Filling the Gaps

nickjdavis

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So...using the local driving ranges tracking system (InRange) and having bought a new set of irons and a couple of other clubs recently (one of which was sent back to golfbidder as it was utterly unsuitable...I've never got on with Recoil shafts), I've been working on my club gapping throughout the bag and figuring out which clubs I need to actually put in the bag.

Below is a chart showing calculated carry distances (the range uses the measured range ball distance and applies a calculation to get "premium ball distance") for 21 "clubs" that I have knocking around my bag. A couple are clubs where I have fiddled around with the loft setting....so 5 of the data sets actually cover two clubs. Carry yardage up the Y-axis, club number across the X-axis...the number after the club is the loft.

The chart is a box and whisker type...the box shows the range where 50% of the data points lie, the horizontal line in the box marks the median point...so within the box, half of the data points are above the line and half below the line. The X marks the average of all data points. For those used to Shot Scopes P-average data I believe that they use the 75th percentile of all data...the equivalent in this chart is the top of the box. The whiskers extend to show the extremes...25% of all data points are in the upper whisker, 25% in the lower whisker.

Some notes about the data....much of this has been gathered during various range sessions across late January and through February...i.e. when it has been bloody cold...typically 5-8 degrees. The range balls absolutely spin like a very spinny spinning top off the longer clubs....I can hit vicious slices at the range with the driver that I just don't normally do with a proper ball out on the course....sure i can and do hit a fade as standard...but the on course movement is never as wild as the shots I see on the range!!! In my experience this spin has a hugely detrimental effect on range ball carry distance with the longer clubs, and the premium ball calculation yardage is a bit shorter than what I normally see out on the course for the longer clubs.

Anyway...showing all the data, you can see a nice easy progression up through the bag from a 60 degree lob wedge to a 23 degree hybrid...from there, things appear to flatten off a bit and the messing about with loft with the 3-wood and 2-wood has little effect, other than noting that the lofting up the 3-wood doesn't harm the distance compared to its traditional 15 degree setting and its a much easier club to hit at 17 degrees than 15.

1710603918321.png

So....the task is to reduce these 21 options to 13....the immediate thing to look at is the bottom end of the bag...the new irons are stronger lofted than the old ones and the Taylor Made 54 and 58 wedges fitted reasonable well with the old 48 dergree A-wedge...however the gap between them and the new AW is probably bit too big...also looking at the whiskers of the TM-54 wedge shows a significant variation in distance compared with the Cleveland 56 and 52 wedges. It is also clear that I wont have space to carry 3 wedges below the A-wedge of the main set....so for the near future I'm just going to carry the 56 and 52 degree CLV wedges.

The next thing to observe is that the 20 degree 3 hybrid offers virtually no distance gain over the 23 degree hybrid. Also the loft adjustments on the 3 wood and 2 wood don't seem to make any real difference to distance. On the 2 wood I do see an awful lot more roll out at 13 degrees and the 3 wood set at 17 degrees is just sooo easy to launch....so lets keep them and get rid of the 14, 15 and 16 degree variants of those clubs. This is what we are left with...14 clubs....

1710604247400.png

So....the dilemma comes down to what to do about the 5/3/2 wood area. Now...I love the 2-wood...it is devastatingly accurate on tight holes and is surprisingly easy to launch off a nice fluffy fairway lie and runs for miles....I want to keep the 2-wood in the bag. Despite what the chart shows....I do hit the driver further than the 2-wood in real life...as I said earlier, I believe that the range ball spin does distort the picture a little bit with the driver...you can literally see the range balls dropping out of the sky like a shot duck sometimes. Whilst the data might suggest the Driver is a redundant club, sometimes you need to know the background behind the data for it to have context and be valuable...the driver will stay.

So it looks like a decision as to how to replace the 5-wood/3-wood combination with one club. Now I could just drop one or the other...most likely the 3-wood which would leave a smoother progression from 5-wood to 2-wood. However...there is a 199 yd par 3 at my place which I can just about reach the front edge of with the 5-wood if I hit it well and the wind, which is usually across/against, doesn't knock the ball out of the air. I'd really like something just a little bit longer to attack this hole...so perhaps this is an argument for leaving the 3 wood in the bag at its higher loft setting (at its standard setting it will fly quite flat and low and often run through the green in the summer).

So...this looks like a case of me needing to put a 4-wood in the bag...something around a loft of 16-18 degrees. Now I can either go with something like an adjustable high launching club of around 16.5 degrees a that could be fine tuned by lofting up to 17.5 or 18.5 degrees (maybe a Paradym 16.5 degree HL fairway wood which offers the adjustability)....or a more dedicated weapon of a fixed loft of around 17 or 18 degrees....I have a hankering after trying a Callaway Apex utility wood which you can get in 21/19/17 degree lofts.

What would you good folks do? what changes would you consider across other areas of the bag?
 

jim8flog

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I would look at that and think like you too many woods and not enough loft gap in the hybrids.

If you drop the 3W you can always go down the grip on on the 2w to shorten the distance

Personally I would go with at least a 4 degree gap in the hybrids and probably 5 depending on how you hit them. I use 20-25 but with different makes and shafts that give different
heights.
 

Neilds

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I would look at that and think like you too many woods and not enough loft gap in the hybrids.

If you drop the 3W you can always go down the grip on on the 2w to shorten the distance

Personally I would go with at least a 4 degree gap in the hybrids and probably 5 depending on how you hit them. I use 20-25 but with different makes and shafts that give different
heights.
Never understood this thinking. Surely you need x yards gap between clubs and not degrees? I have never had a shot where I thought ‘Is this a 15* or 17* shot?’ 😀
 

jim8flog

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Never understood this thinking. Surely you need x yards gap between clubs and not degrees? I have never had a shot where I thought ‘Is this a 15* or 17* shot?’ 😀

I have virtually always thought in terms of club rather than yardage on a course I know really well.

Having a decent gap between each club makes the decision a lot easier.
 

nickjdavis

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I would look at that and think like you too many woods and not enough loft gap in the hybrids.

If you drop the 3W you can always go down the grip on on the 2w to shorten the distance

Personally I would go with at least a 4 degree gap in the hybrids and probably 5 depending on how you hit them. I use 20-25 but with different makes and shafts that give different
heights.
Interestingly, having played yesterday, albeit in grotty soft, constant raining conditions, I might be in agreement about the hybrids. Last year I carried the 23 and 20 degree versions and was aware that there was a bit of a gap between 23 hybrid and 6 iron distance wise, but perhaps not much between the two hybrids themselves....though the 20 degrees was fantastic for low running punches from underneath tree branches. The 26 degree hybrid was only purchased a few weeks ago after a long search....I'm quite fussy about the "feel/sound" I get off my hybrids and much prefer a light metallic "tink!" to a more muted dull "thwock!"...many modern hybrids fall short in my expectation in this regard, which is why I still play with hybrids that were released in 2016 and its taken me a while to find a 26 degree version.

Playing the 26 degree hybrid yesterday gave me a more natural progression from the 6 iron but there were a couple of holes (183 and 171 yds) where the 23 degree hybrid didn't quite have enough oomph in the dank heavy conditions...the next club in the bag was the uplofted 3-wood and that was probably too much for the two holes in question...especially given the trouble around the two particular greens....though the uplofted three wood found the heart of the 198yd second hole as desired!!....So next weekend I might play the 26/20 combination of hybrids and see how they fit in with each other.
 
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