What Needs to Be in Your Golf Bag This Season
The 14-clubs are a given … but what else needs to be in your bag for the year ahead?
We golfers love a gadget and anything designed to help us improve our own game. Whilst a series of dedicated lessons with a PGA Professional may still be the best way to lower your scores, we’ve picked out a few items which could help both the number on your scorecard - as well as your enjoyment this season.
We’ve got a whole article on alignment sticks to go into more detail as to why they should really be in your bag, but here’s the headlines. Firstly, they will help you improve. As the name suggests, they’ll help you check alignment on everything from full shots to putts, and can be also used to help drill in start lines, or to train the path of your putting stroke. Secondly, they’re super useful for sticking headcovers, gloves, hats and other bits on whilst in the bag. Lastly, and most importantly - they just look cool. Having a set in your bag somehow enrols you into a secret alignment-stick-club, joining notable members such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and drawing envious looks from those who wish they knew the secret handshake …
Again with a practical solution to help your game, a rangefinder or GPS makes knowing your yardages easier than at any point in the history of the sport. Whilst we might not always be able to differentiate between a 153-yard-shot, and one that goes 155-yards, it’s at least helpful to know what we’re trying to do - rather than looking on in bemusement as to why your perfectly struck Sand Wedge has come up 50-yards short. With both items being around for a good few years now, prices have started to drop drastically, with free options also available through most smartphones. To put it simply, if you’re not using a distance measuring device, you’re likely giving up an advantage to almost everybody else playing on the day.
Now, we might be slightly biased here (check out the Golfshake Score Tracker for more details …), but one of the best ways to improve your game is by taking notes of your scores and stats, and looking for areas which could be improved. Even the keenest amongst us will look back on a round with some element of personal bias, and so plugging your numbers straight into score tracking software will give you an honest assessment of your game. However, if you really want to keep your involvement in this to a minimum, companies such as Game Golf and Arccos have developed gadgets which can be added to your bag to help to track strokes automatically - although you will still need to do small amounts of admin both before and after the rounds.
Ok, we’re moving into more of the ‘fun stuff you can buy’ category now. First up is rain gloves. Perhaps not the sexiest item in the pro shop, but if you buy a pair at the start of the season and stick them in your bag, you’ll be thankful on multiple occasions throughout the year - giving yourself a well-earned pat on the back for the foresight. Rain gloves are, essentially, magic … performing better the wetter they get. And whilst we hope that all of your rounds are played in glorious sunshine, you’ll thank us for this seemingly mundane tip when it starts chucking it down with three holes remaining of your Club Championship.
One of the more recent additions to the golfing landscape, massage guns are designed to loosen up your muscles both before and after your round, and are utilised by some of the best sportsmen and women on the planet. Much like rangefinders, their increase in usage has coincided with a drop in price, meaning they’re now more accessible than ever. What’s more, brands such as Therabody have even introduced smaller products such as the Wave Solo that will fit comfortably into every golf bag - allowing you ease of use if you happen to tighten up midway through a round.
Golf Ball Alignment Stencil (And Marker Pens!)
Come on, you don’t need us to tell you how useful these things are. Have you ever hurriedly tried drawing a line on your ball to help your putting whilst stood on the first tee? If so, we bet that it wasn’t your finest work. Alignment stencils can be found for less than a fiver on the internet (or in most pro shops), and will last a lifetime. Most even come with a marker pen included. However, we’d also recommend a nip down to your local stationary shop at the start of the season to grab a couple of Mini Sharpies. Again, these cost a couple of quid, and will save you being that guy or girl on the tee forever asking to borrow one from their playing partners.
Golf Cleaning Brush … or Toothbrush
Another super affordable, yet massively useful item to add to your bag this year is a small cleaning brush. It’s annoying trying to get dirt out of your grooves with a tee peg on each shot, and looking down on a clubface that’s caked in mud doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. These can be again found with ease both online and instore, but if you’re really loathed to spend the cash, an old toothbrush will also do the trick. Anything has to be better than continually cleaning your clubface on the leg of your clean chinos …
Recent years have seen the introduction of golf-specific nutritional products, notably from companies such as Max Golf Protein. The world’s best players have long known the importance of keeping energy levels high throughout the round, and if it’s good enough for them, it should be mandatory for you. If you’re not able to source any of the golf-specific offerings, you’ll find plenty of other energy bar-type products on the market, with seeds, nuts, and beef jerky also great bag fillers. Just make sure it has some element of good nutrition, helping to provide a slow release of energy as you go - rather than one massive hit of sugar. Basically, anything other than the Mars Bar and bottle of Coke you’re currently consuming on the way around.
Suncream / Sunscreen
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you NEED to have suncream (or sunscreen for the Americans) in your bag. Grab a small travel-sized bottle next time you’re in Boots or at an airport, please. Major Champ and Ryder Cup star Justin Thomas recently had his own scare with sun damage to the skin which required surgery to remove, and there’s simply no excuse in the modern day for not being aware of the dangers of prolonged exposure to the sun. It’ll keep you safe, as well as stopping you from walking into the clubhouse with a bright red nose after your round.
In the words of Baz Luhrmann’s iconic 1999 track, “If [we] could offer you just one tip … sunscreen would be it."
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)