The best time of year to make that ‘big’ purchase of golf equipment for next year is now — during the fall and winter months.

“I want to wait and see what’s new so I can get the ‘best’ club out there”  is the purchasing strategy many use.  I have seen clients look each year for the ‘golden clubs’ and wind up with the those they were playing with the previous year while they continue their search.

Here’s a challenge for you:

Next April or May, take a look at the bulletin board in the locker room at your club or course.  You’ll notice it is quite bare except for the new handicap sheets.   Go take a look in mid June or early July.  I will almost guarantee you will see at least one of those $350-$500 drivers for sale.   Why?  Because, although it was the newest and best, it just did not do the job, as promised, for the golfer who just had to have it.

I often tell clients golf clubs are like furniture, once out of the shop or store, the value falls through the floor!

I have found, (speaking specifically about drivers),  that the distance to be gained by the average golfer is generally between 3-5 yards.  Perhaps 6-10 yards for mid level players. (I know, not much hype here, right?  I am sure the manufacturers will argue that point and I’m ready.)

I am a firm believer in technology and the evolution of golf equipment not to mention the advances in the playability of clubs over the past 10-15 years.  Year to year, however, (with a few exceptions), the ‘hitability’ of clubs tends to be more hype than reality,  especially for the average player.

I suggest you take a very serious look at clubs still around from the season just ended.

If you look around, you’ll find clubs from THIS season that are basically the same as the new models being touted as the ‘best ever’, and  for a LOT LESS money.

Remember one basic tenant. When it comes to the club head, within reason, your instincts are generally your best advisor.  If you like what you’re looking at and have a sense you can hit it,  there is a very good chance you can and will if the clubs are fit properly.

A qualified club fitter can help you, (based on the information you provide about your game and watching your swing), with the type of club heads you might consider.

A cavaet:  If someone tells you that ‘this is the club you need’, (speaking about the brand name).  Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.  A good professional and professional club fitter can point out the advantages to specific clubs but the decision is ultimately up to you.  Very simply, you need to like what you are looking at, then it’s up to them to fit you properly.

Once you’ve decided on a couple of (club) heads or sets you like, you need to seek out the club fitter to help you finalize your decision.  Club fitting is absolutely critical if you expect to get the most out of your golf clubs.  Decisions about the club you’ve selected need to be made and I strongly suggest you let a qualified club fitter help.

Decisions like:   

  • Shaft FLEX.  Flex is critical.  Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that most golfers are playing with clubs whose shaft flex is generally ‘one’ flex stiffer than they might actaully benefit from.  You need to be able to ‘load’ the shaft of the club and
    if you can’you might as well be swinging a telephone, and an expensive one at that Older golfers come to me from time to time, complaining of losing 10-15 yards.  The first thing I want to know is what the shaft flex is in their clubs.  Many older men, in particular, are playing with regular and in some cases stiff shafts. When I have gotten them to consider and try a more flexible shaft….BINGO..their distance returns or at least significantly improves.  Shaft flex is crucial.
  • Shaft make up.  Steel reacts differently and is heavier than Graphite or other composites shafts which tend to be lighter.
  • Length is important.  Your height, girth, and length of arms need to be considered with respects the club length.   Generally men’s clubs are 1″ longer than ladies clubs and the lengths of clubs are pretty standard.  If a person is taller or shorter than
    the guidelines, it may be necessary to have the shafts trimmed. 
  • The lie angle is the angle in which the shaft comes out of the hosel or neck of club.  This angle impacts the way the club sits on the ground.  I’m sure you have heard terms like ‘flat’, ‘upright’ and ’standard’ lies.  If not, that’s what is being referred to. For example if you put the club in the hitting position and the sole of  the club doesn’t sit flush on the ground, you may need a ‘flat’ or ‘upright’ lie.
  • Weight.  It is important that you are at least able to ’sense’ the head of the club when you swing it.  Otherwise you can lose track of the head and there goes your timing.  In short and generally, lighter clubs are for better players who have a good sense of timing and feel.

Something to consider:

If you are swinging a club that is to heavy for you or has a shaft flex that is to firm, doesn’t it make sense you might become fatigued at some point late in the round and that these factors just might account for why your game goes bad on the 12th or 13th hole?  Think about it.

Buying new clubs can be a daunting task not to mention expensive.  You can save hundereds of dollars if you buy smart and seek the expertise of a professional club fitter.

 Happy club hunting.

(Steve Riggs has been a golf professional for over 30 years dedicating more than 25 of those years to teaching around the country and the Caribbean as well as conducting live instruction over the internet since 1997.  Steve hosts a weekly radio show on WNRI 1380 AM called THE LESSON TEE Mondays at 6:05pm Eastern time.  The show also is available via live streaming audio on the at myNEGM.COM,, and  Private comments or questions welcome.  Steve’s email is: )

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