Neil Tappin walks through five key gear checks every golfers needs to make throughout the golfing season.
5 Golf Gear Checks Every Golfer Needs To Make
You’ve got a possible 14 clubs to choose from and countless other accessories to carry around with you during a round of golf, so it pays to make sure it’s all working exactly right for you.
Going through the points in this list once or twice a year will keep your golf bag fresh, clean and working as its best for you and your game.
Neil Tappin talks about 5 key golf gear checks every golfer should be making.
Checking exactly how far you can hit the ball with each of the clubs in your bag is something you should be looking to do at least once a year.
Pick a driving range near you that has good quality range balls, well defined targets and - if possible - ball tracking technology.
Focus purely on the carry distance of each club and this will give you a great idea of which club will help you carry hazards and approach greens when you're out on course.
Understanding these yardages will also allow you to check whether to have the correct distances between each club in the bag.
You don’t want two clubs doing the same thing in your bag and wasting a valuable space, so check all your clubs are gapped nicely between one another.
A common example of this is golfers who have a 5-iron and a 6-iron that go the same distance.
Having both of these clubs in the bag wastes a space and there are great equipment solutions out there to fill this gap more efficiently.
Related: Best Golf Hybrid Clubs
Going through this process at least once a year will allow you to check if any irons have got stronger or weaker as you’ve used them.
Your grips are the only point of contact you have with the golf club, so making sure these are providing you plenty of traction through the swing is vital.
Grips that look aged - they often have a bit of a sheen to them - can be helped out with a good clean with hot, soapy water to give it some more life.
Related: Best Golf Grips (opens in new tab)
Over time, grips get dirty, tacky and greasy and will give your grips much less traction when you need them.
If a good clean doesn’t bring some life back into a shiny, old grip then it is probably time to get a new one.
This is a check and process worth going through at least once if not twice a year to make sure the grips are working for you throughout the season.
This is less about the state of the golf balls in your bag and more about organising all the makes and models of balls you may have picked up over the course of a season.
Across a golfing season, you’ll probably spend enough time searching for yours or a partner’s balls that you’ll pick up a few different makes and models.
Related: Best Golf Balls (opens in new tab)
Once a year or so, take all of the golf balls out of your bag and leave the balls out that you can’t imagine yourself actually teeing up on course.
They might be tired and scratched, or they might just be balls you know you don't like to use on course.
Once you’ve done this, identify the one make and model you really get on with - whichever ball offers you the best performance - and invest in a few more to add to the bag.
As you get used to playing with the same make and model of ball, you’ll find your short game especially should tighten up and become more consistent as you know how the ball with react.
As wedges get older and used more and more, it is only natural for them to offer less and less spin.
Depending on how many wedges you carry and how you use them, many golfers will find one wedge in particular gets especially worn down as they use it the most or exclusively out of bunkers a lot.
Related: Best Golf Wedges (opens in new tab)
The wedge you use out of bunkers most often is effectively getting sand blasted every time you play a bunker shot, and this will affect the spin and ball flight you can create with that wedge over time.
That wedge will probably need to be updated more often than other wedges in the bag.
A new wedge with fresher grooves will allow you to be more aggressive with some of your chips and create more spin on the greens.
If you use a number of gloves at any one time it’s definitely worth laying them all out and seeing what stage of the lifespan they are in.
Some may have got wet and dried in your bag, making them go hard and crack, or some may have some significant wear on them - get rid of these golf gloves entirely.
Some gloves may look a bit worn, but still feel great on the hand and like they’ll offer a decent amount of grip.
These sort of gloves are great to keep in the bag, but only use for practice.
Related: Best Golf Gloves For Winter
This will allow you to extend the lifespan of the good gloves in your bag as you’ll only wear them when you play.
Another great way to extend the lifespan on golf gloves is to carry a pair of wet weather gloves.
Wet weather gloves often come in pairs and give fantastic grip in damp conditions.
Wearing a normal glove in wet conditions can rapidly accelerate its decline in condition.
This will mean you don’t have to wear your ‘good’ gloves if the weather is bad and you can extend the lifespan on them even further.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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