I Played Golf With A Half Set And Here Is What Happened...

Could a half set actually benefit your game? Matt Cradock went onto the course to find out

Half Set of clubs
(Image credit: Matt Cradock)

A half set may sound like it would be a huge disadvantage to you on the course. Why would you only carry seven clubs when you have the capacity to carry 14? Well, after playing a round with my driver, hybrid, 6-iron, 8-iron, pitching and gap wedge, it really isn't as stupid as it sounds...

Currently, I hold a handicap of 3.4 with my driving and pitching being the strongest aspects of my game. If I were to list negatives, they would simply be my putting and approach shots from around the 150-200 yard mark.

With that in mind and, thanks to Arcoss Golf, you can check out how I got on with my half set below, with some big surprises in store...

Half Set data

Unsurprisingly, my putting let me down again...

(Image credit: Matt Cradock/Arcoss)

ADVANTAGES

  • Decision-making was far easier
  • Weirdly built confidence as you were having to commit to one shot
  • Round went quicker as you weren’t pondering club selection
  • Bag was a lot lighter and therefore easier to carry
  • Encouraged you to be a bit more creative with your shot making

As you can see from above I actually played very well with a half set, shooting a one-over-par 72 around my home club of Witney Lakes. How did this compare to previous rounds you may ask? Well, so far in 2022 I have shot an 80, two 77's and two 72's. Simply put, one of my best rounds was with a half set.

So, why might it be that one of my best rounds came with only half a bag? Why might it be that my driving, approach and short game stats were some of the best figures I have produced throughout those five rounds? In short, I found it made the decision making process a lot easier. When you get a yardage that is in between clubs it can make you indecisive, with a half set, you eliminate all of that as you can only commit to the shot that is in front of you.

As well as building confidence and commitment, it also encouraged me to be creative with my shot making. Sometimes, I was using more club than I wanted to, but, thanks to not swinging out of my shoes, it resulted in a nicer strike and flight. Sometimes, I used less club and hit harder. This also worked because it was a more committed shot.

Matt makes a par

Down wind, danger left and long - A committed pitching wedge seemed the more appropriate shot.

(Image credit: Matt Cradock)

Another big advantage I found wasn't really shot related, but more to do with preserving energy as well as protecting the body. At this current time, our course is recommending 'carry only' due to the weather conditions and the fact it helps protect the course.

As someone who regularly carries, I couldn't believe how much difference removing a few clubs had on the weight, with the bag feeling much lighter. So much so, that by the end of the round, I felt as if I could have done another 18 holes.

Matt hits a shot


(Image credit: Matt Cradock)

DISADVANTAGES

  • Can be an issue if the wind/conditions are different to what you are used to 
  • Personally, I would like to have added more wedges due to that area being the scoring section of my bag and a few shots required more loft. 

When playing on your home course, nine times out of ten the conditions will be what you are used to. However, when undertaking this half set challenge, it was of course the one time that the wind had decided to do a complete 180-degree turn, with holes playing downwind that were usually into your face and vice versa.

This did obviously affect the club choice and, if I did it again, I would experiment with different clubs. I would definitely look into substituting in a wood and maybe a more lofted wedge. This was because I felt the scoring end of my bag was a bit bare. There were occasions when I wanted a lob wedge due to a tucked pin or obstacle in between me and the flag.

The 5th hole

Despite making birdie at the 5th hole, a fairway wood and lob wedge would have been more comfortable than a hybrid and gap wedge.

(Image credit: Matt Cradock)

Overall, a half set is something that I would definitely recommend trying when you're next out on the golf course. As well as helping your decision-making, it's also one of the best ways of learning about your game.

Often, as golfers, we lose shots because of indecisions over what club to use. By limiting the number of clubs you have available in your bag, the range of choice is much narrower. Therefore, it forces you to commit to one shot, instead of thinking about various alternatives.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.