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The Evolution of Clubs And Our Set Make Up

By the time you read this, it will be mid-August. It is hard for me to believe that we are less than ten days away from all youngsters being back in school. I know within our property, all the college kids are leaving, and on a personal note, my son returns to school in Columbus next week. I say all this to alert you to the fact that I will be writing this column through Labor Day weekend.

This week’s column is about equipment and set make up. When I first started hanging around the golf business, everyone had a set of golf clubs. A two iron through pitching wedge, plus a sand wedge. These same players had a driver, three wood and five wood, maybe a four-wood thrown in. Obviously, there was a putter involved as well.

Over the past ten years, think about how golf club/set make up has changed. First off, the biggest change is in long irons. The two, three and four irons are viewed as relics. If they are not relics, they are not in the starting lineup. These clubs have been replaced with hybrids. Hybrids are exponentially easier to strike than long irons and are far more diverse. This transformation has been beneficial to players of all levels because long irons are so hard to hit well, let alone consistently well.

The second biggest change is in the wedge world. We all remember the days of two wedges, pitching and sand. Now many players have four and sometimes five wedges. We now have gap wedges, sixty-degree wedges thrown in with the pitching and sand wedges. This one makes much more sense to me. You are going to hit wedges, closer shots, shots around the green, far more than you will ever hit your now gone three irons. This iron set make up, mixing in hybrids and adding wedges, equips the player of today with many more weapons with which to attack the golf course.

Finally, adding the hybrids and wedges challenges our maximum 14 club rule. We have added three hybrids and two wedges, and the woods take a hit. No longer deemed vital, the three wood and five wood have seen their high-water mark. Return to the first thoughts I expressed on this topic and compare that set to one today. A new person to golf today will see a driver, three hybrids and nine irons and wedges to get to fourteen. I just think it is very interesting to discuss set make up and the average player. If you look at a tour players bag, it has much more traditional look and feel to it. They all have long irons; they have fairway woods, and they have more wedges. Thank goodness the manufacturers created hybrids and wedges for the average player. It makes the game so much fun, and easier, which is even more fun!

Rich Conwell is the General Manager & PGA Head Golf Professional at Wheeling Country Club and can be reached with questions or comments at rconwell@wheelingcountryclub.com or 304-232-2000.

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