Fully Equipped mailbag: Stuff you need in your bag in 2023
Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, an interactive GOLF.com series in which we field your hard-hitting gear questions.
What should I add to my bag this off-season so I’m good to go when the weather heats up?
For most of you, the 2023 golf season hasn’t started yet. And unless you live somewhere warm like Florida or the Southwest, the dead of winter isn’t exactly the time of year you’ll be spending a lot of time outside. Brrr.
If you’re faced with a bitter cold off-season, why not make use of the downtime and ensure your golf bag is prepped with all the things you need to play your best, look your best and probably most importantly—have the best time when your golf season gets going in a few short months.
Here are some of our favorite must-haves for starting 2023 on the right foot, and for good measure, a short list of the things you definitely shouldn’t bother with come time to tee it up.
Must have: Try a new ball
If you’ve been stuck using the same ball for more than two seasons in a row, you’re probably missing out on the latest iteration of your favorite model. Consider upgrading to something new, which may include trying a ball in a different color to see if it fits your eye. Case in point, if Srixon’s Q-Star or Z-Star is your ball of choice, what harm is there in trying one of the dual-toned Q-Star or Z-Star Divide golf balls? Hint: there’s no harm at all.
Don’t bother: Let go of any old golf balls
If you’re carrying old, scuffed, yellowing golf balls from a previous decade, it may be time to let those go in favor of golf balls that assuredly will perform better and fly longer. Move those old balls to your shag bag and use them for practice.
Cleveland RTX6 ZipCore
Must have: Get some new gloves
Depending on how you store your golf gloves (more on that in a second), your golf gloves will likely degrade over time, and they’ll wear out even faster if left in a damp, cold garage or storage shed. The dirtier and oilier your hands are, the more it seeps into the leather causing it to rip or wear out, so consider buying 2-3 gloves at a time and ditch the old ones. Speaking of, keep your gloves in the sealed packaging for as long as you can—or carry your spares in a Ziploc bag to keep them dry and clean. The pros on Tour often do that and you should, too. And when your glove does get wet or sweaty, let it air dry before stuffing it into your bag.
Don’t bother: Washing your gloves
We’ve seen it and tried it. A quick wash can sometimes help wash away dirt, but we’ve found that washing your gloves in soapy water (we’ve even seen some suggest putting them in the washing machine) actually dries them out too much and the leather loses its suppleness. Your results may differ, but we’re just saying. It hasn’t worked in the long run for us.
Must have: Don’t scoff at training aids
The off-season is a great time to look into a training aid to cure whatever fault you may have in your swing. There are numerous training aids out there, including some that top players and instructors have developed together. Take Sean Foley, for example. He’s regularly one of the most popular teachers in the US and Canada, and for the first time he’s endorsed a training aid with his friend David Woods called the ProSendr. Point is, training aids are more legit now than they’ve ever been and better players are using them more than ever.
Don’t bother: You probably don’t need the most expensive launch monitor money can buy
Suppose you could if you wanted to flex hard on your buddies at the club, but why? Launch monitors including the FlightScope Mevo+ and the Rapsodo Mobile are far more affordable and work wonders for helping golfers dial in their trajectories and spin rates. Five-figure launch monitors and motion capture systems are best reserved for those who need them to do what they do for a living—golf instructors.
Must have: A new wedge makes sense at the start of the season
It’s not like we’re trying to encourage you to buy a new wedge every season, but let’s just say that having a fresh face of sharp grooves will certainly make a difference. Wedges take more abuse than any club in the bag, subjected to dirt, grass, sand, and rocks—hey, wedges bear the grunt of pretty much everything. If your wedge has a gouge from a rock, or the face has a big pockmark in it, the effects on your ability to hit consistent shots might be greater than you think, causing inconsistent spin rates and less control. Or, if your grooves are just plain worn out, then you know it’s time. For instance, Cleveland’s new RTX6 ZipCore wedges come with all-new HydraZip tech that includes laser-milled patterns on the face which combined with UltiZip grooves makes the wedge incredibly grippy, spinny and consistent.
Don’t bother: Homemade adjustment tools are probably a no-go
We know it’s tempting, but owning golf fitting and club-making tools only makes sense if you know what you’re doing. Lie adjusters, head refinishing tools, blowtorches—it’s all good stuff (except those darn groove sharpeners that make your wedges non-conforming in a hurry) if you have some measure of proficiency. It’s easy to screw up your clubs in a hurry trying to adjust something, which includes simple stuff like changing ferrules or something like that. Other than grip changes (which you should certainly consider doing on your own), leave club fitting and club adjusting/building to the experts.
Must have: A good speaker will make your round more enjoyable
We’re hit the era in golf decorum where speakers are not only acceptable, they’ve become downright popular pretty much everywhere. And while we can dig listening to music on the golf course too, it sounds terrible coming from a phone or a bad speaker. Consider something better like Rokform’s G-ROK speaker that’s made for golf and comes with crazy strong magnets to keep it secure. And in case you’re wondering how it sounds, it’s surprisingly good.
Don’t bother: Blasting your new speaker so loud that other groups can hear it.
Speakers are a good thing, but also an easy thing to get carried away with. Be respectful of your group and the groups around you. This includes both volume and content. If it happens that gangster rap or an NBA game broadcast is too distracting for others in your group, know when to say when and put the speaker away. If your foursome is into it, adding music or a sports broadcast makes any 5-hour round a helluva lot more fun to endure.
The 2023 golf season, for much of the country, is just around the corner — and the Masters is less than 80 days away. Stay warm and it’ll be time to peg it before you know it.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.