As readers of this blog are aware, I’m fond of advancing ideas on how to play better golf immediately. Previously, I talked about upgrading your driver and then followed with a post suggesting fairway technology had taken such a leap this year that you needed to do likewise and get a new fairway wood. You might also recall from that same fairway wood article I refused to call them “fairway metals,” so, like, don’t bother correcting me on that.
I’ve also written about the mental side of the game in a piece that suggested we all should try a little less. Even though that post was written with more than a little tongue-in-cheek, I really believe we would all improve if we didn’t care quite so much. That said, I know that most of you will never ease off the throttle or tone down your competitive zeal. And since the idea of performing better while trying less is so counterintuitive as to be almost un-American, I don’t expect anyone to write and tell me how my insightful article saved his game.
So today I get back to equipment and offer a suggestion which, if taken, will improve your game immediately…or, you know, whenever you get around to doing it.
Today we’ll talk about set composition or, why yours is probably wrong. For awhile now, I’ve been contemplating getting rid of my 3 iron, but I’ve been unwilling to do so for fear of being labeled with a big scarlet H (for Hack). In the last year or so, however, I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that my continued adherence to traditional set makeup is simply stupid. I gave up my 2 iron long ago when the first brown banana-looking TaylorMade Rescues with the Bubble shafts hit the market, and have utilized various 2 hybrids ever since. More difficult has been the idea of relegating the 3 iron to the antiquities bin. I know I should do it; after all, it’s really been years since I hit a 3 iron with any real degree of confidence, and even my solid shots with that club don’t come off with the height needed to generate the distance desired. In short, I have no real business carrying a 3 iron.
Part of my reluctance, I’ll readily admit, is the swagger factor. When I was a junior in high school, my dad bought me a Ping 1 iron that I carried for years thereafter and used with regularity. I loved that club, and even more than I loved the club itself, was the fact that in order to carry a 1 iron I had to get rid of my 4 wood. I liked the way my bag looked with only a driver and 3 wood. I also thought it was a bit intimidating to show up to a tournament sporting only a driver and sometimes 3 wood in an era when many players carried driver, 3, 4 and 5 woods. I would sneer at their girlie bags with their plethora of pom-pon head covers. I suspect I never really intimidated anyone with my 1 iron. And I know I don’t intimidate anyone these days, except maybe my six year old neighbor, Harold, with whom I have regular chipping and putting contests—and even he’s been talking smack lately. So as I said, I think it’s well past time to re-think my love of the long iron, which long ago stopped loving me.
This point was made dramatically clear to me this year when I took a look at Matt Kuchar’s bag following his win at The Players Championship. The lowest numbered iron used by Matt Kuchar in claiming the tournament featuring the deepest professional field in golf was a 5 iron. Kuchar is known as a guy who keeps the ball in play and rarely makes errors of a nature that lead to big numbers. He’s a fairways and greens machine. And he uses two hybrids— 20 and 23 degrees—and three wedges. Wedges are known as the “scoring” clubs for a reason and deserve our utmost attention, but I’m saving that for a future post. For now, let me stick with the point that almost every player could benefit by acing the longer irons and replacing them with hybrids. After all, the pros are incorporating more and more hybrids in their sets, so it would seem more than a little silly to reject a concept embraced by the guys who make their living playing golf just because we think we're too good.
Manufacturers have recognized this. Most sets no longer offer a 2 iron as an option, and many stock sets now begin with a 4 iron, requiring a special order if you want a 3 iron. Let me suggest that you may want a 3 iron, but you shouldn’t get it. I have a friend who’s a pretty accomplished player. He lives about 90 minutes from me so I only play with him a couple times a year. Last year, during one such round, I looked in his bag and discovered four hybrids. His lowest numbered iron was a 6 iron. When I asked him about why all the hybrids, he said simply, “They’re easier to hit.” And there you have it—hybrids are easier to hit. Callaway and other companies, recognizing this, have begun marketing hybrid/iron combo sets that feature hybrids instead of 3, 4 and even 5 irons.
Not only are hybrids easier to hit, but they’re easier to hit higher and longer than their numerically-equivalent iron counterparts, and they're alot more forgiving on mis-hits. Unless you're a scratch golfer or better and a high ball hitter, forget the macho nonsense and put more hybrids in your bag. You’ll play better golf. I for one have replaced my 3 and 4 irons with hybrids, and my 5 iron’s getting nervous. It should be. I miss those irons, but I don’t long for them. They quit on me a long time ago, so its good riddance—let ‘em rust in the garage.
Check out all the available hybrids and mixed composition sets available at DGW. Each model Hybrid or Rescue club comes in a variety of progressive lofts ranging from the 15.5 degree Cleveland Mashie M1 to the 31 degree Cobra Baffler T Rail 7 Hybrid. We have Hybrid/Iron combo sets from Callaway and Tour Edge that offer a complete mix of easy to launch hybrids with shorter irons for precision shot making.
Change your game for the better by putting today’s modern technology to work in your bag.