The loft of some of the new 5-irons is 21º, which used to be a 3-iron. I don't know many recreational golfers who can consistently hit that kind of 5-iron. You may want to consider replacing the 5 iron if it is like that.
My 5 iron is listed as 24 degrees. So not crazy strong, be on the stronger lofted side. My plan first (aside from practicing) is to drop my 3W, 3H, and 4H for the 4H with the stiff shaft I hit yesterday when finances allow. Hopefully after some practice I should be able to hit my 5 iron though it's not a club I really would use often right now, which is part of why I don't think I'm that great with it.
Yeah there was a lot of good stuff there. I haven't run across any 7 woods with a stiff shaft at the stores near me but I would be open to trying one. That said I prefer the more iron-like set up of a hybrid. The stiff shaft made a very noticeable difference yesterday so that is definitely the direction I will go. I will figure out what should slot in between the driver and a new hybrid later and as I can learn to score better though the short game. Having a simplified and confident set up at the top of my bag for my home course will be a big help for me I think.
IMO the decision between an equivalent lofted hybrid, driving iron, set iron, and 7 wood is what kind of height do you need and what gapping fits. I hit 7w too high - I tried one and even hybrid is on the limit for me at 21*. I hit a very high ball. My dad on the other hand really struggles to elevate long clubs and the 7 wood has transformed his 200 yard shot. He can break 90 from the tips playing with me now. His ego is too big to move forward but he can do alright given he has 10 shots on me.
I’m probably have more of a mid/high ball flight. Not sure if something like a 7 wood would go too high but I’m more comfortable at address with a hybrid.
That regular shaft is just wrong for your length. I don't know your tempo. but the stiff shafts sound like a great idea. Green side work is a real art. If you watch the pros, they would rather go long on a green than not be on it, in other words go long and not be short. Play around with your putter grip and see what happens, try left hand low and see if that will help. With your putter, is it length or alignment that hurts the most?If it is distance, be careful not to shut the swing down, as in taking to much back swing and slowing it down to compensate. I see so many people do this. Take less backswing and push forward. Work on your putter backswing length. As far as alignment goes, aim every time right at the pin allowing no break, but work on distance first, then alignment. Chipping will drop scores fast if done right. When you chip always use a descending blow into the ball, with the shaft slightly forward of the ball, not behind, hands lead, not the club face, never, ever, try to lift the ball. With your length you will see your scores drop. Remember, hit the little ball, then the big ball. I also use a 54* wedge for chips, but do just as good with a 9 iron, just better carry over hazards with the 54.
Gold Star 12*
5 & 7 F9 FW Wds
5 ,6, & 7 OS Hybrids
7-PW F9 Irons
AW, SW, LW Glide
Spyder Pro C/S Putter
Very interesting topic! Like many others who have already posted, I think we have a lot in common. My distances are very similar to yours and your scores are similar to where I was about ten years ago. I also struggled with my longer irons, hybrids, and especially fairway woods. The good news is that I was able to find a set that worked for me and improve significantly, I am sure you can do the same.
First, the #1 thing that has helped me has been to simply get clubs I was comfortable with. It took me a while to find a hybrid that really suited me, but once I did it made a huge difference in my confidence. I ended up dropping my 5-wood entirely because I was just never confident with it, but a 19 degree hybrid was much better (for me). I also stopped trying to hit a 3-wood off the deck (I was terrible at it) and reserved it for the occasional shot off the tee where I felt driver was too much. My 3-wood doesn't get a lot of use since in my cases I'm simply more confident with my 460cc driver and I can usually throttle back and hit that shorter when needed. Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm so much more confident with my hybrids now (who knows, maybe they just suit my eye), but the confidence really helps. I also avoid playing clubs with longer than average shafts (e.g. my driver is 44.5") and I find that really helps my confidence and consistency. If you're already having trouble with fairway woods, longer shafts are only going to make it worse.
