greater bounce. Is the ground firm, resulting in many tight lies? You’ll want to reduce the bounce.
  6. Check the “three L’s” when you putter around. Is your new putter shaped like its a branding iron or a traditional putter? Whatever the case may be, if the three L’s—loft, length, and lie angle—are incorrect, it doesn’t matter how it seems. You’re not going to putt well. The sole must be parallel to the ground during impact, and the loft must be right; this combination produces a genuine roll. Nothing less will suffice. Pushes and pulls are caused by a putter with the improper length and lie angle. The ball will bounce and roll off-line if it has too little or too much loft.
  1. The worse you are, the more custom-fit equipment you require. Custom clubs aren’t just for pros and low handicappers. They’d be just fine with gardening tools. The less well off (or newer) your swing is, the more clubs that are tailored to you and your swing are needed. There are enough obstacles in the game and with already having ill-fitting clubs, you don’t need another.
  2. Do not overlook the ball. You no longer have to choose between a rock and a marshmallow because ball technology has advanced so far. A ball with low spin off the driver and strong spin off the wedge is ideal. Most golfers, though, should keep three things in mind: distance, distance, and distance. Extra yardage off the tee is significantly more valuable than a little more spin on the greens.

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