best golf rangefinder

Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews for 2020 to Slash Your Scores!


It’s never the number you think it is, is it?

You pace it out, you check the sprinkler head and you don't know if it's to the middle or front of the damn green. Your GPS watch is WAY off when your buddy shoots with the Bushnell.

Having one of the best golf rangefinders is going to be the best investment you make and is the one piece of equipment in your bag you can depend on, on every shot.

It’s become an almost essential part of any golfers bag and certainly part of mine. 

Below, I’ve identified the best golf rangefinders so that you too can hit shots with confidence, knowing you have the carry covered and that the club you have is the right one. This is so important to committing to a shot!

When the caddies don't realize they're becoming obsolete!


Best Golf Rangefinders

Rangefinders that JUST missed the cut


Bushnell Tour V4 Golf Laser Rangefinder

Best Compact Size Rangefinder

I own both the Tour V3 and the Tour V4 and it’s easy to see the V4 is much smaller. Picking up the pin is much quicker in the new model. It’s a well-made, sturdy laser rangefinder like all the Bushnells, just much smaller which is good for me because I have small hands (size 23).

What’s included in the package?

In the Patriot Pack you’ll get

  • Silicone protective skin
  • Semi rigid carry case
  • One battery
  • Two year limited warranty


My Tour V3 on the left and Tour V4 on the right

Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell V4?

In a word, yes. It’s difficult to explain just how different a Bushnell functions to other models unless you’ve used one.

The V4 is so compact, even if you have smaller hands like mine (size 23), you’ll be able to use it very easily.

No other brand can find pins as quickly as a Bushnell. They’re super quick and it’s rare to need to shoot a target 4 or 5 times like other models.

The V4 is water resistant.

Me and my V4 Tour and size 23 hands

How simple is it to use?

There is only one button on the top of the device. You put the rangefinder up to your eye, point at the target, click that button once to switch it on. Then center your target and hold the button down until the distance is displayed. Put it back into your carry case and it will auto-off in half a minute.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

No problems for color-blind golfers. The numbers on the display are black. You can also use either the left and right hand to operate the device, totally unhindered.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.

Battery

Running on a CR-2 Lithium battery, the Bushnell V4 lasts between 40 and 50 rounds.

Verdict

After being so happy with the V3, I decided to pull the trigger on the V4 and have been even happier with the performance so I’ve given the V3 to a friend who was using a Nikon Powershot. He prefers the V3 due to Bushnell’s reliable accuracy and speed. I can whole heartedly recommend both the V3 and Bushnell Tour V4 as one of the best golf rangefinders on the market.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design, light, and compact design
  • Slope technology 
  • Excellent focus and top accuracy
  • One-button control for simplicity
  • JOLT feature shouldn't be taken for granted

Cons

  • The 5X magnification is still not the best.
  • Slope feature is not legal for some tournaments.
  • It needs some steady hands to work well.
  • The battery can be quite hard to insert.



Bushnell Pro X2

Strongest Constructed Golf Rangefinder

There’s a good reason Bushnell are the forerunners in the race to be the best distance finder manufacturer. Their products are solid and function at the top of the class.

They make the best golf rangefinders for guys who want reliability, quality and efficiency. These things do come at a price and a lot of golfers wonder if it’s worth it. Bushnell’s Pro X2 has a hefty price tag so let’s see why.

Feel and construction

This is a big, sturdy and heavy rangefinder. That’s not to say it’s cumbersome though. It’s just a lot different to the Bushnell V4. A waterproof metal casing protects the rangefinder from damage and can be used in wet weather without problems.

You really feel like if you dropped this on a cart path it would still be working perfectly.

Technology included

JOLT & Pinseeker

As with the newer Bushnells, the Pro X2 features JOLT technology which sends a ‘jolt’ of vibration into your hand once it has locked onto the target and calculated the distance. Coupled with the Pin Seeker technology to scan for a flag, it’s really easy to get your distance.

Slope-Switch Tech

The Slope-switch allows you to just shift a switch up or down to move between slope and non-slope function. It’s so convenient that it’s almost tempting to cheat in a tournament because no one would know!

Remember you’re not allowed to use the slope compensation feature on your rangefinders in a tournament and the X2 is able to calculate the undulation and give a more accurate true distance reading. The pros will use this feature in practice rounds to prepare for those high pressure situations.

Dual Display Tech and Stable Grip

It’s possible to select either the standard black colored text on the display or a red hue by pressing a button on the housing. I’m unsure why though, since red and green are the two most common colors for color-blind guys to mix up. The Stable Grip technology has been included to stabilize our shaky hands for more effective shooting.

Advantages over the Bushnell Tour V4

Casing is larger in the Pro X2 for more steady shooting of targets

Casing is sturdier and can take more abuse than the V4

Much simpler to switch between slope and non-slope mode in the Pro X2

Pro X2 has the option to change the display to red numbers in addition to black while V4 is only in black text.

How about those lefties and color-blind guys?

No problems for lefties to use the Pro X2 and color blind golfers will want to use the black text on the display and not the
red! You can change between the two easily.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.

Who should buy one of these?

The price is pretty steep (slope joke - har har) on this one so it’s for:

  1. Golfers who travel a lot with their golf stuff
  2. Avid golfers who play more than twice a week
  3. Unsteady hands
  4. Amateurs who play in higher pressure situations and need extreme accuracy
  5. Guys who want the best of the best and won’t mess around with anything else

Pros

  • Sturdiest construction out there
  • Toggle between two different displays.
  • Quick to switch between slope and non-slope
  • Waterproof housing for use in damp conditions
  • Minimal shaking for easy shooting
  • JOLT tech to alert you when you lock on target
  • Tournament legal after switching off slope

Cons

  • Quite pricey indeed
  • A bit overkill for a beginner



Top Value Golf Rangefinder

Precision Golf NX7 Pro

Precision Golf is a little company that’s trying to compete with the big boys to make access to rangefinders more affordable while not skimping on quality.

Inside the box

The NX7 comes with the essentials

  • Hard shell carry case
  • Wrist strap
  • Lens-friendly cleaning cloth
  • Warranty papers

Feel and appearance

If you’ve been spoiled already by using a Bushnell, you’ll notice the plastic and construction of the NX7 feels less ‘high-end’ than a Tour V4. That’s not to say its bad quality though. If the Bushnells are 9/10, the Precision NX7 is 7.5/10 just on how the device feels. It’s the same as a guy complaining that a Srixon Soft Feel feels harder than a Pro V1. Of course, for there’ll be differences for less than half the price.

Is it any good?

best golf rangefinders on the market

What you see through an NX7

Ease-of-use

Right out the box, the rangefinder is ready to go, battery already installed. There are two modes - slop and non-slope and one of the two buttons on the device allows you to switch between the modes easily.

Pulse Vibration Technology

You merely press the green button once without holding it in to switch it on. The cross-hairs come up onto the display and once you line them up to your target, press the button again until you see a ‘+’ sign whereupon you release it and the device vibrates with the distance on display. This is one of the most surprising things about the NX7 Pro - it includes a feature like the vibration which is generally not found at this price point.

But what about the performance?

With a 6x magnification, the NX7 Pro definitely meets expectations at the upper end. Shooting the pin from 330 yards is easy enough and at the realistic ranges of inside 200 yards, it’s a piece of cake. The distance is given to the nearest 10th of a yard which is very impressive but a bit overkill unless you’re Dustin Johnson.

Finding the distance takes slightly longer than the top range models but in no way is that additional time a deal-breaker. We’re talking a couple seconds more instead of instantaneously.

The NX7 Pro is half the price so does that mean the optics are half as good? Definitely not - the optics are excellent and while not Swarovski-clear, it’s very easy to find your target.

The display of the NX7 is quite busy though and coupled with a 6x magnification, it’s the opposite of minimalist. Is it a deal breaker? Not really just a minor gripe.

Who should purchase the NX7?

Recreational golfers who want a rangefinder that’s not going to wipe the kids’ college fund out will like this product.

How about those lefties and color-blind guys?

No problems for lefties to use the NX7 Pro and color blind golfers will have no issue.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

The viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to lenses.

Verdict

Let’s face it, golf rangefinders are quite pricey but at this price, getting a Precision Golf NX7 is like stealing. The only drawback to this model is it doesn’t have Bushnell-level finishing touches or optics but that’s why it’s priced so well. In the end, it does the same job at a fraction of the price and comparing it to a Bushnell is unfair. It’s top of its class.

Pros

  • Great price and 2 year warranty
  • Free battery replacements for life
  • Vibration technology similar to JOLT
  • Dedicated switch to change between slope and non-slope.
  • 6x magnification
  • Good for small hands
  • Customer service is excellent

Cons

  • Display has a bit too much going on
  • Edge of your hands can kind of block the front of the device if you have big hands



Bushnell Tour Pro X7 Rangefinder

Ultimate Golf Rangefinder for Stability


Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell Pro X7?

It’s an expensive piece of equipment but if you play a lot of golf or golf at a high level and want distances lightning fast then this rangefinder has your name on it. And if you can’t seem to ever stabilize a compact rangefinder over your target using just one hand, the Pro X7 is the one for you.

If I didn’t wear prescription sunglasses on the course, I would prefer this rangefinder - it’s just so easy to use. If you wear glasses too, read below to find out why I don’t recommend it.

What’s the big deal about the Bushnell Pro X7?

When you first pick up the Pro X7, you'll think it’s a pair of binoculars. It’s very bulky but with that bulkiness, comes the ability (no, necessity) to use both hands. This immediately makes it easy to shoot your target instantaneously without the usual swaying of your hand using a compact rangefinder.

The button on the top side is easy to press with either hand and within a split second you have your distance thanks to the ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) technology. It’s the quickest rangefinder I’ve ever tried.

With my friend Johns X7 Pro - awesome!

What else makes the Pro X7 special?

  • Waterproof: The device is totally waterproof
  • Magnification: 7x is the highest I’ve encountered with an eyepiece that extends and retracts like binoculars by turning the eyepiece
  • Accuracy: Distances provided to the nearest 0.5 yards from 125+ and 0.1 yards inside 125
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Display: Use the Mode button to change the viewfinder between 4 levels of brightness
  • Strong: The rubber case and hefty weight of the rangefinder makes it feel really solid
  • JOLT: It will send a jolt of vibration into your hand once it captures the distance

How it looks through an X7 Pro


What about lefties or color blind golfers?

Left handed golfers can easily click the button with their dominant hand to get a reading. Color-blind golfers might have a problem because the display uses bright red text and cross hairs. The red is really bright and glows like an electric alarm clock but if you’re color-blind, I’d stay away from this one.

What if I wear glasses?

This is the big downside for me. I wear prescription sunglasses and this is the only rangefinder I have difficulty with. The eye relief on the scope means I need to position the rangefinder perfectly on the lens otherwise half the picture is blacked out.

It’s probably something you could work out and be consistent with eventually but it was a deal breaker for me since I birdwatch and know how annoying it can be with extended eye relief on scopes and binoculars when you wear lenses.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

The Pro X7 is the easiest rangefinder to keep stable and the quickest I’ve used to shoot the distance. I love holding it with two hands without swaying or needing to shoot the target 3 times to triple check. My major gripe which stopped me purchasing it though, was that using it with prescription lenses was a pain in the ass. If you don’t wear prescription lenses, you’re not color-blind and you are a serious golfer, this is the best golf rangefinder on the market.

