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The Art of Club Selection: Picking the Right Tool for Every Shot

The Art of Club Selection: Picking the Right Tool for Every Shot

A non-golfer might wonder why a player needs an entire set of 14 clubs in their bag to play a round of golf. The truth is that no two clubs play the same role, as each executes specific types of shots and distances. Pro golfers use clever tactics to select the right club for each shot, considering factors such as potential obstacles, the ball’s lie, weather conditions, and distance to the hole. The clubs you pick for every shot impact your gameplay and may determine whether you win the tournament.

Key Factors to Consider When Picking the Right Club

The Lie of the Ball

Before picking a club for the shot, analyze how the ball sits on the ground. For instance, a ball trapped in a sand bunker requires a sand wedge to pop the ball from the sand. A ball in the rough requires a powerful club to help you get through thicker grass, while a ball on the fairway provides a cleaner shot.

Distance to the Hole

Each club hits the ball for a specific distance range. In cases where distance is the priority, longer clubs like drivers perform best for tee shots. Golfers should similarly pick woods and irons based on projected distance as detailed below:

Irons:

  • 9-iron = 55 to 135 yards
  • 8-iron = 60 to 145 yards
  • 7-iron = 65 to 155 yards
  • 6-iron = 70 to 165 yards
  • 5-iron = 80 to 175 yards
  • 4-iron = 90 to 190 yards
  • 3-iron = 100 to 205 yards
  • 2-iron = 105 to 210 yards

Woods:

  • 7-wood = 90 to 170 yards
  • 5-wood = 105 to 215 yards
  • 4-wood = 110 to 220 yards
  • 3-wood = 125 to 240 yards

Wind and Weather Conditions

Golf is one of the sports that gets affected by weather variations the most. Playing in a region or season with strong winds, for instance, can significantly impact the distance and trajectory of your shots. Tailwinds help drive the ball and might require you to use less powerful clubs, while headwinds present resistance and call for a more powerful club selection.

Obstacles and Hazards

Playing through hazards and obstacles such as sand bunkers or water bodies is one of the most challenging phases in a round of golf. The hazards between your golf ball and the hole require you to make an informed club decision to help clear the obstacles safely.