I would also try and learn to hit your shorter irons as distance clubs on full swings, that has helped me a lot too. Knowing that I have a consistent, full-swing shot that I can hit a consistent distance (or pretty close) down to about 80 yards has definitely helped my scores. You seem to play an incredibly short course for your overall distance so I can't imagine that you're getting that much use out of your longer clubs anyway. Just curious, do you enjoy playing a course that short? I find it more fun to play a slightly longer course where I have a variety of shorts in the greens, seems like you would be hitting driver/wedge on every hole unless you're teeing off with shorter clubs on purpose. In any case, a golfer of your skill level (or mine) is going to be missing the green on most approaches with a wood or hybrid, so it probably makes more sense to work on optimizing the bottom half of your bag since you'll need to get up and down a lot.
Anyway, good luck improving. I'm sure a little experimentation with different clubs will go a long way towards feeling more confident and playing better.
If you prefer hybrids, go with it. From your remarks, it seems the hybrids just fit your eye better, which helps confidence over the ball.
I have years of experience playing fairway woods, and like the 7W better than 3H for getting ball out of thicker summertime rough.
Indeed it is so individual! Give me a FW from the FW 7w in the rough is a no go for me- hybrid all day.
No one says you HAVE to carry 14 clubs.
I say take the 3 wood out of the bag for now. 3h too. Tee of exclusively with the driver or 4h. With the length you described and good drive leaves you with some par 5's reachable with a good 4h. I'd put the gap wedge back in because of the versatility but if you really find no use, then take that out too.
I don't write much here I'm not a writer its easy to have something profound to say but to be able to eloquently write it I have not these skills but I'll try to make my point, I myself played the same game constantly trapped in trying to figure out what equipment was for me. A close friend and golf professional helped me tremendously after a few rounds and it wasn't any advice on my swing or what my equipment should be it was simply stop. Stop thinking stop worrying stop analyzing (although it is very important to analyze post swing) we get a wrapped up in the idea of what's supposed to be right or work or what we see on TV and in reality the one simple principle "hit the ball" gets shrouded over. People will go on and on who makes the best clubs or ball or what shaft is going to work the best for you but any golfer could pick up any piece of crap and knock it out there...off grass, turf, mats, tees or even a strippers **** it's the confidence to do what is required without any additional thought. I don't disagree with suggestions others made above and gapping your bag is also very vital so I'm sorry if my comment goes slightly off your topic I think having a solid practice regime and dedication are truly the tools to becoming better at golf. Thanks for the read
So you're averaging 1.8 putts per hole?
And you aren't losing a lot of balls each round?
And your big problem is missing GIR?
And your avg score is 96.
Not what WRXers want to hear but I doubt it's your clubs as the above doesn't really add up to me. You're not losing balls and just missing GIR (so why so much focus on the woods and hybrids??) but putt reasonably well. So is it your chipping/pitching that needs improvement? If it is, learn to use that gap wedge or add a lob wedge.
If you were losing lots of balls off the tee, then definitely evaluate your woods/hybrids.
You need to track more details of where your mistakes are.
Thanks, lots a help there. I probably need to think more about being long on a green, I definitely haven't looked at it that way before. My demo of a stiff shafted hybrid has definitely showed me I need one over my current hybrids.
My distances on my short irons, really from 8 down are pretty consistent. I have not played a lot of courses. The main reason I play my local course, as short as it is, is that it is the cheapest in the area and only 5 mins from my house. It also is pretty easy to show up without a tee time and get out there outside of Saturday mornings during the busy season. It's a pretty fun course. On most of the par 4's you are right though. A good drive means a wedge shot into the green. There are however a few dog legs that require me to tee off with an iron for another iron shot into the green. I could move back a tee box to the blues but that doesn't make that much of a difference on that many holes. Sometimes they are only set about 10 yards apart. The back 9 is longer than the front. I would like to branch out to other courses. This is a good course for me to learn on though. But again, the big draw for me is that it is the cheapest and so close. If I have an hour and a half after work I know I can go play 9 and be home to help with the kiddos for the dinner and bedtime routine.
The thing is, if you're not shooting good scores on a short course, you're not likely to shoot better scores on a longer course. Nothing wrong with getting really good on a shorter course and playing other courses periodically to break things up. If you get to the point where you're shooting really good scores taking driver/wedge on your short course, you can always make the course play longer by either hitting a short club off the tee, or hitting driver off the tee but dropping a ball well back from where your drive landed and taking a longer club into the green (obviously not "legal", but great for practice).