Pros

  • Pin seeker mode means crazy QUICK readings - quickest readings on the market
  • Red number display is super bright
  • High magnification means brighter images
  • Waterproof
  • Works well in darker conditions
  • Using two hands mean it's the most stable rangefinder out there

Cons

  • Expensive!
  • Red numbers can be bad for color blind golfers
  • Much heavier than other devices 
  • Eye-relief makes it difficult to use with glasses/sunglasses




CaddyTek CaddyView Golf Rangefinder

Runner-up Budget Rangefinder

Is the CaddyTek any good?

It’s about the same size as a Bushnell Tour V4 but the CaddyTek CaddyView doesn’t come with the JOLT technology (where the device vibrates when it locks onto the pin) and also comes with a cloth pouch with velcro and not a hard case. But the accuracy of the readings are the same as a Bushnell which means HIGHLY accurate, and fast too!

But it costs so little

To get slope function at this price is also a phenomenal deal. Disabling the slope function is easy - just remove and replace the little plate on the side of the device.

But what makes it so good is that it takes no more than 5 seconds to pick up the rangefinder, lock on the flag, get a reading and put the device back. This little golf rangefinder is packed with value. When shooting multiple readings from the same spot, the distances are always within one yard of each other.

The little micro adjuster on the eye-piece works really well to clarify the image when looking through the peephole. Another nice feature when looking through the eye-piece is that the digital display is easier to read than a lot of models even the Bushnells. With 6x magnification, you’ll be able to pick your target up easily.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

The digits on the digital display are black and are easy to see against the green background of the course. No problems for lefties here.

What about if I wear glasses?

The eye relief is very small which means there are no problems with glasses-wearers.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

Considering you get slope functionality at such a low price in the CaddyView, if you don’t need the vibration when picking up pins and don’t mind a Velcro soft pouch, then this is an excellent rangefinder. Picking up distances is quick and easy especially to bunkers, trees or banks over water. Where the rangefinder loses minor marks comparing to the expensive models is picking up flags, where the Bushnells are really much more proficient. But are these minor things worth the extra money for an expensive model? If I were on a budget, I would say...NO, the CaddyTek is great.

Pros

  • Quick response time 
  • Highly accurate readings you can trust without re-shooting over and over
  • USGA tournament legal
  • Very light and compact

Cons

  • Storage pouch is a bit behind the times 
  • No vibration feature for when you lock on pins



Why the TecTecTec models are losers

These things get rave reviews but I’m really not sure why. The construction is cheap and very difficult to keep stable to shoot the distance to a pin over 150 yards away. When getting a reading, multiple readings need to be taken to ensure an accurate number but the distances can vary wildly from the same spot.

It’s very well-priced and with so many people online saying it’s fantastic, it might be tempting to get one but I can’t in good conscience recommend this product. For similar money, the Precision Golf Nexus golf rangefinder is much better value.


How to use a rangefinder

The most common reason people use golf rangefinders is to calculate the distance to pins but they can perform a few more useful functions to take your game to the next level.

The greatest benefits of a golf rangefinder is the ability to measure distances accurately from one point to another.

Measure your drives: So instead of only measuring distances to the pin, you can also use the rangefinder to determine how long your drives are. What I like to do is pick a tree, or marker or bench in line with the tee box and then once I reach my drive, measure the distance from where my ball is back to the preselected bench, tree, ball washer, concrete marker.

This will help you when you measure a distance to a hazard from the tee and know exactly which club to use. You’ll be able to swing with total confidence knowing that you’ll be safe.

Learn your carry distances at the range: Measure the distances to pins and distance markers on the driving range and then go through your clubs until you find the club that carries to the pin or distance board. We want to know the carry distance and not the roll-out distance.

This will help you when approaching a green when you need to carry a bunker or water. It’s also ESSENTIAL to know your exact distances you hit the ball to achieve lower scores.


What do you see through a rangefinder?

When looking through the rangefinder, you’ll see your target, magnified so it’s similar to looking through a monocular. There’s usually a crosshair in the middle of the display that you point onto the target and generally when you press a button on the top of the device, a distance will pop up on the display once the rangefinder has settled on how far you are.

The tricky part comes when you have a pin in front of a row of trees because it can be difficult for the rangefinder to pick up the pin. That's why when looking for a rangefinder it’s always good to find one with a technology that finds the pin and puts the priority on the closer object. That’s why I always recommend rangefinders made exclusively for golf - like all the devices in this list.

This is the big difference between hunting and golf rangefinders. Hunting rangefinders will put the priority on the moving object which is very often behind trees and bushes whereas in golf, the priority is on the item in front of the bushes - the pin.

The view through a rangefinder


How accurate is  a rangefinder?

Rangefinders are incredibly accurate and most of the top professionals use them during their practice rounds to calculate the distances so if it's good enough for guys earning millions per shot it's definitely good enough for us.

The only time it’s difficult to use a rangefinder will be when you can’t see the pin because you’re behind trees in the deep trouble.


What’s the difference between GPS watches and rangefinders?

GPS watches use satellites to pick up your location in relation to the middle, front or back of the green. You’ll generally only you get a reading to those three points and in some of the higher end models, you’ll get readings to a selection of hazards.

A rangefinder shoots a laser directly toward your target and once it hits the target it sends back the message to give you the exact distance. These distances are accurate to 1 yard and you can select the target yourself, while GPS gives you distances to spots on the course that you have no control over.

So while a GPS will tell you how far it is to a bunker, it doesn’t tell you how far it is to carry the bunker. A rangefinder allows you the freedom to select the target and get multiple customized targets for distances.


Should I get a rangefinder with slope or no slope?

How slope adjustment works - uphill shots are longer, downhill shorter

Some rangefinders come with a “slope” function which calculates the true distance to the pin taking into account the elevation changes up or down. So an uphill shot might be 170 yards in distance but factoring in the angle of elevation, the true distance might 183 yards. That can make a massive difference to your score if you’re choosing the wrong clubs.

During tournaments, you’re not allowed to use the slope function though. But in general play you may use it so it depends on your goals and what you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re a really good amateur player who plays in national or regional competitions, you can use the slope function during practice rounds to calculate the actual distances based on elevation and take down some notes for your competition rounds.

If you’re a casual golfer who doesn’t play tournaments, the slope function is something you can use all the time. If you play weekend competitions, you can use the slope function in the week and switch it off on weekends. That’s the best part, all golf rangefinders with the slope function give you the ability to switch off the function at any time.

The slope models are a bit more expensive, so there is that to consider.


Rangefinders to avoid

The next couple of models are designed for hunting and should be avoided. When buying a rangefinder, there’s no need to complicate your life when the equipment is actually meant to make it more convenient.

A golf rangefinder has been designed specifically for golf to pick up targets in front of trees and bushes while hunting rangefinders are designed to pick up targets behind the trees - this is very much not ideal for use on a golf course. Please don’t make yourself struggle unnecessarily.

Nikon 8397 Aculon

You might find some sites telling you this is a good option for golf but I disagree and or the same amount of money, a budget golf rangefinder will perform exactly how you need it to.

Halo XL450-7

Great for bow-hunting, bad for pin-hunting. Yes they're cheap but you'll tear your hair out trying to shoot pins with this thing.

Rangefinders used for hunting are often very well priced and may seem appealing at first but once you see the difference between a hunting and a golf rangefinder you'll realize how much better a golf rangefinder works.

As mentioned above hunting range finders give preference to the object in the background such as a deer or a wild boar walking behind bushes and trees while a golf rangefinder gives preference to the object closer in the foreground. That's how they can pick up pins with a row of trees behind them.


Who should buy a golf rangefinder?


Golf rangefinders a suitable for every level of player and there's not a single golfer who won’t benefit from a golf rangefinder.

  • Learn the distance you carry every club in your bag
  • Calculate true distances in practice rounds before competitions
  • Calculate your real driver and fairway wood distances off the tee
  • Never be short on an approach again
  • Have confidence you know the distance to a hazard and select a club to avoid it
  • Essential equipment for breaking 90 and 80
  • If you follow a strategy like my breaking 90 or 100 guides and want to calculate distances to split your shots.


Myths about golf rangefinders


“I’m not good enough to get one yet”

Some people think you should only get a rangefinder when you hit your clubs consistent distances. I think that’s unfair on the golfer. 

No matter what skill level you are, having a range of distances you hit your clubs will help you become a better player. Keeping track in a notebook is helpful over the long term to show you how tight the range between good and bad strikes is.

The key is to understand how far you hit your club MOST OF THE TIME. A lot of golfers will use the distance they hit one ball one time as their benchmark. For example, someone might hit a 7 iron 175 yards once and use that as their 7 iron distance when in reality, they hit the 7 iron 165 yards 80% of the time.

“It slows down play”

Some people think that shooting distances is a laborious process. It’s really not and is very quick and easy.

It takes no more than 5 or 6 seconds to get it out the pouch, shoot the distance and put it back. I usually find the distance while the other guys are still playing. Before arriving at my ball I’ve already looked at the target to select what I want to find distances to.


Top manufacturers

Bushnell

Most of the rangefinders you see on Tour will be Bushnells. They’re some of the pricier ones on the market in a similar way Titleist is the most expensive golf ball because the pros all use them. 

Nikon

A famous camera and binocular company that have expanded into the golf market. They make really nice rangefinders for golf in the form of the COOLSHOT 20 and 40 models. 

TecTecTec

You’ll see this name often when looking for a rangefinder but I don’t recommend them. Quality is not as high as other rangefinders on the list above.

Leupold

Leupold are a very famous optics company for hunting but in terms of golf rangefinders, their products are very high quality but also with a very high price. I haven’t met a single golfer on the course who uses one.

Callaway

Callaway have dipped their toe into the rangefinder realm and from what I’ve heard, they’re actually made by Nikon.

Verdict

In the end, I decided to get a Bushnell Tour V4 because my hands are small and the model I really fell in love with, the X7 Pro, didn't work on my sunglasses. I was looking at cheaper models but decided that sometimes it's just better to get a more expensive item especially one that is so important to my game. The Bushnell Tour V3 was my gateway drug into the rangefinder market and I'll never play golf without one again. 

Undoubtedly the single best purchase you can make for your game is a great golf rangefinder to help you learn more about your game as well as be more accurate on the course for lower and lower scores. Good luck!

Golf Strategy: How to Break 80 in Golf – My 666 Method

Are you desperate to get that under-80 monkey off your back? 

You're about to find out how to break 80 in golf in the simplest, most deconstructed guide you'll ever read. I've included videos of my friends and I actually breaking 80, shot by shot just to show you guys that I say what I do and do what I say.

You won't be changing your swing either. If the swing you have got you here, it's good enough to get you to break 80 so fear not my friend. You've always known how to break 80, but now it's time to take action and get that 'just broke 80' feeling!

Get that just broke 80 feeling baby!

There's no BS or fluff in this guide - I wanna show you how to stomp ass and take names. I've been breaking 80 for the best part of 16 years and I'd like to show you how too, so you can be a happier golfer having more fun than ever! 

