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There are a myriad of options to consider when selecting a set of men’s golf clubs. From graphite shafts to oversized heads, the increasingly high-tech world of golf equipment can overwhelm in a hurry. Below are some quick tips, considerations and product suggestions to get you started on the right track to selecting the best golf club for your game:
Practicing on the driving range?
It’s important to develop a pre-round routine. Try hitting short wedge shots first, and then to proceed down through your irons and metal woods once you’re warmed up. Finishing your practice with the driver will allow you transition easily into that first tee shot.
Stuck in a bunker or facing an awkward sidehill lie?
Consider a 56 or 60-degree wedge with higher bounce to get the ball airborne.
Looking for more distance off the tee?
Start with a basic driver with any amount of loft and flex
Need help getting your tee shot airborne?
Consider a driver with greater loft (9.5° or higher) and a softer shaft (start with Regular flex).
Drivers and Metal Woods
The long-range component of a golf bag, drivers and fairway woods are designed principally for distance, and can be used either off the tee or on approaches to long par-4s and 5s. Today’s woods are made from a variety of lightweight metals and composites, the most notable being titanium; prized for its weight, resilience and durability. Many of today’s players prefer graphite shafts, a lightweight carbon ideal for providing ultimate distance and responsiveness with every swing. Taken as a whole, metal woods are the most analyzed and scrutinized clubs in the game today. Equipment companies like TaylorMade, Callaway, and Cobra produce clubs for every player, and even the most casual golfer will recognize them by their latest metal wood offerings: Burner, RocketBallz, RAZR, and AMP.
Irons and Wedges
Unlike the larger and longer metal woods, the evolution of iron sets has been much more gradual. Like the “wood”, however, the name derives from an ancient past, when irons were individually forged from a single block of the metal. Today’s models are almost universally made of steel, produced through large-scale casting. Among the more notable brands on the market are models from Mizuno (MP-58 and MP-62 models), Wilson (FG series) and Cleveland Golf (CG7 and CG-16). Featuring compact heads and shorter shafts, irons are typically utilized on approach to most greens, as well as for greenside chipping, many players using their 7, 8, and 9 irons for short shots around the greens. For all of the advances in the game, though, the secret to good iron play remains simple and unchanged: practice!
Wedges are among the most specialized clubs in the bag. Integral to good scoring, wedges are utilized in close proximity to greens, in green-side grasses and bunkers, and often make the difference between a par-saving “up-and-down” and a disappointing bogey. Many major equipment manufacturers produce a line of wedges, their offerings quietly emphasizing the importance of understanding your game and the conditions in which you play. Today’s principal wedge manufacturers – Cobra (Trusty Rusty), Cleveland (588 and CG15 models), and Mizuno (MP models) – offer multiple loft and bounce options (generally speaking, the higher the bounce, the more a club will skip off the turf). For sand shots, try a wedge with 54 to 60 degrees of loft and 12 to 14 degrees of bounce; for chipping and pitching off the grass, look for something with ten degrees or less of bounce.
While many players eagerly await the launch of the latest driver and anticipate testing a new iron set every few years, very few stray from a putter that inspires confidence. When you consider that up to half of the shots in a typical round take place on the greens, it’s not surprising that the most valuable piece of equipment in the game is a good putter. Current models feature three to four degrees of loft, ensuring a smooth roll and limited skidding on today’s closely-mown greens. For those seeking specialization, don’t despair – the simplest club in the game comes in a variety of head shapes (blade or mallet), shaft configurations (offset, mid-slant, and center shaft), grip sizes, and lengths (don’t be scared to try a belly putter – it’s the hottest trend in the game today). Among the more popular models out there are designs from Odyssey (Metal-X series), Nike (Method Core and Drone models), and Heavy Putter (give the L3 and Q2 models a roll). The right choice for you is a matter of feel and confidence.