We have guys at our course that can't reach most greens in regulation +1 from the 6,300 yard tees and end up shooting well into the triple digits, but they don't want to play the 5,300 yard tees, or even the combo tees, for whatever reasons. I don't see how shooting 110+ isn't frustrating, not to mention how much they slow down the group they're playing with.
I can shoot 85-95 from the 6,300 yard tees, but right now I prefer to play the 5,300 yard tees whenever I can to try to get consistent and try to shoot under par. I'm not long, but I'm pretty straight. However, it still takes a good short game to shoot good scores from the shorter tees, and that carries over to any course yardage.
This piece is a very interesting. I do think that OPs equipment decisions are independent of this discussion as having proper gaps is important regardless of scores. He's got some length and with consistent coaching can probably improve quite a bit. Many of the aforementioned choices are well worth a test.
As for the tees, I like to think everyone should mix it up a bit. I like to play solo rounds and do it quite a bit. I'll usually play the tips for my main ball as that's what I always play unless it's 7200 yards + (still will do this from time to time but not often) and then a second ball from the reds with no driver. It's very good for your golf IMO.
There is a fine line. If you don't have the length to play from the back it's kind of just banging your head against the wall and if you're shooting 100+ non-stop there's no point, but when I was a 15 HC I forced myself to and I believe it made me improve my swing. If you don't push yourself you have no reason to improve.
My average score is probably looks worse than what those numbers indicate. It really is a matter of putting everything together for a solid round. Probably a problem a lot of high HC's have. I tend to have one or two blow-up holes. I can shoot a 42 one day and a 55 the next on the same 9 holes. For example, I played 9 last Friday and shot 51. My first 2 holes were a 7 and 8. I then had 5 bogies and 2 doubles. One lost ball. With driver I hit 3 fairways, 2 were the right rough, one was the left rough but all playable. One was in the fariway technically but shorter than it should have gone because I tee'ed it too high and got a nice sky mark. The 2 Par 3's I pulled my shot left of the greens but my distance was dead on. Putting was 2.22 and up and down was 29% and I hit 2 GIR in which I 3 putted both times.
So that gives you an idea of a not particularly good round for me. I likely have a lot of the problems newer, high handicap golfers have just maybe not all of them. I definitely need to work on getting up and down and putting more consistently. I am without a doubt losing stokes there. Like the 9 holes I described above the first two holes killed me. If I even bogey those I am down to a 46 which I would be happy with. I play 9 more often than I play 18 so I'm not sure how my app calculates average score, maybe it doubles my 9 hole score.
I am going to put the 52 back in the bag and try and work with that some to see how I do with the short game. That said, I would still like the top of my bag set up a bit better for me in terms of what I will use and clubs I can just pullout of the bag and hit with some reliability. Obviously practice will help more with that than a different club. I don't think I need a new wood because mine is necessarily bad for me. But I have noticed it is no more accurate off the tee than my driver and I can't hit it off the deck so it really serves no current purpose for me in the bag, at least not right now. If I was on a different course with a long par 5 and needed 3 wood distance for a second shot I sure wouldn't pull the 3 wood because I know there is almost no chance I hit it well. And trying a stiff shafted 4 hybrid yielded better results than my current 3 or 4 hybrid so I would like to swap that out when I can. I don't have any illusions that a new club will make me score significantly better. But it can't hurt. Of course what I really need is practice.
I agree completely, especially this piece "If you don't push yourself you have no reason to improve".
I understand the OP's question is about putting together a set at the top of his bag that will help him gain some consistency, and I agree that's part of the equation as I've gone through that recently myself. He can absolutely gain some improvement by getting the right setup for him, and he needs to figure out what that setup is, by trying different clubs (and types of clubs), getting fitted, instruction, just plain hitting the range with those clubs until he can't get it wrong, etc.
However, based on his original post and subsequent posts, I think most of us have interpreted that his game pretty much needs a little bit of everything (except maybe distance).
We all know there are lots of ways to approach improvement. To get to a low index you need a good combination of length and consistency, which is usually a combination of skill and having the right equipment for you. You also need a good short game. Sounds like, like a lot of higher handicaps (myself included), if he were to drop a ball in the fairway at PW distance, he would probably average higher than 3. Add to that any extra strokes to get there in the first place (penalties, chipping out of the trees, duffed shots, etc.), and he's north of 85, and likely north of 90.
