Your Golf Bag is a House of Cards

Change Isn’t Easy

Changing golf equipment seems easy.  Take one driver out of the bag, put a new one in.  What’s so hard about that?  As I’ll explain in this short lesson, there are plenty of reasons why you’ll want to think more carefully about making a change.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You plan on making equipment changes

You’ve made gear changes that didn’t work as planned

You have high expectations for your game

Everything Is Connected

Every piece of gear in your bag, from the ball to the driver to the putter, is connected.  That means when one thing changes, other things may need to change as well.

Changing Irons

Changing irons is the most obvious example of how your gear is tied together.  It’s very likely that the pitching wedge or gap wedge in your new set will play to a different distance than the one in your old set.  If it does, you’ll want to change your wedge set up to maintain good distance gaps.  The same is true on the high end.  If your longest iron goes further than it used to, you may need a new hybrid or fairway wood.  Or, if you’ve dropped an iron, you’ll need an additional long club to fill the gap.

When you change irons, there can be less obvious knock-on effects, too.  Did you change shafts?  Is the swing weight on your irons different?  Length?  Lie angle?  Adjusting to those elements in your irons may make your wedges feel less comfortable.

Changing Long Clubs

Just like with the irons, when you change a fairway wood or hybrid, you need to be aware of your distance gaps.  Most people buy new long clubs because they create more distance than the old ones.  If that’s the case, are you making your other current woods irrelevant?  Are you over-stretching your distance gaps on the other side?

Changing the Golf Ball

Most golfers have a smorgasbord of golf balls in their bag, and they’ll play whatever they dig out.  For those golfers, changing the ball obviously isn’t a big deal.

For the player that’s trying to post the best score every time out, however, changing the ball is a huge deal.  It affects everything else in the bag.  If you change your golf ball, you may want a different putter to recreate the feel you prefer.  The new ball may spin more or less off the driver, necessitating a loft change.  The golf ball is the base of your house of cards: pull it out and everything else comes down.


In closing, I want to first re-emphasize that this isn’t something the recreational player should lose sleep over.  Yes, everyone should be fit and you shouldn’t make changes for no reason, but grabbing a new 3W isn’t going to make a 25 handicap into a 30.

That said, for the serious player, equipment decisions should be thought through and, preferably, made with the help of a qualified club fitter.  Golf is a hard game.  You don’t need to make it harder by playing with the wrong clubs.

Matt Saternus


  1. I hardly carry a 3wood so I use a 5 wood it’s so much easier to hit.
    I replaced 3 wood for a 46deg wedge , to fill the gap between my gap wedge and pitching wedge on my new set irons.

  2. Christopher James

    Changing your golf ball can definitely impact your game more than most recreational players think. For the high handicappers, the more expensive the ball does not mean it will be better for your game. Better to find a soft compression ball that reduces spin to keep the ball straight.

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