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What’s in the bag?

If you are a golf nut like myself, of course you love to tinker with your swing and also the tools in your bag, so allow me to point out a few new tricks that I use myself.

For the past few years I have been looking for the best set-up for my clubs and I think I’m getting closer. It can be a challenge today because there are so many club and ball choices, but after I parked my 53-year old ego at the door, I was ready to make some headway.

A few months ago I went to a “Super-Lite” SL-300 steel shaft in my irons that is almost as light as graphite. I also went to a more flexible shaft in the 3,4 and 5 irons. This makes up for the fact that I’m getting older and cannot generate quite as much swing speed.

In my opinion, most players use clubs that have a golf shaft that is too firm, and therefore usually too heavy for them. Also, it is important to have the proper length golf shaft. At 6 foot 3 I like it a bit over length and with the SL-300 I was able to do that without getting it too heavy. The other factors that you need to consider are proper lie angle and grip size.

My hands are fairly large so I will typically use oversize grips for most of my clubs too. One exception is my driver, where I like a thinner grip to get more release of the wrists. Conversely, I will use thicker grip in my gap and sand wedges for less release.

The new golf balls do not spin as much as the older ones, so we need to address this by using more loft in the driver and fairway woods. I was typically using an 8-degree driver and 12 or 13 degree 3-wood. I have now gone to more like a 10-degree driver and a 15-degree fairway wood. This will allow the lift of the ball and hopefully have it stay in the air longer. With the large face drivers many of us have today, be sure to tee the ball quite high and have it more forward in your stance. This will get the ball more on the upswing and allow for the lift that you need.

The new hybrid clubs are wonderful and there are numerous choices. I know a few players who use several varieties and end up with a bouquet of woods and hybrids in their bag. I have been using one in the 18 or 19-degree range to replace a 2-iron or 5-wood and many players will use a 21-degree that replaces the 3 and/or 4-iron. There are times when I want to hit a low 3-iron, and that would be the only shot you may miss if you go to multiple hybrid clubs.

Now we are getting near the green, so let’s talk putters. MOI is the new important term in putters. Moment of inertia (MOI) is the ability of the putter design to keep the putter square through impact. This seems to be a good thing and you will see this most in the large mallet putters like the 2-ball, the Taylor Made Monza, and the large MacGregor Bobby Grace putters. Like your irons, get the proper length and lie angle and putt with the club flush to the ground. I like a long fairly heavy putter and I use a custom length at 36 inches and about 1-degree upright to get my eyes over the ball.

I’ve covered a lot today, but it is important to have the right tools. Good luck and get advise from a PGA professional if you have questions.

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