No doubt pushing myself would help me improve. And no doubt my game needs help and improvement just about everywhere but in distance. I was really just trying to discuss what may work or what I should try at the top of my bag for where I am currently at in my game and the course I tend to play on, plus something that will be more useful and confidence inspiring to me when I get the chance to play other course. I did get a lot of suggestions in that regard and I think I know which way I'm going to go now. And as I've said, I really don't expect massive improvement just by changing up the top end of my bag. That said I welcome the other advice on things to work on I've gotten here too. Which as @balls_deep said is a bit independent of what I was initially hoping to discuss.
"I was really just trying to discuss what may work or what I should try at the top of my bag for where I am currently at in my game and the course I tend to play on, plus something that will be more useful and confidence inspiring to me when I get the chance to play other course. I did get a lot of suggestions in that regard and I think I know which way I'm going to go now."
Haha! The fun of dealing with humans in general, and internet forums in particular.
Just like in business meetings, we can approach this in a few different ways. We can try to force everyone to stay on topic so that we can solve that problem. However, in doing so we may miss out on where we may make more significant gains. Neither approach is wrong. Sometimes you have to just let everyone contribute everything and sort through it all to get what you need, and maybe file everything else away for future use.
One thing I'd really like to see from topics such as these is a follow-up. What you did, and what the results were. It'll never be finalized, so don't feel you need to wait until you feel it's locked down before you update us. Let us know what process you went through and what equipment you went with. Then let us know how it's working for you and how much improvement it's made. You're always allowed to change it later if you feel it's no longer the best approach.
This is a great post.
I think that the OP is way over-thinking this - but as golfers we can be pretty anal.
My guess is that a 7 or 8 club bag would be all the OP would need to get to shooting in the low 80's - consistently.
The driver, wedge and putter are the three most important clubs. I would suggest a higher lofted driver, even higher than the 9* set to 11*, with a shorter shaft of around 45". A real fairway finder. That might even be a 2-wood.
Next would be a serviceable 5-wood. Not the longest, but the straightest.
Some irons - more traditional lofts would be good. That gets the OP to a 46* PW, which can be very handy around the green for chipping, a long with a 9-iron.
I would suggest 1 wedge of 54* to play all the higher pitch and lob shots.
When practicing, the OP would work on hitting his driving club straight, hitting a whole bucket of balls with his 54* wedge, and spending time on the practice green on lagging long putts. Putting competitions with another golfer can be great for building confidence in approach putts.
Keep it simple.
@balls_deep , I sense we would make a good scramble team, given our shot variety!
I welcome the other advice. Some people have mentioned things that I would not have thought of. I do certainly plan to update things on this thread. Especially if anyone is interested to know what I did. Not sure I'll have much to add for a while. But first I will be taking some of the most common advice I got here. I'll pull my 3 wood and 3 hybrid out of the bag, leaving the 4 hybrid. I'll put the 52 back in and the next time I get a chance to practice some things I'll let you know how it goes.
Ya know I would have tried I higher lofted driver if I could have found one to try. I basically self fit myself at golf galaxy with what was available in the price range I was willing to spend in. I couldn't find anything higher lofted with a stiff shaft. Anything in the 12 degree range was senior flex. My iron lofts towards the bottom of the bag are not too strong compared to traditional lofts; my PW is 45 degrees. I absolutely should spend way more time working on wedges when I get the chance to practice.
Try looking for a 10* or 12* Titleist 910 D2 on ebay with a stiff shaft. They can be had for cheap, and they are still pretty darn good drivers. Worth a shot.
Ya gotta get lessons. NOW. Don't wait. The longer you wait and try to figure things out on your own the longer it'll take a coach to get you OUT of your bad habits.
OK, that's enough of the "preaching".
Now for your question "High Handicapper Bag Set Up".
I probably didn't read the whole thread as well as I could have but I think someone touched on it a bit. Your bag set up really doesn't matter. You're hitting your driver 270 and the average par 4 is 330 ? You must have wedges in your hands all day. If your driver is in the fairway OR in the rough with sight to the green you can't have more than an 8 iron to ANY par 4. If you DON'T have sight to the green the club doesn't much matter. You're chipping out (& hopefully a bit forward and you'll STILL have a wedge into the green.
