Category Archives: equipment

What’s In My Bag – 2024

Every year I change up my bag. Golf is for having fun. This is it for 2024.

Full bag:
Driver – Titleist 975D, 12.5
Fwy wood: Titleist 975F, 20.5
Irons: Ben Hogan 1999 Apex, 2*, 5-E; Ben Hogan Producer, 9 (left-handed)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey 52-8, 56-8, 60-4
Putter: Ping G3 Tess

Short bag:
Driver – Titleist 975D, 12.5
Fwy wood: Titleist 975F, 20.5
Irons: Ben Hogan 1999 Apex, 5, 7, 9
Wedges: Titleist Vokey 56-8
Putter: Ping G3 Tess

* Specialty shots only

The Golf Ball Rollback

I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle somewhat on the golf ball rollback, but the news keeps changing every day as more and more opinion and speculation keeps coming out, so I if I don’t comment now, I never will.

What I can say is that the USGA is up to its usual stupidity, the kind it exercised for years in screwing up the U.S. Open with the way it prepared and conditioned the course.

Then there was the anchored putting fiasco.

Now this.

We really have to take a wait-and-see approach because the rollback doesn’t take effect for us until 2030. The deal might not yet be done.

(New golf ball testing rules come into effect in 2028, and the shorter ball comes into effect for everyone in 2030.)

The speculation is that the carry distance of the average male golfer will shorten by 5 yards, the average female golfer by 1 to 3 yards.

(This image is a screen print. Links are not active.)

The second shot would hardly be affected. They say.

What bothers me is that nothing I read about the comment period refers to comments they got from millions of recreational golfers, who are really what supports golf in this country.

Because they didn’t ask us.

Oh, they asked us about anchored putting, and they apparently didn’t like the comments they got, so we got left out of this discussion.

We like things the way they are. We are not the reason that courses are becoming obsolete because we hit the ball that far. We just don’t.

Back in the day when I was playing my best, my total driving distance was at 235 yards. Once a month I might pop one out there 250 and say to myself, “How did that happen?”

With that distance off the tee, a course of 5,900 yards fit perfectly.

So what am I going to do now that I’m much shorter than that?

When Bridgestone discontinued the ball I use, the e5, I bought as many as I could find. I have twenty boxes of them in my basement.

I would suggest that in 2029 you buy as many of the ball you use then and play them to your heart’s content from 2030 forward.

And then tell the USGA that even though they are in charge of “the game”, you are not a part of “the game” they are in charge of any more.

Because all you want to do is go out and have fun.

Which is what golf is for the millions of us.

P.S. You want my solution to the distance problem at the elite level (Because that’s the only level where distance is a problem)?

Make the pros play a balata ball.

Instead of their wild drives ending in the deep rough, they will end up two fairways over.

That will put more of a premium on straight rather than far, which should cut down distance from the insane to the mere ridiculous.

Dumping My wedges

There was a time, up until yesterday, to be precise, when I carried four wedges: PW, GW, SW, and LW. I got into the Dave Pelz method of pitching, which uses four wedges and three swings, and used them all for chipping, too.

I must say I did very well with that approach. But no more.

For the past few rounds I tried pitching with my PW, 9-, and 8-irons. I found that method to be every bit as accurate distance-wise as with the wedges, and easier to get a good shot out of, mainly because you can hit the the shot with a shorter, and thus more controlled, swing. I was very happy with the result each time.

And doesn’t the shape of those clubheads, at least with the blades I play, say, “Pitch with me?”

So out of the bag went the GW and LW. I hardly ever used those clubs anyway.

Next time you go to the range, try pitching with the three clubs I mentioned and see what you think.

My 1-Iron

I carry a 1-iron. Really, I do. It’s a pretty versatile club, and I’m going to tell about a couple of things I do with it.

On courses that have a lot of trees, it is ideal for punching out of the trees and down the fairway. The ball doesn’t get more that three feet off the ground and it runs forever. I can get 60 yards without trying hard.

Grip down the metal for control. Set up with the ball opposite your left instep. Take the club back only about five feet or so. The clubhead doesn’t get very far off the ground.

Swing through with your right side, thinking of punching the ball forward. Do not try to put a hit on it or you will mess up the whole thing. The follow-through is short–the shaft won’t get above horizontal.

I also use it around the green for chipping. The club has about 17 degrees of loft so you can think of it as a lofted putter.

For short chips where the ball is lying in grass too high to putt from, but is too close to chip with one of your usual chipping clubs, again grip all the way down and use a putting-like stroke to get the ball off the ground and rolling to the hole.

The ball comes off the clubface kind of hot, so it doesn’t take much of a hit to get the job done.

(Just to say I did it, I tried swinging the 1-iron at a ball. That was sitting on a tee. I learned that there is no point in ever trying that again.)

I made room for it taking out my 5-iron. I’m sure more uses will make themselves known as time goes by.

[Update] Chipping off a tight downhill lie.

[Update} Now it’s a 2-iron. Much better.

Care for the Grips on Your Clubs During the Round

Before you got to the course to play, rinse off the grips on your clubs to get the dirt and oil off them, and to restore the tacky feel.

(But I know you always do that, don’t you?)

Take care of them during the round, too. Periodically you should take out clubs that you have been hitting more than a few times (driver, for example), and wet down the grip with just a few drops of water from the water bottle you carry.

(You do carry a water bottle, don’t you?)

Give the wet grip a good rubdown with your hand and wipe it off with the towel you carry.

(You do carry a towel, don’t you?)

All that should take only a few seconds. Doing that will make your grips feel, well, grippy, throughout the round.

The next time you watch a professional golf tournament on TV, you will notice the players wiping down the grip, especially late in the round.

It’s a little thing that could make a big difference.

What’s In My Bag – April 2021

Every year I put up a WITB post. I skipped last year because I stayed home and didn’t go out to get myself exposed to you-know-what.

In my 2019 post, I had a set that starts with a driver, then a 16.5* FW and a club for every 4* of loft down to a 60* wedge. And a putter.

This year, I took out the FW and added second putter. One is a face-balanced putter for putts of up to about 12 feet. The other is a toe-balanced putter for the rest.

This post goes into detail about the two putters.

Why I Have Blades in My Bag

Blades vs. cavity backs=”game improvement” irons.

There is an article on the GolfWRX site by Terry Kohler about the matter. I was going to write a response, but some guy in the Comments column beat me to it.

What he said is exactly my story. Every word. EVERY WORD.

“I have found that my scores with blade irons are the same or better as cavity backs. Could be because I learned to play with blades nearly 60 years ago because that was my only option. Could be that they just plain look better to my eye because of that old historical tie. Or it could be because I get sloppy with a cavity back relying on that supposed forgiveness. So at this point I simply select a blade because it makes me happy. It makes me think about all the things I need to do to hit a pure shot, and when I don’t I only blame myself. Handicap 9.”

As you know, I play Hogans. Either 1999 Apex or 1989 Apex Red Line.