Mickey Walker: What's in your bag?
Last month I talked about how driver sizes have seemingly doubled and how the longest club in the bag has become probably the easiest to hit.
The other thing that has changed over the last 20 or so years is the increasing use of high lofted woods, as well as the reintroduction of utility or hybrid clubs, which the majority of golfers find very much easier than hitting long irons.
If you still haven’t tried one and are battling away with long irons then you really are missing a trick!
Nowadays – even on the women’s professional tours around the world, literally only a handful of women use long irons.
I can remember at the peak of her dominance Annika Sorenstam carrying 5 and 7-woods in her bag and a 5-iron being the longest club that she used.
I can also recall our Solheim Cup captain Carin Koch using an 11-wood to devastating effect and with incredible accuracy and consistency.
We can learn a lot by looking in the bags of the best in the game these days. Michelle Wie, probably the best ball striker in the ladies’ game, uses a 2 and 4 hybrid with the 5 her longest iron.
Europe’s best player Suzann Pettersen carries a 4 and 5-iron but in a cavity back to add a layer of forgiveness.
Instead of fighting our inability to hit long irons I feel that women especially should use high lofted woods or hybrids. A considerable amount of clubhead speed needs to be generated to successfully play long irons so, if like me you don’t come into the small minority of women who manage this, rather than carry long and even mid irons that you don’t use well, be smart and use a club which you have more confidence in and consequently you strike much more consistently.
Even a lot of men playing professionally use lofted woods and hybrids these days, because they are more forgiving and easier to hit.
The other thing that really makes sense is to be custom fitted for your clubs. All of the major manufacturers offer this service these days, and either make a nominal charge or will deduct the fitting cost if your fitting results in a purchase.
Because of the vast amount of different clubs available to purchase most club professionals have an association with one or a select number of manufacturers.
If I had a pound for each time that I’ve recommended that a woman have her putter shortened I’d be a very wealthy woman! If your pro doesn’t stock a brand that you want to try, simply go online to see who does stock them and go along to find out more. Many pros will have a club or clubs for you to try or even hold open club-fitting days where everyone is welcome to come and try before you buy.
The other area that has developed relatively recently is to be custom fitted for a putter. All of which makes sense when you work out that around 45 per cent of your shots (often more!) will be taken with the flat stick.
If I had a pound for each time that I’ve recommended that a woman have her putter shortened I’d be a very wealthy woman! Until recently putters came in two lengths as standard, either 34 or 35 inches long.
If, like me, you’re almost six feet tall then the 34-inch putter will be fine for you, but if that’s not the case, and you’ve either been given your partner’s second-hand putter or have gone into a shop and bought one off the shelf, the chances are that your putter is way too long for you.
This in turn doesn’t allow you to get your eyes over the ball enough, which makes it impossible to make a pendulum-type stroke from your shoulders.
Putting is a very personal part of the game. We all come in different shapes and sizes and with different methods of moving the putter, so a fitting really is essential to give yourself the best chance of holing some putts this year.
They will also look at the loft and lie angles and these can both really make a difference to your stroke.
These days there is no excuse not to have clubs that are suited to your ability and needs, but with so much choice, it’s worth investing time and a small amount of money to make sure that what you invest in is right for you.