Welcome back to #ASKMYGOLFSPY where readers like you submit questions to our team of experts here at MyGolfSpy! Today, we’re diving into building your best golf bag for your game year after year. Have any more questions for us? Drop them in the comment section of this article! Let’s get into it.
The bag itself. Without that, how are you going to carry your clubs?
Given my experience with Ball Lab, you might expect me to say it’s the golf ball is the most important aspect of building your best golf bag and that’s definitely the right answer in some cases but ultimately the most important piece of gear is the one that provides cover.
For some, that’s a hybrid that flies straight for 200 yards (give or take). If you’ve never been able to keep a driver in play and you just got fitted into something that all but eliminates penalty strokes, that’s easily the most important club in the bag. If swapping your blade putter for a mallet significantly increased your make rate from inside 10 feet or cut your three-putt percentage in half—that’s the one.
Bottom line: Whatever has the most beneficial impact on your scores is the most important.
Let’s start with “forgiveness.” Forgiveness has the most obvious correlation with handicap and, while many of us need a forgiveness boost, the nature of golf club design means maximum forgiveness is often paired with moderate swing speed designs so sometimes chasing every ounce of forgiveness can be a liability.
It’s important to find the right balance of forgiveness and other performance characteristics.
To the second part of your question: With age comes wisdom and perhaps an understanding that we don’t really need to spend money on any of this crap.
But if you’re asking about performance implications, it’s not so much age as it is speed but I think it’s reasonable to suggest there is typically a correlation between the two. Golf is a percentage game and speed is a multiplier.
The faster you swing, the more likely deficiencies in your equipment are going to cause problems. A good example is a low-compression golf ball. Faster swings will often over-compress a soft golf ball and lose speed and distance. For moderate swing speed players, the percentage losses are similar but the real-world distance implications are negligible. A good low-compression ball can work just fine.
As we age into the moderate swing speed category, we don’t get nearly the same benefit out of the various technologies golf manufacturers ask us to spend on.
There’s a valid argument that lighter (and longer) clubs that give you back some speed will offer the most benefit as your swing slows and, while there are a fair amount of premium-priced products that fit the description, there are also plenty of options for building your best golf bag that offer similar benefits for a lot less money.
The easy answer is “no” if for no other reason than the fact that most golf balls are on two-year cycles so you don’t have a choice.
Newer isn’t necessarily better but it’s almost always different.
Basically, unless you’re sitting on a stockpile of a certain vintage, you’re changing golf balls whether you want to or not.
Take the Pro V1, for example, Titleist has evolved its flagship balls several times as the company adapts to changing demands both on Tour and within the retail marketplace. Flight characteristics, spin rates, feel … everything has changed with time. The same is pretty much true for any other ball manufacturer.
To the heart of your question, however—Yeah, as your game changes, your choice of ball should change with the realities of the game you have now, not the one you had yesterday (or yesteryear).
I’m not sure about easier but a shaft change will almost certainly be less expensive, especially if you can do the work yourself. To be sure, there are differing opinions on the subject but here’s my analogy: The clubhead is the big knob that allows for big changes with not a lot of effort. The shaft is a fine-tuning that allows you to make small changes with greater precision.
What does that mean?
If you’re looking for a big performance change, you’re almost certainly going to need to start with the clubhead(s). If, however, you feel like you’re relatively close with what you have and a little fine-tuning will get you dialed-in the rest of the way, changing shafts can be a better option than replacing a full set of irons.
There are exceptions of course. If your shafts are a particularly poor fit, then finding a particularly good fit can often make a significant difference. That’s more the exception than the rule.
Regardless, as with most anything else, we’d still recommend working with a fitter to find a combination of head and shaft that can produce the desired results.
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