Fully Equipped mailbag: Follow these 3 gear tips for instant success on the course

The three Ls can reinvigorate a set of misbehaving clubs.

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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. 

I don’t know what’s going on with my golf gear, but something feels off. What could it be?

First of all, it doesn’t matter if your clubs are perfectly fit and matched precisely to your swing, every now and then you’re going to have an off day where things just don’t feel right. Maybe you pulled a muscle playing pick-up basketball, or you slept on your neck wrong, or you stepped on your kid’s Legos — almost anything can throw your swing off at any given time.

But sometimes, it’s not you.

Sometimes an uncomfortable feeling or inconsistency is the result of having a few equipment variables out of whack. I’m not talking about having a shaft flex that’s too stiff or too weak — that’s easy to diagnose and we talk about that often here in the mailbag. Instead, I’m referring to the three Ls (length, lie and loft), which then affect the three Ds (direction, distance and divots).

Let’s look at the first L: length. Playing clubs that are either too long or too short can make you feel a little squirrely and wreak havoc on your directional control simply because standing too tall or too hunched over can ruin your natural motion.

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If your sticks are too short, you might find yourself pulling the club too much inside the target line, making it easy to hit a lot of blocks, snap hooks, and although it may seem counter-intuitive, you’ll be prone to hosel-rockets much more often. If they’re too long, you’ll find yourself standing too tall, swinging too flat, and again counter-intuitively, you’ll hit a ton of toe strikes.

Let’s talk loft next. Typically, when we talk loft, we’re usually talking about wedges, woods and drivers. But your iron lofts play a part in how well you’re able to dial in your distances from one club to the next. If there’s something awry — maybe you hit your 4-iron only a few yards longer than your 5-iron — it might be a loft issue.

It’s possible your irons weren’t spaced correctly from the get-go or things like travel, clanking around in the golf cart or in your trunk — whatever happened to cause a bend, a degree here or there can make the distance gaps from one iron to another smaller and another gap that much bigger. It’s not likely wear and tear will turn your 3-iron into a 4-iron, but there could be enough bending to occur that makes your distances closer than they should be.

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Getting your lofts checked and tweaked is a must and we recommend doing it every season, assuming you play regularly. Also, speak up when you get your lofts checked. It’s possible you might not want them evenly spaced out by 3-4 degrees. You may want some extra lift in the long irons and smaller degree gaps in your shorter clubs. It’s up to you.

Finally, your lie angle plays a huge part in how your irons feel and perform. One easy way to determine if you’re lie is too steep or too upright is to simply check your divots. If you’re divots are deeper towards the heel, your club is probably too upright for you, and you probably hit a lot of pulled shots. If the toe of your club is making divots, your club is probably too flat, and you block it on occasion.

A simple bend can help you match your irons to your stance and swing profile and can make you a much more consistent ball-striker.  

Check with your local clubfitter and get all three Ls checked. You can opt for a static fitting that goes by measurements or a dynamic one that involves hitting and launch monitor data — or both. Whatever you choose, it’ll most definitely help you get more comfortable with any and every club in your golf bag.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? 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.

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