Some things will be instant fixes and "hacks" while others are going to require brain and will power to put into action but once you do, I promise that you'll start shaving off those last few strokes to get into the 70's.


Note: There are some repetitions in this guide from the breaking 90 guide I wrote. I've tried to put them all toward the end of the guide but if you've seen it before, maybe a refresh is a good idea!


The Golf Sidekick 6-6-6 Method
How to Break 80 in Golf

There are guides out there telling you “79 is just 11 pars and 7 bogeys” is how to break 80 in golf, like it’s the easiest, most obvious thing in the world. It's too high-level and it doesn't actually give you anything to aim toward besides Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are totally useless. We need to go deeper than that.

Our brains are masters of deception and the 7 bogey-11 par theory is a dangerous one.

Let’s imagine we go to the course focusing on making 7 bogeys and 11 pars. Now let’s run a couple scenarios we can all relate to:

  1. First hole, you make double bogey. Immediately you’re thinking okay now I can only make 5 bogeys or I’m screwed. Not a good place to be mentally which only attracts more big numbers with 17 holes to go.
  2. You make 7 bogeys by hole 14. You have four holes left with no cushion and all you’re worrying about is NOT making bogey instead of trying to make birdies and pars like we know you can. Focusing on the negative actions breeds more negative actions and you make more drop shots.
  3. You hit your 7 bogey limit by hole 14 and forget you have the ability to make birdies and instead start telling yourself you suck and you’ll never break 80. Our brain forgets who we are and starts treating us like a beginner.

The net result with the “7 bogeys 11 pars” theory is that we focus on the outcome instead of the process. This is a surefire path to depression and eventual disillusionment with golf. I know because I’ve been there, taking long breaks over the years.

I hope you can learn from my 20 years on the golf course as someone who’s been a beginner, mid handicapper, scratch player and two-time quitter. I want you to enjoy the game more and score better so you never quit the game, so please read on sir - we're about to break down the actual process and not the outcomes to shooting sub 80 rounds of golf.


How to Break 80 the Golf Sidekick Way

Our recipe for breaking 80

We're going to build the skills to:
  1. Hit SIX greens in regulation.
  2. Get up and down SIX times to save par.
  3. Lose just enough shots over par on the other SIX holes.

Six holes will be your ‘birthday’ holes to score how you like: six bogeys, or five bogeys and a double. Or two doubles, four bogeys and a birdie. The most important thing to remember is there is room for error so avoid becoming despondent if you make a double. The focus here is on the process of hitting smart shots and not on the outcome of the hole.

So what skills do we need to accomplish breaking 80 with the 6-6-6 method? Check it out below.

Course Management

Miss approach shots in the right places

This might be a weird one, but golf is a game of errors as we all miss more shots than we make. The guys who score the best make the best misses.

Every course designer provides golfers with a ‘bail-out’ area and it’s our job as players to find these areas and use them as the designer intended. Often, by not scoping the surrounds of the green on our approach shots, we don’t plan for the miss and because we’re so hell-bent on pin-hunting, we miss the green in the worst position, short-siding ourselves.

We want to avoid certain situations:

  • Chipping & pitching over bunkers or water
  • Chipping onto a downslope
  • Bunker shots toward water
  • Chipping onto elevated greens from the valley below
  • Pitching to flags tucked on the edge of the green we are closest to

Ideally we want:

  • Lots of green to work with
  • Chips and pitches onto an upslope or flattish surface

High Percentage Planning & Aiming

Hitting six out of eighteen greens at your skill level isn’t difficult. But to increase your chances, we want to aim at the correct part of the green. By doing this, we increase our number of birdie chances and decrease the chance of making double and triple bogeys.

Plan from the green backwards

From my experience, the best rounds I’ve played have been the ones I plan best for.

A great strategy is to plan the hole from the green back to the tee. Let’s look at some examples.

Can you hit this 460 yard par 5 in two? Are you comfortable with a driver in your hands? How have you been hitting the driver today? What's your go-to club off the tee? Will your shot shape go toward a water hazard? Let's play the safest option with the best return on our investment.

If I'm hitting the driver well, I'm going for this one in two all day but that doesn't necessarily have to be with a driver. If I hit my 4 wood, I can reach it with a 3 iron. If I have no confidence with either of my woods, a hybrid off the tee can leave me another hybrid to the green or I might break the approach shot into an 8 iron and a gap wedge. 

Think about what club you want into the green and then work your way back from there. If you can't hit it in two, say to yourself on the tee:  'ok self, I want to hit a nice smooth PW 100 yards into the green. I have 360 yards to go before that. I'll hit a 3 wood 210 yards and then a 6 iron 150 to set up my PW.'

Plan to your strengths on approaches and you'll see more birdies and less scores over par on the par 5's.

On any hole less than 410 yards, I spend a lot more time thinking about my tee shot. 410+ is an easy decision to reach for the big dog but these hole between 300 and 400 yards are tricky. We would do well to think ahead here.

Do we want a 100 yard shot into the green with more chance of hitting into hazards off the tee? Do we want a PW from 125 into the green with a medium amount of risk off the tee or a 150 yarder into the green, hitting our tee shot to the fattest part of the fairway?

Hit the club that avoids the dangers off the tee, but leaves you a comfortable shot into the green. Which club consistently shapes the right way for the direction of the hole? Which irons are you very happy to hit into the greens? Mine are 53°, PW, 7 iron and 6 iron. If I can hit my tee shot to any of those clubs distances, I am a very happy boy.

On par 4's, I might hit anything from a 6 iron to a 4 iron to a 4 wood off the tee. Whatever gets me in the best position for my approach! Forget what others think and play your game which often should include shorter clubs off the tee!


Aim to the fattest part

Flag hunting is usually what gets us in trouble and stops us breaking 80. Those pins tucked behind bunkers and next to steep run-offs are so tempting to shoot at but I bet if we took two guys: one who hits it at every pin over 18 holes and one who hits it at the heart of the green regardless of pin-location, the pin-hunter would lose badly.

Aiming to the middle of the green on most holes is more advisable. Beyond that, it’s even better if you aim at the part of the green where your normal shot shape will shape toward the target but if you hit a dead straight shit, you'll be in a safe position either on the green or facing an easy chip.

Examples of aiming for a miss

A sucker pin

Going for sucker pins tucked behind bunkers is for the pros. The closer you get to the edge of the green, the more precise you need to be. Flying it over a bunker from 150 yards means you have far less green to land the ball on and hold the green. Aiming for the heart of the green gives you MUCH more space to hold a green and have a putt for birdie or par. 

What's one of the worst habits we make as amateurs? We often plan for that 1 in 20 shot that goes 10 yards further than our average and we often leave the approach shots short in the bunkers or deep-grass valleys, short-siding ourselves. Getting up and down from here is extremely difficult. For lower scores, aim away from the pin and danger and use enough club to carry the trouble..

Use enough club

Use enough club to avoid the front side hazards and realize that there are bail out areas. Find the one place you want to avoid and take measures to avoid it. Find the one place you will be safe and hit it there!

Careful of the sucker pin

The ultimate sucker pin. Notice how much green there is to the left of the pin? Right and short of the pin, NOT SO MUCH! You can miss the entire green on the left side and still have an easy chip. Short and right and you're in a world of pain.

Sometimes short is the play!

Sometimes the hazards are in line with the green. Look for where the safe zones are. Usually short or long will be safe and in the picture above I would rather be short or long than right or left. I'd take one club extra and make sure I swing easy to avoid errant shots left or right.

As you can see, slope makes a huge difference. We don't want to be chipping over a bunker toward another bunker or hitting a bunker shot toward another bunker. Aim to the mid-point of the two bunkers and allow your shot shape to take over. Take one more club to make sure you get past the bunkers.

Where are the bail out areas?

Often the bail-out areas have been made obvious by the designer. They normally leave a wide, flat fairway to one side of the hole or both. In the picture above, it's short right and left but long here is a no-no. Take advantage of the designers intentions. Unless it's a particularly mean designer, there should always be an area to hit to that will leave a relatively easy chip if you miscue the shot.

Where's the biggest landing area?

Sometimes we get so target-fixated that we don't even see how much green there is. Shooting at the pin above brings a chance of hitting it left in the valley or over into the bunker, leaving us a downhill bunker shot.

Adjusting the line just to the right of the pin means we open up a highway width part of the green. You might have a long 30 foot putt, but ut's definitely better than a 30 foot bunker shot onto a down slope or a chip up hill onto a down slope.


Know Thyself

Know your distances as precisely as possible

This is of such extreme importance, it should be the first thing golfers are taught after they learn to hit a golf ball.

I never thought I needed a rangefinder or GPS golf device until I got one and I wondered why I struggled so long without it!

For this section, a distance measuring device is non-negotiable. I personally use a Bushnell V3 Tour and Bushnell V4 Tour rangefinder to tell me distances to obstacles, hazards and pins. I pair that with the GolfShot application on my Android and Apple phones (yes I have both!) to measure and track my distances with each club. You can do this with a GPS golf watch too but I use my phone because I don’t like to wear any kind of jewelry.

Every single-figure handicapper I know has one of these

Tracking your distances is easy and you just tell the phone or watch to start counting your distance from a certain point and then tell it to stop once you reach your ball. You then save that and specify which club it was and your device will store the information for you automatically.

I record my distances on the GolfShot app

Voila!

The only thing is, it’s a pain in the ass to remember to track every shot but if you do it diligently for two or three rounds, you’ll get a real grip on your game.

That means that when you have a rangefinder to tell you the precise distances to pins and hazards, you have a perfectly accurate measurement to match to the distance you already stored for each club! You'll be filled with confidence and commitment once you know your game this intimately.

This is my single favorite tip in this whole guide and a rangefinder or GPS device are the best investments you’ll ever make in your game!


Have a go-to shot

At different times, some part of our game can just suddenly switch off. It’s usually the long game for me.

So how do we fix this while we’re on the course and things are looking bad off the tee, around the greens or on approaches?

We develop one shot that we know we can fall back on at any moment under pressure or whenever.

We all have our favorite clubs in our bag and this should be your starting point. Work on those clubs at the range and on the course to feel like you can whip them out any time and pull off great shots when you're on the verge of mental breakdown.

My personal go-to shots are:

  • PW with my feet almost touching in my stance, swinging at 75%. This shot reliably goes 100-110 yards at the target for when I need a clutch save. I developed it by accident doing the feet together drill on the driving range to fix my balance!
  • 17° 4-wood off the tee. I can rocket this thing 240-260 yards and trust it will be on the fairway for when my driver goes wonky. I’ve always liked the club and it just became my favorite club immediately.
  • 6 iron from 185 - 195 yards. I have so much confidence with this club for no reason. I whip it out and know even if I missed the last 5 greens with wedges, I can hit the green with the 6. I often hit tee shots to 185 yards to hit my 6 iron in.
  • PW for chipping as often as I can because I practiced with it so much on the chipping green. I've practiced it from different lies, distances, locations in my stance, everything.

The club and style of shot you choose depends on your preferences and feelings. Play around on the range and have fun. You might discover a little secret that you can use on the course. Do it your way and forget what the gurus tell you in Golf Digest. 


