It is not always easy to figure out when a new club will actually help your game. I get asked all the time how often clubs need to be replaced, and my answer varies depending on the golfer I am talking to. Like any other sport the quality of the equipment does make a difference in performance. There are many factors that determine the need for new clubs, a fitting, or simply more instruction.
The first question is always the skill level of the golfer. Experienced golfers are more likely to notice small changes in design and performance than casual or beginner golfers. It is easy to get sucked into the media blitz from the golf club manufacturers promising ten more yards every time a club is released. The fact is that golf clubs have changed a great deal in the past decade. New materials, advanced design and manufacturing techniques have led to more stable shafts and powerful drivers. However, this might not help the average golfer at all. Not too long ago drivers were only 43″ in length. Now most companies use 45.75″ as a standard length. Adding nearly three inches to a driver will certainly increase distance, but there is a trade off in control. Irons for the most part have not changed a great deal. In fact the new releases from Titleist look a lot like their irons from 2000 to 2003, and the craze of the bigger drivers also seems to be coming to an end with new releases taking some 60-100 CC’s off the size of previous drivers.
In reality the life of an iron for an average golfer can be twenty years, many people are still playing Ping Eye 2’s from the 1980’s. Just make sure that you change your grips once a year. As for drivers, every three years should keep you near the top of the technological advances. There is one thing that will trump any new driver or irons purchase and that is practice. A skilled golfer can play with any clubs in good shape and score well. Next time you find yourself blaming your clubs try taking a lesson and checking to see if your clubs fit properly. This will make a bigger difference every time, and if you think you do need new clubs ask a PGA Professional at your local course. They are there to help, so take advantage of them. If you do decide to buy new clubs, take advantage of club demos offered by golf companies and hit as many different models as you can. It is free and is the best way to see what works best for you.