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Fitting: The Best Question from The Hackers Paradise AMA

To succeed, each club needs to work in harmony with your best and the worst of you.

I ALWAYS have a blast when I can engage in the THP AMAs. The questions are thoughtful, and that forum is FULL of absolute golf maniacs. I’ve seen it up close at the Grandaddy event we (Callaway) participate in every year.

If you are not familiar with The Hackers Paradise platform, here is the elevator pitch…

Hackers Paradise, which began in 2008, is one of the largest online golf communities in the world.  The website features news and reviews each and every day, as well as podcasts, video segments, and a huge online forum filled with golfers from around the world.

In other words, it’s a robust collection of Golf heads that live and breathe golf. It’s simply an awesome crowd.

This past Monday, I answered a TON of questions on all things Callaway and the TOUR, but there was one that I wanted to expand on a bit further as I feel it’s relevant to us all.

Here is the link to the AMA:

THP AMA 5/9/2022

If you want me to do a deep dive on one of these questions, the trick is to either call it out or ask something so good it merits a longer convo. There is always one or two in the bunch, and I love digging in. Maybe someday I’ll figure out a special prize for the selected asker LOL. I’ll workshop that one.

The question from rlewis1323 was:

Is there a “most common error” you see higher handicappers make when choosing or evaluating equipment (and looking to really improve), whether it’s anything with a certain area of clubs, the ball, etc.? Or perhaps not an “error” but something you’d hope to be more common knowledge when buying equipment or going through the fitting process as an important aspect to consider for those looking for game improvement? If you had everyone in that category in a room together, what would you hope to pass on to them?

I LOVE this question because it’s not only well thought out, but I imagine it’s something every golfer would want to know…

So here is my answer:)

What is the most common error I see in players’ strategy is a better way to look at it. It’s impossible to offer solutions without identifying the FACTS.

So here they are…

1) EVERYONE wants to play good golf.
2) Golf is HARD
3) Golf is chess, not checkers.
4) EGO is the killer of evolution
5) Tour players are not you
6) Low scores trump hitting it far all-day
7) Raising the floor not the ceiling is the goal
8) It’s fun because it’s hard

There are more but as far as things we all need to accept, these are a good bunch to live by.

So what goes wrong?

To start things off, I will only tackle this from an equipment aspect; we all know that Golf involves many variables but sticking to the equipment, for now, will save us both a ton of time:)

In my travels, I have played a ton of golf with players that, at first glance, have a “nice” set of golf clubs. Then they go on to hit it all over the place and curse the golf gods that they spent X on a set of clubs that don’t work. On multiple occasions, I have gone thru the bag with a player post-round and asked how they ended up with the setup. The most common answer is, “Well, I got fit for my driver and bought the rest at the golf store,”…Or “I read on this website that these irons were the best, so I bought them,” OR…my personal favorite “my buddy has these and stripes em”…

We’ve all been that golfer, I know I have.

The 14 golf clubs in your bag ALL have a job to do…very concrete jobs, and to play consistent golf, your bag must represent the part of the game with the LEAST amount of guesswork. There is plenty of challenges out on the course, so fighting your bag and the elements isn’t the recipe.

So when you go to your next fitting OR are in the market for a new club, think of it as a NEED over WANT type situation. So many resources these days to educate yourself on what’s what, but ultimately it’s between you, your honesty, and the fitter to get it right.

Hell, I have multiple examples in my bag, just watch this:

So when purchasing a new set-up, look at it like this:

The Jobs/Goals of each club:

Ball: The king of the bag. The ball must spin correctly off of EVERY club, provide ultimate control from within 100 yards, and is stable in the wind. Without a good ball, the rest is pointless. Prioritized by 1) Short game, 2) Irons, 3) Woods.

Driver: Accuracy, Distance, with BIG Misses mitigated as much as possible.

3-Wood: 2nd tee club, easy to launch off the floor and flies 20-25 yards shorter than your driver.

UW/5-wood/7-wood etc.: Primary off-the-floor fairway club and an easy option on tight shorter holes. 20 yards short of your 3-wood

Hybrids: Long Iron replacements that provide ball speed, forgiveness, launch, and help with gapping.

Irons: The primary function is to HIT GREENS and get the player pin high as much as possible. The “hit it close” part relies more on your golf swing than anything else.

Wedges: To provide perfect gapping from PW into LW. These clubs need to be reliable in the fairway AND around the greens. In a perfect world, the PW and GW are twins of each other, and the 54/56 and 60 provide versatility out of the fairway and around the greens. These two wedges have MULTIPLE JOBS so picking the right grind/bounce combo is almost as important as picking the right ball. Remember your wedges are the workhorses of the bag, you use them a ton.

Check out my FULL WITB here:

Here is what my Stock Gapping looks like, and in my opinion, it’s PERFECT. Remember that “Stock for me is 75-80% speed. So on any of these, I have +-10 yards to play with. That’s what all gapping should look like on STOCK shots. Not your Sunday best that you accomplish 2 out of 10 times.

Driver (8.5): 275 Carry
3-Wood (14.5): 250 Carry
5-Wood (19): 230 Carry
4 Hybrid (23): 215 Carry
5-Iron (25): 200 Carry
6-Iron (28): 185 Carry
7-Iron (32): 170 Carry
8-Iron (37): 155 Carry
9-Iron (41): 140 Carry
PW (45): 125 Carry
AW (50): 110 Carry
SW (54): 100 Carry
LW (60): Who cares

So what’s the answer to the question, Wunder?

It’s actually quite simple, pick the clubs in your bag as you would choose the perfect roster in any sport. To succeed, each club needs to work in harmony with your best and the worst of you. Building the right bag is an EGO-less exercise; build your EGO by shooting the best scores of your life. Every part of the club needs to be there to help you, not only show up for you on your best days. It’s kind of like picking friends, lol. Pick the ones that will lift you when you suck and make you that much better at your best. That’s the common mistake I see; most bags are built on whims, hopes, and God knows what else. I was the president of this club for YEARS. So I speak from REAL life experience.

“Hope” is not a good business model. Reliance is.

Happy Hunting


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Carl Riddlebarger

    May 24, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    First-timer great article thank you

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