Selecting the Right Club Every Time

Prop­er club selec­tion is required to increase the num­ber of greens you hit in reg­u­la­tion. Hit­ting more greens is the fast track to improv­ing your scores. It reduces the reliance on pitch­ing and chip­ping which are arguably the most dif­fi­cult areas of the game to mas­ter. There are sev­er­al fac­tors that go into select­ing the right club for each shot.

The most impor­tant thing is to know how far you hit each club when mak­ing a good shot. This might sound obvi­ous but it is some­thing you need to accu­rate­ly know. It is also some­thing that can change from time to time. New clubs, swing changes or get­ting stronger can all change the dis­tance you are hit­ting each club. The best place to find the dis­tance you are hit­ting each club is at the prac­tice range. Many ranges laser sight dis­tances so you know they are accu­rate. If you are unsure of the dis­tances and there is no one else on the range, you can use a GPS to mea­sure the dis­tances to the flags or walk them off man­u­al­ly. Pick a day with lit­tle or no wind. Hit ten or so balls with each club throw­ing out any bad shots and take the aver­age as the dis­tance for that club. I sug­gest doing this every year or after any of the fac­tors men­tioned pre­vi­ous­ly.

Know­ing the dis­tance of each of your clubs is cru­cial for select­ing the right one for each shot but there is anoth­er piece that is just as impor­tant. You also need to accu­rate­ly know how far you have left to the green. The best way to know this is to use a GPS sys­tem or app. It is not enough to judge the dis­tance using yardage mark­ers and sprin­kler heads. You could be sev­er­al yards away from any of those. Besides accu­ra­cy, there is anoth­er huge ben­e­fit gained from using a GPS. Almost all GPS sys­tems will not only tell you the dis­tance to the cen­ter of the green, but they will also tell you the dis­tance to the front and back of the green. Start think­ing of the dis­tance left to the green as a range and not a sin­gle dis­tance left to the cen­ter. There will be times when it will be to your advan­tage play­ing to the front or back of the green.

Here are a few more rea­sons to use a GPS sys­tem or app if you are not already sold on one. GPS sys­tems are not only used to find the dis­tance left to the green. Many of them will give you an over­head view of the hole from which you can drag the tar­get and deter­mine the dis­tance to any point on the hole! This is great for know­ing how many yards you have to car­ry water and sand haz­ards. Par 5’s present anoth­er area where a GPS is high­ly ben­e­fi­cial. Many of us do not have the length to reach many par 5’s in two shots. We are lay­ing up with our sec­ond shot instead of going for the green. I would rather have 100 yards left for my third shot than 50 yards. 100 yards is a full swing gap wedge for me. A 50 yard shot would be around a three quar­ter sand wedge. With a GPS sys­tem, we can know exact­ly how far to hit our sec­ond shot to leave 100 yards for our third shot. Using a GPS sys­tem or app will improve your game.

Know­ing the dis­tance you hit each club and the dis­tance you need to hit your next shot are big fac­tors in deter­min­ing which club to use. Wind, the slope of your lie, and change in ele­va­tion will also all affect the dis­tance your shot will trav­el. Just how much your shot will be affect­ed by each of these fac­tors is dif­fi­cult to cal­cu­late. It is a case of the more you play, the more expe­ri­ence you will have to bet­ter judge the affects.

The wind can affect both the length; shots will be short­er into the wind and longer with the wind, and the direc­tion of your shot. How much your shot will be affect­ed depends on the wind speed and the tra­jec­to­ry of your shot. Low­er tra­jec­to­ry shots will be less affect­ed by the wind than high­er tra­jec­to­ry shots. In oth­er words, your dri­ver will be less affect­ed than 9-iron. The wind could affect your dis­tance by up to three clubs in extreme cas­es.

The slope of your lie also affects how far your shot trav­els. Gen­er­al­ly your shot will trav­el less far when you have an uphill lie. This is because an uphill lie adds more tra­jec­to­ry to your shot. Con­verse­ly, your shot will gen­er­al­ly trav­el far­ther when you have a down­hill lie due to it giv­ing your shot less tra­jec­to­ry.

Final­ly, a change in ele­va­tion from where you are hit­ting your shot to the land­ing area will also affect the dis­tance. A drop in ele­va­tion will add dis­tance to your shot. Sim­i­lar­ly, a rise in ele­va­tion will decrease the dis­tance of your shot. The tra­jec­to­ry of your shot also deter­mines how much of a fac­tor this is. Low tra­jec­to­ry shots, your dri­ver for exam­ple, will be affect­ed more than high­er tra­jec­to­ry shots such as your 9-iron.

Work on tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion every fac­tor when choos­ing the club for each of your shots. Dili­gence in this area will be reward­ed with hit­ting more greens in reg­u­la­tion.

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