As you reflect on 2019 and look forward to 2020, if you are like most of us, there is room for improvement! Even the tour pros spend a lot of time with their coaches analyzing their rounds and making a plan to improve.
One of the top degrees coming out of college these days is Data Analyst. The era of “Big Data” is here, even in the golf industry. When Mark Broadie wrote “Every Shot Counts” in 2014, it was used very little on the PGA Tour. Now, Strokes Gained is used and commented on regularly by tour players, analysts, and commentators. Golf Digest recently published this article on how analytics are being used on tour! The results have been pretty dramatic for several players! So, take a look at your scorecards and find out where you are losing strokes. Missed fairways? OB? Poor iron shots? Short-siding your wedges? Putting letting you down? Fill out our survey on the right of this page with your biggest area for improvement!
If you have not been through a professional fitting, make 2020 your year to do so! Understanding the dynamics of your swing (tempo, transition, release point) and how it affects shaft and head selection is key to improved performance!
- Take advantage of our “Lifetime Fitting” and get fit!
- Select the “pain points” in your bag and get those fixed first! See our thoughts below.
From an equipment standpoint, every company is focusing on distance and forgiveness. Yes, hitting longer AND straighter drives is key to lower scores and more fun. Here are our suggestions:
- Play a shorter driver (trust us, you will NOT lose distance), especially if you have an OB or two
- Get fitted with the right shaft (proper weight, flex and swing weight). Learn More
- Use your fairway wood or hybrid for those tight fairways.
Most golfers have trouble with hitting their fairway woods consistently. The main reason is that off-the-rack fairway woods have shafts that are too light and too flexible. The next issue is distance. Today’s modern fairway woods are much more forgiving and generate more distance than those of say 2015. So here is what we suggest:
- Get fitted for a slightly heavier, stiffer shaft in your fairway wood(s). Learn More
- Play a little more loft (think 4 wood/3HL)
- For stronger players, think swapping out a 5 wood for a 3 hybrid
Today’s hybrids are hotter (more distance, less spin) and more forgiving than ever. Every manufacturer has stepped up their game and introduced hybrids than go deep into your bag and replace longer irons, some a high as a PW hybrid! The issue still remains that off-the-rack hybrids have shafts that are too light and too soft/flexible resulting in lack of accuracy and consistency. Our thoughts:
- Get fitted for a heavier and stiffer shaft in your hybrids…closer to what you play in your irons. Learn More
- Replace one more iron with a hybrid, i.e. if your highest lofted hybrid today is a 4 (22 degree) add a 5 (25 degree) and take your 5 iron out of your bag.
- Unless you hit your 4 hybrid over 200 yards, do NOT put a 3 hybrid in your bag…use a 5 wood!
Nearly 50% of our readers say their next purchase will be new irons in 2020. With all the hype about more distance, we recommend you concentrate on accuracy and consistency. If you hit more greens, you score better and have more fun! A couple of ideas:
- Think about a little lighter weight shafts if you are concerned about losing distance. There are a lot of options in graphite now to replace steel. Learn More
- Get fitted for the proper length, loft and lie. That is where accuracy starts.
- Try some of the new hollow body irons (TaylorMade p790, Ping i500, PXG Gen 2). Great forgiveness, more distance and exceptional feel.
The main factor with wedges is to have enough groove action to stop the ball on the green from both full shots and chips around the green. Wedge grooves will be worn down significantly after 50 rounds, especially sand and lob wedges. And pay attention to loft separation, bounce and grinds. So….
- Replace your wedges often, especially sand and lob wedges
- Play no more than 5 degrees separation between your wedges, i.e. PW-45, GW-50, SW-54/55, LW-58/60.
- Play the right shafts both in terms of length and weight. Learn More
Drop More Putts!
There is a big emphasis being put on putting in 2020. In 2019 we saw a lot of emphasis on putter shafts for more consistency in putting stroke (STABILITY putter shafts and Callaway Stroke Lab). This trend is continuing in 2020. We are also seeing a trend towards more mallet style putters and designs with more toe hang. Bottom line is that putting comprises most of your strokes during the round so here are a few tips:
- Play the right putter length. Get your eyes over the ball at set-up.
- Work on Alignment. A good putter head will help you line up straight on your intended line.
- Practice tempo for better distance control. Think 2:1 ratio of back to forward stroke Learn More
Replace Your Grips
Worn or slippery grips can cost you up to 6 strokes a round according to one of the studies we read recently. Wiping down your grips with a damp towel after/during a round will help preserve their lifespan. But, after 50 rounds, you should see wear marks and replace your grips.
- Replace your grips with the same size and weight to preserve the integrity of the club (swing weight, etc.)
- If you do go larger or smaller, consult your clubfitter on the potential impact on your performance.
- Texture is more important for feel than actual performance so choose a grip that feels good in your hands.
So play the right equipment in 2019! You will go long… go straight… go low… and have more fun!