Keep detailed statistics of your rounds

Recording your statistics is essential to analyze where you’re deficient and where you excel. Using your score card is the easiest way to keep track of how you played. Vital information I like to track is:

Click to enlarge

  1. Fairways
  2. Greens in regulation
  3. Scrambling up and down
  4. Sand saves
  5. Number of putts

Afterward, we can look at a poor statistic and ask why it happened and then take corrective action through practice.

You can keep track of this all in the GolfShot app mentioned above..



The Mental Game


Discipline yourself to stick to the gameplan

It’s so easy to have a bad hole and throw the round away only to regret it after a few holes.

Breaking 80 is about discipline - whether sticking to hitting at the heart of the green, hitting irons off the tee, practicing your short game or splitting a 300 yard shot into two full shots - we need to stay on the path to greatness.


Put ego aside and play YOUR game

I play golf occasionally with an 18 year old kid who hits a 4-iron 240 yards, all carry. He hits a 9 iron from 165! Sometimes I succumb and try keep up with him and bomb every drive and take one less club on approaches.

You know what happens? I hit balls in the water; OB; top them; teeth them...all because I forget that I can still beat him hitting it shorter than him. Around the greens I'm much better than him! But the damage is done by the time I get to the green. We need to eliminate the silly errors from tee to green to give us a chance at par on every hole.

So another top tip is, PLAY YOUR OWN GAME regardless of anyone else. Don’t change club selections to impress anyone. Don’t be silly like me and hit a 9 iron from 160 when it only goes 148...just to show a youngster I can keep up! 

Remove negative language and negative thinking

Use positive talk and avoid getting depressed because the results are not what you expected. Sometimes we make good swings or putts but we just didn’t calculate winds or lines correctly.

Instead of throwing the club into the lake after your shot lands in the bunker short, assess the reason why it happened. We should be happy with the stroke but take corrective action immediately instead of letting our emotions take over. Did you pick the wrong club because of ego? Did you pull out of the shot because you thought you had too much club? Whatever the reason, take note of it and try to improve on the next shot. If it was a good shot, there is no reason to get upset.

See the missed green as an opportunity to show off your short game skills. After you top your drive, remember all those times you parred a hole after topping the drive. Replace thoughts like "oh here comes a bogey" with thoughts like "it just takes one good shot to save the hole". 

Every poor shot is a learning experience for the rest of the round. There is one major reason for those bad shots at this level of golf though:

Lack of commitment

Commitment to every single shot is vital

Commitment on every shot is essential

Having a plan for every shot and envisioning it in your mind is key to committing to shots and getting the result you desire. Making the correct club selection through knowing your distances and shot shape are the lifeblood fueling your goal of breaking 80. Doubting yourself destroys all the best-laid plans.

Our brains are so good at subconsciously talking us out of doing something or planting little seeds of doubt in our heads. Like when you’re on the tee and your brain says 'you don’t have enough to clear that bunker'. You then hit it in the bunker or top it because at the top of your backswing, your brain made your body tense up and autocorrect to match the actions dreamed up in your head.

You have a 7 iron into the green but you pull an 8 and stand over the ball thinking this isn’t enough club. Or when you’re standing on a divot on the tee box and all you’re thinking is, I should tee up somewhere else. But you don’t and mess up the shot!

How about when there’s out of bounds left, you’ve been hitting a fade all week and at the top of this back swing, your little lizard brain says “don’t hit it left”. With a solid commitment and focus on the positive language to describe your action, you’ll notice these top-of-backswing thoughts disappear.

We never seem to be able to reset and regain commitment to a shot when anything distracts us. We need no distractions and only full concentration and commitment to the shot ahead - flight path, club choice, distance and shape.

Positive internal monologue

Here's the classic example. Don't think of an elephant! Are you thinking of an elephant? It's the same with golf. Don't hit it in the water! Are you thinking about a small lake now? That's where your brain wants the ball to go!

Use positive language when you’re planning and visualizing the shot in your mind before you hit it. You’re standing behind the ball imagining the flight path, where it lands and with what shape it’s going to take. Only hit that ball once your mind can see only that.

When there are hazards, avoid talking to yourself like this: “Don’t go left you idiot - you’re the kind of person who hits a fade but hooks it on the one hole with water left.” Say something like this: “I’ll start this one out over the center of the fairway and my baby fade will push it toward the right side.” Can you feel the difference? One statement starts with a negative "don't" and the other focuses on taking the positive action instead of avoiding something bad. 

Honestly, this tip has made a HUGE difference to my game. I was the quintessential negative-talk specialist and my round could spiral out of control after the first missed green with a pitching wedge. When you feel the negative talking devil on your shoulder, start speaking in positives and remove the word "DON'T" and "CAN'T" from your vocabulary. 


Emotional control

Hitting 135 yards into a par 4 for your second shot is a dream, but sometimes you miscue a shot and you make a double bogey out of nowhere.

Oh no! That’s when we go full John Daly and lose our minds. The main point of the 6-6-6 method is to get you working on a process instead of hitting pure KPI's. Our pursuit of better golf is the goal and by focusing on each shot, the actual result of the hole means nothing to us.

We look only at the shot in front of us as the most important so we can set ourselves up for the next shot. Never, ever, never, never hit a throw-away shot. You know when you duff your hybrid  into the par 4 for your second shot? Under no circumstances are we allowed to rush the next shot because we’re angry. Reset and do better.

Go through your full routine and slow down. Consciously slow yourself down after a bad shot and make the next one the best shot you’ve ever hit because it might be the one that stops 3 feet from the pin and you jam an amazing par!

We really want to keep doubles and triples off the cards and one of the ways to do that is to remain in control of our emotions to make better decisions even after the worst of shots. There are so many other things to get genuinely upset over but a stray golf shot is actually a privilege. We're on the course, away from the nagging women and we're not in an office but on a beautiful golf course!

Relax - life could be worse.


Next Stop: Skill Building

Okay, so we can hit the greens through planning and execution with total commitment. 

We can hit the ball to the heart of the greens and we know our distances, shot shapes and temperament.

We've done 80% of the battle right there.

But in the 6-6-6 system, we MISS up to twelve greens! So how do we get up and down 6 of those times to save a par to allow us some freedom to screw up?

Short game short game short game

Guys, there is no way around this one. The only difference between breaking 80 and shooting 85+ is getting up and down 50-60% of the time compared to hardly ever. So of the 12 greens we miss, we need to get up and down 6 or 7 times.

Luckily I LOVE the short game and I have a treat for you below. I hope some of my passion travels through my words on your screen, into your fingers, down your hands, stored to be transferred later to the club head.

Let’s get more in-depth...

Chip like a BOSS

how to break 80

This is the least glamorous part of golf so most people ignore it. To me, the finesse of a chip shot oozes just as much masculinity as  a long bomb drive. I am in Nirvana when I’m chipping and when my putting goes south, I miss greens on purpose to chip instead!

How do we become a chipping boss? Practice.

Top tip: Choose one club you’re going to chip with the majority of the time and practice that at the chipping area a lot. By a lot, I mean twice a week, one or two hours a time. I would advise against a LW because it’s so much harder to predict the spin on lobby shots. I love the PW for my chipping.

Top tip: Don’t focus on the hole when chipping. Focus on the line like you would on a putt but then select a SPOT along that line to LAND the ball on. Be specific - like the size of a small coin in your country. Focus all your practice strokes on creating the stroke to get the ball to land on that spot and let the Golfing Gods take over the rest.

Top tip: Move the ball around in your stance and get a feel for it all. With my selected PW I can hit higher shots or lower skidders depending on the position of the ball in my stance.

Top tip: Once you become great at that one club, you’ll find when you’re in a position where you can’t use the PW because of slick greens, no green between you and the pin or chipping onto a downslope, you can just switch out to a higher loft (56° or 60°) and use the same technique with the same type of swing!

Top tip: If you have hard and dry fairways and rough at your course, get wedges with low bounce. This will help to stop the club bouncing off the surface and blading the chips. If you have moist, soft and fluffy fairways, you want wedges with bigger bounce and a chunky sole to get through the turf. Low bounce clubs will dig into soft ground.

Drain all your putts inside 5 feet and no three putts

Once you learn to chip like a boss, you need to convert those chips to pars. We’re going to aim to chip within two feet of the hole but sometimes we miss the line or overcook it. That’s where the ability to jam 5 footers all day will really cut strokes off your score.

Here’s how I learnt to putt and also how I practice putting.

To drill it or die it in?

There are two options for short putting.

1. Hit them hard and take the break out - I used to do this on bent grass growing up but since moving to Asia, I've needed to learn to putt on bermuda and other tropical grasses. With all that grain and how much it influences the putt, I use this technique only on uphill or flat putts AGAINST the grain. 

2. Hit it soft and use the entire hole to your advantage - I've started using this technique and it works. Generally you're not going to be far off on your reads of short putts but with the wrong pace, it can leave you a 5 footer coming back if you hit it through the break.

What I now do is read the green, but then add a little more borrow and hit it just hard enough to get it to drop into the hole (not slam the back of the cup). By doing this, it moves the entrance of the hole to whichever side the break is coming from and relies less on lip-ins like slamming the ball hard.

It also increases the size of the hole by giving your ball the opportunity to dribble in even if you've over or under borrowed a bit because it's moving slower so it can lip in not out!

Extremely Key Concept

Nothing helps your putting if you don't have commitment. I played a golf holiday in Hua Hin Thailand in June 2018 and discovered you really need to just put your trust in the golf course, the grass, the grain and the universe. In fact, before I putt now, I'm telling myself "put it out there trust the universe"! 

I know it sounds crazy but I've been draining way more of the tough 4 to 8 footers where I would usually under borrow and miss on the low side just by telling myself to trust the read and PUT IT OUT THERE.


Get out of bunkers like a soldier

Players of all levels seem to be allergic to bunker sand when they’re outside the bunker but never want to leave them when they’re inside them.

I love bunkers whether fairway or greenside. Below are a couple videos I prepared for you to learn how to get out of these hazards so you can shave a few strokes off your game.

Ultra Important Key Concepts

Get custom-fit shafts

Nothing is as important in your clubs as the correct shafts and if your swing is poorly suited to the shaft you have, you're going to have a tough time finding fairways and hitting more greens. I used regular shafts for years until a friend told me I needed stiff, maybe X-stiff shafts. 

I went to the pro, he fit my driver with a 72g X-Stiff shaft and my irons with stiff shafts. I dropped from a 7 handicap down to a 1 within 6 months and won 8 Saturday competitions in a row after that! 

Make the investment, visit a reputable club-fitter near you and reap the benefits of having clubs that you can no longer complain about. The toughest part will be knowing you are the only one screwing up the shots and not your equipment!

Draw a stripe on a coin and your golf balls

For years I rejected this idea. Until I tried it for the first time...in 2016!  I'm draining way more putts and feel better off the tee that my club face is aiming in the right direction. This alone will shave 2 shots off your game on the greens if you aren't doing it yet.

Aim your shots with a stripe drawn on the ball

Use a striped coin to double your efforts on the greens

Line up your tee shots too

It takes a while to get used to aligning the line accurately but pays off quickly. You'll take about one full round to master the technique and after that it's plain sailing.

Draw a straight long stripe on your golf ball to help you aim the ball toward the target off the tee and on the green! 

