Martin Hopley
By Martin Hopley

These days manufacturers are always giving us more distance with each new generation of clubs. This used to apply mainly to drivers, but recently the same know-how has been applied to fairway woods and irons to make them go further too.

This is all very well, but as every club in the bag goes further then this can create yardage gaps in your set. This could be between your wedge and your sand wedge or between your longest iron and your shortest wood.

TaylorMade have been one of the companies claiming big yardage gains for their Rocketballz Stage 2 fairway wood and RocketBladez irons so I met up with Ryder Cup Captain and long time TaylorMade player Paul McGinley to find out how he puts chooses the right clubs for his bag.

Knowing the distance you hit the ball consistently with each and then, just as importantly, the distances you want to reach for the courses you play are crucial. It sounds obvious but very few amateurs actually know these figures accurately. Most of us probably don't hit anything above an 8 or a 9 iron consistent distances anyway.

However with technology such as launch monitors, GPS and laser distance measuring devices it is possible to work out average figures for yourself and get fitted to the same level of detail that Paul describes in the video above.

In truth it does not matter if your 7-iron goes as far as your playing partner's 7-iron as the specification and lofts could be totally different. What really matters is that a decent gap of around 8-10 yards is created between each club in your bag, particuarly the short irons.

If you go from the standard set wedge of around 46 degrees to a sand wedge of 56 degrees then the difference in distance could be up to 30 yards. You could easily fit in 2 wedges to fill this gap and it would probably benefit your game more than another bionic fairway.

The key point I took from interviewing Paul was that he knew what he wanted from his fairway in terms of total distance when hit after his driver and also from the tee. Rather than go for a bionic 3 wood that would have left a big gap to his next club, he opted to go for more loft with a shorter shot. This gave him an easier club to control that goes the same distance as his old fairway, but which would also stop quicker when it came into the green because the ball was coming down more steeply from a higher flight .

So sometimes increases in distance technology can help your scores by making clubs more playable as well as hitting them further. Use this power wisely my children!


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