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Do clubs actually make a big difference in your game?

Do clubs actually make a big difference in your game

As mentioned last week, my demise was prematurely reported by some and generated a few complaints to the newspaper. For once, these were “good” complaints instead of the usual “you suck” types.

One of the problems with writing for a newspaper, as opposed to being in front of a live audience, or being on-line, is that you are really not sure how much of the audience you reach and their reactions.

While I would like to think that my wit and insight are what drives the sales of my column, the truth is that, when cut out properly, it fits nicely at the bottom of a birdcage and usually encourages “free drops” among the avians. For the record, two columns side by side fit nicely in a cat litter box with the same result. Yes, I am contributing to the health of family pets…

There was a report a few years back of a gentleman at Hoàn Kiếm Lake being dive-bombed by pigeons while reading my column on a bench, but I am sure this is only a coincidence as there were no follow-up incidents.

However, I have seen some annoyed pigeons pacing back and forth outside my office window whenever I am late in submitting my column to the editors, so the jury is still out on that one.

I guess I appeal to all types, from people who love what I write, to those who read my column just to have something to complain about, to pigeons looking for a place to take a few free drops.

Tiger Woods has been seen trying out a new TaylorMade 3-wood at a driving range near his house. This would be a feather in TM’s cap if both he and McIlroy made the jump.

DISCLAIMER: I am a TaylorMade “home pro” meaning I am sponsored by TM / Adidas. So naturally I have a bit of a bias when discussing equipment. However, I also try to be fair and freely admit I used to be a long-time supporter of Titleist. In fact, I still am. I don’t play their clubs or balls anymore, but I have nothing bad to say about it. I cannot see how anyone could go wrong playing Titleist or TaylorMade.

On the other hand, I have also played Callaway drivers back in the day and the new Ping Driver seems impressive too. But I’ll stick with TaylorMade thank you…

Do clubs actually make a big difference in your game?

In the words of a great man…”You bet your bovitz they do!”

If a club isn’t set up correctly for you, or seems ugly to your eye, you will have trouble playing it. Most clubs “off the shelf” are set-up for the “average player” and if you fall outside of the parameters of “average” then adjustments need to be made.

I am one of those people who can hit balls with an umbrella, but it took me two weeks to find the right driver head/shaft combination. Same with the irons. In the end, we had to order custom shafts as what I needed wasn’t available in Asia.

Tour Pros are even more finicky (imagine someone is more finicky than me…amazing). They’ll go through hundreds of shaft head combinations, loft angles, weights etc… They make me look positively liberal.

Most amateur players would benefit from custom club-fitting but many do not bother. They keep trying off the shelf clubs until they find one which feels better than the others and stick with it. Little do they know exactly how good those clubs could be if tuned for the individual player.

What about “custom” clubs in comparison to the major manufacturers?

Good question… If you’re referring to generic off the shelf stuff like GolfSmith or GolfWorks, I would say they’re OK for beginners who expect to demolish the club eventually.

But there are other custom club makers who are actually very good and in some cases outshine the big names. The only question I wound have with this is “are they legal by USGA / R&A standards?”

Not all clubs are.

There are actually big name clubs made for the Japanese market which do not conform to USGA / R&A standards. They’re legal for use in Japan, but not elsewhere. But the Japanese players are happy with it, so no harm — no foul.

Now, as for balls….


By Robert Bicknell

The article "Do clubs actually make a big difference in your game?" was originally published on