Due to the recent golf course restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that we have had a rise in golfers walking to avoid riding in a cart with someone else. Whether it be with a pull-cart, Sunday bag, or just straight hoofing it, it’s good to see people getting out and walking a little bit more during a time with so many different restrictions.
The recent increase in free time has lead me to scrolling through Twitter and social media just a little bit more these days. It’s been interesting to see everyone in their different areas and how they have had to adapt under the new circumstances. Pool noodles guarding the cups, no flags in the holes, no tee markers, or limited group sizes, are just some of the different ways people have been playing golf as of recent.
I’ve seen one trend that has grabbed my attention more than usual. I came across some people who talked about how they’ve only been loading their bag up with 6 or 8 clubs to not just lighten the load, but to regain the “feel” in their golf game again. They say things like only having 6 to 8 clubs in the bag helps them get the feel back with their swing that they haven’t felt in years. That they never have the wrong club in their hand now, and that they are learning to hit a 3/4 shot, or even less than that again. I realize that only having 6-8 clubs in the bag severely limits club selection, and makes you create shots with what you got, but you don’t need to only have 6-8 clubs in your bag to have “feel” in your golf game.
I remember vividly watching the 2019 AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, and coming down the stretch in the final round on hole 14, Phil Mickelson wanted to hit 6-iron from 150 yards. That’s feel. He has all those clubs in his bag, but chooses to feel the shot instead of just hitting the full shot that the 150 yard number calls for. Yes, in that situation conditions played a huge part in the shot selection, but there is always an option to feel from every distance on the golf course no matter how many clubs you have in the bag. If you hit a full 6-iron 180 yards, and are sitting 180 yards out from the green, there is no rule that says you have to hit a full 6-iron. As a matter of fact, there’s no rule that says you can’t knock down a 5-iron, 4iron, or even a 3-iron. Everyone knows their perfect yardage with each club in the bag, but you are not strictly set to hitting it those exact yardages. You can hit a 7-iron from 120 yards, an 8-iron from 170 yards, or even a 3-iron from 185 yards. None of that matters, or depends on how many clubs you have in the bag.
I know people love going old school from time to time with their golf games. Playing with just their pitching wedge instead of a 52 or 60 degree wedge, or throwing the old persimmons in the bag just to switch things up. Technology has changed golf over time, and yes, maybe you don’t have to be as much of a shot-maker nowadays as you used to be, but just because you have more options in the bag now, doesn’t mean you have to leave feel out of your game. You are allowed 14 clubs in your bag, and each serves as a tool in the shot making process. Just because you hit a 9-iron 150 yards, doesn’t mean you have to hit it from 150 every time. There is always an option to feel a shot in there no matter the distance. It all depends on how you decide to see the shot happening. Only having 8 clubs in the bag shouldn’t be the only reason that decision is made for you.