Q: At what point should I consider alternatives for my clubs? Hammering iron or 3 wood? Wood 7 or something else? Mini driver or other wood? – Brian S
Do it now. List everything you own on eBay and start over.
The simple (if admittedly not very helpful) answer is that anything that doesn’t work on the golf course should be replaced. The tricky part is figuring out where the club is disproportionately affected by the bad result.
I bet most golfers have at least one spot in the bag that isn’t positioned correctly.
This is a classic example of when to consider 7-wood instead of 4-hybrid or 4-iron (as one example).
Other things that come to mind:
If you’re still struggling with your standard 3-timber, consider opting for a higher loft option. For many golfers, the 3-wood/5-wood pair has been replaced by something more like a 4-wood/7-wood combination.
Wedges are probably the most overlooked example of where shifting gears can make a significant difference. Do you fight tight lies, from bunkers? Are you inexplicably kicking one of your wedges at full throttle?
It’s a shame golfers don’t get more opportunities to experiment with different grinds on the course as I believe this is one of the biggest difference factors that can be directly attributed to the equipment you have.
Q:. What’s the difference between the practice balls and the balls I buy at Dick’s? – Sam T
While we can never be sure that each brand’s training balls are what they claim to be, most often training balls are the same as compatible balls except for some kind of cosmetic blemish.
There are several factors here.
First, the USGA is kind of a pedant when it comes to logos and side stamps. Technically, if any of them don’t exactly match what’s on the compatibility list, the ball isn’t compatible. For this reason, most manufacturers subject balls intended for PGA TOUR players to a more thorough cosmetic inspection.
Secondly, when we buy a new box of marbles, we have certain cosmetic expectations. Missing a large piece of ink in the PIX or Truvis pattern or ink smearing on the Titleist logo will not affect the performance of the ball, but it will likely affect our perception of product quality.
To get to what I think is the crux of your question: practice balls or x-outs are generally (no promise) the same as a standard ball, although they may be technically incompatible in some cases.
Q: LA Golf – is it just marketing or have you seen the results of any of their products (putters, rollers, balls/) – Mike L.
I think we’re still waiting to see what LA Golf will be like if and when it grows up.
When it was launched (as a shaft brand) it had some legitimate R&D power behind it. Sadly, the guy responsible for the original designs has left and we’re still waiting to see how well the company can fill up.
Throwing rollers look interesting. They are also very expensive, which will always be a barrier to widespread adoption.
We love the way the putters look and feel, but they weren’t particularly successful in our Most Wanted tests.
The big picture: LA Golf is still a relatively young brand that is evolving and covering more categories.
It’s a little shaky for now, but I’m certainly interested in where this goes.
Q: What should my turn off the tee be? I want to gradually improve over the summer, but I don’t know where optimization starts? Is there a golf ball or type of club that can help me get where I need to be? – Paul S.
Your ideal tee rotation depends on the angle of attack and ball speed. The PING chart I’ve included below is as good as it gets at letting you know what start and spin combination is right for your swing.
Note that angle of attack measurements from camera-based and radar-based launch monitors differ by about two degrees, so you may have to do some really simple math to find the optimal field on the graph.
Once you know where you are and where you should be, you can start working on finding a driver to get you there.
Loft is the biggest lever you can pull. Lower lofts start lower and rotate less. That said, clubs with a more advanced center of gravity (AEROJET LS, Steward 2 plus, TSR4) will also launch lower and spin less on equivalent lofts.
Finally, I should point out that “optimal” is not always achievable, and even when it is, it may come at the expense of other important things like accuracy.
I recommend an approach that will bring you closer to your optimal level without compromising your ability to keep the ball in play. This will ultimately have a bigger impact on your score than a degree and a few hundred RPM on either side optimum.
Q: Best wedges for $$$? LJ Hernandez
With wedge prices from industry leaders approaching $200 per club, things are getting a little crazy.
On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in investing in your short game, so I’m not sure wedges are necessarily where I’d like to save money – especially if matching is an option for you.
That said, the answer depends to some extent on what options you need.
Overall, I’d avoid brands that go for “one size fits all,” but I’ll admit that for simplicity and economy, Kirkland wedges are hard to beat. They are completely no-frills, only available as a kit, and with this you get 52, 56 and 60 degrees.
If that’s all you need and if it works for you, this isn’t a bad place to start.
As if that wasn’t enough, I recommend buying wedges on sale when new models appear. You should be able to save quite a bit of cash, and the reality is that the wedge category isn’t bursting at the seams with innovation.
We are talking about two-year cycles with minimal evolution from generation to generation. Not having the latest version will not put you at a disadvantage on the golf course.
Q: Best golf ball for high handicap people, but HIGH swing speed? – Mitchel R.
As always with golf ball recommendations, there are no simple answers.
Although golfers believe otherwise, swing speed is not the primary factor in finding the right ball. While most players with a high swing speed will want to avoid balls with low compression (soft means slow), there may be exceptions.
Similarly, a handicap is not a good starting point. Flight and spin are the most important golf ball fit variables, and golfers with high handicaps perform in every possible start and spin profile.
One generalization that may apply is that higher handicaps lose a lot golf balls and may not want to spend a lot on golf balls.
With these caveats, if you’re losing tee balls, you might want to consider a low spin offer as they tend to curve a bit less.
Both models have a compression of just under 80 by our gauge, making them one of the faster softs-ish balls.
If you want to keep the max speed away from the driver then there is something like a Titleist Pro V1x left bounce, Callaway Chrome Soft X LSOr Bridgestone B Tour it should work. Although they don’t have as low spin as something like this RX Or AVXqualify as low spin by high compression standards.
As always, if you have any questions for the MGS team (and they don’t have to be about the golf ball), ask them below for a chance to be featured in next week’s #AskMyGolfSpy!