Factors Affecting Club Selection
One of the biggest mistakes the average golfer makes is not selecting the right club for approach shots. Most golfers don’t use enough club and end up falling short when going for the green.
A variety of factors contribute to golfers pulling the wrong club, according to Doug Hamilton, PGA, head golf professional at Hayfields Country Club.
"Most people have trouble accepting the fact that their swings are not functioning at 100 percent capacity 100 percent of the time," said Hamilton. "Golf is a game of imperfection. You need to keep in mind that you’re not going to hit every shot perfect every time, and you have to allow for errors in calculations and execution when selecting a club."
There are a variety of factors to take into account when choosing a club. The lie (fairway vs. rough, uphill vs. downhill), wind direction and pin placement all need to be considered.
Hamilton said most of the time it's better to play it safe and avoid making big numbers like double and triple bogeys. Pars and bogeys are great scores for most golfers, so there’s no need to take a risky shot to go for birdie, especially on a difficult hole.
"There is a risk management aspect to every shot," said Hamilton. “Think about where it is safe to miss if you don’t hit it perfect and let that guide club selection as well."
Hamilton expressed the importance of knowing how far you hit each club on average.
Since golfers tend to leave their approach shots short, he said a good rule of thumb is to take one more club than you think you’ll need. He advised it’s best to take ego out of the equation and just pick the right club for the shot.
-- Doug Hamilton, PGA, Hayfields Country Club
Issue 152: August 2010