RENSLOW: The right club mix will bring lower scores
The primary goal of this column is to help players become more comfortable with the game of golf, on and off the course.
We discuss everything from game improvement to events, past and current, that will keep you informed for that moment when your boss starts talking about golf.
Today, however, we’re going to highlight some next-level stuff. It’s very beneficial for everyone, although some may put it into play today and others may place it in their mental quiver for future use.
For most of us, it is enough to have a set of golf clubs. We know that there is a maximum of 14 clubs that we can use during a round of golf. A typical arrangement will see nine or 10 irons, three or four woods and a putter.
We have a good grasp of what each club will do in normal conditions. A standard swing with a 5-iron will fly a certain distance. With a similar swing, our fairway woods will be more accurate than our driver. If a ball is to carry a greenside bunker and come to rest near the hole, we need to use a specific wedge to hit that shot.
Day in, day out, the set remains the same. When we travel, we take our golf bag and go. We may count them to make sure we have all 14, but we’re likely more concerned we have enough golf balls.
This is where we can improve our approach and lower our scores.
At this week’s British Open Championship, one of the game’s great players chose to not use a driver. That’s right, there was no driver in Phil Mickelson’s bag. Now this is not the first time he a made an uncommon choice about the composition of his implements. Phil didn’t play with a driver in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and used a 3-wood off the tee in the 2013 British Open at Muirfield (which he won).
According to cbssports.com, the driver is out (as well as two other clubs) while an additional fairway wood, a longer 3-iron, and a 64 degree wedge are in.
In fact, every week on tour, players are making changes with their configuration and adjustments to their existing clubs based on their game and that golf course.
Granted, we do not have an unlimited budget or a tour van that will make virtually any adjustment to any club. Yet, let’s take this lesson from the tour and consider the golf course when arranging our golf clubs.
When you look at a golf course ask questions, such as — do I have a club that is the appropriate length for each of the par 3’s? Are these greens firm or receptive to a shot? Is it more important to have accuracy or length off the tee?
When you assess your current configuration ask this type of question — Is there a club(s) in my bag that I rarely or never use? If so, take it out. Put in a different club that will be used. This could be an additional wedge or perhaps a hybrid.
For those of you who are just starting the game, no worries, this is some valuable information to digest. For the veterans, let’s make some changes that will provide a better opportunity to shoot a lower score. Sometimes it takes a little work to have more fun.
John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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