By Joel Tadman
Technical Editor Joel Tadman takes a look at the underrated pieces of golf equipment well worthy of consideration for a place in your bag this year...
Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Golfers can often get set in their ways, using the same clubs for years on end, afraid to mix things up and try something new because the thought of a new club to get used to is daunting. Well sometimes, change is good, especially if your scores aren’t improving. Now might be a good time before the season moves into full swing to shake up the gear in your bag. If you do, be sure to consider the following...
Deep-faced fairway wood Whether you see them as a large 3-wood or a mini driver, they should be a contender for a spot in your bag. Drivers can be tough to control when you’re not swinging well and clubs like the TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini or the new Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 both offer a versatile alternative that can be easier to control.
This is helped further by the shorter shaft that comes as standard compared to a driver. Yes, the smaller head size can be intimidating to look down on at address, but once you get past that you could find yourself with a fairway-finding secret weapon.
Gap wedge I lose count of how many people I play with in medals with huge gaps between the wedge lofts in their bags and yet they complain how they don’t hit the ball close enough to the flag. Your wedges are your scoring clubs and you need to have a set that covers as many distances as possible. Generally, a gap of 4-6 degrees between your wedges is acceptable.
The first thing you need to do is check the loft of your pitching wedge as it will vary between manufacturers. Then, depending on how many wedge shots you hit into greens and the loft you like to chip with, work up from there. Regardless, most amateur golfers are missing a wedge of between 50-52° that fills the gap between their pitching wedge and sand wedge, and it’s costing them shots.
Four-hybrid What would you rather hit, a long iron or a hybrid? Yep, I thought so. Hybrids are designed to be much more forgiving, both through the turf and on off-centre hits compared to long irons and too many club golfers opt for just the one when two or even three would be much more beneficial and make the game easier. Many hybrids these days are adjustable too, so you can fine tune the spec to achieve the flight you want to see.
Laser rangefinder 150-yard markers are usually a decent guide as to the distance to the centre of the green. But if the pin is at the back of the green and you don’t quite catch your approach shot, suddenly you’re left in three-putt country.
Golf is a game of inches and knowing the exact distance to the flag (providing you know how far you hit each of your clubs) by using a laser rangefinder, like the Bushnell Tour X pictured, can only help you become more accurate with your irons, three putt less and make more pars. Just make sure it doesn’t slow down your pace of play.