Bill Wilson

Let’s talk about your long game

Now on to the long game. In this article and upcoming articles, I will cover equipment, some set up basics, swing basics, swing drills, proper club selection, rules and etiquette. These articles do not cover much in the way of swing fundamentals except for those fundamentals that are common for all players. Always remember that no two players swing the same. Nor should they. You also have your own set up (body posture and grip). We are not robots. There are though some important set up and swing fundamentals that do apply to all of us. These I will try to cover.

Equipment: My recommendation for all players is to have a matching set of irons. This includes hybrids which are iron replacements. Why hybrids are replacing the longer irons such as the 3 iron and 4 iron is they are much more user friendly. All shafts should be the same material and flex. Flex is marked on the shaft. This also includes your pitching wedge (10 iron) but may exclude your other wedges such as gap, sand, or lob wedges. These are primarily made for short shots (not full swings) although we use them for both. Make sure these wedges are all matching. Woods to match as well. Matching means the same shaft material, same shaft flex, same grip material and size and same head design.

For the advanced player and the goal of everyone else the distances between each club should be equal. Every full swing must be the same. If using a robot to swing each club the difference in length of shot between each iron would be approximately ten yards. For example, if your nine iron carries 80 yards then the eight iron will carry 90 yards and the seven iron will carry 100 yards. Rule of thumb only but they would be equal when irons are a matching set and all your swings are the same. What gives you the different golf club distances is the length of the shafts. The longer the shaft the more the club head speed at ball contact. Loft of club face. The less the loft (angle of face) the more the distance.

Equipment for beginners: My advice to beginners is not to go overboard when buying your first set of golf clubs. Top line equipment is best but can be very pricey. Advantages of top line equipment will only show when you have developed your swing and your swing is consistent. Don’t buy junk either but medium line equipment (basically half the price or less of topline equipment) is quite alright. I do recommend you buy a matching full set. Matching as mentioned above. To start with you do not need all these clubs when you play. In fact, I would recommend you start playing with only four clubs. Leave the rest at home for now. These four clubs would be a fairway 5 wood. Now called metal but I am from the old school. Use this club to start each hole. It is much more user friendly than the other woods because it is shorter and has plenty of clubface loft. Tee the ball up using the wooden or plastic tees just enough so the bottom of the ball is just above the top of the grass. The only place you are allowed under the rules to tee the ball up is the tee box (start of each hole). The second of the four clubs would be a seven or six iron. Your choice but only one. Use this club for all shots after your tee shot until you are close enough to the putting surface (green) that the iron you chose would hit the ball too far. Third club would be a pitching wedge (PW on the bottom of the clubhead). Like I mentioned it is a 10 iron but you will never see the number 10 on it. The fourth and final club would be your putter. Used only on the putting surface (green) or when very close to it. No more than a couple feet off. Be sure to practice with all your clubs but only add to the four clubs when playing if you feel confident with them. Eventually you will be playing the full set. Again, practice all your clubs. Enjoy the game.