As LPGA Tour players compete this week in the last major of 2020 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, don’t be surprised to see many of them pull out hybrids and cavityback irons from their bags. This is true for the longest hitters as well as the most accurate players. Why? Because these clubs are more forgiving than long irons and blades.

And, truth be told, the average male golfer would benefit from a bag makeup that’s more like an LPGA player’s.

Before you argue, let’s look at the facts.

Average Joes versus The Best Women in the World

The average male golfer swings his driver at 93.4 mph. The average LPGA player has a driver swing speed of 94 mph. So, unless you’re swinging at 114 mph like the elite men, put away that extra-stiff driver in favor of a more flexible shaft.

But for most men, the fascination of what is in a pro’s bag centers around PGA TOUR players. With rare exception, the victims of this misguided focus are male amateur golfers.

You Sure You’ve Got that Shot in Your Bag?

During my pro playing days, I saw too many men in pro-ams pull out blade irons and try to hit that 2-iron stinger like Tiger Woods. I couldn’t help but appreciate the gumption and self-belief they had to even attempt to pull off such a feat. However, when the ball left the clubface, oftentimes resulting in a hook, chunk or cold top, there was a part of me that wanted to reach out and grab these 15 handicappers by the shoulders and say, “You don’t need a set like Dustin Johnson to enjoy the game! In fact, you’d enjoy the game more with a set built like mine!”

There are four things golfers, especially male golfers, should learn from an LPGA player’s bag:

  1. Most play cavityback irons.
  2. Most replace long irons with hybrids.
  3. Most play more flexible (i.e. softer) shafts.
  4. Most don’t carry wedges with more than 60 degrees of loft.

Let’s take a peek inside the bags of some top players who will be competing in the U.S. Open this week.

You should take some notes.

U.S. Women's Open

Photo Credit: Justin Falconer

Brooke Henderson

World Ranking: 6
2020 Money Ranking: 9
Avg. Driving Distance: 266.81 yards
Avg. Greens in Regulation: 77.40%
Scoring Avg: 69.21

What’s in her bag:

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Nelly Korda

World Ranking: 3
2020 Money Ranking: 11
Avg. Driving Distance: 272.61 yards
Avg. Greens in Regulation: 72.86%
Scoring Avg: 70.09

What’s in Her Bag:

Photo Credit: Wojciech Migda

Danielle Kang

World Ranking: 4
2020 Money Ranking: 3
Avg. Driving Distance: 258.15 yards
Avg. Greens in Regulation: 74.03%
Scoring Avg: 69.59

What’s in Her Bag:

The makeup of these sets isn’t especially remarkable beyond the fact that each decision is driven by the desire for success.  And keep in mind, all of these examples are from a player with a clubhead speed above the LPGA average.

  • Brooke Henderson: 100 mph
  • Nelly Korda: 102 mph
  • Danielle Kang: 98 mph

If cavitybacks, more flexible shafts and hybrids are getting the job done for the best women golfers in the world, why do so many average (male) golfers believe they’re better served by small-headed unforgiving irons and shafts far stiffer than they should be?

So put away your ego, along with that extra-stiff driver, those brutal blades and that 2-iron that doesn’t love you back. Trade them in for clubs that will help you become better than average.