How does it work?

When you tee the ball up, align the stripe down the fairway. On your putts, align the stripe to the line of your putt. Then line up your putter's alignment line with the stripe on the ball. Works like a charm! Now all you need to worry about on putts is the distance control. 

Is it legal?

Yes. The pros use this same technique and you'll often see in close up shots, their ball rolling on putts with a line down the middle. Important: don't take too long aligning the ball to the hole on greens. Don't slow down pace of play.

What you need

SoftSpike stencil for drawing lines

SoftSpikes make a stencil you can clip on the ball so you can draw your lines dead straight with a colored Sharpie of your choice. Learn more on Amazon.

Otherwise, just do it free hand. It looks messier but it works.

A video of Henrik Stenson explaining how he does it can be found here.

Some of these concepts will blow your mind and some will be things you've heard before. Either way, I hope you'll give them a chance to improve your game. I rejected a few of the ideas in this guide for years until I tried them myself and realized what I'd been missing. It may take some unlearning and rewiring of your brain and thought process, but it'll be worth it.

If you've made it this far, well done. Because the next few concepts below will make the biggest difference to your score. You WILL break 80 by following these guidelines. 

Select the correct tees

Have more fun by moving up a set of tees


You probably could've broken 80 already if you played off the correct tees!

How do you know which ones to pick? There are a couple of ways to select your tee box:

Option 1

Average drive distance multiplied by 28. So if your average drive is 230 yards, a challenging length of a course should be 230 yards x 28 = 6440 yards maximum.
You can go 5% higher or lower. So a range of between 6000 to 6700 yards. You won't be able to match the yardage to a set of tees exactly, but close enough!

Option 2

If there are too many par fours over 400 yards on the course you play, move up a tee. 

What if everyone else is playing off longer tees?

Fuhgeddaboudit! Hey man, stay strong, it's your game and you're there to have the most fun. No one minds if you play off shorter tees during social rounds! If you're in a good mood because you're enjoying your game and that makes it more fun for the other guys, they really don't care. But if you're playing poorly and getting in a bad mood off the longer tees, then it'll make it more unpleasant for them

Play with better players

It would be a miracle if you could break 80 playing with these guys!

We all have our best golfing buddies and some of us are lucky to have good players as buddies. But often we get stuck playing every round with guys who aren't interested in progressing.

If your golfing partners are not as good as you, I suggest finding a group to play with sometimes where you're the worst player in the group. It doesn't have to be a huge difference in skill level but at least guys who shoot less than 80 most of the time (sub-8 handicappers)

Playing with better players will let you take a bit more time on your shots, because the other guys do. You'll care more about each shot, because they care about their shots. You'll notice how they approach each hole and how they score in the 70's which will rub off on you and you'll be breaking 80 in no time.

Join a matchplay league

If you have a matchplay competition league in your area or in your club, join up. You'll be forced to play against other people to progress in the league but the other golfers will be in your handicap range so they'll be moderately better or equal to you. The extra focus and determination when competing against other guys will improve your scores.

FAQ

Can I break 80 without a driver?

Yes. You only need a club that you can trust to go 220 yards and hit the fairway. The only requirement is that the club can carry 200-220 or so yards to get you onto the fairways. This might mean you need to play off a more forward tee. 

How many golfers can break 80?

A good estimate is probably 10-15% of golfers know how to and can break 80 in golf worldwide.

Do I need lessons to break 80?

If you can shoot 80 to 85, you don't need a lesson for your swing but you may need a lesson on the short game.

All you really need at this level is to practice, use the techniques and tips I've given you here and make sure your equipment is suited to your swing. That's where the pro comes in handy. He can fit your driver and irons to your swing speed, tempo and shot shape.

I would actually say getting fitter and more flexible will improve your golf more than a lesson.

Please leave a comment with any other tips you've found to improve your game and if you disagree with anything I've mentioned here let me know. Good luck and enjoy shooting in the 70's.

What to Wear Golfing for the First Time Beginners Guide

It happened to me.

I was a member and played at my local small-town course which didn't really care too much about dress code. Jeans and T-shirts were the norm.

I went up to a big city as a newbie golfer and found all the famous championship courses I'd read about and planned on playing them one by one. I settled on the first one, which my cousin worked at, and made sure to put on my best golfing outfit, collared shirt and all.

'You can't play here wearing that, sorry' my cousin told me.

The shock ran through me like an earth tremor. How could I be turned away in my fancy new golfing outfit? 

This was the outfit

Not allowed on a golf course, who knew??

Apparently this wasn't appropriate

My cousin did tell me how I was supposed to dress and after seeing some of the more experienced golfers around, I realized the error of my ways. 

I immediately went out and bought the stuff I needed and was playing on that very same golf course the next day. A golf course Ernie Els and Vijay Singh regularly stopped at!

So to avoid similar embarrassment for you, I've put this little guide together so you never get turned away from a golf course dressed like a fool...


You can use a long sleeved or a short sleeved polo shirt but it must have a collar. 

My own Waddaplaya brand - brilliant quality and feel 

Depending on whether you live in a warm or cool climate, the material you use will affect how you feel on the course. In cooler areas, cotton is always great while in warmer and more humid areas, a synthetic material will let sweat evaporate and keep you dry and cool. 

I highly recommend Golf Sidekick designed and created WADDAPLAYA polo's HERE from our online store. All designed for maximum comfort with many designs, colors and patterns. 

Don't be like me and wear a thick cotton shirt in 100 degree weather and end up lying on the shower floor eating dried mango and drinking the shower water!

No-no's

  • No T-shirts or sports jerseys
  • No big banner advertising across the back or front
  • No foul language in massive letters 

2. Shorts or slacks

Depending on your preference, you can choose between shorts and slacks. Keep in mind, they need belt loops. No drawstring or soccer shorts.

You can also get shorts and slacks made specifically for hot weather or temperate weather like the shirts above.

For hot and humid conditions, I love Under Armour for slacks; Adidas for shorts.

For when I travel to cooler more temperate places, I like flat-front chinos and chino shorts.

The safest colors for your golfing pants and shorts are cream, beige, khaki, gray and tan. White and pink as well as very bright colors are something you graduate into as you move up the golf hierarchy and establish yourself as a flashy snappy dresser. 

Dont's

  • Don't wear white pants - reserved only for pretentious low handicappers
  • Don't wear three-quarter length shorts
  • Don't wear draw-string shorts - shorts with belt loops and a belt are the best

3. Golf Shoes

You get three kinds of golf shoes now. 

1. Steel spikes - used by the pros and won't be allowed on majority of standard courses for amateurs - AVOID
2. Soft spikes - Steel spikes are replaced with plastic and rubber ones to avoid tearing up greens - these are the most popular type of shoe
3. Spikeless - The sole of the shoe has lots of small rubber studs that are great for people who get stud pressure walking on spiked golf shoes. 

Spikeless golf shoes

Soft spike golf shoes

I played with soft spike golf shoes for 14 years but as someone who suffers from serious stud pressure playing any sport, I ditched them for spikeless as soon as spikeless became a 'thing'. Just 18 holes killed my feet in soft spikes - the soles are often very hard and only get softer as you spend more and more money on them.

Adidas and Skechers make some of the most comfortable spikeless golf shoes around. After 18 holes in massive heat, I'm usually sitting in the club house sipping my beer, feeling fantastic! The soles are softer as well as having ample padding in the heel and quarter sections - like wearing trainers.

While spikeless golf shoes are more comfortable, they look more casual and like sneakers so you won't look like your favorite pro (unless Freddie Couples or Ernie Els are your favorite). If you want to look like Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson, you'll need to get some soft spike golf shoes. 

No-no's

  • No trainers
  • No flip flops, thongs, sandals
  • Avoid steel spikes 

4. A belt and socks

Use your belt loops! Wear a belt. It can be whatever looks good but I prefer something stretchy and less formal than belts you wear at work. I like them to match my shorts or a color on the shoes. Something cheap too - like an elasticated braided belt.

When it comes to socks, you want to get white socks like these Nike ones that go up near your ankles. 


5. Extras

Hat or cap

If you're like me, getting a little thin on top or just don't want to get burnt, there are numerous options for headwear. Here are some hats you can use:

  • Baseball caps - the most commonly seen hat on Tour and most golf courses
  • Visors - Not as popular but great for not getting 'hat hair'. Not good for bald guys
  • Cowboy hats - Less common but you know he's a maverick
  • Bucket hatsA very common hat for all-round sun protection. Not bad looking with a narrow brim - this is my first choice of hat for sun protection
  • Wide brim hats - the mark of a beginner. While very effective in keeping sun off your cheeks, steer clear of these hats if you don't want to look like a newbie.

>>> Check out my guide on hats right here <<<

No-no's

  • No backward caps
  • No caps in the clubhouse or bar

Golf glove

These are optional but if you play long enough, you'll eventually use one. The key is to find the right size and remember something very important!

Right handed golfers wear gloves on the left hand and left handed golfers wear gloves on the right hand. You only ever wear one BUT if you want to look like a total beginner, you can wear two, one on the right and one on the left. But please don't!

There are many things to know about golf gloves but that's something for the future. For now, the best glove for you will be durable and cheap. No need to spend massive amounts on gloves just yet. 

Below are the Grip Boost Second Skin for hot humid weather (you'll need 3 to alternate with during the round) and the MG Dynagrip for temperate climates. Superb value for money!


That's a pretty good start to your golfing journey. Key things to remember when golfing for the first time are to have fun and not worry too much about what other people think. Cover your bases by knowing the rules and etiquette and dress in a way that makes you feel good. 

Once you do all that, you're ready to hit the course and make some new friends. Golfers seem elitist and snobby from a distance but you'll find once you're in our little "club", you're just another one of the boys.


Enjoy!

Most Forgiving Irons in Golf 2020

'A bad workman blames his tools'. We've all heard that one when we look to upgrade any of  our equipment in life. I always like to tell the naysayers 'a master craftsman knows when they need replacing'. 

Now you might not be a master craftsman just yet, but maybe you're upgrading from a set that doesn't suit you or a used set your buddy gave you from his dad's garage.

Maybe you're looking for something a little more forgiving to get that confidence back up, hitting some greens! 

Whatever your situation, it's an exciting adventure and finding that set of irons that gives you an extra club in distance or the confidence to have a good whack at the ball is so rewarding. If you're looking for the most forgiving irons, keep reading below.

I love an iron off the tee

When should you buy new clubs?

Getting a new set of clubs is one of the more expensive investments you can make in yourself as a golfer. It's not like a driver that you might change in a coupe years. Most of us keep irons for a long time. So it's important to take the decision seriously.

The clubs nowadays have been designed to make golf easier and more fun without any stress while standing over the ball. Get a new set of clubs when you feel your clubs are holding you back. The difference will be amazing when you hit that ball and think you've hit it badly but it still gets to the green!

If you're a beginner golfer, another option is to investigate getting a complete set of golf clubs. 

What makes the most forgiving irons?

The most forgiving irons:

  • Contain ​5 iron through to pitching wedge and maybe sand wedge
  • Have an offset hosel
  • Are cavity backed
  • Have perimeter weighting

The basic idea is to find the easiest clubs to hit and cavity backs are the right choice.

