Choosing the Right Golf Clubs

 

Planning on becoming the next Tiger Woods? If so, the first thing you might consider is getting some new golf clubs. Choosing the right golf clubs can make the difference between spending your time on the fairways and greens and spending your time in the rough. Although famed golfer Ben Hogan once said, "The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight", for my money, having the right set of golf clubs runs this a close second.

First, I'll assume you aren't a pro. Otherwise, you probably wouldn't be here; you'd be out perfecting that already outstanding golf swing. For the amateur golfer, choosing the right golf clubs hinges on two factors - distance and accuracy - and, of these, accuracy is the more important. The ability to hit the ball half-way across town may sound great, but if you can't keep it on the fairway, out of the bunkers, and heading for the flag, then all the distance in the world isn't going to help your game. So, the starting point for all of us needs to be accuracy. Once the ball starts going just where we want it to go with reasonable consistency we can start working on building distance.

Of course, cost can be a big issue when choosing a new set of clubs, but since that's a personal conversation between you your wallet - and maybe your spouse - we won't cover it here. Don't forget though that you don't need to buy tailor-made golf clubs and that a good starting point may well be one of the many outlets for discount golf equipment. Another good starting point is to look at pre-owned golf clubs.

Begin by analyzing what's going to best fit your needs. The primary set of clubs in every golfer's bag is the irons, so that's what I'm going to concentrate on here. Irons have several characteristics to consider when you're choosing golf clubs.

The first thing to look at is the method of manufacture. Irons are normally made either by casting or forging. For the novice golfer cast irons are generally better because they have a bigger sweet spot on the club face. The sweet spot is the area on the club face that you want to contact the ball and, as a general rule, the larger the sweet spot the greater the room for error in your swing. In other words, with a large sweet spot you can miss hitting the ball directly on the center of the club face and still end up with a decent shot. Forged irons are better for more advanced golfers because they allow for better control of trajectory, allowing you to hit the ball at a desired angle to get the height necessary for the result you want.

The next thing to consider is the size of the head. As a novice golfer, you'll find a definite trade-off here. A bigger head equals a bigger sweet spot and more tolerance of miss-hits. However, at the same time, a bigger head is also a little harder to control. You'll probably want to start with a set of irons with medium-sized heads. They're easier to control than the oversized-heads, but they still have a bigger sweet spot than the traditional, smaller heads.

Bet you didn't know there were this many factors to choosing the right set of golf clubs! Well, I'm not quite done yet.

Another factor to think about when choosing golf clubs is what the head is made of - cast iron, stainless steel, or titanium. Titanium heads are best for novice golfers as this light material allows for a bigger head, without making the club too heavy. Bigger head equals bigger sweet spot! If the cost of titanium heads is beyond your wallet's reach, then consider cast iron rather than steel. They're durable and the harder material can help improve both accuracy and consistency.

Swing speed is also important in deciding upon the right golf clubs. Golfers with lower swing speeds can benefit from more flexible graphite shafts that are a bit longer and lighter. With a higher swing speed, it's more likely you want to focus on accuracy, so stiffer and heavier steel shafts can help you develop that accurate ball placement that gets your name on the leader board.

Obviously, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right golf clubs. But consider what the comedian Henny Youngman once said, "The other day I broke 70. That's a lot of clubs." Choosing the right golf clubs for your game and level of play can reduce both your handicap and the number of clubs you get the urge to break!

Copyright 2005 Donald Saunders

 



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