– By Nicole Fredrichs
Choosing the right club is the most important decision a golfer makes before every shot. It seems like a daunting task, considering all the possible combinations for distance, wind, hazard placement, and other factors. But not to worry, it will become second nature once you’ve practiced and played for a while.
There are two main factors to consider when determining which club to use: your distance to the pin, and how far you normally hit each club. Knowing your club distances takes time and practice, and the best way to do this is by hitting the driving range.
Here’s how to determine each club’s distance at the range:
- Start with your shortest club and aim for the nearest target.
- When you hit a solid shot, estimate how far it landed in front of or behind the closest target – for example, 5 yards past the 100-yard marker is a 105-yard shot. Remember, you want to know how far the ball traveled in the air, not including roll after landing.
- Move to the next club and repeat with all clubs in your bag.
- After you’ve got several measurements from solid hits, average them out. This is your yardage for that particular club.
Now that you’ve determined each club’s distance, you want to choose the most comfortable club for each shot. On most occasions, yardage and conditions narrow the choice to two clubs. For example, 160 yards might require either a 7 or an 8 iron. Sometimes the decision is obvious, but golfers can get stuck between clubs. When you’re stuck, work through this simple process:
- Select one club at a time
- Go through your routine and settle over the ball
- Notice how the club feels in your hand
- Repeat with the second club
- Commit to the club that feels more comfortable
If you usually hit your 7 iron 160 yards, but on occasion your 8 iron feels more comfortable for the distance, the 8 iron is the right club. A comfortable, committed 8-iron shot will fall much better than an uncommitted 7-iron shot 99 percent of the time.
Does this mean you should pick your favorite club all the time? Absolutely not. You should always use the best tool for the job. The five-step process is useful only after you’ve already used distance and conditions to determine the top two clubs for the job.
Because golf is so challenging, being 100 percent comfortable with every shot is unrealistic.
Once you get a better feel for your clubs, you’ll start to lower your scores and feel more comfortable with each shot.
Nicole Fredrichs is the Event Sales Director at Sunset Hills Country Club