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You don't really need 14 clubs to break 100 (or 90 for that matter)

onthehunt526

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I realize this entry is coming from an 80s shooter and not a pro, but it's based on personal experience. I figured that you would appreciate it. 

It is my belief that most high-handicappers carry too many clubs, mostly clubs that they struggle with. Since golf is hard and simplifying it is impossible, We will simplify what we can namely what you carry in your bag.

With the vast forgiveness of the newer drivers, Driver will be in the bag and obviously a putter. So now we figure out the rest. You higher handicappers should ask this question: Can I consistently hit a 3-wood from the fairway? I know I can't so I carry a 4-wood. But for most, the need is for more loft. When I was struggling, I had a 5-wood in the bag, it might be a 7-wood for others. 

Next what is the longest iron you hit consistently? For higher handicaps this is probably about a 7-iron, it could be a 6-iron but for this demo we will say 7-iron. So basically your iron set will be 7-iron- pitching wedge.

Next I would only play one hybrid something between the loft of your fairway wood and longest iron like a 5-hybrid.

Finally wedges, now if you struggle to break 100, you really only need one extra wedge a sand wedge, if you are in the 90s a gap wedge and sand wedge are fine, and practice with your 6-iron because you'll add that when you can consistently hit it.

So in conclusion, a Driver, lofted fairway wood, 5-hybrid, 7-PW, SW, putter is plenty to break 100. Add a gap wedge at high 90s and a 6-iron at consistently lower than 95.


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If you consistently shoot in the 80s you're better than most people. This forum is not representative of the average hacker out there just screwing around. Maybe 1/3 of the people I see are not playing "serious" golf. They're mostly drinking beer, guffawing and grabbing each other's buns. To your point I think when I broke 90 I was playing with 12 clubs, although I hit every single one of them during that round.

Usually I carry 13 clubs since I added a LW last summer. It's easy to estimate the gaps with the shorter clubs. I find myself wanting to add options on the longer end of the bag. But really what I'm looking for is consistency. I want to find a lineup I can rely on.

I swear I've seen some people at the exec course near my house playing with 6 or 7 clubs. Some of those were playing in pajamas and some had no teeth. One (1) guy told me he wanted to combine golf and fishing into a new game.

Some of the better high school players will play a round using only one (1) club and a putter. They say it's a lot of fun. 

 

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Last round I played, I forgot my 8- and 6-iron (was practicing inside and left them in an umbrella stand- duh). I don't even carry a 3-wood yet. At the end of the round, I wondered if I should just remove all even-numbered clubs and just choke up or swing slightly slower, when needed. A 20-ish yard gap between clubs is probably smaller than the variance of how the distances I hit the ball with my swing anyway!

But yes, I agree that for beginners who are struggling to break 100, they might just drastically simplify and use clubs they can control. Keep it in play with the shot that advances it as far as possible in a relatively safe manner. Once you get a few rounds under 100 (or whatever threshold), then you can add in complexity.

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I normally play with 12 clubs, and of those 12 I might use 6 or 8 on my home course, while scoring in the lower 80s. I agree you don't need 14 clubs to break 90.

I can break 90 just using my 7 wood. I shot an 85 in a one club charity tourney once. 

I consider my golf clubs as just tools to be used as needed. Taking care of, and knowing how to use the right tool, for the job at hand, is one of the signs of a craftsman. The better the golfer, the better the (golf) craftsman they are.....so to speak 

I think a lot new golfers would do well to start out with fewer clubs than 14. My thought is that it might be easier to learn how use 7 clubs instead of 14. Obviously which 7 clubs to use for new golfer would be the tougher, individual decision. Then again, with all the user friendly hybrids out there, it might be easier to play a short set.  

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A non-golfing friend once asked me if golfers really needed "all those clubs."  I told him no - not for any one particular round - but the wind varies enough to make it awfully convenient to have additional options.  

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I've had people tell me that I should play with fewer drums than typically use. Why? If I were a painter, would I want to limit the number colors that I can paint with? I often leave my 16" floor tom at home because the stage is too small, but otherwise, why not have that extra sound to play. Is it hurting anything to have an extra club or two? No. It might not be helping much.

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Unless one is dropping clubs for the lower weight when one carries or to save money by not purchasing 14 clubs, why not carry 14?  It doesn't hurt my game to have a club and not use it for a round.  

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I usually shoot around 85.  I carry 14 clubs, but I have noticed lately I almost never use my 3-wood and 5-wood.  I suppose I could carry 12 clubs.  Of course, playing from the forward tees, I don't need fairway woods very much if at all. 

When I was growing up, my brother was a scratch golfer and he and his friends did the 1-club stunt, playing a round for money with just one club.   I think he used a 3-iron.

I guess there's "good enough to play with fewer clubs" and there's "bad enough to play with fewer clubs."  I think I'm in between.  I need at least 12 clubs. 

 

 

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My wife started out with a set like Shane describes. But after a while, we started adding clubs. I think it is a good idea for beginners.

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I don't believe I have ever played nor witnessed with foursomes where "bun grabbing" is an activity.  Maybe a missed opportunity from my single days.  Sets for beginners used to consist of two wooded clubs and a 3, 5, 7, and 9 along with a putter.  It seemed that one could play quite well once the game was in your regular routine. It has been said that, other than the weight, it is okay to carry 14,  Cannot argue with that. I know that each club where I have been a member, my bag would eventually change a wee bit to reflect the clubs that I needed to play and the ones that were never played, were removed. I have played games with one or three clubs and a putter. Fun.  And If one concentrates with enough intensity, one could play like that constantly.  But if there are variations or experimentations to do, you want to have all you weapons.

 

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