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Renslow: Finding the right tools

Have you ever tried to cut your lawn with a pair of scissors? Or, how would you fare playing tennis with a ping-pong paddle?

Granted, these are dramatic examples, but the point is – we can do a better job with the right equipment. We all know it and will visit the hardware store to get the tool we need.

Yet, when it comes to something much more important, your golf game, we will often make do with what we have. Primarily because we don’t know what we don’t know.



Tour players, on the other hand, are changing their configuration of golf clubs on a weekly basis. It isn’t a wholesale change. However, if Mr./Ms. Tour Player carried four wedges in the desert for a dry, firm golf course they might very well go to three wedges when they head for Monterey.

A fourth, Lob wedge (typically 60 degrees of loft) would be put into play for a golf course with hard, fast greens that may require a high-lofted shot. That wedge would likely be taken out of play for a softer golf course, such as Pebble Beach Golf Links, where the ball will land and not roll as far.




Then the player can add another golf club (with a maximum of 14 in your bag) that suits a specific course. This might be a long-iron (remember, softer greens) or a fairway wood.

Even more specific is the adjustment the player will make to play certain holes or certain lengths. Consider a golf course with a long par-3. In tour player terms, this could be 230–240 yards.

With average par-3 length between 180–210 yards, a player may not have a club that goes 235 yards (yes, tour players are that precise). So, for that week, the player may drop a long iron and add a hybrid or fairway would that is crafted for that exact distance. The player will hit balls on the driving range or the simulator while the technician from the manufacturer is adjusting the loft, length or shaft flex of the golf club until it’s just right.

Every week, manufactures send trailers full of equipment to the respective tour events. The players are able to add, subtract or adjust their golf clubs based on the golf course, player confidence (maybe that club didn’t work for them), or swing changes.

For you and me, a tour trailer would be a welcome luxury, but likely not in the cards. However, we can learn from them.

Do you have a par-3 with a distance that is awkward for you? Is it a challenge for your wedge shots to sit near the hole or do they always run past? Or, do you have some short, narrow holes that make hitting driver difficult?

Granted, with no tour trailer, we aren’t going to be able to make exact adjustments to every golf course that we play. But…we can make it more enjoyable to play our home course and/or add a couple of clubs (i.e. wedge or hybrid) that will put us in a better position to play a Tahoe golf course or a valley golf course.

The reason the Rules of Golf limit us to 14 golf clubs in the bag is to require a variety of shots. Were we to have 100 clubs our swing might never be required to change (although the darn thing does all the time).

Yet, we can start each round with a different combination. For your enjoyment, better still a victory, consider an adjustment to your golf clubs. Or, you might feel like you’re playing tennis with a ping-pong paddle.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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