Chapter 2 : Equipment

Believe it or not, the equipment you use in your golf game can truly make a difference in how well you strike the ball. With new technologies in club designs and materials used to make the clubs, you can get overwhelmed at the various choices you will have when buying golf equipment. We’ll look at this section from the perspective of your skill level.

Beginner - Average scores over 100

Because you are just learning the game, you will want to have clubs that are more forgiving when you make bad shots - and those bad shots will come. The beginning golfer should be looking for clubs that are the most forgiving when the ball is struck off-center. Perimeter-weighted clubs place the most weight of the club around the edges, which prevents the club head from turning with a poorly hit shot.

If you would like something that makes it very easy to get the ball in the air, you should look for irons that have more sole weighting. Sole weighting lowers the center of gravity by putting the weight under the ball, helping to get it in the air quicker.

Titanium is stronger, denser and lighter than steel, thus the club head can be made larger with the same amount of material. A larger head also means the size of the sweet spot will be larger. Since off-center shots will make you lose distance, a larger sweet spot will be the most forgiving.

Some heads feature an "offset" design to prevent your shots spinning left-to-right and giving a straighter ball flight. The offset means the face is slightly behind the hostel of the club head. This gives you an extra split second in the swing to get the face back to the square position.

For your driver, the larger the head the more forgiving it will be. These are all going to have the largest face, producing the largest sweet spot. This is very important, since a beginner doesn't always hit the ball right in the middle of the clubface. (Studies have shown you lose 10 yards for every 1/8" of an inch you miss the sweet spot!!!)

For fairway woods, the lower profile woods make it easier to get the ball airborne, as the weight is mostly below the center of the ball.

Graphite shafts are the most forgiving shafts for poorly hit shots. They absorb the vibration like a shock absorber, allowing for a much better feeling shot. Graphite shafts are lighter weight, so you will pick up some swing speed which will give you more distance. For this reason graphite shafts are more popular than steel shafts in the metal woods when distance is your primary goal.

Steel shafts don't feel as soft, and they are heavier, but they are more accurate than graphite. For this reason, they are usually better for the irons, since you are less concerned with distance and more concerned with accuracy since you are hitting into greens and at the pin.

Intermediate - Average scores between 80 and 100

The intermediate golfer should be looking for a club that maximizes both distance and control. The more perimeter-weighting you have, the more forgiving the club, but the more weight directly behind the ball gives you more distance. These club heads all seek to optimize the balance between distance and control.

You should look for distance clubs with titanium heads. They are very light, allowing you to generate more club head speed to get more distance, yet still more controllable than the largest of the oversize titanium heads.

For intermediate golfers, any shaft would work well. It’s important that you pick out the properties of a shaft that will help your game the most. The lightweight shafts have a lower flex point, which help you get the ball in the air quicker. The standard weight shafts have a higher flex point, which allows for better control. Graphite shafts and the True Temper Sensicore shafts have a bit softer feel.

Advanced - Average score less than 80

Advanced golfers need the weight of the club head where it is needed most… right behind the ball. The weight is more directly behind the ball, meaning a shot struck in the center of the club will explode off the club face.

The advanced golfer will want a driver with a large head so the sweet spot is larger and you have a better possibility of longer drives. Irons should be lightweight with the proper degree of loft for all situations.

If you are an advanced golfer, you probably already know what clubs work best for you and where you need to upgrade.

Test out various clubs and find which ones are good fits for you. Practice, if possible, with different styles and take note of those that give you the best results.

When it comes to golf balls, you will want those that can give you the most distance and that aren’t too “hard”. There are many brands on the market that can fit into this mold, so test out a few and see which one you like the best.

So you’ve got your equipment, now let’s take a look at some of the basics of golf and a good, effective golf swing.

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