Equipment, from Drivers to Putters,
from Hats to Gloves to Shoes
The holidays are upon us, Thanksgiving is in the rearview
mirror, and golf season is very hit and miss.
Which describes my golf game
to a tee. But
I’m not here to talk about my poor play, I’m here to talk about golf
equipment. If you are a veteran golfer
who knows exactly what golf products match your game, then you probably don’t
need much input. But if you are a new
player, or someone looking in a new direction, then please follow on.
Let’s start out with the easy things first, apparel. Hats?
I recommend them. Seriously,
especially in southern climates. Keep
the sun from cooking the top of your head and help your eyes as well. No specific style recommendations. Wear what you like.
Shirts, shorts and trousers are similar in that it such a
personal choice. My only thought is,
dress well, look like you belong there.
Gloves are interesting.
There are many brands and price ranges.
My suggestion is, stick with real leather gloves. They feel better on your hands and work the
best. Cheap gloves are usually made from
manmade materials and do not breathe as leather does. You get what you pay for here.
Shoes, golf shoes, are recommended for their better grip on
the ground, especially on uneven turf.
Again, prices range all over. The
smartest move is to try on a variety of shoes in different styles and price
ranges. There is the removable spike
style as well as shoes with permanent non-removable spikes. Styles vary from athletic shoes to more
conventional shoe styles. My only
recommendations are be certain they fit well, are comfortable and provide
decent support. Remember that you will
be on your feet a lot with golf shoes.
They’ve got to fit right.
Golf balls, the most common holiday gift to the golfer. If you are lucky, the person gifting you
knows which ball you prefer. If you
don’t have a favorite ball there are certainly plenty of offerings from the
golf industry. There are the obvious
choices, Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Srixon and many others, famous and not
so famous. The recent addition of the
Vice golf ball is quite comparable to the Pro V1 or TP5. A top of the line dozen goes for around $50. If you are looking to prepare for the coming
season, better deals can frequently be found on Ebay,
especially if you are buying more than a dozen.
I usually look for a deal for 3 dozen each winter. If you do not yet have a ball of preference,
try playing several different balls over the course of the season. My bet is that you’ll settle on one or two
Finally, we get to the meat and potatoes of equipment, the
clubs. As it happens, I have been
actively involved is assembling a new set of clubs. My approach to this task has rarely
varied. Determine which brands of clubs
I prefer and then search for the best value for the least amount of money. This means that I never buy this years’ model
or anything and I tend to look for good buys online, mainly Ebay
but many other outlets as well. As an
example, I found a TaylorMade M1 3-wood, new, for the ridiculously low price of
$30 on a Google search at an obscure (too me) website. There are several Ebay
sellers featuring 1, 2, 3 and 4 seasons old leftover, brand new set of clubs. If you are more comfortable buying at the pro
shop, or Academy Sports, then by all means do so. I’m not here to knock retail outlets. I am offering a strategy to save money.
A new set of quality irons, from the major producers, will
cost upward of $500, many nearer $1,000.
A new, leftover set can be had, frequently, for $200 or less. Also used sets, well taken care of, can
provide great deals. As part of my new
set, I’ve acquired a 2015 set of TaylorMade CB Tour Preferred irons for
$130. My goal of a complete set with NOS
and quality used clubs has come in at $250.
There are no new sets that I am aware of that can be purchased for under
$500 – 1000. My advantage here is that I
have played long enough, with many different sets of clubs, to know what clubs
I like to play. I also am not in a hurry
as I won’t be playing much in the winter.
For the novice or infrequent player, swing different clubs….ask a
playing partner if you can swing a few of their clubs. Get the feel of different clubs. When you are ready to buy or upgrade, do your
homework! The internet is your friend
when researching about anything. If,
like me, you are an Ebayer, track several instances
of the clubs you’re looking for, take the time to know the best sources and the
best prices. When you are certain, make
your move. There really is no need to
pay thousands when hundreds will do.
Last, but far from least, is the most important club in your
If you don’t think the putter is the most important club you own, try
this simple test. Count each putt
(including gimme’s and pickups) and at the end of
your round calculate the percentage of shots taken with the putter versus all
the rest of your clubs. You will find
that 30-50% of all golf shots are with your putter! There are more different style putters on the
market than you can count. What is right
for me will not likely be your preference.
We might play the same clubs and still be miles apart on the choice of a
putter. Like all clubs, I suggest trying
many different putter styles. When I was
a teenager, I fell in love with a putter in the pro shop. I asked the pro if I could try it for 9
holes. He reluctantly agreed, cautioning
me to be very careful with the putter. I
proceeded to play 9 holes with 12 putts.
I also bought the putter at the turn.
Fifty plus years later it is still the putter in my bag. Now I realize that this is not a typical story,
but the point is you need to try a putter on the greens, not a couple of putts
in the clubhouse.
The world of golf clubs is so diverse, it is a serious
challenge to find the right set of clubs for your own approach to the
game. Take your time and don’t be afraid
And most importantly, make sure to buy what makes you feel
most confident when you go to the course.