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Mid/ High handicaps: any particular club that dropped your handicap?


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I agree it’s somewhat important but disagree it will lower anyone’s handicap. Anyone can play decent golf with less than perfectly fit clubs. Imo bounce is only important from the sand but there’s plenty of specialty wedges that make it “idiot proof”. Unless your playing from bare hard pan around the greens just about any bounce should be fine. Also course conditions change from season to season, day to day, or minute to minute. I can’t run out to the car and swap out wedges if it starts to rain mid round or they’ve let the rough grow up in certain areas.

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The SM7 56° and the Newport 2 I used on the practice green for many hours.

G400 Max driver. Having confidence off the tee and being able to drive the ball consistently (for me) was a game changer. Shot my personal best, dropped my handicap over the course of the year and pl

Dropping long irons. Fairways or hybrids as the replacement. Just don't have the swing speed or strike consistency to hit something with less loft that my 5-iron.

I'm steep and practically all of last year was wet in my area. I constantly hit fat wedges. Like every time I pulled a wedge lol. Went from M grind with 8 degrees of bounce to D grind with 12 degrees. Rarely catch a fatty these days and am really dialed in. So going from previously having a second attempt in the fairway to now having a relatively tight putt, yeah it's helped dropped my handicap.

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Agree on the BB1F. I got one at the beginning of the year and it’s been lights out. Never tried a Bettinardi before but they are the real deal

 

Also I think once I really focused on Driver, wedges and putting my HC has dropped from a 29 about 2.5 years ago to a 10 now.

PING G410 10.5° | Ventus Blue 7S

PING G410 5W 16.5º | Ventus Blue 8S
PING G410 3H 20.5º | Ventus Blue HB 9X
Callaway Apex CF19 5-PW | Modus 105S
Callaway MD5 50°W 54°S 58°X | KBS $-Taper 120S

Toulon Las Vegas H7 | Stability Tour
Titleist ProV1x

 

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Working on chipping with properly fit wedges and anything 120 in really helped

TS3 8.5 Ventus Black 7x

Ping G410 17 degree Hybrid Atmos Black 9x

Mizuno CLK 22 degree hybrid Tensei Pro Blue 80TX

T100S 1 degree weak 4-PW Project X 7.0

SM7 50, 54 Project X 6.5 

Taylormade Hi-Toe 60 Project X 6.5

Piretti Cottonwood II

Srixon XV 

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Chipping here as well, but with a 9 iron mostly. I also have a max, hybrids, and fairway woods. Confidence goes a long ways for me, as once I started to hit better shots, the game was easier.

another day, and a different game shows up

Ping Max 10.5

Cobra F9 5,7 wds

RBZ 4,5 hybrids

G700 5-AW irons

MD5 54 10S

Toulon Columbus

Maxfli Tour

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I’d be willing to bet most fitters would say drop your 3 and 4 irons for hybrids, drop the 3 and 5 wood for a 16-17* 4 wood, and then no wedge over 58*.

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IMO the modern 3-wood is obsolete for most amateurs. The 14-16* 3-wood was never easy to hit off the turf. Most people carried them as a 'safe' alternative off the tee. But advances in drivers over the last 20 years have made them MUCH easier to hit off the tee. And a 17* club is much easier to hit off the turf than a traditional 3-wood.

WITB (as of 9/29/20)
PING G410 LST 10.5
PING G400 5-wood
PING G410 22*
Srixon Z565 5-PW
Cleveland CBX 2 50*
Cleveland CBX 2 54*
Cleveland CBX Full Face 58*
Cleveland Frontline Elevado
Titleist ProV1x

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Just properly fit clubs, I can't use OTR. I need longer and a lie adjustment, I never knew this, and probably wouldn't have without a fitting. I went from constantly chunking my irons to hardly taking a divot at times, I'd constantly loose balls to now more in play, I'd have wide tee shots all over the place to my shot staying on the hole.

 

Next for me will be putter which I believe will be a huge help to my game and dropping my handicap.

Lefty WITB

Driver: 9° Ping G410 Plus - Tour 65S

3W: 13.5° Ping G410 LST - Aldila NV 2KXV Green 75X

3H: 19° Ping - Tensei CK Pro Orange 90TX

Irons: 4i - 7i Srixon 585 / 8i - PW Srixon 785 - AMT Tour White S300

Wedges: 51° MD3 - 56° Glide 2 - 60° PM2

Putter(s): TP Mills Handmade - SIK Pro Tour Proto - MannKrafted MA/66 LN - and more. 

