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Hacker to single figures - The curse of the new clubs

By: | Wed 30 Jul 2014 | Comments

If you’ve been following my challenge to get from a high handicap hacker to single figure golfer, you’ll be aware that my progress has been up and down. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve got my solid ball striking back and have had a couple of great scoring rounds, won a competition for lowest net score over two days, bagged another trophy (my second of the season!) and a reduced handicap, meaning I’m now at 15.4. In terms of the challenge, it all seems to be back on track.

So the logical thing would be to carry on as I am, keep playing and hope to keep that consistency going right?


As I’m sure many of you are the same as me with this - I am constantly looking (some would say obsessed!) at new / different / eBay clubs in the hope it will give me a slight advantage. Right now, my driver in particular was a club that I felt was doing me no favours. I know that given the nature of the challenge, and where I’m at right now…messing with my clubs is probably not a wise move. I’ve proven that I don’t really need to even use a driver to score well, but every single one of us loves nothing more that smashing one down the middle of the fairway.

This time, rather than another eBay purchase, I went to see James Whitaker at his Howley Hall GC store, complete with it’s trackman fitting room to try out some new clubs and see if I could find something to help me off the tee.

My current clubs are these. Some Mizuno MX-19’s with regular shafts (another eBay purchase about 7 years ago). I have two drivers that I’ve been messing about with whilst trying to find a solution to my issues off the tee. My trusty old Callaway Big Bertha (regular) and most recently a Taylor made RBZ (stiff), neither of which I’m hitting well, or have any confidence with.

After messing with a few different clubs, I ended up feeling pretty happy with a Nike VRS Covert driver, with a regular shaft (the new ltd edition one with the fancy black head). It felt great, and I seemed to hit it much better and more consistently than either of my other drivers. Great stuff. Whilst there, I also tried some Nike VRS irons. These also felt great in the trackman room, although looked a bit odd at address having being so used to my old HUGE Mizuno’s. James very kindly let me take them to have a few rounds with to see if we became friends, then they’d do a full custom fit. So, off I went with an unexpected new set of Nike irons and a driver.

Straight away, like a giddy kipper… I went up to the driving range. I was hitting the driver great from the off. It’s one of those that you can meddle with the loft and face angle, but for now I opted to leave it standard. The irons on the other hand were a bit hit and miss. I seemed to be struggling with how close I was getting to the ball at address, which I think was due to how much smaller the club head is. This resulted in some pretty inconsistent strikes.

Fortunately, the last two rounds I’ve played have not been handicap qualifiers, so I’ve been able to have a real go with my new clubs. I’ll be honest; the transition has been quite as smooth as I’d hoped it would be.

So, here’s my dilemma.

Is this the right time to be changing my golf clubs?

We all watched Rory McIlroy battle through the change in his clubs, and he’s an amazingly good golfer. No doubt, these clubs will work much better for me long term. The evidence of this is clear to see when I strike them well. However, I only have about 7 weeks left of handicap qualifying rounds to play in, and still have 5 shots to try and lose. Is this the right time to be trying to get used to new clubs? The old ones clearly work well as in my last proper round I finished 7 under.

Should I just work with the driver as that is a definite improvement, and save the irons until the end of the challenge when the pressure is off? Or do I risk spending a couple of weeks getting used to them with the hope that the improvement comes quickly?

The temptation is almost too much to resist. My new Nike golf clubs are so lovely that I just want to use them all the time. This could be the most important decision for the challenge so far…

Is this really a good time to change?

You can keep up to date with Kevin’s challenge by going to www.hackertosinglefigures.co.uk and subscribe to his updates. You can also follow him on Twitter @kevinpaver or on Facebook

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