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Accessorize like the Pros

Colorful golf tees surround a white golf ball

In addition to having clubs you like in your bag, there are additional accessories to keep in your bag to make your round comfortable. You may not need all the items during every round, but it’s good to have these items in your bag, should you need them. Take an inventory of what’s in your bag and add the missing items below, before you head out to the golf course.

  • Golf Clubs - maximum of 14 clubs, including a putter
  • Golf Balls – carry the number of golf balls that’s similar to your handicap (a single digit handicap golfer need not carry two dozen golf balls in his/her bag)
  • Tees and Ball Markers – you probably only need two or three of each in your pocket – not half a dozen of each. They weigh down your pocket as well as your golf bag
  • Permanent Marker (Sharpie®) – to put an identifying mark on your golf ball
  • Divot Repair Tool – to repair ball marks on the green. Be kind and repair your mark plus one other one.
  • Golf Glove/rain gloves – keep a spare glove in the event yours tears or if you play in hot weather. Rain gloves are often times used in hot, humid weather in addition to rainy weather
  • Rain jacket/golf umbrella – if it’s not raining or threatening to rain, leave in the car so you don’t weigh down your bag
  • Towel – wet on one end to keep your clubs and golf ball clean
  • Rangefinder or GPS device – golfers of all abilities will benefit from knowing the distance to the hole or where trouble may be on a hole. Some prefer GPS with a map of the hole, while others like the exact number a rangefinder provides. Pace of Play improves if you use one so you don’t walk around looking for yardage markers and distances.
  • Hat or Visor – to protect eyes, ears and face from sun and glare
  • Sunscreen – apply half an hour before going out in the sun and re-apply if you perspire
  • Bug spray – Try not to spray it on yourself while on the golf course as it kills the grass – stand on the cart path or apply in the locker room (if using spray vs. lotion)
  • Band-Aids®, pain reliever (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) – no one wants to pay $3 at the clubhouse for two aspirin. Keep your own in your bag.
  • Healthful snacks (almonds, nuts, raisins, fruit, veggies, Granola bars, energy bars, protein bars, etc.) – much better for you than the hot dog and candy bar at the turn.
  • Water bottle – to fill with water from a drinking fountain or water cooler. Stay hydrated!
  • Business cards – you never know who you will meet on the golf course – come prepared with business cards for networking
  • Cash – comes in handy for use on the beverage cart or if you are playing a friendly wager with your partner and/or opponents or the outside staff who cleans your clubs after the round. Remember some facilities don’t have an ATM on site and may not cash checks.
  • USGA Rules of Golf book – for reference should a Rules question need an answer during the round

Include your name and phone number on your clubs, umbrella and ball retriever. Without a doubt, you will leave a club (or two) on the course during your golf career. Stickers for your clubs can be purchased at most golf shops, golf stores and online or you may also use address labels or make your own. Having your contact information on it helps you reunite with the lost items not deposited in the golf shop “Lost and Found” box. Add these items to your golf bag to make your round more enjoyable.

Picking the Right Set of Golf Clubs

We are big fans of golfers getting properly fit for their equipment (see last week's article on 'The Importance of Club Fitting'). Once you go through the club fitting process, your Professional or club fitter will help you determine your set composition (the number of woods, irons, hybrids and wedges) or make-up of clubs in your bag.  This means thinking about which clubs you plan to put in your bag to get to your 14 club limit.  I like to call it, “What to use…and what to lose.”

Years ago when you bought a set of clubs, you automatically purchased eight irons – a 3 iron through pitching wedge.  There wasn’t much difference from the manufacturer other than sometimes a set of eight irons included 4 iron through pitching wedge plus a sand wedge.  Since most irons were sold in sets of eight irons, a typical set “composition” was eight irons, plus a driver, 3-wood and 5-wood, pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter.

