Saturday, November 22, 2008

Golf Equipment

Lesson 3

Golf equipment is straight forward, right? You just need some clubs to swing, balls to hit and one of those long pole fishers to sift the pond floor for "white gold". If you agree with that last sentence, please listen....and if you don't agree, you are on the right track. In my last post, I discussed appropriate golf apparel, today I progress to general golf equipment needs for the average player.

Tip: If you came to fish, you'd have a fishing pole in your bag, you came to golf! Don't spend much time fishing for balls.

It's impossible for me to say golf equipment has no effect on performance. If you are a beginner, I suggest using whatever clubs/balls you can find. You should solely focus on practicing, by that I mean going to the driving range and putting green. Even if you don't know what you are doing, you can watch the people around you, much of human behavior is learned through imitation. You can always purchase bigger and better tools later, don't feel rushed. I'd like to offer assistance to the intermediate players, who have seen improvements to their game, over the course of lets say 1 year, but still use the beginner equipment.

Tip: Go to the Driving Range/Putting Green and Practice!

The official rules state our bag can hold a maximum of 14 golf clubs. Ignoring brands for the moment, i'll list what I have in my bag: Two Drivers, One 3 Wood, 3-9 iron, Pitching Wedge, Two Sand Wedges and a Putter. I'm pushing the limit with 14, I really don't need the second driver in my bag...its the first official driver I ever used and I like to think it brings me luck. Recently, I find myself not using my 3 wood or 3 iron, I'm looking into replacing them with a hybrid and/or rescue club. As for the other equipment, I use two sand wedges with different degrees, one is for green side chip/bunker shots and the other is for low approach shots with more spin.

Tip: Rescue lubs are easier to hit then Long irons.

What to Swing

I like to follow the "whatever you feel comfortable with" model. No single brand is better then another, finding good golf clubs is a matter of trial and error. Asking me to pick one wouldn't be fair. All of the top irons companies like: Titleist, Ping, Callaway, Nike, Taylor Made, Ben Hogan (there are more then these six) make exceptional equipment! Its up to you as a player to find and test these products to make your own judgement call. Most golf retail stores allow customers to give certain clubs a trial if you look serious about buying. Otherwise, during peak golfing season, many driving ranges hold equipment trial sessions which makes everything more convenient for you. Also, checking out discount golf equipment online can save you time and money. You have lots of options as the buyer, usually stores or expos are flexible with testing all sorts of equipment like irons, wedges and putters.

Tip: Golf Galaxy and Golf Smith are two great retail stores.

What I Swing

1) Mizuno Driver
2) Taylor Made 3 Wood
3) Meridian Irons (3 through PW)
4) Cleveland Sand Wedges (56 and 54 degree)
5) Odyssey Putter

Equipment detail: I won my driver in a tournament, it took me a few months of practice before I was comfortable hitting it. My 3 Wood is from my first set, I don't like feel of the shaft or the grip.....changing it soon. My irons are from a company who is now out of business, they tested my swing and custom built my clubs with a longer shaft to connect best with my height. My 56 degree is quite old but I love the feel of it chipping around the greens, my 54 degree is relatively new and I love how it makes contact with the ball. My putter is also from my original set, its really grown on me over the last 7 years.

Tip: If you ever have the chance, get your swing analyzed and taped. Watching yourself gives you instant feedback.

What to Hit

Most golf club manufacturers listed above also sell golf balls. The majority of professionals play Titleist, or at least I believe their commercial claim "#1 ball in golf". I agree they make a good golf ball but it doesn't mean its YOUR ball. You are the "only one" hitting the thing! Again, I stress the "feel comfortable" model, if you strike a ball and it feels great, play it for awhile. You can always buy a new sleeve to test out, right? Good golf balls can cost $15 for a sleeve of 3. Did I forget to mention this game isnt cheap? Man, can't wait for that economy to turn around....

Tip: Test...Test...Test!

What I Hit

If you were to peek into my bag right now, the majority of the balls would be Titleist. But I do enjoy testing out new balls. I find sticking with one kind is boring, I like some variety in my life. I keep some others in my bag as well like Callaway and Maxfli. Oh......and I always keep one or two Top Flite balls, they are my last resort if I lose too many or get angry and want to hit one into a lake. Everyone has done it!

Tip: Top Flite balls resemble rocks, and sink like them. Be nice to the fishies please.

Finding the right brand for you is a process that takes time. The only way to know what you like is to test out a few club brands or a few putters and different types of balls for a comparative perspective. The brands I mentioned are very popular amongst most golfers but don't take our word for it, go figure out what you like because I know at this time, our experiences are different. Ideally, when all is said and done with this blog, I hope your experiences resemble my own.

Golf Instructions Online Tip: Don't eat too much turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving,


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