Where are the 3 and 4 irons? These are incredibly difficult to hit and I've found some fairway woods and hybrids to replace them to make your set the most forgiving irons possible.


Most Forgiving Irons on the Market in 2019

  1. Taylormade M4 irons (best for all players over 12 handicap)
  2. Taylormade M6 irons (best high end set)
  3. Cleveland Launcher HB irons (most forgiving iron-hybrids ever)
  4. Callaway Mavrik irons (max game improvement irons that look like pro clubs)
  5. Cleveland Launcher CBX irons (sleek design with ultra forgiveness)
  6. Wilson Staff D7 irons (best for slow swing to get the ball higher)
  7. Cobra F8 irons (best for the technology and one-length option)
  8. Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal (nothing feels like a Mizuno)

Taylormade M4 Irons

Easy to hit for any level of golfer

Taylormade have gone the extra mile with the M4 Super Game Improvement irons. They’ve created a RIBCOR behind the face to make the face flex and give you more distance anywhere you hit it on the face. The RIBCOR puts more weight around the edges of the club to improve acoustics and correct your off-center hits.

The sweet spot is so wide; it extends almost the entire groove area so when you mishit the ball it still goes a long way and straight as an arrow..

Taylormade's M4 set has been specially designed to increase the height of your shots. The short irons get up quickly and mid irons are so forgiving, you'll think they're wedges. With that increase in height, the ball comes down soft to stay on the green and give you more birdie and par putts.

High flying and easy to hit even when you're not trying

Balls launch high when you hit them and the wide soles help to get under the ball especially in deep rough to get your golf ball moving toward the green and out of the weeds. The heavy perimeter weighting means you can swing it and trust the club to do the work for you. There's no stress wondering what's going to happen next.

Taylormade has designed the M4 iron set with forgiveness in mind. They're extremely accurate irons and with the offset hosel, cavity back design, they tick all our boxes. I recommend the 5 iron to PW or the 4 iron to PW set as one of the most forgiving irons today.

Pros
  • Massive sweet spot for to hit it pure every time
  • Easy to hit the ball high in the air
  • Mishits go an abnormally long way
  • Bargain as they are 2 or 3 models old!
Cons
  • Looks very busy and less classic
  • The shiny appearance of the bottom of the clubs dull very quickly

Taylormade M6 Irons

Long missile launchers

The new M6 iron set from Taylormade have a large sweet spot and very forgiving on both toe and heel mishits make these clubs a mid- and low-handicappers dream. The extra forgiveness away from the sweet spot is from the slots cut out in the sole of the club.

The face is connected to rest of the club by the top line so that it actually performs similar to a fairway wood face. With a floating face, that means bigger rebound and more distance.

At address, the clubs look very strong and feedback from each shot is consistent with the clubs having a crisp reverberation at impact. For game improvement irons, they have a good degree of workability and so are even a good choice for players of mid to mid-low handicap players.

These are great clubs to pair with one of the Taylormade hybrids to complete the set. Add a forgiving fairway wood to that and you'll have a set you can use for a long time.

The M6s are a real go-to club for both good players and those looking to drastically improve their wayward approach game due to inconsistency with distance and direction.

Honestly though, if you went for the previous models, the Taylormade M4's, would you be missing much? Probably not.

Pros
  • Very workable for game improvement clubs
  • Excellent sound and better looking than the M4
  • Face connects to the body only at the leading edge makes it act like a fairway wood face
  • Minimal effort to launch the ball long and high
Cons
  • Pricey
  • They removed the speed slots from the M4 
  • Quite bulky looking

Cleveland Launcher HB Irons

Most forgiving irons set on the list

The HB (Hi Bore) irons are the new Super Game Improvement clubs from Cleveland designed to help you hit more consistent shots with ease. We're talking straight to the target and way up in the air. They're almost impossible to mishit.

It's not the first time Cleveland have produced these weird looking clubs. The older Cleveland Altitudes won over a lot of golfers with their extreme forgiveness and consistent ball flight. This style of progressive hybrid and iron combination set's really easy to hit and the only thing stopping most golfers from switching over to them is ego. A lot of golfers want to look like the pros with standard looking irons in their bag. 

But if you're struggling to get the ball to fly decent distances with standard irons, these clubs could revolutionize your entire golf experience.

Full set progression

It's like legal cheating

The set starts with a 4 iron shaped exactly like a hybrid and as the set progresses toward pitching wedge, the hybrid back of the club gets smaller until you can't see it on the pitching wedge. The thick sole created by the hybrid design of the irons makes them easy to hit out of any lie. It just can't be stated enough how easy they are to hit.

Cleveland have colored the hybrid back of the irons black to calm down the appearance to give it a more streamlined look because it can be distracting if you're used to standard irons. 

Do yourself a favor and try these clubs. You might find they're the most forgiving irons you've ever hit.

Pros
  • Unbelievably easy to hit consistently well
  • High spin numbers even with the hybrid back
  • Flat face, not rounded like most hybrids for a more iron-like look 
  • Wide sole for easy movement through turf
  • Much easier to hit mid and long irons
Cons
  • Hybrid look on each club can be a turn-off for some
  • Adjustment period to get used to the new design
  • No sand wedge included

Callaway Mavrik irons

Extreme forgiveness and distance in a very SLEEK package

While the Cleveland Hi Bore irons in this guide might scare you because of the beginner-ish looks, Callaway took your exact worries and created the Callaway Mavrik irons These clubs look good, like old-school-Ping-iron good. They don't look like Max Game Improvement irons at all but they are.

We all need somebody to lean on

We all need help with hitting a golf ball and these fit the bill. If you need some help getting it in the air and keeping it there, the Mavrik irons have been designed to solve that problem. They've made the faces thinner around the edges with thicker areas near the sweet spot to maximise center strikes and rectify the off center hits. 

Callaway have put a Tungsten Energy Core in the cavity back to create a more desirable high launch. With stronger lofts on the irons, they need to raise the center of gravity to get that ball flying higher. Be warned that you may see an increase in distance, but ti may just be down to stronger lofts, like with most modern irons.

In the bag, you won't notice the huge cavity back and extra wide sole which makes your golf bag look more like a pro's and less like a handicap golfer. When swinging the club, you'll notice the extra weight in the sole gets more weight under and behind the ball for superior shots that fly high and far, landing softly at your target.

Well struck shots sound pure to the ears and feedback from the clubface is sufficient to tell you when you've hit it flush and when you've mishit it. The best part for you is the mishit isn't going to be 30 yards short of a well struck shot. These clubs are forgiving, and give you maximum distance for your efforts.

Pros
  • Power club designed for distance 
  • Wide sole to get it airborne quickly
  • Consistent and forgiving, delivering good shots even on mishits
  • Super Game Improvement irons that look like standard low handicapper clubs
Cons
  • Heads are quite big
  • Chrome heads scratch up quickly so the 'new look' soon fades

Wilson Staff D7 Irons

Lots of boom boom for the slower swingers who hit it too low

A lot of golfers might scoff at the idea of playing Wilson irons, but these are top notch quality golf clubs. 

The D in the name means Distance so expect the focal point of this club to be power and not finesse. The heads are nicely weighted so you can really feel the club head throughout the swing. This is an important feature of a club, to feel where the club head is through the swing.

They offer great feel when you make contact with the ball with excellent control and forgiveness so you know the ball is going in the direction you intend. Picking the right ball to pair with these clubs will improve your game tremendously if you're a 13+ handicapper.

It's easy to be convinced by all the marketing of the big brands but there are some value sleeper sets out there and this one made the list because the clubs are quality and can give most of these clubs in this category a run for the money.

Pros
  • Best bang for buck in the game improvement category
  • Deep cavity back for major forgiveness on off-center hits
  • Stronger lofts with a high launch so you get more distance in every iron
  • High quality club faces and have the looks of sets twice the price
Cons
  • Be sure to get the GW because the difference in loft between PW and SW is 12°
  • Low spin so may not stop so quickly
  • You can see the back of the club behind the top line

Cleveland Launcher CBX Irons

King of forgiveness back with a sleek beautiful set

From an aesthetics point of view, I believe these Launcher CBX irons are the most beautiful in the category. They also added a nice touch of putting the lofts of your clubs on the sole. I like that. The lofts are stronger than most sets so you'll see an increase in distance.

The stock shaft in the club is very light and allows you to generate quite a bit of clubhead speed which of course means more distance. Couple that with the fat top line of the club and it's like you're swinging Thor's hammer onto the ball. 

Longer irons in the set are setup with a dual shaped cavity back and strong looking top line meaning the focal point here is distance and power with less waywardness. The short clubs (8 iron and down) are designed for more precision and spin than 7 iron up. 

By including a cavity near the hosel of the club, Cleveland have moved the sweet spot more toward the center and toe of the club. As a toe-y ball striker, I like this feature.

Overall, a beautiful looking club with a strong top line and sweet spot to give you forgiveness and make it easier to hit the sweet spot. A milled face with precision grooves mean you get the benefits of a game improvement iron without the loss of back spin usually associated with that.

Pros
  • Improved spin on game improvement irons with milled face
  • Really helps players who strike it nearer the toe
  • Precision grooves and milled face increase workability
  • Promotes a draw 
  • Lofts are strong so you might find increase in distance
Cons
  • Matte finish on the clubs will scratch off
  • Naturally not very workable

Cobra F8 Irons

Top quality shot-tracking system and one-length irons simplify everything

The King of edgy yet forgiving and playable clubs, Cobra continue aiming their offerings at the mid handicappers and higher  handicappers. I didn't include the F9 Speedbacks in the list because they are good, but not much better than the F8 set. Save your cash and go for the F8 instead.

The new distinctive shape stretches the low heel and toe area wider for a lower center of gravity to give you that extra forgiveness getting that ball airborne of the fairways.

The grooves start off as a V shape in the long irons and that helps reduce the spin to get you more distance and roll while the shorter irons have a u shape groove to increase spin to give you more stopping power,.

The reason they need to do this is because the club is just that forgiving that it may seem difficult to stop the ball in time with the stronger lofts and higher launch properties of the modern iron. 

Cobra Connect in the grips tracks your shot distances and your game using the Arccos system which is fantastic for your analysis. You will need to pay extra for that.

The other great part of these clubs is they come in the ONE LENGTH variety which means every club is the length of a 7 iron. How simple is that? You stand the same distance from the ball on each shot just the lofts change in your set! I suggest the one length set for handicaps under 12 though.

Pros
  • This club is built purely for distance and it goes long
  • Available in one length
  • COBRA CONNECT technology allows you to track your stats with each club by using the technology in the top of the grip
  • Designed for 5 to 25 handicappers
Cons
  • One length is for more advanced players
  • $100 per iron if you want the Arccos sensor put in

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal

You can NEVER go wrong with a set of Mizunos

Mizuno are definitely more famous for their forged irons. You'll love the JPX919 Forged if you are looking for a forged set. This is a cast set but is an improvement on their previous MOST POPULAR EVER set, the JPX900.

The 919 Hot Metal looks so much more classy.


Guide to what makes the most forgiving irons 


How forgiving irons can improve your enjoyment

When you hit more greens and hit straighter shots with confidence, you're gonna enjoy golf. When you know where the ball is gonna go, you'll love golf. A set of forgiving irons designed for your skill level can get you there.

