Advice from our TG Equipment expert: How to choose your perfect driver, fairways and irons.
It's important that you have the right clubs in your bag to get the best out of your game, but how do you go about choosing the best driver, fairway woods or irons?
Should you be playing with a draw driver? How important is the shaft? And how important is choosing the right lofts in a fairway wood? Find out more below.
How to choose your perfect... driver
#1: All-out forgiveness or less spin/more adjustability?
Most brands have wider body all-out forgiving drivers in their 2018 range; they're specifically designed to maintain stability, ball speed and accuracy when hit off-centre. For many golfers the power and forgiveness combo on offer keeps the ball in play more often and results in more fairways hit; they usually cost less, too.
But if you want to dial in a particular shot shape, or manage spin more carefully, adjustable or lower spin models can help. Just be aware low spin or adjustable drivers are rarely the most forgiving drivers available, meaning you're putting fairway finding performance on the line for the indulgence of personalising your personal spin/launch numbers and/or shot shape bias.
#2: Have an idea of how you typically impact shots on the face
Brands openly admit if your impact's in line with the centre of gravity, you gain ball speed. So if you tend to hit shots out of the heel it makes sense to look at draw-style drivers as the CG's on the heel side of centre. It means the head deflects and twists less at impact improving energy transfer and accuracy.
#3: Get the right shaft
There's a reason why there are different options of shaft weights in drivers, and they are there to suit different swing speeds and offer golfers a full range of launch profiles and spin characteristics. We've seen gains of 5mph+ of ball speed and up to 27 yards of carry just by getting the right shaft set-up. So it's well worth taking the time to find the best one for you in a fitting.
How to choose your perfect... fairway woods
#1: Trust us, you need fast face tech
Investing in a fairway wood without some form of fast face tech in 2018 is simply a false economy. New super thin, strong but springy alloy faces when combined with "Jailbreak
bars", "speed pockets" or similar thin face tech are unbeatable for rinsing out extra ball speed and distance from a swing. If your fairway woods are more than five years old,
you'll see an immediate jump in performance.
#2: Do you really need adjustability?
Adjustability, whether through adjustable hosels or sole weights, is on the way out when it comes to fairway woods. Manufacturers have realised golfers use adjustability less on fairways (and it has less impact on smaller, heavier heads), it's costly and often ties up weight which can be positioned to better in uence forgiveness. Lack of adjustability does mean though taking the time to get the right model and lofts suited to you at the outset.
#3: Lofts, lofts, lofts
As a general rule the slower your swing speed the more headcovers you need in your bag. The new Callaway Rogue fairways come in eight lofts from 13.5 to 25 degrees, the TaylorMade M4 from 15 to 19 and the Ping G400 from 14.5 to 23.5 degrees. This gives tons of options to fill loft gaps between your driver and irons or hybrids. Forget the numbers on the sole and look at loft gaps; 10 to 15 yard gaps between clubs is workable and fairway woods (because they have wider bodies) fly higher and are more forgiving than hybrids
How to choose your perfect... Irons
#1: Match the set to your ability
Golf’s a tough game at the best of times, and we’re firm believers in not making it harder than it needs to be. If you’re looking for new irons in 2018 be honest about your ability, it’s the only way to ensure you get a set which enhances and doesn’t hamper your scoring. In a recent TG test we saw a 24-yard difference in 7-iron carry distance between a set of blades and cavity-back irons, which shows what golfers put on the line by plumping for a set which looks brilliant, but cost shots.
#2: It’s OK to sit on the fence
Irons usually slot into neat player categories. But that meant it always felt like a giant leap between game improvement and better player models. That gap has been bridged by a number of recent crossover iron launches, which bring together the looks of better player irons with the playability of game improvement models. If you’ve been looking for sleeker game improvement irons for years, there couldn’t be a better time to take the plunge.
#3: Lighter, stronger, longer
Not many golfers complain about having too much distance. Which makes Callaway’s new lighter, stronger, longer Rogue X iron an interesting introduction. We’d be doing you a disservice to not highlight how powerful they are (albeit from a very strong loft), but because shots launch and fly as high as a normal set, they’re playable for golfers with average and above swing speeds. Just remember once a launch monitor confirms they gain you 10 yards, a purchase is difficult to resist.