9 Golf Clubs That Should Always Be In Your Bag

9 Golf Clubs That Should Always Be In Your Bag

A golfer's love/hate relationship with his equipment.
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Each situation calls for a different club. The yardage. The weather. The competition. Every second that passes comes with another decision in which the outcome changes drastically. A round of golf is a lot like life the more time I spend on the course.

Over time I have come to love the game of golf. Watching, playing, practicing over and over again but not with repetition. If you ask a golfer if they have hit the same shot twice, they will explain that many look identical, but it is always a different experience. The club might change due to recent ball striking. The ball might change because the last ball was "shanked" into the woods. Thoughts racing how to have a perfect and imperfect game. Golf is more mentally stressful than any other activity I have participated in. The 9 clubs in my bag represent further meaning than just equipment. Every golfer has their favorite club, but every golfer has stories behind each club and why it is in the bag.

Driver

2013 TaylorMade Rocketballz calls attention to itself while I shuffle to the ball. It's the first club you investigate when on the first hole. "Should I go for it all, or play it safe?" Taking risks has always been a boundary I try not to cross in any aspect of life. After playing enough rounds, however, I notice the worn grip on the shaft. The hundreds of ball marks on the head of the club. I have given this club enough light to take it out one more time, every time.

Three-Wood

If part of a family, the three-wood would be the younger brother to the driver. Smaller, but deadlier. Being able to control the ball off the tee is vital. If the wind is vicious and waiting to grab the ball out of the air like a hawk preying on a fish, the three-wood is your best option. Keep it low, and rip it through the wind. I stand over the club confidently and my shadow engulfs the dent where my younger self found a rock instead of a ball. After playing for a few years my maturity level has increased enough to know when the three-wood is the club to take out.

Five-Wood

350 yards. Par four. Bunkers covering the fairway 200 yards out. The five-wood is my most secure club in the bag. I know I could try to glide my driver or my three-wood over the bunkers, but I know I can safely land before the bunkers and utilize another club in the bag to nail the green. It is my newest, but oddly the safest club because I do not expect to hit it well and I do not think too much while swinging. What I mean is that I have nothing to lose with it in my hands, so I swing without regrets or hesitation.

Three-Hybrid

Not an iron, but not a wood, a hybrid is a mixture of the two and quite often a club I never take out of the bag. Practice and more practice is what I always tell myself, but I never feel safe to take it out of the bag. It's a deep dark cave that you want to delve into, but you know the inside will take awhile to discover. The hybrid is a beast all in its own, and I am continuously trying to improve myself.

Irons 9-5

The mid-game is handled in the fairway, if you're lucky and guided by the way you use irons. I have an average set of five irons that provide me with enough range to hit the green within 135 yards to almost 200 yards. You must be meticulous when deciding which iron to hit, how far to choke up on the grip, and where to hit the ball when using irons. They are ruthless and never forgiving. These are the clubs you will use most often in the bag and over the years they take a beating. Make sure to keep them clean and well-maintained.

Pitching Wedge

My favorite club in the bag. Probably because I use it in situations I should be using an iron, but I feel more comfortable with it in my hand. The swift clip of the grass on a cold morning leaves my wedge wet and stained. Off the fairway, out of the rough, or even off the tee my pitching wedge is my "go-to" weapon on the course. The ridges on the club have started to fade but my love for the club has not.

Sand Wedge

52-degrees of pure steel. As the name of the wedge suggests, I often use the club out of bunkers. However, I utilize this club anywhere I can where I need a quick 75 yards. The cloud of sand after the swing of the club is instantly followed by anticipation and anxiety of where the ball is. Standing in he bunker behind a hindering opaque sand wall is stressful but exhilarating. "This could save my round, or ruin the score."

Lob Wedge

My last hope to get on the green. A black club with an entirely silver head due to the paint fading away because of the wear and tear it has taken. I can flop the ball over any obstacle in my way. It is by far the most unique club in my bag with the way it looks, hits, and feels. I continue to make mistakes with it trying to figure out how to perfect the shot. By constantly failing I can hope to improve.

Putter

I remember playing mini-golf as a kid with my father. He is the one who got me into the game. I stand over every putt like I am playing mini golf with him. An innocent, fun kids' game with so much potential for the ball to fall in the cup. I may miss the first stroke, the second, and even the third, but there will be a next time. I will pick the ball out of the cup and start over again on the next hole.

I love the game of golf and every club in my bag. Although rules state the maximum number of clubs in the bag are 14, I do not think I would add or subtract any if the rules changed. The way my game is played now, is the way I will play it in the future. A golfer is always thinking about how to improve on what is already built. Every experience and situation in golf is new and should be handled as such. A golfer should feel comfortable while swinging, but should not feel comfortable with settling. Like in life, never remain comfortable, always strive for improvement. Whether it be with one club, or all of them, remember to use the correct equipment for the given situation.

Cover Image Credit: Dustin Walsh

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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