To do this, golf clubs need to:

  1. Get the ball into the air nice and high with little effort
  2. Land softly on the greens
  3. Be very forgiving particularly on mishit shots

Like with drivers and fairway woods, iron sets need to be very forgiving. It’s very common to miss the sweet spot quite often. Forgiving irons are designed with huge sweet spots so even your mishits find the sweet spot! You still end up around the green on a mishit, instead of in the deep stuff or 40 yards short.

Buying a set of irons is a big investment but the improvement in your game with a set of Max or Super Game Improvement irons will be dramatic. While your swing naturally develops, the game improvement irons you use will enhance your results by giving you extreme confidence regardless of how you’re swinging.


What makes a set of irons forgiving?

Two things: shafts and club head design create the most forgiving irons.

Shafts

There are two types of shaft in irons – steel and graphite. Graphite is very popular in drivers and hybrids. For irons, the extra weight offered by steel gives golfers a better “feel” than graphite.

Graphite can help with distance and should be looked at if your swing speed is very low. The reduced weight of the shaft can help you pick up a few more mph in swing speed and with that, more distance.

As a general rule, steel shafts are the best option for the vast majority of golfers and a Regular flex is going to be the best for most golfers based on swing speeds. 

Tips for shaft flex based on 6 iron swing speed and carry distance
  • X Flex  - 6 iron swing speed 90 mph and carry 175 yards
  • Stiff (S) Flex - 6 iron swing 80-90 mph and carry 155 - 175 yards
  • Regular  (R) Flex - 70-80 mph and 130 - 155 yards
  • A Flex - 60-70 mph and 100 - 130 yards
  • L Flex - Less than 60 mph and carry under 100 yards

It's always best to go get tested and get advice from a fitter or a local pro to truly maximize your purchase to your requirements.

Club Head Design

There are 2 club head designs: 

Muscleback vs cavity back

    • Muscle Back/Blade irons - used almost exclusively by low single digit handicappers and professionals
    • Cavity Back irons - this is what we are looking for and the most forgiving irons ever have all been cavity back. 

    How cavity back gives extra forgiveness over muscle backs

    Perimeter Weighting

    Cavity back irons usually have perimeter weighting, which is just a jargon term to mean they hollow out the back of a muscle back iron and put that spare metal around the border of the back of the club.

    Jargon explained

    The perimeter weighting thus adds more weight behind the ball on off-centre strikes.

    A muscle back iron the pros use has the majority of its weight mainly behind the TINY sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot on a muscleback, the pain that shoots up the club into your fingers is stunning!

    The cavity back iron with perimeter weighting has a massive sweet spot for forgiveness.

    Wider Sole

    The wider sole lowers the clubs center of gravity which means more weight can get under and behind the golf ball on your shots. This produces an arching high ball flight even on mishits.

    The extra beef on the sole will improve shots where you hit the ground before the ball too. That extra weight will “bounce” off the ground instead of digging into the earth like a thin sole would.

    Additionally, newer golfers and high handicappers hit more balls in the rough and a wider sole will move through long or thick grass easily, allowing for good contact with the ball. The most forgiving irons out there will get you out of every lie: rough, sand, hard-pan and yes the fairways!

    Offset Hosel

    According to club designer Tom Wishon, “Offset is a design in clubheads in which the neck or hosel of the head is positioned in front of the face of the clubhead, so that the clubface appears to be set back a little from the neck of the club.”

    “The more offset, the farther the head's center of gravity is back from the shaft. And the farther the CG is back from the shaft, the higher the trajectory will be for any given loft on the face. More offset can help increase the height of the shot for golfers who have a difficult time getting the ball well up in the air.”

    Offset vs Standard hosels

    The most forgiving irons on the market are going to have offset hosels. The low handicappers playing blades or muscle backs have such skill to square the club face at impact, they don't need the offset. The offset encourages a draw and reduces workability of the club to hit fades. Highly skilled players want to hit the ball both ways.

    Avoid irons with 'Tour Preferred', 'Tour' or 'Pro' in the name

    These are for low handicap and professional players. You'll get there one day but for now they wouldn't be a wise investment. It would be like starting a video game on Expert setting from the beginning. These 'Tour' clubs are not the most forgiving irons as you can imagine.

    BEST GOLF BALL FOR 85 MPH SWING SPEED

    Best Golf Ball for 85 mph to 90 mph Swing Speed in 2020

    More distance off the tee.

    More feel around the green.

    Maybe less 'clunk' off the club face from those rocks you've been playing?

    You're in the right place. You're going to discover which compression matches your swing speed as well as what material the cover is made of in the best golf ball for 85 mph swing speeds. 

    Decision time though...

    It's time to decide, do you want distance, spin or feel? Or a combination of all? Let's have a look below to see which balls are best for your priorities with a swing speed of 85 mph to 90 mph with the driver.

    Key criteria for the best golf balls at average swing speeds


    The best golf balls for this range of swing speeds have medium compression (hardness). The latest obsession with ultra low compression balls isn't our best bet at 85-95 mph. Anything between 55 and 70 will be a good choice for your swing speed.

    85-95 mph swing speed is fast enough to put a decent move on the ball so medium compression golf balls are an excellent choice. Of course, the driver swing speed is 85 mph to 95 mph but when we use irons, that speed will drop down to probably 70 to 80 mph with steel shafts and iron heads. 

    The only thing you need to decide is whether you want a urethane (soft and spinning) cover or a surlyn (firmer with less spin) cover.

    Surlyn or Urethane? 

    Urethane will give you more spin around the greens and hold greens more easily and is the material on Tour golf balls. Urethane feels SO MUCH softer on the club face and grips onto the grooves much easier for more spin. 

    The drawback of urethane covered golf balls is that urethane is very soft and can blemish and scratch very easily. If the ball hits a cart path or tree or you rip a wedge, then the cover can scratch easily. Weigh this up versus how many balls you last the entire round with. A urethane ball will be good for one entire 18 hole round. 

    Urethane will hold greens really well but also remember, with more spin being generated after impact, by default, that also means the ball will spin more sideways, which can accentuate a big slice. 

    Surlyn is the material used on most two-piece golf balls and is durable but produces much less spin than a urethane ball. Surlyn will  run out more on drives and approaches as well as needing more space to roll when chipping onto the greens.

    The surlyn covered golf balls really do last longer in regards to the cover. They don't scratch easily and they don't scuff too badly from road hits. Wedge hits hardly make a difference to the cover as well. If you're skilled enough to use a ball for more than one round, you could probably get 3 rounds of 18 out of one ball before it will be too shabby. 

    Weigh up the options by picking your priorities: price, durability, feel on the club face, spin needed on approaches and chips, straighter ball flight or longer tee shots. 


    The Best Golf Ball for 85 mph Swing Speed (including 90 mph)


    Snell MTB Black (urethane)

    Tour level performance for the everyday golfer

    Snell MTB Black are very well priced for what you get inside them. Inside the ball, you get a three piece Tour Level golf ball which is designed for lower spin longer shots, but this distance core is wrapped in a cover of urethane which helps with green side spin and holding greens. 

    It's a good ball for 8 to 18 handicappers especially when it comes to getting that softer feel and more grip on your chips. You get a Titleist ProV1 level of golf ball for a much cheaper price. 

    The other balls on the list will require more roll-out than the Snell MTB Black so if your priority is MUCH more feel and grip around the greens, this ball is going to solve that problem. Balls flown directly onto the green will hold much more efficiently while the balls further down the list will require you to run them up or bounce them a bit short of your target.

    This is neither negative nor positive, just something you should factor in when deciding on your priorities. 

    Pros
    • Soft urethane cover that makes the ball grip the grooves
    • More stickability on the greens for your approaches
    • Value for money is genuinely off the charts hen comparing to big manufacturers 
    • Tour level quality golf ball for mid price
    • Distance will not be harmed
    Cons
    • Increased spin will take time to get used to on chips


    The DUO Pro has a 60 compression, making the ball feel like a soft marshmallow off the face and if you prefer the feeling of a softer ball, the urethane cover makes the ball spin like a boss as well. What's even nicer si that they make them in bright colors.

    The ball was on the 2019 Golf Digest golf ball GOLD award winning list. That's high praise from a manufacturer on the more budget side of the spectrum. 

    Pros
    • Soft urethane cover that makes the ball grip the grooves
    • More stickability on the greens for your approaches
    • Value for money is genuinely off the charts hen comparing to big manufacturers 
    • Tour level quality golf ball for mid price
    • Distance will not be harmed
    Cons
    • Increased spin will take time to get used to on chips

    Taylormade Tour Response

    Firmer feeling urethane covered Tour quality ball

    The Tour Response is the upgrade to the Project (a) which to be fair, is a brilliant ball on its own. 

    The compression is slightly lower at 40 but the multilayer core coupled with the thin urethane skin makes this a lovely ball for distance and bite. 

    In fact, you can see in one of my videos here, I hit a 285 yard carry drive with a Project (a) to land on the green on hole 4. Te Tour response is merely a repackaged Project (a) so if you prefer a bit more friendly on the budget golf ball...check out the Project (a) too! 

    Pros
    • Travels a loooong way
    • Three-piece higher spin construction
    • Will increase the height of your shots
    • HEX dimples promote higher flight
    Cons
    • Not soft around the greens - best for bump and run chips

    Callaway Super Hot 70

    Excellent for higher flight and more distance

    The Callaway SuperHot 70 is sold in packs of 15 which gives you an extra 25% bang for your buck. And bang it does. This ball is designed for distance and higher ball flight to help you hit it longer with more carry.

    Moderately low compression for low spin 

    The SuperHot 70 is a three-piece design with a 70 compression core and I like this combination for your 85 to 90 mph swing speed.Our swing speed is fast enough to take advantage of the three-piece design by putting enough of a lick on the ball to give us the extra distance off the tee.

    It's a fun ball - it goes a long way and doesn't feel like a marshmallow like the new super soft golf balls. Off the tee, I noticed the ball flying a bit higher thanks to the dimple design. The HEX dimple design reduces drag on the ball putting it higher in the air for a steeper descent into the greens for quick stopping shots. So not necessarily more spin, but a ball flight that promotes fewer big bounces on the greens which is great for us.

    Around the green it's best to manage expectations as the ball does have a Surlyn cover. Urethane is always preferred for green side spin so If your main concern is spin on chips and pitches, it's best to consider other options in this guide. The price of urethane-covered balls is also a lot higher. 

    Pros
    • Travels a loooong way
    • Three-piece higher spin construction
    • Will increase the height of your shots
    • HEX dimples promote higher flight
    Cons
    • Not soft around the greens - best for bump and run chips

    Srixon Soft Feel 

    Longer drives with moderate feel around the greens

    It's a testament to the quality of this line of golf balls; I played this ball as far back as 2006 and when I was looking for a new ball recently, I was advised to try the Srixon Soft Feel while playing off a 13 handicap. This was the gateway drug that got me looking at all these balls.

    The stalwart for mid handicappers with swings below 90 mph

    It's a two-piece construction in it's 11th version but Srixon have reduced the compression to 60. That's more moderate than the ultra low trend at the moment and great for us. The implication is that the distance from the tee with more moderate compression is more impressive than with the compressions below 50 at our average swing speeds.

