Using a Smarter Set Makeup to Play Better Golf?


Everyone who plays this game with even a speck of passion knows that to play your best, you have to play SMART golf.  To most golfers, smart golf is all about course management; knowing when to “go for it” or when to hit the conservative shot. 

But playing smart golf isn’t always about studying each hole to know which club to hit when, where to aim it and when to take a chance to play the lower percentage shot.  It’s also about what complement of clubs you choose to play, something in the world of custom clubfitting which is called being custom fit with the right “Set Makeup.” 

Remember, the Rules of Golf say you can only carry 14 clubs.  Fortunately they don’t tell you WHICH 14 clubs you can put in your golf bag.  That’s where smart golfers who avail themselves of professional custom clubfitting can gain a lot of game improvement assistance to give themselves a little better shot in their battle against bogeys.

Set Makeup starts with a couple of common sense principles. . .

  • Make it a goal to not put any club in your bag that you cannot hit acceptably well and in play less than 75% of the time.
  • Make sure each of the 13 tee to green clubs hits the ball a distinctively different distance with reasonably even gaps in distance between.

Now, for more specifics.  What makes any club hard to hit solid, on-center and in play 75% or more of the time?  Please remember this old and true statement about golf clubs; “the longer the length, the lower  the loft, the heavier the weight and the stiffer the shaft, the harder the club will be to hit.”  And really respect points #1 and 2 in this credo. . . . .

Driver:  The driver is the lightest club in your bag.  But it is also the longest and typically has the lowest loft.  If you’re not at the 75%+ level with your driver, go get custom fit for a shorter length driver and second, go with a little more loft.  If you do, you’ll be knocking at the door of that >75% level for good shots and better misses sooner than you think.

Fairway Woods:  Smart golf says the main purpose of the fairway woods is to be your next longest hitting clubs after the driver.  If you are not at the 75% level with your fairway woods, go shorter in length and do not keep trying to hit the low loft of the 3-wood.  Use more loft for your lowest loft wood, like a 4 or 5-wood to become your second longest hitting wood after the driver. 

Long and Middle Irons:  It’s great that the golf industry has given us three different options here to find that >75% hitting success level?  But first, throw out your conventional 3-iron, 4-iron and yes, for many of you, your 5-iron as well.  For some of you, add the 6-iron to that list as well.  The much lower lofts of modern iron sets has made the 3, 4, 5 and even the 6-iron very difficult for the majority of golfers to hit consistently well.  Next, figure out what high lofted woods or hybrids the same distance as if you could perfectly hit that conventional 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-iron, and go with that as your lower loft iron replacement clubs.

Short Irons:  We’ll hope since these are the shortest and most lofted of the full swing clubs, you are not in a conundrum of less than 75% success with these clubs.  If so, you might want to think about changing away from swingweight matching of your irons to MOI matching as well as going with 3/8” increments between each iron instead of the usual half-inch.  A whole lot of golfers have reported an improvement in accuracy and consistency with their MOI matched sets. And many golfers like the comfort over the ball and through impact that the slightly longer lengths of the short irons brought about by 3/8” increments affords. 


Wedges:  The key to the right wedge set makeup is to first pick the complement of wedges to match best with the type of grass where you play along with the green and bunker design of your golf course.  The smaller, faster, firmer, higher and more undulating the greens on your course, the more wedges you might want to use.  In addition, choose the sole width and sole bounce angle that best matches the grass and sand conditions on your course.  Longer grass, more moist lush turf, fluffier, loose sand = more bounce sole angle and/or a wider sole.  Thin grass, hardpan, tight packed heavy sand = more narrow sole and or less bounce sole angle.

If you think about professional custom clubfitting for your equipment needs, then you have taken the first step toward playing smart golf!   Hesitate no longer… go and find a custom Clubmaker, and knock on the door of that 75+% level for your shots!