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Taking clubs out of the bag that I can't hit, and not replacing them with other clubs I can't hit but delude myself into thinking I can, has always seemed to help my scores, in general. It seems to cut down on my blowup holes.

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Whatever keeps your ball in play the most. Nothing like playing from the short grass, instead of out of the rough, trees, or penalty shots. It's a great feeling hitting your second shot out of the Fairway after an accurate drive. During a tournament I open keep the driver in the bag and use my 4 hybrid off the tee, and it always provides plenty of distance to get to the hole in regulation.

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For me it was a Vokey wedge and learning how to use it. Phil Mickelson had (has?) a DVD on short game drills and between the two I probably dropped 10 strokes over time just with that. For me distance was never a problem but my GIRs was horrifying and I was chipping on from pretty much every green, so getting it close allowed me to pick up strokes fast. That's not so much of a problem these days but having a solid short game that you're confident in will pay lifelong dividends no matter what your handicap.

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This. Go read all that Rickie Fowler has gone through trying to find an alternative to a 3 wood, a club even he admits is a real struggle to hit well. I've about decided the 3w is the hardest club to hit, replacing the infamous 2 irons (or 1 irons) of yesteryear, and if Rickie Fowler is struggling what chance do I have. I carry a 5w in the bag, but like Rickie who at one time carried a Cobra F9 4 iron (maybe still does), in most cases I usually just grab my Callaway XR game improvement 4 iron because it's dead easy to hit and goes a mile.

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Another G400 Max user, yea there are some longer but in play allows me to score consistently better. The other big change was finding a wedge that works for me around the green as at my handicap level, I miss a lot of greens. I spent an hour at a local golf shop hitting all sorts of wedges, grinds, etc. until I found something that consistently works for me.

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Started at 8 and currently +.5

Biggest things for me:

Get lessons or at the very least buy a PlaneMate or learn how to properly use alignment sticks to do a poor mans version.Finding a driver I trusted that would be consistent through the subtle changes of my swing from day to day and my never ending search for more distance (G410+).Lose the hybrids. Great clubs, but they aren’t versatile enough as tools.Getting fit and not changing the bag after, but making sure to dial in the loft gapping for proper yardage gaps.Sticking with 1 golf ball each season (or at the most a gamer and a wind ball).

Driver: Ping G410 Plus w/Tensei Orange
3 Wood: Titleist TS2 w/HZRDUS Smoke
Hybrid: Titleist 718 H2 w/Atmos Blue TS 
Irons: Ping iBlade Nippon AWT 2.0 Stiff
Wedges: Callaway MD3 50, 54, and 58
Putter: Original Odyssey White Hot XG No. 7
Ball: Bridgestone XS

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Making the switch to single length helped me more than anything else. Other than that, Driver. If your second shot is always some form of recovery shot, it becomes a lot harder to score than playing it from the short stuff. Cobra F9 made a world of difference for me and after hitting all the 2020 driver models I've found the Mavrik Max to be a real game changer for myself.

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I would never be able to say a certain club got my HC moving downward but I will always claim that my wedge game is by far my greatest ally.

If I mess up off the tee (my #1 score-card killer) and have to lay-up to 100 or less, I just grab whatever wedge I think is right and I'm confident I can toss it right near the bullseye. Just don't ask about my chipping...

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Not so much which clubs I changed, except for perhaps getting hybrids instead of long irons, but ditching half of them. Sorry, but I am a half-setter. Frees up the mind..

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I don't think any particular club is going to necessarily lower one's handicap, but some features definitely help add some forgiveness and thus build confidence:

Having enough bounce on the wedges Avoiding overly heavy/stiff shaftsAvoiding lofts that are too strongAdding lofted woods / hybrids (5w / Rescue)Removing unnecessary clubs (2i)

And as your handicap comes down you can begin to think about more subtle things:

Matching bounce / sole to local conditionsShaft fittingPrecise loft spacingUse of specialized clubs (driving irons)

I've always felt that clubs are important (we obviously talk a lot about them) but that they have an indirect and subtle effect. Often times, club choice is about getting rid of what doesn't work and making sure you don't have something that's fighting you. You certainly don't need the perfect club(s). You just need to avoid having the features that hold you back.

