What Clubs are the Pros Using This PGA Season?
Every golfer knows that a set of clubs can have such a big influence on a player’s success rate. Every individual has his own idiosyncrasies and swing style, so it’s important to test out a lot of different clubs and find the right equipment for you. Unfortunately, there’s an enormous amount of choice out there, with big brands adding new technologies to the market every single year. In order to find the best-performing clubs, many players look up to the pros. Professional players are only allowed to carry 14 clubs and therefore have to build their bags very carefully.
Fortunately, the modern world of golf has more options than ever before. In order to deal with the 14 club limit, many pros decide to make use of hybrids and pay special attention to their choice of wedges. Naturally, each pro needs a driver and a putter, with the majority of them also carrying around one or two fairway woods as well, but it can be fascinating to look at the ways in which they balance out the rest of their bags. The clubs they use may not necessarily work for you, but it’s always helpful to see how the most experienced and successful players approach the game.
Keep a Hybrid in Your Bag
Let’s start by talking about hybrids. These clubs are very recent additions to the scene, but it didn’t take too long at all for star players to add them to their bags. Interestingly enough though, amateur golfers latched on to hybrids well before the professionals did. Recent studies and statistics show that more than half of the players on the PGA Tour make use of at least one hybrid, with that percentage tending to increase every year.
A decade ago, a professional player making use of a hybrid was quite a rare sight, but now these clubs are commonplace. At the same time, some players are starting to prefer adding long-irons to their bags in the place of hybrids, with some big names criticizing the hybrid’s poor reliability levels when playing in windy conditions. Tiger Woods has famously preferred to stick with irons for much of his career, so the hybrid may no longer be as popular as it once was.
One factor that can influence whether or not a pro makes use of a hybrid is the amount of fairway woods in his or her bag. LPGA star Michelle Wie regularly uses both a 3-wood and a 5-wood, preventing him from making use of a hybrid. Tiger Woods did the very same thing in 2012. Meanwhile, players who only include a single fairway wood in their bags usually have room for a hybrid or two. The 2011 bags of Jim Furyk and Yani Tseng are some good examples of this, with both players using 3-woods along with a couple of hybrids.
Still, this rule is not without exceptions. Back in 2012 at the Masters, Bubba Watson carried just a single fair wood, a 4, but didn’t make use of any hybrids at all as he went on to win the tournament. On the other end of the spectrum, LPGA player Angela Stanford filled her 2012 bag at the HSBC Tournament with a pair of woods and a hybrid. In general though, professional players usually tend to decide between using a pair of fairway woods, or just one wood and a hybrid.
What Wedges Do the Pro’s Carry?
Moving on to wedges, the pros’ bags usually contain three or four of these clubs. Every pro needs a sand wedge, but the other wedges they choose can vary quite a bit, depending on their own personal playstyle. The biggest hitters in the game tend to carry four wedges. This is because their initial drives usually get them closer to the hole, presenting short approach shots on quite a regular basis. These players then have a nice array of wedges to help them in any situation. Bubba Watson is an example of a pro who carries four wedges.
When choosing your wedges, it’s important to note that the pros usually select each wedge to have about 5 degrees more or less loft than the others For example, back in 2012, Martin Laird carried a 50 degree pitching wedge, a 55 degree sand wedge and a 60 degree lob wedge. That 5 degree range makes sure that each club different enough to be well-suited for its own set of shots. Some players even separate their wedge in 6 degree increments, while more conservative playstyles favor 4 degree separations.
Finally, let’s look at the average set of irons in a professional golfer’s bag. Nowadays, it’s quite rare to see the 2-iron featuring on the PGA Tour, while the 1-iron is almost never seen. The 10-iron is quite a rare sight as well, with the majority of tour players making use of irons 3 to 9. Most male players usually have the 3 as their longest iron, while women tend to favor the 4.