Build Your Best Bag Part 8: Specialty Clubs

Best Bag Part 8

Wanted: One (or Two) More Clubs

If you’ve followed this plan, you now have a perfectly fit set of golf clubs: driver, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and a putter.  For some players, though, there may be one or two spots left.  As we discussed in the very first lesson, you only get 14 clubs to cover the limitless possibilities on the course, so there’s no sense in leaving spots open.  What should fill those last spots?  I’m glad you asked.

Bag of Wedges

Wedges

Extra wedges are my favorite specialty clubs because wedges are so varied, and you can never have enough.  If you prefer low bounce wedges, add a sand wedge with high bounce for fluffy bunkers.  If you’re a high bounce player, choose a low bounce wedge for fried egg lies in the bunker.  You could throw in a 64° wedge for those times when you need a match play miracle.  If you really hate sand, pick up one of those “easy out” wedges with soles the size of aircraft carriers.  The options are almost limitless.

Mike_Weir

Left Handed Club

Admittedly this is one the more off-the-wall ideas, but it might make sense if you tend to get wayward with your driver on tree-lined courses.  I’m not suggesting you devote hours to practicing your left handed swing, but having the ability to advance the ball 100 yards and get it back in play can really demoralize an opponent who’s expecting you to be stymied.

Long game clubs

More Long Game Clubs

As I mentioned in Part 7 of this series, there has been an explosion of options when it comes to long game clubs.  From fairway woods and hybrids of all shapes and sizes to the rebirth of utility/driving irons, you can find a club for every shot on the course.  Why add more to your bag?  There are many possible reasons.  Perhaps when selecting your long game clubs, you filled in your distance gaps with fairway woods, but you prefer a utility iron for tee shots on long par 3’s.  If you have lots of hybrids, you might add one “redundant” fairway wood for situations that demand a higher ball flight and more carry.

As always, the goal is to get tools that will help you tackle important situations on the course.  Think about the shots you face regularly, and use the extra spots in your bag to attack them successfully.

PING Cadence TR Putters_0156

Extra Putter

During the heyday of belly putters, carrying two putters was actually a fairly popular thought: carry a belly putter for short putts and a standard putter for long putts.  While belly putters are soon to be verboten, I can still imagine a player using this same concept.  Set up one putter for short putts (a large grip and heavy head, perhaps) and another for lag putting (standard grip and head weight).

Two Drivers

Second Driver

Anyone who thinks this is nuts is either too young or has a short memory – the set above was used by a famous Lefty to win a little tournament known as The Masters.  Whether you use different drivers to hit draws and fades, as Phil did, or use one for accuracy and another for distance, having two of the most important club in the bag is an idea worth exploring.

Club Champ Banner 1

Conclusion

Are some of these suggestions a little odd?  Absolutely.  In reality, most players, especially those with higher swing speeds, are going to use all 14 spots in their bag for “normal” clubs.  That said, it’s not a bad idea to think about what you might add to your bag if you had the space.  You may decide to pick up a specialty club to swap in and out of your bag depending on the course.

As always, please feel free to post any questions in the comments section.

Building Your Best Bag

Part 1: The Golden Rule

Part 2: The Golf Ball

Part 3: The Driver

Part 4: The Putter

Part 5: The Irons

Part 6: The Wedges

Part 7: The Long Game

Part 8: Specialty Clubs

Part 9: Maintenance

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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2 Comments

  1. David Ticehurst

    Hi Matt

    Going through back issues and love this series. This one really resonates for me in that my specialty club is a 15 degree driving iron, It can be used to punch out low in the trees, shape is always a consistent fade, distance is consistent (half swing 120 yards, three quarter 160, full 200) and is a great club on into the wind holes because of the lower ball flight. Also with the thick back it can be reversed for the left hand shot and yes I do practice for this as well.
    One friend has a chipper in his bag for both around the greens and for punching out of trees (he gets over 1oo yards when punching).

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