Does a half set help your game?

Why now might be the perfect time to add some feel and creativity to your game as well as lightening the load

Half set
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The winter is particularly good for getting round quickly and feeling good about yourself that you bothered to get out in the cold. It’s also the ideal time to not bother with all 14 clubs and make quicker and, very often, better decisions in terms of course management and club selection. Our online community shared their views on taking to the links with just a half set..

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I am thinking of using driver, 3H, 5i,7i,8i, PW, SW and putter as my game seems to have gone backwards and I believe this is due to overthinking what clubs to use on shots. I follow a group on Instagram called Minimal Golf Movements and it seems a lot of people play this way. jordan1987

I would only do it on a friendly round if there was a trolley ban and I wanted my bag to be lighter for carrying. And even then I tend to only leave a couple out and still have about nine clubs in the bag. Orikoru

I've certainly not seen any detriment to my scoring when I've done it. If it frees you up and removes pressure by reducing expectation then it should help. shortgame

There’s nothing wrong with reducing what you use. When I carry if there’s a trolley ban, I go driver, 3h, 6i, 9i, 54 wedge and putter. I doubt you will score any less than you do normally. Bunkermagnet

Related post: Best pencil bags

During the winter I often use a half set. The clubs I've carried have been: driver, hybrid, 5i, 7i, 9i, gap wedge, lob wedge, putter. That should cover most eventualities. JamesR

Playing nine holes I use a small carry bag , with a driver, 3w, putter, alternating irons each week from 5, 7, 9, SW to 6, 8, PW, SW. No rescue clubs at the moment. During winter I use a small carry bag using half a set,

alternating odd and even numbers every couple of weeks. I very seldom play 18 holes during winter. williamalex1

It's all I ever played with when going on a golf break. I used even number irons one time and odds on the next. jim8flog

It’s a good idea in the winter and then, after a couple of rounds, see what clubs you're not using much and swap them round. It certainly makes for more creative shotmaking. mhwgc

Ping Moonlite Carry Bag, Best golf pencil bags

(Image credit: Ping)

I have three pencil bags; one in locker at club with old shoes for impromptu/unplanned play and my 'proper' set divided evens and odds in the other two. Over the course of the season I use my half set probably more than full, it's easier, lighter and more fun imo and I rarely score better with full set. Scozzy

My ‘standard’ set is only 8 clubs (driver, 3H, 5, 7, 9, PW, 54deg, putter) which gets me around in 90ish at the moment, but I'm pretty happy taking four clubs only (3H, 8, PW or 50deg, Pu) and I'll score substantially the same. Just using one club (35deg 8i) only really hurts with putting. That said, none of the courses I usually play at are very long (5100 to 5600m) and one of them only has two par 5s. badgermat

I take 3W, 3H, 4H, 6-PW, 56° and putter as my 'full set', so only 10 anyway. I don't see much need to reduce it from that. It will be 11 soon but the driver is staying out of my bag until my wages from my new job start coming in so I can get some lessons. Adds at least 15 strokes per round if I use it at the moment, and my 3 wood goes further off the tee anyway. Oldham92

I found that when I am struggling with my game, taking out a half set to the course helps me work on my shot shaping and creativity and I sometimes shoot better. I take driver, 4i, 6i, 8i, PW, 60 degree and putter.

I’m playing a half set more often now and it’s  a good way to practise playing different shots. I’m waiting on a cheeky half set of PXG 0211 clubs for keeping as a go to half set bag - driver, 3 hybrid, 7i, 9i, 48w 54w and putter. Steviefella

When I was looking at ordering the PXGs you select each club that you'd like to order. So its not 5i to PW, 3 to gap wedge etc - you literally check a box on each club. HeftyHacker

Played a comp last weekend with eight clubs: SW, PW, 8, 6, 4h, 5w and driver and shot an 84. Played this week with a full set and shot a 93. Coincidence? Probably not, but I really do enjoy playing with fewer clubs and even my 'full set' is only ever 12 or 13 clubs. DeanoMK

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.