A golfer is only as good as the clubs in his bag, the saying goes. No, I think I might be turning things on their head more than somewhat in suggesting that. Doesn’t stop us falling for the spiel in the advertisements in the golfing magazines that would have us believe that this year’s set of irons, brimming with the latest in golfing technology, will allow us to tear up the course like Rory McIlroy and render the clubs currently in our bags hopelessly outdated. But the equipment is an important element in the game of golf, and if the opening statement isn’t exactly true, it remains a fact that we will play best when we are comfortable with our clubs and feel we can trust them. So what do I currently put my trust in?
The core of my bag is a set of Callaway FT irons 5 to PW with graphite shafts vintage 2009 which I have had since they were purchased new in December 2011. Not by me, but by my lovely wife Joanna as a Christmas present after I had seen them in the Chilworth pro shop and raved about them. They are truly beautiful clubs and always feel just right – suffice it to say that they made my previous Wilson DI5s look and feel like agricultural implements.
The top dog in the bag is a Callaway X Hot 3 wood with stiff graphite shaft which, since its purchase as an ex-demo in December 2013, has done the business off the tee on a routine basis. Prior to that I had a trusty friend in a TaylorMade V-Steel 15 degree 3 wood with stiff graphite shaft dating from 2005. I do in actual fact own a driver in the form of a TaylorMade RBZ stage 2 with stiff graphite shaft, but it will just have to wait for the day when a straight flight can be guaranteed or, at least, expected on a more than totally erratic basis.
Three of the most-used clubs in the bag are my graphite-shafted Callway X2 Hot hybrids– a 3H (18 degrees), a 4H (22 degrees) and a 5H (25 degrees). The latter is a relatively recent addition, bought as a winter club for those shots from around 175 yards out: time will tell if it stays in the bag once the weather improves, or if the 5 wood, which it squeezed out, returns to join its friends.
At the other end of the set is a Wilson Staff 56 degree TW5 sand wedge that was a birthday present some years ago from my 3 sons – nice one, guys – and has served me well since. More recent additions to the bag are Callaway Forged 52 degree approach wedge and a Callaway X series Jaws 60 degree lob wedge, both of them stunningly good clubs when playing to the green from close quarters. All wedges are steel shafted.
And finally, for when it gets to the business end of things, there is my trusty Titleist Scotty Cameron Red X2 putter, a 2006 model which I chanced on at a car boot sale in as-new condition. I didn’t even haggle over the £30 asking price! It’s an absolute beauty and I wouldn’t part with it.
Actually, not quite finished yet, as you can’t play a round of golf without a ball, and for many people the golf ball is as personal a choice as are golf clubs. I’m one of those people and, in my search for the perfect golf ball, I have tried a few. Yes, I absolutely love the legendary Titleist Pro V1 but I certainly can’t afford to use it on anything like a regular basis. Or compress it properly. I was a Wilson Staff DX2 player for a while, couldn’t get on with the DX3 and enjoyed a recent flirtation with the Titleist Velocity. Other than that the ball that I felt most comfortable with was the Srixon Soft Feel or, until January 2015, the Titleist DT Solo or, indeed, the Titleist NXT Tour S. And then, with much fanfare, came the Callaway Chrome Soft, allegedly the holy grail of golf balls. This is, I think, my favourite golf ball ever. Feels really good off the tee and fairway, stops well from wedge shots to the green and comes nicely off the face of the Scotty Cameron. My review of it here will tell you why I have put in the bag.