 

SIM (10.5o) (Tensei Pro Org.)
TS2 4w (17o)

M6 7w (21o)

z785 (4-Pw)
SM8 52-F / 56-F / 60-S
Newport 2 Select

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Driver with a good fit shaft and wedges for 120 and in. Also course management goes a long way when you look at yardage and what club to use to get into the best scoring position.

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I know I’m not quite in the range you describe, but have read many of the responses.

To improve from where you are, the progression could be listed as such:

1) Driver and/or play up a couple sets of tees

2) Approach shots with any club. Avoid lower lofted clubs unless you swing well over 100mph with driver.

3) Scoring clubs, the 100-150 yard clubs.

4) Pitching and Chipping

5) Putting

4) and 5) you can improve upon at any time. If you’re bad at short game now, you can quickly improve your scores by having a good short game.

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What lead to my massive drop from a 13 down to a 7 was getting a proper fitting. That freed up my mind from always wondering if I was playing the best setup for myself in terms of shaft flex, more/less forgiving irons, etc. That showed me the clubs I was now being fit for, or at least the general range, were going to eliminate my constant doubt about my bag setup.

DR: Mavrik SZ - Tour AD XC 7S
5W: Mavrik SZ - Tour AD XC 8S
3H: Titleist 816 H2 - Speeder 8.8X
Irons (4-P): Mizuno MP-20 MMC - KBS $ X
Wedges (50,54,58): Mizuno T20 Raw - KBS $ X
Putter: Newport 2.5 Special Select
Ball: Chrome Soft Truvis

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dumping my hybrids and 3 Wood for the G410 Crossover 2 (17) and 3 (20) and adding in a 4 iron. able to hit the G410 easily off the turf and tee. Able to hit the 17 longer off the tee than my 3w and pretty close to my driver (driver swing issue) and keep it in play. the 20 bent to 19 replaced the g410 19 hybrid, I hit the crossover higher and almost as far and much straighter.

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Several years ago, I was a 20 hdcp, made a couple changes that off-season that I feel led directly to my dropping to a 13 hdcp level that next season.

One was a random discovery, I found a driver at 2nd Swing, it was shorter, heavier, and stiffer than what I'd been using (per recommendations). My tee game improved considerably. The second was a switch from the irons I'd been using to a set of Golden Rams. Counter-intuitive, but they did provide improvement *for me*.

I had another incremental improvement from the 11-12 range to 8 hdcp level, that coincided with another counter intuitive change. I spent three months playing a Ram persimmon driver and 3w, and watched my hdcp start dropping immediately. I found the number of penalty strokes and tree-inspired punchouts were cut down considerably. I guess you could call it a rather stark indictment of my tee game until that point. LOL

The Ever Changing Bag!  A lot of mixing and matching
Driver:  Cobra Fly-Z+, Xcaliber 7.5 TS, 44", King LTD, HZRDUS 75 6.5, 44.25"
3w:  Cobra King LTD, Aldila Tour Blue 85 S, 42.5"; Stage 2 Tour, SK Fiber Tour Trac 100 X, 42.5"
Hybrid:  TaylorMade Stage 2 Tour, NV105 S or DGS400

Irons grab bag:  Mizuno MP-37, DGS300; Golden Ram TW276, NV105; Golden Ram TW282, Precision 6.5; Ram TG-898, Super Peening Blue X; 1980 Golden Rams, Dynamic S; MacGregor Muirfield, Dynamic S; Wilson Staff 78 Tour Blades, Dynamic S
GW:  Dynacraft Dual Millled 52*, DGS400
SW:  Ram Watson Scoring System 55*, DGX 7i shaft; Ram TG-898, DGS400; Ram TG-898, NV105 S; Wilson Staff PMP 58*, DGS300; Ram 1982 Commemorative Nickel 58*, Dynamic S; Ram TW282, DGS; Ram TW276, DGS
LW:  Maltby Design 60* mid sole, DGS400; Maltby Design 60* mid sole, NV105 S
Putter:  Snake Eyes Viper Tour Sv1, 34.25"; Yes! Nicky, 34"
Balls: Wilson Staff Duo Professional or 50 Elite, TP5

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