Are 14 Clubs Really Necessary?
The last two times I’ve played golf in Scotland I’ve realized that over there a few clubs are simply not necessary. First, the lob wedge. The ground is SO hard that hitting the lob is very difficult. The hard ground and wind really call for low running shots. In six days of golf at 36 holes per day, I hit my lob wedge twice and both times it was the wrong choice. The next time I play true links golf over there I’m bringing a pencil bag and maybe 8-10 clubs.
At home I could easily take out a club or two without missing them. I hit my 3-fairway no more than 1-2 times per round. In yesterday’s league round I didn’t hit it at all. I could easily take out the 5-iron or one long iron. I could take out one of my four wedges, probably the gap wedge.
As club president of my league for many years, we would do a yearly 4-club tournament. This is a tournament where the players were only allowed, you guessed it, four clubs. I usually picked a hybrid, 7-iron, sand wedge, and putter or some setup similar.
At the conclusion of the tournament I would notice the scores and something very interesting. The scores were most often the same. A 12 handicap player who normally shot 84-85 with 14 clubs shot 84-85 with four clubs. I noticed the same for my own scores. Not much different.
My weekly money game is a fun competition between low single digit handicappers. We usually play with 14 clubs, but if someone wants to test a driver or putter we don’t have a problem with them having 15 clubs in the bag. In the end, it makes virtually no difference in the scores, or who wins the money.
The folks at Golfplan posted a discussion about the 14 club limit and whether or not it is too much. Perhaps we can use less clubs and still shoot the same scores and enjoy the game just as much. But golf equipment companies would not be too hip on that. In fact, I bet they’d rather see a 20 club limit or perhaps no limit at all. Anything to sell more clubs.
Clubbing Based On Location and Conditions
I usually have the same 14 clubs in the bag at all times. I’m used to them and used to the setup. PGA Tour pros change clubs for nearly every event. Phil Mickelson used two drivers in the Masters Tournament a few years ago. And tour pros have many different wedge configurations, or even have their wedges custom bent or ground to specs which are best for the course and conditions they are playing that week.