What’s in your bag?

A retired gentleman in his sixties recently asked me to help him identify how far he hits every club in his bag. He had not played golf in quite a while following two knee replacements. So, with a physically improved body, a new set of clubs and a renewed desire to play golf, he needed to know what clubs to include in his playing set. This sounds funny but he came to the lesson with 19 clubs in his bag.

His first question was “how many clubs can I legitimately carry in my bag when I play?” I told him 14 including the putter; to which I asked why do you have so many? In the past he used to hit a long ball, but after not playing for a while and getting older, he purchased a new set of Taylormade clubs that included woods, irons and hybrids, which were new to him. The new set had graphite shafts that are softer and lighter than his steel shafted older set. In addition, he had his old set of woods and an old favorite Orlimar club, which he needed to compare to his new hybrids.

So, we began the session after he warmed up with the wedges, the shorter clubs and moved through the set to the driver. After watching him hit the first couple of balls, I noticed an inefficient set up to the ball and a motion which was causing him to hit the ball heavy or fat making those shots go short. So, I asked if he wanted me to help him with his swing mechanics. He balked at it at first because he just wanted to know how far his clubs go but after hitting them either fat and short or thin and long he was willing to make an adjustment.

First, his ball position was too far forward in his stance; a driver position with his wedges. This was causing both a fat and thin shot result. After moving his ball more to the center and making sure his head was behind the ball at impact, his shot making became a little more consistent. Secondly, his aim and alignment was often aimed too far to the right causing him to pull left to get the ball back to his target. This error was producing a pull left of target or on occasion right because his clubface at impact was open making him slice it.

After the adjustments we were able to get a more consistent reading with each club and whittled the set down to the required 14 clubs. He was quite impressed with the quality of the shots made with his new hybrids. They are terrific clubs.

This experience made me think of another new student I had. A 60-year-old, recently retired female came to the lesson with a new set of golf clubs given to her as a retirement gift. The set was an inexpensive set with steel shafts that unfortunately was way too heavy for her. She is brand new to golf so those purchasing the gift decided not to buy an expensive set leaving that to her if she liked to game.

Fortunately, she had not used the clubs and was very willing to take them back and get a new set. I went to the store with her and helped her pick out new clubs with graphite shafts which are much lighter and better balanced for her to use. So far, we have had a putting and chipping lesson and she is very excited about the game.

Perhaps what has excited her even more about golf than the equipment is the new color coordinated outfits she has purchased. Guys: if you want your lady to take up golf and she loves clothes shopping and has a flare for coordinating colors and accessories, then right now is a great time to introduce her to golf. The fashions in ladies golf have never been better! Give it a try.


Joyce Wilcox is a teaching professional and an LPGA Class A Member.