As golf technology evolved and hybrid clubs were introduced, it was a great opportunity, especially for women to ditch the harder-to-hit 3 and 4 iron, while adding a few easier to hit hybrid clubs in their place.  The hybrid clubhead usually looks similar to a fairway wood but has an iron-like face, lie angle, length and weight making it launch like an iron and generally easier to hit.

The benefit of going through a club fitting is you can purchase five, six or however many irons you like – there is no pre-determined number of irons you have to purchase.  Your local PGA/LPGA Professional or club fitter can help you determine your set composition as you go through a club fitting.  Perhaps your set begins with a six iron through pitching wedge (5 irons), sand wedge and lob wedge, two or three hybrids, a driver and two fairway woods and a putter.  You have the unique ability to determine your set composition based on the clubs you like and use.  Also, don’t limit yourself to just one wedge – have a minimum of two or three wedges with different lofts and bounce to help you hit different yardages and shots.

For women, it's important to have the right clubs in your bag that you like to hit and will help make the game a bit easier and more fun.

 

 

The Importance of Club Fitting

If you are a seasoned golfer or even a new golfer, chances are you’ve heard about club fitting – but wonder if you should consider custom fit clubs.  Many golfers think club fitting is for the tour professionals and not amateur players.  I like to ask people, if you have a size 8 foot, would you wear size 10 shoes?  Most likely not, yet golfers appear content playing with equipment that is not custom fit for them and their golf game.

Research shows that 92 percent of golfers don’t play with the right clubs for their swing – so this means once you get custom fit, you will see an immediate improvement in your game.  Women more than men, tend to “accumulate” handed-down clubs – which many times are too long and too heavy – not to mention have larger and usually worn grips.  Treat yourself to the experience of club fitting to make sure your clubs are right for you.  Your session may cost between $50 and $100 (depending on full fitting or just a few clubs) but most Professionals and fitters will credit the fitting fee toward a purchase if you buy new clubs.

How do you get started?  Visit your local PGA/LPGA Professional or club fitter and ask to have your current clubs fit for your body type, height and swing.  You can schedule a club fitting to check your current clubs and the club fitter can make adjustments to your set based on the results of the club fitting.  If you are in the market for new clubs, you will definitely want to be fit for the new clubs so they are made for your body type, height and swing speed to help you achieve the best results.

Many variables and characteristics will be evaluated during your fitting, including the shaft type (steel or graphite) shaft flex (women’s light, regular, stiff, etc.) loft and lie angle, hand size (to determine proper grip size), grip and swing speed.  You can imagine a five-foot female would not want the same clubs as a six-foot male – and vise-versa.  Perhaps you feel like your 7-iron and 8-iron go the same distance – this could be due to the fact that both clubs have the same loft – and your Professional or club fitter can check this for you.

Ask your Professional or club fitter to help you determine the distances you are hitting the clubs.  Ideally you should have a difference of 10 yards between each club (if your 6-iron goes 130 yards, the 7-iron should go 120 yards, the 8-iron 110 yards, etc.)  

If you decide it’s time for new clubs, now what do you do with the old clubs?  Before you find a spot for them in the garage, basement or attic, ask your Professional or club fitter if he or she accepts trade-ins.  Similar to trading in a vehicle, golf club trade-ins are hassle-free and allow you to earn credit toward purchasing new clubs.  The value depends on the condition and age of the clubs, but the industry standard PGA.com Value Guide can give you an idea what the fair market value for your equipment will be if traded-in. 

You will enjoy the game more with properly fit equipment and will soon save a few strokes each round.

Here's What's New in Equipment for 2017

Every year Golf Digest releases their "Hot List". Check out the 2017 preview below!

 

The annual PGA Merchandise Show just wrapped up a little over a week ago with more than 1,100 vendors showcasing their equipment, apparel, accessories, etc. to the more than 40,000 people in attendance. This is the chance for golf manufacturers to show their “latest and greatest” to golf Professionals and buyers, who will in turn offer the equipment and products for consumers. Every year Golf Digest magazine hosts a “Hot List Summit” at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Arizona where clubs are tested and evaluated for the Golf Digest Hot List. A full detailed list of clubs and their ratings will be in the March 2017 issue of Golf Digest or can be found online at GolfDigest.com.

Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect for 2017 for each club category (those earning GOLD ratings):

  • Drivers
    • Callaway Big Bertha Fusion
    • Callaway GBB Epic / GBB Epic Sub Zero
    • Cobra King F7 / F7+
    • Cobra King LTD Black
    • PING G/ G LS Tec / G SF Tec
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)
    • TaylorMade M2 / M2 D-Type (2017)
    • Titleist 917D2 / 917D
  • Fairway Woods
    • Callaway Big Bertha Fusion/li>
    • Callaway GBB Epic / Sub Zero/li>
    • Cobra King F7/li>
    • Cobra King LTD Black/li>
    • PING G/ G SF Tec / G Stretch/li>
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)/li>
    • TaylorMade M2 (2017)/li>
    • Titleist 917F2 / 917F3/li>
  • Hybrids
    • Callaway Apex
    • Callaway Big Bertha OS
    • Callaway Steelhead XR
    • Cobra King F7
    • PING G
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)
    • TaylorMade M2 / M2 D-Type (2007)
    • Titleist 816H1 / 816H2
  • Game Improvement Irons
    • Callaway Apex CF 16
    • Callaway Steelhead XR
    • Cobra King F7 / F7 One Length
    • Mizuno JPX 900
    • PING G
    • Srixon Z 565
    • TaylorMade M1
    • TaylorMade M2 (2017)
    • Titleist 916 AP1
  • Super Game Improvement Irons
    • Callaway Big Bertha OS
    • Cobra King Oversize
    • PING GMax
    • Wilson D300
  • Wedges
    • Callaway MD3 Milled
    • Cleveland RTX-3 Blade / RTX-3 CB
    • Cobra King Pur
    • Mizuno S5
    • Mizuno T7
    • PING Glide 2.0
    • Titleist Vokey Design SM6
  • Blade Putters
    • Bettinardi Queen B (2017)
    • Bettinardi Studio Stock (2017)
    • Cleveland Huntington Beach Collection
    • Edel Torque Balanced
    • Odyssey O-Works
    • Odyssey White Hot RX
    • Odyssey Toulon Design
    • PING Sigma G
    • PING Vault
    • TaylorMadeTP Collection
    • Titleist/Scotty Cameron Select
  • Mallet Putters
    • Odyssey O-Works
    • Odyssey White Hot RX
    • PING Sigma G
    • PING Vault
    • TaylorMade Spider Tour
    • TaylorMadeTP Collection
    • Titleist/Scotty Cameron Futura Series

 

 

GET READY FOR THE 2017 SEASON: Replace Your Soft Spikes

Soft Spikes Need Frequent Replacing to Ensure Maximum Grip

Last week we talked about the importance of getting ready for the 2017 golf season and to evaluate your golf club grips.  This week it’s time to look at your golf shoes – most golfers will walk anywhere from three to five miles during an 18-hole round.  If you play two rounds of golf a week, you would walk more than 500 miles a year.  Due to swinging, twisting, torque, balance and walking on all kinds of turf and pavement, the need to replace your soft spikes increases even more.

Here are some helpful hints for taking care of your golf shoes and more importantly, your feet.

  • Keep a minimum of two shoes in your rotation of “favorite” shoes and never wear the same pair back-to-back for consecutive rounds.  That means alternate between a minimum of two pairs to keep your feet comfortable plus it adds to the overall life of the shoe.
  • Change spikes (if wearing shoes with replaceable spikes) after every 10-15 rounds or when they show signs of wear or cause your feet to slip when swinging or walking.
  • Purchase replacement spikes before you need them.  With many manufacturers and shoe varieties, there are multiple types of replacement spikes available and many golf shops have stopped carrying replacement spikes since there isn’t just one uniform spike.  Plan ahead!
  • If you wear spikeless shoes (sometimes referred to as “nubby” shoes) try to resist the urge to wear them to the course, driving the car, going to the grocery store, etc.  While they are marketed to be more versatile, the more you wear them for non-golf activities, the more wear you are putting on the shoes off the course.  If you wear spikeless shoes for every round, make sure you have two pair of these shoes in your rotation as well.

