First, thanks to everyone on this forum, it has helped me out a bunch over the last year. As I am getting things ready for the spring I just wanted to share my thoughts on a few things.
I chose to get the Ping K15 clubs last spring. I got a nice work bonus so price was not a major factor. I am very happy with the K15 line and feel they will suit me for quite some time. I started off by getting the 3H, 4H, 5-PW set. The irons have steel shafts. I had read not to jump into drivers and planned on using the 3H to tee off with. At the same time I also got the Sydney putter which I also like. I feel it has a crisper contact than the Scottsdale putters which felt "mushy" to me. In the late spring / early summer I got the UW, SW, and LW. I knew the short game was important and wanted to get the clubs to help me out there. Towards the late summer I got the 3W, 5W, 7W, 5H, 6H, and driver 12 degree. This purchase was to round out the set and also because I was having issues off the tee. This was also nice because it seems the K15 line was not a hit and I am glad I have the clubs I need to finish off the set. I feel this set can grow with me for quite some time.
Off the Tee:
I had read many places to not start off with a driver, so I decided to use the 3H off the tee. In hind sight I would not suggest beginners do this. Even now the 3H is a harder club for me to hit and I would have been better off with a driver, 7W, 5H or 5I. So for most of the summer I would start off the round with a bad 3H shot and then play behind the rest of the hole. At one point to counter act this I tried out the 5I some off the tee and that was ok, but sometimes did not give me the distance I needed. I tried to hit the 7W, 5W, and 3W off the tee in the late summer, but since I did not have enough practice time with the clubs, I would have been better off hitting the 5I.
I would also suggest beginners get a 7W at the beginning. The reason for this is that the 7W let me understand how "easy" I could swing the club and still get the same effect. I kept powering through my strokes with the hybrids and irons. My golf instructor kept telling me to be softer, but it was not until I had a lesson in the late summer with the 7W that I truly understood how easy I could swing the club for a powerful effect. I was then able to apply that lesson to my irons and hybrids.
In hindsight I wish I would have purchased a 7W or 5H and tee'd off with that all last year. Even the 4H would have been better than the 3H.
My plan for this year is to pick either the driver or 7W to tee off with consistently all season. There are pros to both approaches. I am going to practice with both and choose in the early spring.
On the Fairway:
Most of last year I played 5I- PW on the fairway. My best club was probably the 7I. In the late summer I got the 5H and 6H, which I would now say are my best clubs in the bag. I would certainly suggest beginners try and buy the K15 set with 3H-6H and 7I-PW if they will let you. I do not regret having the 5I and 6I, because I feel I will use those clubs as my game improves.
If I was on the fairway I usually hit fairly well onto the green. However teeing off with the 3H meant I was not on the fairway most of the time, which made the next shot more difficult out of the rough.
While I do feel that having four wedges did help me, my short game needs serious work. The point of having four wedges is so that you can have a few consistent swings and let the clubs do the work. However I am certainly not at that point yet. I have the short game bible and plan on spending some serious practice time and a lesson or two in the spring on the short game. My plan right now is to carry all four wedges but if my instructor feels it would be better to carry two or three to take some of the club selection confusion out then I will do that.
I currently feel that I do not have the finesse wedge swing and am trying to work on that this winter.
I bought a putting practice aid last summer but did not spend much time using it. Putting was not my strong suit and is certainly an area I need to work on this year. I have been trying to practice putting in front of the TV this winter with the putting aid. I have been focusing on looking down and hope to purchase the putting bible soon. I might also devote a lesson or two to putting in the spring. I am currently feeling much better with the putter by doing the practice.
Last year I did try to accurately record my scores. Even if I hit 8 or 10 shots on a hole I felt it was important to know so that I could see I was improving if I hit 7 on that hole the next time. Towards the end of the year I was also trying to record GIR and if I hit the fairway or not off the tee. I feel this data is very important to know how to improve your game. If the numbers show you can't hit the fairway with a club off the tee then you need to change clubs. If you have four putts on each hole the it is time for some putting work.
I am still not comfortable with how far I hit each club. I am trying to get my swings and clubs finalized for the season so that I can then get yardages with each club. There is a golf app with GPS that records the club distance that I will try and utilize this season.
I will try and get about 5 lessons this spring to get rid of any bad habits and improve my game. Lessons are expensive but it is cheaper to pay for fewer lessons to learn correct habits than many lessons to unlearn bad habits.
Bag for this Season:
Driver (if more or equal consistency than 7W)
UW - if it makes sense
SW - if it makes sense
LW - if it makes sense
3H - this club is hard to hit for me
3W - maybe next year
5W - maybe late this year if I get the practice and confidence
5I - hard to justify since I can smack the 5H so well
6I - hard to justify since I can smack the 6H so well
Goals for this Season:
- Have to hit the fairway off the tee
- Work on wedges, chips and pitches
- Play a safe easy game to stay on the fairway and greens
I hope this helps others and would love to hear any feedback on my bag or plans for this season.