How many times have we all been heard to say the words, “I need new clubs!“? Probably once a round if you’re playing with some of my friends… so, should you change your equipment? And how do I go about selecting new golf clubs?
Should you change your equipment? Fancy a new driver to boom those drives 300 yards? How about a new putter so you can putt like Speith?
Your next question should be – will it really help my game?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then great. An exciting time! But how do you make sure you get the correct equipment for your game?
If you are looking for a new driver, the first thing is to get the correct loft.
Way too many golfers I see do not have enough loft on their driver, this can affect their swing as they try desperately to get more height and distance.
Such an issue this is, I have had a few golfers come in for a new driver, but with the help of a launch monitor, discovered they actually hit a 3 wood further.
A couple of years ago Taylormade launched their mini driver with more loft to help with this issue.
The simple answer is to have a custom fitting with a qualified golf Pro who has a launch monitor (be wary of American Golf as often their custom fitters are not Pro equipment and have much less knowledge).
They will be able to tell you how high the ball launches, combined with how much you spin the ball to get the correct loft for you.
You will be able to see yourself both the difference in results of launch and spin, along with (hopefully!) how much longer you now hit it!
I’ve talked about a lack of loft here – just remember too much loft could mean shorter drives too (although in my experience this is less common).
Shaft flex and length is important too – so if you are getting fitted the pro will advise on shaft flex and just make sure it ‘feels’ ok to you.
I mentioned shaft length too – the average driver shaft off the shelf is 45”-45.5” long.
The average driver length on the PGA Tour is 44”-44.5”.
So why would us mere mortals think we can use a longer clubs than those experts!
It’s only making things harder. Now, although a longer club can create more clubhead speed and therefore longer drives – it is much more important to strike the ball out the middle of the face for distance.
Always try a shorter shaft (or grip down) to see how your results are affected.
Those thin, shiny blades always look great in the bag.
People will think “that guy’s good!” but if you proceed to shank one in the woods – they will be less than impressed!
So what do the different head types do?
Cavity back – This is more forgiving – the sweet spot of the club is made larger by cutting the back out the club and moving the weight around the perimeter of the club.
There are differences in these though. Some have a big cavity on the back – the bigger the cavity the more forgiving the club will be. If it is only a small cavity, the club will not be quite so forgiving.
Who should buy these? Essentially anyone. There are many Tour Players using cavity back irons now but it is important to buy the correct ones.
Hybrids – You can buy a few hybrids or even a whole set of hybrids! Essentially small woods, the sweet spot can be large as possible as the clubhead is hollow which means more weight to put around the perimeter. Often there is a little more weight put near the sole to give a low centre of gravity which helps to result in higher shots
Who should buy these? Anyone who struggles to strike the ball out the middle or hits the ball very low.
Blades – Hardest of the club to hit. A small sweet spot and a slightly higher centre of gravity leads to shots that go lower but if you do not hit the sweet spot – do not expect to be hitting the green!
Who should buy these? Only elite players – scratch and less
You may feel you fit into a few categories here but firstly make sure you are giving yourself as much forgiveness as possible – if the tour players use forgiving irons, why don’t you?
Golf is hard enough, give yourself a chance!
Next look at how high you are hitting the irons; for example, if you are trying out hybrids and striking them pretty well but they are going too high (possibly costing you distance), try a cavity back.
This is all about getting the balance between forgiveness and hitting the ball on a good trajectory to give you the most distance possible.
It is possible now to not have to have a full set with the same head type, you can mix and match.
That is why you see golfers now having hybrids in the longer irons but there is no reason why you can’t go all the way down to say 6 iron in hybrids then cavity backs for the rest if it is going to make the game easier for you.
This may help you to find the blend between forgiveness and getting maximum distance.
In order to determine the correct shaft and lie angle (which can have a massive effect on the direction of your shots) seek out a professional with a launch monitor to see the differences between shafts and lie angle.
As a simple rule, if you want the ball to go higher and longer, try a more flexible shaft – not the most scientific approach but is a good rough guide!
There are many styles of putter from blade to mallet. In my opinion, the most important thing to go for is a style you like the look of.
Take this a little further and hit a few putts. I’ve found the putters I get on best with are a shape that allows me to “see” the line to the hole.
By that I mean the design allows me to easily line the face with my target.
What can be of importance is the shaft you choose. Now we are not talking about flex here but rather how the shaft goes into the head.
Some go into the centre of the head, some go into the heel (as with other clubs), some go into the heel but have a kink near the end. But what is the purpose of these different shafts?
Depending on the shaft you choose, the putter will be balanced differently from toe to heel.
For example; a shaft that goes straight into the heel will mean the toe hangs down if held horizontal to the floor. (Picture).
This will encourage the face to rotate open and closed through the putting stroke.
Whereas a shaft that goes into the centre on the head, the putter face will remain flat.
This encourages much less rotation of the face through the putting stroke.
The same happens when you have a shaft that kinks into the head as if you were to continue the shaft line down to the head, ignoring the kink, the shaft would end up in the centre of the head.
If you have a putting stroke that is rounded, i.e. the putter swings on an arc like a small semi-circle, then the clubface needs to rotate with that arc. nd therefore you are best to choose a putter where the shaft goes straight into the heel.
And therefore you are best to choose a putter where the shaft goes straight into the heel.
If you have more of a “straight back and through” stroke, you want little rotation in the clubface, therefore a putter where the shaft goes straight into the centre or KINKS into the heel, will be better for you.
It is best to get your pro to check what type of stroke you have (or get a friend to, if this is not an option).
This is quite important as a lot of people think they putt ‘straight back and through’ but in fact have quite a large arc.
So many golfers have a putter that is too big for them.
The easiest way to find out is to set up as if you are hitting a putt, then let go of your putter and let your arms hang naturally.
There should be a slight bend in your arms, but as long as they are hanging naturally and comfortable you will be on the right lines (picture).
Then put your putter back in your hands and see how low (or high) on the grip your hands are. This is the length of putter you need.
So there you have it, more great Pro Tips from Andy next month!
By Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro. If you have a specific shot you struggle with contact Andy at
If you have a specific shot you struggle with contact Andy at email@example.com