An advantage of two pair of shoes allows you to have waterproof shoes if you tend to play early morning when the dew is still on the ground or to have a “nicer” pair of shoes that you can wear to guest day events or for tournaments.  Plus, most women golfers I know are experts at having multiple pair of shoes that “match every outfit!”  Technology has come to golf shoes as well - designed to keep your feet comfortable and dry - while still looking good.

Finally, take a personal golf shoe inventory of your collection of golf shoes.  Most golf manufacturers offer a one or two year waterproof warranty – meaning if your shoes are older than two years, you may benefit from investing in a new pair with a new waterproof warranty.  Whether you replace spikes or purchase new shoes, make sure they are comfortable and keep your feet stable during your golf swing.

 

 

Get Ready for the 2017 Season: Re-Grip Your Clubs

If you are in a part of the country where golf is seasonal, one of the best ways to get ready for the new golf season involves some simple maintenance.  Take a look at your golf grips – if the grips are worn or haven’t been changed in the past six months, it’s time to get new grips. 

To get ready for a new season, clean your grips with a wet, soapy towel and wipe them thoroughly.  If your grips are slippery or appear worn, you need new grips.  Slippery grips cause you to hold the club with more pressure and this interferes with making a good golf swing.   A general rule of thumb is to re-grip your clubs once a year, so the beginning of the season is a great time to re-grip.

Visit your LPGA or PGA Professional for help in getting the proper size grip for your hand.  He or she will ask your glove size or will measure from your wrist to your longest finger-tip.  Next your Professional will ask the types of climate conditions you play in – is it wet/humid conditions, fair weather or dry, sunny weather?  Do your hands sweat when you play?  Do you prefer a soft or firm grip or one with a smooth or rough texture? 

Grip technology is constantly improving and manufacturers now offer grips designed for a number of variables - some with cushion under the grips and some designed to absorb moisture (perspiration, rain, etc.)  Grips come in a variety of fun colors - which allows you to add some color and personality to a normally boring grip. 

Once you have new grips, your clubs will feel new again and you will notice an immediate improvement, which leads to better shots and lower scores.

 

 

Get Fit For Your Golf Ball

Woman swinging at a fitted golf ball

Most of us know it's important to have our golf equipment properly fit. For example, using the correct clubs that are fit to your swing and body-type can vastly improve your score and your enjoyment of the game. But did you know that there's more to "fitting" than just the clubs themselves? Take your game to the next level by making sure you've been fit for the correct golf ball.

If you think about an average round, most scoring opportunities happen around the green.  Many women have difficulty reaching the green in regulation, so when looking for more distance, they select a low spin golf ball that helps with additional distance but isn't designed to hold shots into the green.  Most golfers can benefit from a softer ball that is designed to land softly and stop on the green rather than hit and skid off the green.

Many golf ball manufacturers offer golf ball fittings, however how the assessment is completed may vary. Some manufacturers use online fittigs - where you answer questions about your game and the computer determines the best ball “fit” for your golf swing, shots, etc.  Alternatively, you may be lucky to participate in a ball fitting at a local demo day – where you can actually hit and compare golf balls using actual measured data. One added benefit of completing a ball fitting is that you will typically score a sample pack (usally two golf balls) for to try and test out the results!

Most companies have moved away from "compression" golf balls and offer two and three-piece golf balls designed to help players score better.  When you are shopping for golf balls, look for a ball with more spin and stopping power.  Go through a golf ball fitting and you will find and be able to tell the softer feel of the ball coming off your clubface. They are designed to offer more stopping power and to help you shoot better scores.

Keep the fun going and lower your scores - talk to your local Professional to help you find the best golf ball for your game.