Do you know how to pick the right clubs for your game when you're looking for a change? Here's how...
From understanding what to consider when you're buying new clubs, we break down the things you need to think about; from driver and woods to irons, wedges and putters.
How to pick the right woods for your game
Smaller doesn’t have to mean less forgiving
Ping’s G400 driver has a slightly smaller head, yet its MOI (forgiveness) is higher than the previous G model. It a bit of a magic trick, as it means you get a slightly more compact head which most golfers tend to like, as well the better forgiveness and playability most golfers need.
Higher is longer
It’s been said countless times but the longer you keep the ball in the air the more distance you rack up. There are lots of higher-lofted drivers about nowadays, and from what we’ve seen they really help club golfers flight drives more successfully, maximising your distance potential.
Improve with shot tracking
Shot tracking used to be for geeks, but it’s mainstream nowadays. Arccos say golfers who use their system lower their handicap on average by three- five shots. Cobra’s King F7 driver comes with an Arccos sensor in the grip. It monitors where you hit every drive, and when combined with the caddie app even makes club recommendations for you, based on your previous performance.
Think high-launch for your fairway woods
Modern golf balls spin less, which makes flighting fairway woods from the short grass a challenge, particularly at average swing speeds. 16.5° 3-wood lofts are a trend of the last couple of years. They’re easier to get airborne and help keep the ball in the air for longer, which is great for hitting second shots into par 5s.
Wide or narrow body hybrids?
Our test results show wide bodies go slightly higher and typically up to 8 yards further. Wider bodies are great if you sweep your hybrids away like fairway woods. If you hit down on hybrids like irons (and engage the turf), narrower bodies tend to be more suitable.
Buying irons: There’s lots of choices to find the right irons....
Have a look at hollow bodies
Hollow body irons are rapidly growing in popularity. They increase forgiveness because the heads made much like a hybrid. We’ve seen some evidence of how hollow bodies can bring game improvement performance to a set of better player irons, too (TaylorMade P790), which is seriously impressive.
Forged iron comeback
Forged irons are right back on the map. PXG probably ignited the fire, but TaylorMade, Mizuno and Titleist (Callaway are launching three new forged irons, too) now have bigger forged iron line ups than ever before. The softer steel used in forged irons is said to increase feel and feedback, which is why lots of tour and good players choose them.
Face flex like a driver
Face flex and rebound on drivers has been limited by the rules since 1998. Until now irons, haven’t quite boasted the same levels of flexibility (across the whole set), but that’s all changed with TaylorMade’s new M CGBs. If you’re after max forgiveness, ultimate distance and like having oodles of fun on the golf course, these are well worth trying.
Lighter is longer
There’s good reason why lots of game improvement irons now come with lighter steel shafts than better player irons. Lighter shafts can be swung faster (we’re talking 80g vs 120g, which is a huge amount), and more speed usually means more distance.
Don’t forget One Length
Having every iron in your bag the same length as a 7-iron isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but we’ve seen evidence that for some it means just focusing on repeating one swing. We reckon Cobra’s one-length idea is worth exploring if you’re not consistent.
Buying Wedges: It’s not just about the lofts any more
Wedges can be forgiving
Over 80% of golfers use cavity back short irons, yet virtually all of us use blade-style wedges. It doesn’t make any sense when you think about it. So Cleveland have developed a new CBX cavity backed wedge to fill the void. It improves accuracy and consistency, and we reckon they look the business.
Rusty wedges don’t spin shots more
A common myth over the years has said rusty wedges grab, grip and spin approach shots more. We’ve got to disagree as our 2017 test proved there was no discernible spin advantage to having a wedge covered in rust.
Worn grooves cost shots
Some tour pros get new wedges every six weeks, because they feel practising so much quickly rounds the sharpness off their grooves. Our recent test proved an eight- year-old, well-used wedge span shots over 1200rpm less than a new model. That’s a lot, and would have a dramatic effect on how close you can expect to hit your wedge shots consistently.
CNC milled putters are perceived as precision instruments, but 2017 was the first year similar levels of engineering have been applied to wedge production. TaylorMade’s new Milled Grind wedges have CNC milled soles (most premium wedge just have CNC milled faces and grooves), while PXG’s 0311T wedges are 100% CNC milled, just like a premium putter. The only issue is they’ll set you back over £600 a pop.
Watch the bounce
Bounce plays a huge role in how cleanly you hit approach shots. We’ve seen how using a wedge with bounce unsuited to your attack angle can lower spin by 3,000-5,000rpm, which is huge. It doesn’t matter whether you use high, mid or low bounce... just get it matched to you
Buying putters: Where do you even start with a putter?
Red is the new black
Red putters have been a massive on tour this year, so if you’re looking for a new mallet or MOI style flatstick we reckon you’d be daft to not at least try one in our best putters for 2017 categories. Why are they so good? It all comes down to the colour contrast between the red head and green background, and how red helps you focus, and increase your attention to detail.
Which putter rolls it best?
It’s a difficult one to answer, but after our robot and human putter roll test we have to say the Odyssey O-Works insert was top drawer. EVNRoll’s variable width grooves pattern was similarly impressive and not far behind were the Ping True Roll and TaylorMade Pure Roll inserts.
Align, align, align
If a putter blade is 1° open or closed from eight feet a putt is missed, so don’t cut corners when it comes to setting up square to your target. There’s tons of sightlines and alignment aid styles to help, just make sure you’re comfortable with yours. It doesn’t matter if there’s one line, a dot or two golf ball sized discs on the top of a putter, just make sure it focuses your attention directly on your impact location.
Suits you, sir
Whether you swing the putter straight up and down the line or try to arc like some of the best players in the world, having a putter to compliment and not fight your stroke is crucial. Generally, face balanced putters work better for straighter strokes – the greater the toe hang, the more arc that’s required.
Go large with the grip
Oversized putter grips are so popular that lots of brands install them as standard now. There’s masses of choice when it comes to shape and size. Give some a go to find out which floats your boat.