Updated: Aug 19, 2021
It took me a long time to figure out which club I should use. When I was younger, I would pick the club that I was hitting the best at the time, but as I got more serious about golf I wanted to learn when and how to use the clubs in my bag.
So, let’s get started. Every club in your bag serves a purpose from starting with a driver, to finishing with a putter. There are a lot of clubs in your bag, so what’s in between those two?
It’s important to know that USGA rules permit the golf player to convey 14 clubs, but let’s face it, I’ve never been golfing with my buddies and counted how many clubs are in their bags. Unless I’m a pro, no one cares. I take along extra clubs to try, and to figure our what feels better for my game, which seems to change every year, but for that sake of this article, let’s stick to the basics.
The Big Boppers- Driver, 3 Wood & 5 Wood
First is the Driver, which are intended to go a significant distance off the tee, but yet I have a love/hate relationship with this club. It certainly is the most satisfying club when hit correctly, or when I grab it from my bag and tell my buddies, “time for the big dog to eat!” or if I yell “get in the hole” after I swing so I feel like I’m tour, but the reality is that I’ve struggled with a slice, and control with this club is the name of the game. Some that struggle with a driver off the tee may opt for a 3 wood. It gives bit more control. In the event that you do utilize a driver, as a beginner you should attempt a club with a larger clubface for a bigger sweet spot. The space point ought to be from 10.5 degrees to 12 degrees or higher to help lift that ball into the air. The 3 wood and 5 wood are used from the fairway for distance. Determine the distance from each club at the driving range to understand which fairway wood you should use and when.
Irons and Wedges- 3- PW
Let’s start with the higher irons, 6, 7, 8 and 9 irons. These are all based on the angle of the club head, which determine the loft and lie. The higher the loft degrees, the better to use around the green to chip. For instance, a 9 iron typically has loft degree of 45-48 compared to a 6 iron at 32-36. I tend to find each club gets me an additional 15-20 yards of distance, so I tend to look at the distance to the pin and determine the yardage I have in each club. Pin placement also places a role. I may take a club with a litter more loft if I need to drop the ball on the green, rather than trying to run it up to the green. I also tend to carry a pitching wedge and a sand wedge as my standards. I have carried a gap wedge for years, but it basically sits between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge, and I’ve never found the right distance for it to be useful.
For more distance look to the 3 through 5 irons. A lot of club sets are now replacing the 3 and 4 iron with more of a hybrid club. I tend to like these clubs and I feel like I have a bit more control. A 5 iron is a standard, and usually one of the easier clubs to hit, it typically sits at a 28-32 loft degree, which give you a lot of flexibility.
This seems obvious, but if you spend enough time around the golf course, it’s not as obvious as I thought.
The putter is used for to finish out your strokes into the hole while on the green. It can be used off the green, in a low fringe, or from the fairway that leads directly onto the green.
These are the basic set of clubs that I carry, but depending on your game, you may add or delete. It’s important to get a feel for each club and the max distance you can get out of each one without over swinging. Just because the pros can hit an 8 iron 200 yards doesn’t mean you can, and if you try you will over swing and either top it, or shank it in the woods. Play your game, and let each club do it’s job! Most importantly, have fun!