If you're playing from 5600 yards and you can't break 90, take a look at my bag in my signature.
Please don't take this the wrong way but it's my experience that many golfers, especially "newbies", aren't very honest with themselves.
So 96-36 putts is 60 shots. How many do you strike right smack in the center of the clubface ? Maybe 10 ? And I'm not even talking about hitting it straight where you're aiming. Missing (way) left or right is OK, I'm talking about flush center strikes. So all-in-all, with so many mishits, score-wise it really doesn't matter what club you're hitting most of the time because you're not hitting it very well.
So to score better at your ball striking level you need to work on your short game AND learn to hit wedges. We score better when we hit shorter shots well. Who doesn't hit their putter more consistently than their SW, their SW better than their 9 iron, their 9 iron better than their 5 iron, etc. (Ok, OK, I know there are some exceptions but,,,,,,, LOL)
Tightening your gaps at the higher lofted end will at least give you more full swings into the green. Partial swings, other than chips from just off the green, are generally a high handicappers nightmare. Chunks ? Skulls ? Flush hits that are way short or way long ? At least 4 out of 5 times for those.
I don't hit my driver nearly as far as you do (carry max 230, total about 245 - on very solid strikes). I play from ~6200 yards and still often have short irons and wedges to the green.
Strangely enough I had this same issue not too long ago. I decided one "scores" from close in, not far away. Am I going to knock it close, or even hit the green from 180-200 ? Or will I hit the green and knock 'em much closer from 120 and in ? Silly question, right ? So I dumped my 4 hybrid since I felt I could ease up on the 3 hybrid and get pretty much the same (acceptable ? LOL) result, and added a 48* GW to my 52*, 56*, and 60*.
I only counted 13 clubs in your original post. I didn't see a lob (60 ?) and there's too big a gap between your PW and Gap (45-52).
Even/regular gaps on the shorter clubs allow me more full swings in the scoring area. No "taking something off" a longer club or trying to "push" a shorter one.
Now we're at far different skill levels but dumping your 4 hybrid and adding 2 wedges, especially playing such a short course might help you out.
P.S. Work on chipping around the green with the higher lofted clubs (52, 56, 60). You'll get the hang of 'em after a while.
I would love to get lessons now. It's not in the cards for this season of life. I do think it's something I can do next spring though. The wedge advice you have given is similar to what I got in a different thread I had started because I am aware of the large gap between my PW and 52. I'd say the main reason that has not been a major concern for me is that I have not often found myself at that full swing distance on my course. I'd say your general assessment of what a round for me looks like is pretty spot on though. Unless I have hit a terrible tee shot with my driver I do not generally find myself with anything longer than an 8 iron for a second shot. Like most of my game, my ball striking is inconsistent. In part, because I don't practice nearly enough to improve. I am generally in the center of the club face with an iron as in I don't often have a heel or toe strike. When I mess up with my irons it's generally either low in the face or hitting behind the ball. So yes, I absolutely would benefit from lessons and working on everything from closer in. But my sort of proposed idea, your suggestion, and suggestions here with the top of my bag I think will help that end of my game. I think keeping my driver dropping my 3 hybrid and replacing my 4 hybrid with one I agree more with will be a big help. I'll then sort the rest of my bag. My home course has a 9 hole par 3 course that can be played at basically 1800, 1600, 1300, or 900 yards. I should likely be spending more time on that to work on my short game when I can get out for a round.
You don't need to push yourself, just have fun and play. Course management is where the better scores come from. My friends try to go for it after a bad shot instead of just laying up, and that is where I get them. I want them to go for it, lol! Try to take the course apart when you play it, especially knowing where it is best to avoid at all costs. One hole I am stuck in a bad place and just chip to the front of the green, and take the bogey, no problem at all. If I had tried a hero shot like he did, I would also have gotten a double.
People on this thread are a bunch of buzzkills.
Thanks. I tried to acknowledge that my game needs work and new club won't fix everything etc. to avoid so of that. That said I did get a lot out of the unsolicited advice and ultimately which way I am gonna go at the top of the bag for now. Just have to sell off at least one or 2 of the clubs first.
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