What’s the most important club in the golf bag?

By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ

Is 14 clubs too many?

That was the question I was asking myself after playing in a fun event last month.

The team I play interclub for at my club won our grade this year — yes, I’m bragging — and we got together for a post-season celebration.

It was just a nine-hole event but with a limit of four clubs.

I made my decision well before tee-off which clubs I would choose.

Our golf course measures nearly 5900 metres off the members’ tees, which I believe is the longest in the lower North Island, even though it is only par 71.

For that reason my first choice of club was driver. I felt it was important to maintain length off the tee to give myself a chance of making it to the green.

My second choice of club was a hybrid. There were two reasons for this selection. One was that it would give me some chance of getting to the green in two on par fours. (I can already hear my friends scoffing at that last statement.)

The second reason I chose the hybrid was that it would act as my putter. Clever thinking, I thought.

That left me with two more choices. I plumped for a pitching wedge for around the greens and a six iron as a middle club.

I was now set.

This was not a serious event, we had a bit of fun, I did not play well but I enjoyed myself.

However, coming to the second-last of the nine holes I suddenly realised I had only used three of the four clubs. This was not intentional, it was just the way it happened.

The club I did not use at all was the six iron. I started to wonder why.

In the first instance I hardly got to a position where I would commonly use a six iron. But I also realised that when I got to a position that was a little outside my six iron-length, it was just as easy to hit a chopped down hybrid rather that a hard six iron.

But perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was that I could not putt with the hybrid. To be fair that is something I never practice, but three putts were common and there was one four-putt from a very moderate distance.

One of my playing partners gleefully told me afterwards that I had 29 putts over nine holes. That is horrible.

But it hammered home to me the saying that the most important club in the bag is the putter. Putt well and you’ll score well — even if the rest of your game is only average.

If I play a similar event again, my first choice of club will be the putter.

But the event also got me thinking about all the clubs we carry around in a normal round of golf. We are allowed 14 and we all put 14 in the bag.

We all try to act like the professionals and choose the perfect club but to be frank we can all improvise with most clubs, especially the mid-irons.

I rest my case.