Every year about this time, Golf Digest and other notable publications post what’s hot for new equipment this year. It’s a time when those of use who love this game start to prepare our Christmas lists or just plain justify $500 for a new driver or take the deep plunge into new irons. Why? Because we think it will improve our overall performance as a player or at least bragging rights, right? Don’t you just love unveiling that new hot driver for all your buddies to drool over? Yet you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I really need new equipment if mine’s less than a few years old?” Granted, if you’re still playing equipment that’s over 6 to 8 years old, technology has made some major improvements, and it’s probably time to upgrade. The general rule of thumb for me is that if I can still hit the ball about the same length with similar results as the new stuff, why invest? For my money, I’d rather spend it on more rounds and range balls!
I recommend re-gripping all your irons, driver, and rescue woods every year before dishing out thousands of hard earned dollars just to feel good for a few rounds. Guaranteed, you’re going to have the same pull draw or pushed slice if you don’t address the real problems in the basics of a consistent, well executed swing! Take a few lessons, practice more, and demo first, but not just one time. Demo that new club at least three to four rounds. If after that you’ve found the Holy Grail of golf clubs, then absolutely buy that new equipment!
I did a little research as I typically do about the myths and facts about how long equipment should last. If you subscribe to Golf Digest, it has a great article this month about that very thing. I especially liked the paragraph, “How does the heat/cold/altitude affect my distance.” Basically, it said that most equipment won’t wear out other than grips and the grooves on your wedges. It recommended switching out your wedges every two years if you play and practicing a lot. Metal woods and stainless steel irons never wear out. Drivers may crack or shafts break, but rarely. As for wedges, you can have them re-grooved at least once. Temperature, however, is a big factor here in southern Utah and Mesquite. It affects length, but the thing to note is that if you leave your clubs in a hot car in the summer, you may experience weakened epoxy holding the heads and shafts together. St. George is 2,860 feet above sea level and Mesquite is 1,601. If you’re playing in Denver at 5,280 feet, you’ll see about a 6 percent gain in length. One club less. Here, you’ll lose about that compared to anything over 4,000 feet. Salt Lake is 4,226 feet.
It all boils down to hitting the ball in the sweet spot vs. an off-center strike. That will give you an average of more than 22 yards vs. an off-center hit. Think about it. Twenty to 30 years ago, the pros were hitting in the 60s. Not as often as they do now but that was with very old, outdated equipment. Golf balls have made the biggest strides in technology. Focus your attention on your swing vs. new equipment. Play the right golf ball for your skill level and club head speed. Consider all your options and make an analytical decision vs. an emotional one. You’ll play the best golf of your life without spending thousands every year, thinking, “I need that new technology to compete with my friend who has it.” The grass isn’t always greener when you spend more or your green! See ya on the links more often.