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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Mixed Bag

By Ryan Noll

A friend of mine just asked if it was a good idea to mix brands when it comes to a set of clubs. Should your driver and fairway woods be the same brand and model? Should all your irons match? What about hybrids? Wedges? The putter?

On the PGA Tour, it's not uncommon to see players locked into 12 or 13-club contracts, requiring them to use all but one or two clubs in their bag from a sponsoring clubmaker. And, since folks like you and I aren't on the PGA Tour, we actually have more opportunities than the pros do come time to divvy up our sets across various brands. But, as my golf buddy asked, is it a good idea to do mix and match?

The answer is yes. Sometimes certain companies lend very specialized versions of their products, often making clubs that can be custom-fit to your exact needs and specifications. But, if you're not aware of your current club specs and the specs of the clubs you're thinking about buying and you don't go through the lengths of getting them all fitted, your set of golf clubs will turn out like Swiss cheese---you'll have a set that looks great but with one bite you'll see there are holes all over the place. (Read Charlie's entry below for his take on the need for clubfitting if you need extra convincing.)

Several equipment companies' manufacture equipment to their own specifications, not to some industry standard. What may be labeled "Standard" with one company may be 2-degrees stronger-lofted with another, or what's upright 2-degrees with one company may be considered "Standard" with another. Therefore, always check the specs of your current set and what club(s) you're hoping to buy, and make sure the length, lie, loft and weight are an appropriate fit. (The variances generally aren't much, but they can make a significant difference.) This is especially crucial when mixing wedges and irons, as many go to great lengths in getting their irons custom-fitted but often neglect the wedges. Come on folks, get with it!

Also, come time to buy a hybrid, look first and what you hope to replace. Odds are it's a long iron, so check with a clubfitter to determine what hybrid length and loft will fit well into your set. The industry standard--well, there really isn't one so either trial and error or a launch monitor will help you decide if a 19-, 21-, or 23-degree hybrid (and so on) will work best for you (hey, maybe you need several!)

Do the same with your fairway woods and fill in the holes with the right shaft, clubhead and loft, and remember that having the right specs means a lot more for your ability to hit great shots than just having a set of clubs that sports a single manufacturer's logo.

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1 comment:

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