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I believe the two most important clubs in the bag are the driver and putter. Without those two "working" it is difficult to score well. Having said that I don't equate money and performance as equals. You need to find a driver that suits you and as WU Tiger suggests one way is to "get fitted" by a pro. In my case I go the Golf Expos in the area and try out a lot of different clubs and some manufactures will "fit you for free (their equipment only). So I do believe the driver is an important club that requires special attention, but don't think spending big bucks on one will ensure your driving performance. I got mine out of a used club bin at a local shop that let me "rent" if for a round before I bought.
What I would suggest on how to "train" yourself to hit full shots less that 100% is to start with your wedges. Since, on the course you have to hit those shots anyways, you might as well start there, If you hit your 60 90yds on a full swing, you really have to practice hitting it 85, 80, 75. Pay attention to what those swings feel like. https://youtu.be/iGSN3I3Lfzg is a good video on 1/2 and 3/4 swings. Once you can train yourself to control those distances, you should feel the rhythm and tempo. From there it is just applying that same rhythm to full swings throughout the bag. Basically, the drill is that you can't swing 100% to hit it 50% or 75% distance. Its less about "controlling" your swing and more about feeling the rhythm of the swing.
No of course gambling isn't necessary to enjoy golf. But I do for stakes that won't change my financial status whether I win or lose, just bragging rights, lunch and/or a beer, or even cash money at times. But I don't have a problem with either folks that don't gamble or folks that do.
Probably slim but who knows? If it was easy everyone would do it. I'm trying to do it from a 5 handicap, in 5 years, full time, coached at the National Academy, practising regularly with guys already on tour and with all the kit I can throw at it like my own swing studio with launch monitor, high speed cameras, etc. My chances are 'slim' but there's every possibility Tom is a darn sight more talented than me. Tom, give it your best shot. Whether you make it or not, you'll regret not giving it a go if that's what you want to do. Where abouts are you based? If you're within a day trip to Lincolnshire and would like a day on the launch monitor some time let me know. The guys I practice with who play on tour (or top level International Amateur circuit in one case) use it so I have all their data to compare how you strike the ball compared to the guys who are where you want to get to. Without knowing how good you need to get it's pretty tough to know how far you have to go - you need targets to work towards. I also practice on the course and around the practice green with them for the same reason. Regarding Lihu's question, where are you now? Handicap? (Actually care least about this due to the way our handicaps work) Driving numbers ie launch monitor measured carry, spin, etc? How do you strike your irons (ie actual data rather than a guess)? 2 years is a massively short period of time unless you have good indoor facilities to use given the winter is about to set in. My guestimate would be you'd be needing to strike the ball about on par with one of the scratch players who uses my swing studio and launch monitor to be in with a shot at getting your long game up to close to the sort of standard I see out of the tour guys. Give me a shout via PM if you want to, I'm one year in to a 5 year programme so could maybe help you avoid some pit falls and blind alleys.