Idle Golf Clubs

Lou Stagner's Newsletter #9

Idle Golf Clubs

I hope you are doing well, and thank you for subscribing!While doing an analysis on club gapping in the Arccos database I came across something that was surprising. It started to make more sense as I thought about it.By "idle golf clubs", I don't mean golf courses that sit around empty. I am talking about golf clubs in your bag that are hardly used. Even if this does not apply to you, there is still a key takeaway for you, so stay with me.

The Stats

I looked at golfers that played at least 30 18-hole rounds in a calendar year. The golfer needed to have exactly 14 clubs (no more, no less). I wanted to remove players that carried less than 14 (there are some). I also wanted to remove players that have more than 14, and rotate clubs in and out (we will talk more about this later). The overwhelming majority of players have exactly 14 clubs. What I found:

  • 13% of all golfers carry a club that is used less than once every 10 rounds.

  • 10% of all golfers carry a club that is used less than once every 20 rounds.

This percentage held when you looked at a specific handicap level (and held for all handicap levels). The clubs that are the most idle:

  • 4 iron (~15% of idle clubs)

  • 3 wood (13%)

  • 3 hybrid (10%)

  • 4 hybrid (10%)

  • 5 iron (9%)

One out of every ten golfers have a club in their bag that they use less than once every 20 rounds! If one of the these golfers played 100 rounds in a year, they would be using this club in 4 rounds or less.That is a wasted slot in the bag. We need to figure out why this club is idle so we can fix it!

What if You Have an Idle Club?

If you are one of these players, there are a couple of takeaways:

  1. If this club is idle because there are very few shots you need it for on the course(s) you play, remove this club from the bag. Replace it with one that you will use.

  2. If you have an idle club because you are "scared" to hit it, you need to work with a teacher so you can fix that problem.

I used to be guilty of number 2. I was horrific with my long irons and fairway woods. My angle of attack was not down enough. It was often positive off the turf, which makes it very hard to hit something like a 3 wood well from the fairway. Those longer clubs sat in my bag. I was afraid to use them. My swing coach helped me fix this (HUGE shoutout to Jason Giesbrecht.

You can find Jason on twitter here - he does remote lessons, which is how I worked with him).I am sure you have heard more than once about having proper yardage "gapping" with your clubs. This is important, and you should do this. But even when you do this, there are many golfers that play 95% or more of their golf at only one or two tracks.

There will be situations for some players where they won't have many opportunities to hit a certain club. While this happens, given the clubs that sit most idle, I am leaning towards number two being the main culprit (like it was for me). If this applies to you, find a good teacher like I did and start working on the issue(s).

What if You DON'T Have an Idle Club?

Even if you don't have an idle club, there still may be something for you to think about. I am a HUGE proponent of having more than 14 clubs. Yes, I know you can only have 14 clubs with you while you are playing, but you still should have more than 14 total clubs. This will allow you to adjust your bag to fit the course and/or conditions you are going to play in.

Swap out a club you are not likely going to use, for one that is more likely to be used. You can have multiple fairway woods and hybrids. Adjust based on what shots you might face at the course you will be playing. You can have wedges with different lofts and/or bounce depending on the course and/or conditions you will be facing.

On a similar note I would remind you to play around with different settings on your adjustable clubs (driver, 3w, etc...) to understand how this impacts your ball flight. There could be opportunities to lower loft on your driver on windy days for example.

Thank you!!

If you are enjoying the newsletter, you might also enjoy the podcast I co-host. It's called "Hack it Out Golf".

We just finished releasing an 11-part series titled:
"Learn to Consistently Score in the 70s"

We just started a new 10-part series titled:
"Ultimate Guide to Gaining Distance"

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Thanks so much and have a great week!

— Lou