In the rules of golf, we are allowed to have 14 golf clubs in our bag during a round. Picking these 14 clubs properly is very important. Everyone needs a putter, so let’s put that aside and focus on the other 13.
Being fit for a driver is a good first step. This is going to get you your most distance off the tee and lead us into choosing the rest of our set. Keep that flex shaft in mind when putting together the rest of the bag.
Fairway woods follow. In today’s game, it is much more common (especially for amateurs) to carry only one fairway wood. I recommend getting a 4 or 5 wood to a lot people. 3 woods are hard to hit! A more lofted fairway wood is going to still give distance, with a lot more consistency and overall confidence.
The next step in filling the bag is to choose some hybrids. This step comes with some thinking. How confident are you in your long irons? If the answer to that is “not confident,” like a lot of amateurs, it’s a good play to get a few more hybrids. 3 irons and 4 irons are much like 3 woods- hard to hit. However, hybrids set about 4 degrees apart are much more forgiving and more fun to play with. If you have a 17 degree fairway wood, you should aim for a 20 - 21 degree hybrid and then a 24 - 25 degree hybrid. These hybrids will replace your need for those hard to hit long irons. And if you feel confident in your long iron game, try only one hybrid and start your irons at a 4 iron.
Now you’re ready to get your irons in the bag. With the fairway wood and hybrids mentioned earlier, it’s smart to start with a 5 iron and go through a pitching wedge. Irons, for the most part, are about 4 degrees apart. In more recent years, club companies have strengthened their lofts on their sets. This has made changes to what the majority of players do with their shorter clubs. A pitching wedge used to be 48 degrees, but now is more commonly 45 degrees. This leaves a big gap between a pitching wedge and a 56 degree sand wedge. Interestingly enough, they make a club to fill in that space- the gap wedge. If your pitch is 45 degrees, get at least a 50 degree gap wedge. From there you can keep that sand wedge at 56 degrees and a lob wedge around 60 degrees.
With all the different club companies, it’s important to not focus on the number on the club, but the loft of the club. A “3 Hybrid” from one company can be a completely different loft than the “3 Hybrid” of another company. Find out the loft of your fairways, hybrids, and wedges and base your club purchases on these numbers for appropriate gappings. Get the right weapons in the bag and make the fight a lot more fun!