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Stop! Correct golf equipment saves strokes

Mel SoleBy Mel Sole,

Although The mechanics of the golf swing are the first and foremost factor in hitting a good golf shot - correct equipment will certainly maximize your talents. There are several things to consider in choosing equipment. It is important to try several "demo" clubs, each having different specifications, to help you decide on the right set of clubs for you. I do not recommend only one particular brand of clubs. I think the look and feel of a club plays a big role in how confident you feel with that particular club in your hand.

However, in my opinion the following elements are important considerations:

1. Club Length: In my opinion, the most important club specification is proper length. The right club length allows you to assume correct address position, without which a proper golf swing can never be fully executed. The length of the club is a primarily determined by the distance from the big knuckles to the ground. However, since strength and athletic ability are also important factors in determining club length, it is to your benefit to seek the advice of a professional.

2. Shaft Flex: Too many players have shafts that are too stiff for them. Hit shots with different shaft flexes and note distance, trajectory and direction.

3. Grip thickness: Make sure your hands fit comfortably on the grip - have your instructor check your grip and the thickness of the grip.

4. Swing weight: Since swing weight is affected by length, shaft flex and grip size, the proper swing weight will fall into place as you decide on specifications #1,#2 and #3.

5. Lie: Certainly in my opinion the most overlooked and probably the most important aspect of your irons. Most golfers have clubs that are too flat, causing the toe of the club to hit the ground first, opening the clubface, and the result is a slice or push. Note the depth of your divots. Is the toe end of the divot deeper than the heel ? - this will indicate that the club lie angle is too flat. The opposite will be true of heel deep divots, although I find this to be very rare.

In conclusion regarding your golf equipment - you don't necessarily have to buy new clubs. You can have your golf clubs altered by a professional club fitter. Don't fall for the TV hype of thinking you can buy a better game. Let common sense prevail, and enjoy the game of golf.

Mel Sole is Director of Instruction and owner of the Ritson-Sole Golf Schools. He has been named a "Top Teacher in North America" by Golf Magazine and is one of only four top teachers selected in South Carolina. His lessons have also appeared in Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf Illustrated.

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