Fully Equipped mailbag: How much golf gear is too much?
Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which we field your hard-hitting gear questions.
This is a loaded question, but how much of everything do I need to play better? Andrew M.
Great question! We’ve been waiting to answer this one because it seems like such an easy thing to overlook and we’re guilty ourselves of having too much stuff. Coincidentally, we’re in the middle of preparing for GOLF’s 2023 Clubtest and it’s our job to test and try clubs (and yes, we know exactly how lucky we are). It’s not uncommon for our stable of golf equipment writers to carry 2-3 drivers in his/her bag, umpteen irons and hybrids, and in many cases, 2-3 putters at a time — for testing purposes, of course.
And accessories… there are too many to list.
Alluding to what you asked though, at what point is having a lot of stuff to choose from no longer a good thing? We’ve covered the concept of club confusion before—sometimes having too many choices can actually hurt your game instead of helping you play better. To help clarify (and potentially lighten your carry bag), we’ve jotted down some recommendations not on the specific stuff you may need, but the number of things you really need to play your best.
By the way, we get that some of you are club collectors who like buying, having and keeping stuff. To those of you, have at it. The below is a mere recommendation for everyone else wanting clarity on how to avoid the paralysis of analysis that sometimes comes from having too much gear.
Two drivers is plenty
Unless you play golf for a living or you’re a long-drive competitor, owning more than two drivers is probably overkill. Off the tee you want to be confident in your big stick, so instead of being indecisive after you purchase two or more drivers, be more choosy and particular before you buy the first one.
Stick to having a gamer driver that you use most of the time, and a backup (maybe your old gamer) around in case your new driver breaks, fails, etc. Any old drivers that you have laying around, we suggest you trade, sell or give away.
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Cleveland Launcher XL
You only need one set of fairway woods
One set of fairway woods is probably fine. If you want to dial in some different lofts or you sometimes want to carry a mini-driver or a 4-wood instead of something like a 3-wood and 5-wood combo, that’s up to you. But owning more than one 3-wood at a time? We don’t see the value there.
Hybrids are up to you
Anything goes here. Hybrids are utility clubs that serve multi-purposes and if you want to own 3-4 of them, by all means do so. Just remember, different makes and models aren’t always consistent in terms of performance. You may find that a 4-hybrid from one brand produces darn near similar results as a 3-hybrid from another club company. So as long as you don’t have overlap in how your hybrids deliver, by all means, load up your arsenal so you’re ready to swap in whatever you need for wherever you play.
You really only need one set of irons, too
We’re raging hypocrites on this one. Safe to assume the whole equipment writing team here at Golf.com probably has more than one set of irons, but hey, that’s because of what we do for a living. For most golfers, one set of irons will last many years and with care, some regular grip maintenance and spot checks for damage, there’s no reason your irons shouldn’t last for at least 3-4 years or more at a time. If you’re a glutton for new technology (we are too, so it’s ok) we’re not saying you shouldn’t upgrade. Go for it! Just don’t make matters more confusing for your subconscious and keep your previous iron sets laying around.
The temptation to frequently switch iron sets is high, and every time you change iron sets so will your shot tendencies, distances and so on. That’s havoc for your consistency, so stick to one set of irons that are fit properly for your swing and stay committed to them for at least a season or two.
A spare wedge is good to have
We’re not inferring you carry one wedge and have a spare in the garage. We’ve seen some players carry three or more wedges on the regular. Carry as many as you want—there’s no wrong answer. What we mean is owning at least one more wedge that is/are the same loft(s) as what you normally use, but with a different grind and/or bounce configuration. This is a helpful thing to have if you take a golf trip and play on courses with completely different turf/sand conditions than you’re used to.
Don’t carry more than one putter at a time
We’ll reiterate again — us telling you to own one putter at a time doesn’t mean we don’t think you should change putters when you feel like it. What we want is to help you limit your choices to reduce the habit of switching on the fly. Putters are the easiest and most tempting clubs to carry two of, making it easier to swap in and out, sometimes during the round.
Instead, trust your gut and give each putter the time it takes to settle in and get comfortable with using. It’s tempting to use a different putter when you’re having an off day on the greens, but good luck becoming a good putter if you’re always on the hunt for the perfect flatstick. Spoiler alert: there isn’t one.
Carry enough golf balls, but not too many
One would assume it’s best to carry as many golf balls as you can in your golf bag. And while that’s mostly true, ask yourself: how would I play if I only carried one sleeve of balls? Would that change my decision-making and the shots I play on the course? Probably, and for many of you, that kind of restraint may be just what you need to start shooting lower scores. So in that sense, carry as many balls as you want, but play as though you only have two left in the bag.
Three gloves ought to do it
Touring professionals sometimes burn through multiple gloves in one round, especially on hot, humid summer days where the hands sweat and things get dirty fast. And while we don’t expect you to have 10 fresh gloves in your staff bag like they do, it makes sense to have at least two backups. One in case your glove wears out or tears or gets wet, and another in case the backup does the same.
Own two sets of golf shoes
Yes, you can get by with one pair of golf shoes. But having two makes it easier to coordinate not only your golf outfits, it also presents you with either a winter or summer option alongside your usual pair. For instance, if you play in the desert, it might make sense to have a second pair of shoes that are even more lightweight and breathable for those scorcher days on the course. If you play in cold and wet conditions sometimes, maybe you need a pair that’s got a some added weather protection. Playing in extreme conditions may mean giving up some function in your golf shoes, but sometimes staying cool or staying dry and warm outweighs the sacrifice you may give up in terms of stability or even comfort.
You can never have too tees, ball markers and pencils
This last one is pretty self explanatory, so we’ll leave it at that. The point here is that all our recommendations aren’t designed to minimize the number of clubs you own and store, but rather to reduce the clutter in your in your bag.
We want to make the game simpler, not harder. And in this case, sometimes less is more.
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.