Deciding what the makeup of your bag should be can be an overwhelming prospect. There are so many great clubs out there that it’s difficult to choose just 14.
Full disclosure: I think I have about 17 clubs in my bag right now. When I play in a tournament, typically a parent/child event these days with my son, I drop down to the legal 14 clubs. Even then, it is so hard to choose.
With so many great wedges, hybrids and fairway woods on the market, how does the recreational golfer decide? To help you simplify your own decison-making, here are the three clubs I think most all women should have and why.
1. A 7-wood
A lofted fairway wood like a 7-wood strikes a great balance between achieving good distance yet also being manageable, with its ability to give you launch and trajectory. Being able to hit fairway woods successfully is necessary for women’s golf. While you may love your hybrids, they cannot replace the distance you can achieve with a fairway wood.
The 7-wood is also a useful stepping stone to gaining confidence in your fairway woods. Getting comfortable with and mastering your 7-wood can help you have success with 5- and 3-woods. A 7-wood is also going to tend to be more consistent by virtue of its loft, and should you have a day when your longer fairway woods aren’t behaving, the 7-wood is a great club to get you through your round without sacrificing too much distance.
2. A 5-hybrid
Using a lofted hybrid like a 5-hybrid is so much easier than hitting a long iron. The lowest iron I have in my bag is a 6-iron these days, and due to the decreasing lofts in the irons produced by most manufacturers to help us to hit our irons farther and sell more sets, has left the longer irons extremely low lofted. Unless you have tremendous speed, low lofted irons are super difficult to hit.
A 5 hybrid will go father than your irons and shorter than your fairway woods (unless you carry a 11 wood and if you do, this is fine). A 5 hybrid will also launch high and this is very helpful to land on a green and hold, rather than landing and rolling too much. The 5 hybrid as well as the 7 wood are also extremely helpful to carry water and fairway bunkers.
3. A gap wedge (U, A, G, 50-52 degrees)
You may already have this club in your bag and not truly understand what it is, what is does and how much it can help you. What adds to in confusion is that all the manufacturers call it something different.
To name a few: U for utility, A for alternate, G for gap. The one thing they have in common is they are 50-52 degrees for the loft of the club.
Your gap wedge is a club that is meant to be in between your sand wedge and your pitching wedge. So, it will travel farther than your sand wedge and shorter than your pitching wedge.
It is multi-functional but also has a specific distance it will go when you make your full swing.
There are two places on the course where a gap wedge can be particularly helpful for women: longer greenside bunker shots or, if you have a lower clubhead speed, even the basic greenside sand shots.
The lower loft is helpful when you need more distance, while taking a fair amount of sand will also help your golf ball cover greater distance, which is often needed and necessary for many women.
Longer pitch shots are so much easier with a gap wedge. The challenge of a pitch shot that requires you to take a fuller swing with your sand wedge can be a bit intimidating. With your sand wedge, even a short distance can require a big swing, and if you are a bit intimidated to hit the ground, it can lead to difficulty in controlling distance. If many of your longer pitch shots land short, here is the opportunity for your gap wedge to save the day.
The slightly lower loft will mean that you do not need to take as big a swing, and when you are relatively close to the green it can feel more comfortable and less intimidating to make a smaller motion.
Another great resource to help you navigate the club-selection landscape, is a golf app called Golflogix. (Golflogix and GOLF.com are affiliates of 8AM Golf.) I have worked with them to help facilitate a process where a player profile allows you to enter all of the clubs you have in your bag and then input two distances: your driver and 7-iron. Once you do this, the app will auto-populate the rest of your distances and allow you to adjust when necessary. The app will then suggest the proper club for each shot as you use the GPS on the course. A secondary benefit is that if there is a gap in between your clubs, it will be super-obvious, and you can determine which clubs you may want to add to — or remove from! — your arsenal.
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