A Close Look At Your Tool Box
One of the unforeseen results of all the technology in the golf equipment over the past few decades is that most golfers have really become detached from the real dynamics of their set of clubs. What I call our "tool box".

If the tools aren't right for the job, the job is not going to be done efficiently, or even correctly. One story I like to tell to illustrate this point is the auto mechanic. Let's assume you were referred to two mechanics to work on your new exotic sports car, both highly 'decorated' by the company as having passed all their certifications. So you visit both to see what they are all about. The first one has a whole wall of tools and diagnostic devices, neatly arranged. The other has a few wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer and anvil. Which one do you think can get the most out of his training and talent?

In your golf bag, you also have a tool kit. And the only way to get the most out of whatever skill and talent you have is to have a tool kit that optimizes what you know how to do. At one end you have a specialized tool called a driver, which is used to launch the ball off the tee. At the other end is a putter, designed to roll the ball across the green, hopefully into the hole.

In between, you have twelve clubs with which to navigate 2-3 miles of the golf course from tee to green. And the game gets much easier if those tools are arranged to make this effort systematic and organized.

But the reality is that the golf equipment manufacturers have been messing with your tool box, so you probably have some "disconnects" in there that are causing you unnecessary problems. The most glaring and damaging to your scoring is that the focus on distance has given you longer shots at the long end of your set, but has widened the distance gaps at the short end. It's not your fault, but just the way the set has "matured".

We used to have a set of irons ranging in loft from the 3-iron at about 22 degrees, to the PW at about 50-51. As cavity back irons evolved, the PW began to "move" — to 48, then 47 ... 46 ... and now many sets have a P-club as low as 43 degrees. What used to be an 8-iron. The problem is that the 3-iron hasn't moved but a degree or so, effectively compressing your range of yards covered by 20-25 at least, and removing your valuable high-loft scoring clubs.

This is a bigger topic than can be covered one post, but I can stay on this topic next week. In the meantime, you should do some online research to see just what your lofts are in you set of irons, and make yourself a chart showing each iron and how far you really, comfortably can hit it. That's a great start to really getting to know your tool box.

And we'll go to the next step on Tuesday. See you then.
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[ comments ]
ezra_hendrickx says:
We get it.
cph2133 says:
Wait, so BIG GOLF has slowly been tricking us into hitting clubs further by adjusting lofts? I'm not actually getting stronger and hitting it further with age? Why hasn't anyone ever made me aware of this before? Probably those lobbyist at BIG GOLF keeping that information away out of public knowledge and the BIG GOLF controlled media.

Oh wait, the 97 previous articles just like this one already told me.

Carry on, nothing to see here.
frankteo714 says:
I feel my "tool box" is complete and I'm pretty comftorable with it. I've gone through numerous equipment changes in the last 3 years. The only thing I really haven't changed is my putter. And I refer to my PW as a 10 iron, because in reality that's what it has become.
Dusty23 says:
Definition of Irons: One of about 8 to 10 blade-shaped metal-headed clubs with progessively greater lofts that are designed to hit the ball 10 yards short of the green or 20 yards past it.
GBogey says:
I think the real point here is that you need to know what you can do with each club and with what the equipment guys are doing, it is harder than it once was. I've been scouting for new irons and the jacking of lofts, and even worse, the lengthening of clubs is far worse than I thought. It is making me rethink what my club set configuration whereas before I was thinking about defaulting to the norm of 4-P, hybrid, etc.
DougE says:
With all due respect, the message is getting old. Instead of trying to sell your products through thinly-veiled sales messages throughout 90% of your columns here, please give us more info about how we can play better no matter what brand of tools we have in our bags. We see plenty of equipment ads everywhere we turn about how and why this or that company's tools are better than the next. I personally, don't believe most of it (I came from the advertising/marketing world). Your company's tools may actually be as great as you imply. That is a good reason to scream it from the mountain tops. But, not in what is presented to be a weekly editorial column. It's hard for me to get through your columns when I smell a sales message stronger than cooking bacon. You have been around this game for a long time. I am sure you have much more you can offer us than the constant (sometimes not-so-) subtle schmooze we get most of the time. Save the sales talk for advertising, marketing and PR venues. Give us help, not hype.
onedollarwed says:
Mizuno MP-60 (2007)
Eidolon Wedges
3:21 4:24 5:27 6:31 7:35 8:35 9:43
w:47 w:51 w:55 w:59
hy or 3w, or 7w (13-27 degrees)

I like hitting the 3 iron, and struggle with what to do with that extra club. Sometimes a course suggests something, but that club is always un-matched. Perhaps if I could afford it I would have a club made to match the driver with different characteristics.
In term of a toolbox, I'm the tool - need to make better decisions!

Currently, besides sound decisions which any caddie could fix (wind, elevation, yardage, safety), for me it's all about getting it closer and closer from the range of 120-40 yds. Anything on either side of that works pretty well.
SpaceMaNy0 says:
I like that you pointed out that pros PW's now are like my 8 iron I still use. I see them teeing up 7 or 8 iron on 200 yard par 3's and think 'holy crap I'd have to use 5w here' but it's really a 4 or 5 iron from 5 years ago.
jfurr says:
Just an observation: Has TWG done a question/answer column since the switch to SCOR?
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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