Last time in this space, I spoke with Quadra Golf’s Jason Tchir about whether an expensive ball makes a difference in the average person’s game.
But what about the thing you hit that ball with? Should you be going out and buying a new set of clubs every two years because of advances in technology have made the new ones so much better than yours?
“Some people might say that,” Tchir admits. “They’d say that because technology is changing so fast, you should always get the latest and greatest if you can, but I’m a big proponent of learning to use what you have and sticking with it rather than having to learn again every time you get a new tool for the job.”
That’s not to say that some tools aren’t just straight-up better than others, though.
“If you’re a beginner trying to play a 7,000-yard golf course with your grandpa’s Wilsons from 1984, you’re not going to have fun out there,” Tchir says. “You have to be able to put the ball where the course is asking you to, but as long as you can do that, it really doesn’t matter what you’re using.”
What’s key, Tchir says, is that you’re using a set of clubs that suits you.
“Let me put it to you this way, I’m still using the same technology that I put in my bag in probably 2006,” Tchir says, “and I’m still totally happy with them. I still haven’t perfected them,” adding he is a proponent of getting better with what you already have rather than buying something else.
Of course, that’s assuming “what you have” is suited to you in the first place. You can’t learn to work with clubs that simply will not respond properly to what you’re doing with them.
“You need to have the right clubs for you. Whether that means getting measured and fit and buying a brand new $1,000 set of irons or whether it’s lucking out and finding a set that suits you at a second-hand store or online, it just boils down to being able to make a proper impact.
“Let’s face it, there’s a lot of product out there that’s five or 10 years old that is maybe technically ‘out of date,’ but it’s still really, really good. It’s not like we’re talking about the wooden woods and rigid steel shafts from the 1990s.”
But that’s not to say you should just go to a thrift store and piece together a set out of single clubs from the bin and figure it out.
“If you are relying on finding something on hand-me-downs or something you can find on a buy-and-sell page on Facebook, I would definitely recommend sticking with getting a full set of clubs that are all the same,” Tchir says. That way at least they all have the same swing weight, which is important. Consistency throughout the set is a big deal. I like to tell people to have their irons be the same and their woods be the same. But that doesn’t mean the irons need to be the same as the woods.”
But it may be less expensive in the long run to just get properly fit and buy a new set that suits you, rather than going through all the trial and error of buying used, then selling them again when you get frustrated.
“There are things like lie angle – how the club sits flat on the ground when you address the ball – which is a big factor in whether that club is going to work properly for you, and that really takes a professional to help you figure out,” Tchir says. “But probably the most important thing is having the right shafts. If you go with a stiff-flex shaft and you have a swing speed of 80 mph, you’re going to have a hard time getting that club face square and hitting the ball flush.
“There are a lot of factors in play, and you’d probably be best off to find someone to help you address those,” Tchir admits.
“Just don’t think that you have to in order to play the game well. It’s not about the gear you’ve got, it’s about what you do with it.”
Ready for the doozy at Carnoustie?
I’ve got a pair of passes for Storey Creek Golf Course, a pair of passes for Quadra Island Golf Course and a pair of passes for Saratoga Beach Golf Club.
That’s six rounds of golf that I’m just giving away.
Email your pick to win The Open Championship to email@example.com for your chance to win them all.
Here’s the catch: Since this contest will be coming out while the tournament is already underway, you also need to guess the winning score (which will serve as the tiebreaker, since everyone is sure to pick players who are already near the top of the leaderboard) and have your pick in before 5 p.m. (our time) on Saturday.
Whoever’s golfer finishes highest wins the pot.