    Srixon have also reduced the thickness of the cover and increased the softness. This added softness is the biggest contributing factor to spin around the greens and the Soft Feel delivers with one of the better two-piece balls for holding greens. It's not going to be zipping back, let's not over-exaggerate, but they'll be streaks ahead of the HARD lake balls you've been hitting.

    I play a lot of rounds with the Soft Feel and a couple sleeves are always in my bag probably because of sentimental reasons but it's a really fun ball and so well priced - I think what made it so special to me is that it was the first ball I tried. And it got my mind out of thinking about losing $4 balls and into thinking about smacking $1.50 balls smoothly.

    Pros
    • Soft cover for moderately soft feel around the greens
    • Nice feeling off insert putter faces
    • Consistent and repeatable bounce and rollout performance around the greens
    • Very well priced
    • Nice side chyron to line up putts
    Cons
    • At this price, nothing

    Srixon Q Star

    Firmer feeling distance booster

    There are two models in the Q Star range with the Q Star being for more distance and made of 2 pieces (a core and a surlyn cover) while the Q Star Tour is a bit softer for more feel with a urethane ball and I urge you to have a look at it - easily one of my favorite golf balls. Both offer comparable distance. The main difference is in the feeling of the ball, where if you prefer a softer feel ball, the Q Star Tour is good for you. If you prefer a firmer feel, choose the Q Star.

    I like the Q Star as the best golf ball for 85+ mph swing speed if you're looking for straight distance. Expect longer and straighter long iron & wood shots with it. The ball definitely goes long but what's interesting is how it wants to go straight without the sideways slice or hook.

    Most golfers find the feeling off the face firm and they compare it to a rock but purely in terms of accuracy and distance this golf ball will suit the majority of weekend golfers who are looking to add more fun to their game with longer straighter drives. Who doesn't want a long ball in the fairway?

    Pros
    • Long ball that goes straight
    • Reduces shape of shots by reducing overall spin rate on longer shots
    Cons
    • They've removed the cool alignment chyron on the side of the ball

    Volvik Vivid

    Good looks with performance to boot

    I would say that this ball is a combination between a Titleist NXT Tour and Velocity - firm and long but surprises you when you chip by actually gripping on the club's grooves and on the greens.

    The matte finish of the ball takes some getting used to but it gives it a distinct softer feel. That matte finish with the vivid colors these balls come in, make them practically impossible to lose while watching them in the air. The extra confidence of knowing I'll see and find my shot is the number one reason I recommend this ball - I just swing freer and easier at the ball.

    Off the putter face the Vivid feels medium to hard with just the right amount of 'click' to tell you if you hit it well or not. 

    Never lose a ball again 

    The first time I tried them. I was given a sleeve of the Vivids at registration for a Hooters competition. Bright orange in color. I'd heard how bright they were but wow, when you see them in person, they're BRIGHT!

    I understood quickly why these are used in the World Long Drive championships - I noticed a few extra yards off the tee. But what is unique is just how easily you can track the ball for it's entire flight. This makes it easy to see where my ball ends up if not in the fairway which is great for my confidence.

    Bump and run chipping is excellent - it feels a bit hard off the club face but the matte finish cover feels like it's quite tacky and actually grips on the blades of grass on the green. For a firm ball, the Volvik Vivid doesn't roll out much on the chips so I could be more aggressive. It's not a golf ball for flop shots though.

    If nothing else, it's a great conversation piece! People never get tired of seeing my bright little balls. Check out the full Volvik golf ball guide here.

    Pros
    • Excellent for bump and run chips
    • Funky matte finish catches everyone's eye and if you like attention, this will give it to you
    • Easily as long as a Pro V1
    • Very easy to see in the air
    Cons
    • Matte finish is strange for a few holes

    Titleist Tour Soft

    'Premium' ball for majority of golfers

    I can admit I was a golf ball snob for a long time and I thought I should only be playing Pro V1 and that these TOUR SOFT balls weren't good enough. Everyone knows 'Tour' in the name is just for marketing, right?

    JMac (from my channel) decided to try a sleeve of the TOUR SOFT to see if they are any good. I bought the yellow ones on promotion because I just can't resist a colorful golf ball.

    After the first hole he didn't even notice a difference between his normal ball (TP5) and the Tour Soft when comparing drives and holding the green.

    For the rest of the round his drives went equally as long as any other ball but where he noticed a difference between this and other balls on the list without urethane covers, is the premium soft feeling off the club face. With your eyes closed, you'd think it was a $4.50 ball.

    A fan favorite and a gamer

    We also find that the ball holds the green similarly to a TP5 on longer approaches. Inside 130 yards though, the difference is that this ball finished ahead of the pitch mark instead of behind it like a TP5 would. The difference is clear, but when comparing oranges with oranges, in other words, TOURSOFT vs other balls in this range without a urethane cover, the TOUR SOFT is the all-round champion for distance, spin and feel. 

    The Tour Soft is pleasant to chip with and doesn't roll out as much as you expect. Feeling off the face is soft and with reduced roll-out, you can be more aggressive on your bump and runs. 

    Pros
    • Excellent for swings under 95 mph
    • Softness of the landing on chips really surprises you​​​
    • Approach shots sit down quickly on the greens
    • Very durable covers that don't scuff easy
    • Very easy alignment aid on the side of the ball so you don;t need to draw a line
    Cons
    • Not as well-priced as other golf balls in this range

    What exactly does swing speed indicate?

    When we talk about 85 mph or 90 mph swing speeds, we're referring to the speed of the head of the driver when swinging toward the ball.

    Tour pros are averaging about 110 to 125 mph! Isn't that crazy?

    So at that swing speed, they're able to take advantage of the extra tech put into those Tour balls. While these balls might not hurt your game if you're consistent, the extra spin you get with them can be to your detriment with off line shots going further....off line!

    Should 85 to 90 mph swingers use hard or soft balls?

    It's all about your priorities.

    The latest trend in golf ball technology is an obsession with lowering the compression (hardness) as far as it can go. Wilson even makes a ball with a 29 compression. Tour balls are around 90 to 100. There are benefits to the low compression balls especially if your swing is slower but in general the best golf ball for 85 mph swing speed and up to 90 mph is going to be something in between hard and soft. 

    A swing speed in your range can compress the ball enough to extract maximum distance and spin from a medium compression golf ball. But when looking at medium compression golf balls, it's the cover of the ball that makes the big difference between being "hard" & "soft" feel and performance.

    Urethane covers give the ball a very soft feel and provide a lot of spin as they grip the grooves in your club face. The balls with urethane covers are good for golfers looking for some extra spin and feel around the greens with some extra bite on approach shots to stick on the greens.

    For golfers looking for distance, it's best to use a harder feeling ball and these balls often have Surlyn covers. They perform well in reducing spin on tee shots and long approaches, giving you the added boost in distance you're looking for but with that extra boom boom comes some sacrifice in spin around the greens. It's easy to adjust - all you need to do is hit more bump and run chips which are super easy to perfect.

    So once you know your priorities, spin vs distance, you can select a golf ball quite simply.


    Which balls won't get cut up and scuffed?

    Urethane covers are less durable and will get scuffed from hard wedge shots and hitting trees, paths and concrete. Surlyn (also known as ionomer, trionomer etc) don't scuff nearly as much and I've played with guys who've used the same surlyn covered ball for 3 rounds in a row.


    Difference between color and white balls

    The difference is in the way they make you feel. I love white and yellow golf balls. Orange is a third favorite. They perform all exactly the same if they're the same brand. The difference is how confident you feel with it.

    I noticed when I played with yellow and orange balls, you can see them so easily. White balls seem to get lost in the air. The confidence I got from knowing I will see where the ball goes gave me a small boost and I looked forward to watching the ball sailing out of bounds more than usual. 

    Conclusion

    Extra spin will need a urethane cover while a Surlyn cover found on most two piece balls are going to give you extra distance. The best advice I can give you for golf balls is to take two or three different kinds out on the course and test them on your drives, on the par 3 tees and with your pitching and chipping. Find one you like and stick with it. Easy life!

    At 85 mph to 90 mph swing speed, there is an endless supply of great golf balls and I highlighted a few for you here. Check out my guide on breaking 90 every time you play and if you're looking to pair a ball up with a driver for more distance, check out my guide on the best drivers for 90 mph swings.


    Best Golf Hats for Sun Protection 2020

    I'm sure we can agree golf is fun! You know what's not fun? 

    Skin cancer's not fun.

    So you've come home again and you're burnt. What's worse than putting your head on the pillow to sleep and a fiery heat and pain scorches the side of your head? Nothing worse than burnt ears!

    With the increased risk of skin cancers as we get older, those long lazy days on the course take their toll without a hat. So many of my golf friends over 40 have had lesions cut out of their skin from overexposure to the sun playing golf.

    For you and your family, it's best to wear something on that big dome of yours. This short guide will give you the most effective options to stop your skin turning into a leather handbag and protect you from the punishing UV rays.

    Stick around for a while, skin cancer isn't fun but it is common with golfers

    Been there, done that, got the hat

    I've used every hat out there. I've tried the normal caps and visors. Golf caps still expose your neck and ears and aren't great for sun protection. Visors are a little more useless because there's a hole in the damn thing!

    There are only two things I fear when in the sun. One is to look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the other is burnt ears. 

    Best Golf Hats for Sun Protection

    1. Golf Sidekick Waddaplaya Bucket (best hats for all head sizes)
    2. DPC Outdoors Solarweave (best golf hat for sun protection alternative to Tilley)
    3. Coolibar Matchplay Golf Hat (best wide brim bucket hat)
    4. Callaway 2016 Bucket Hat  (best narrow brim bucket hat)
    5. Coolibar UPF 50+ Men's Holden Packable Travel Fedora (best cowboy looking hat)
    6. Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat (best Havana style hat)
    7. Aussie Chiller Outback Golf Hat (best soft cowboy hat)
    8. Ralph Lauren Bucket (very fancy hat for sun protection)

    What to keep in mind when getting a hat for golf

    No hat is going to keep you from getting burnt completely. The best options are going to have wide brims and will be made of synthetic materials to keep you cool.

    You want to avoid the caps and visors. Visors should be totally avoided if you're thinning up top like so many of us masculine men are. 

    Also, use a golf hat in conjunction with a good sun cream. Something like the Biore waterbased cream I use in the harsh SE Asian sun.


    Created, tested, used and made by Golf Sidekick for standard and LARGE heads
    waddaplaya bucket hat golf sidekick

    I have created my own bucket hat and sell them at www.waddaplayagolf.com

    The fabric used is the same as what is used in dry fit golf shirts. These are the very same hats I wear on my channel on Youtube. Dry fit fabric means your head stays cool in even 100° weather.

    The secret sauce is however, the fact the brim is not stiff so when there is wind around, the hat doesn't blow off your head. It stays on your head in even the most trying conditions.

    I played a round in 50mph gusts and the hat never came off once. What else does the soft brim mean? Well, there are a lot BIG HEADED people out there and the relaxed fit means it can stretch to fit your head up to 64cm (25 inches) in circumference. 

    They are easily washable and can be stuffed in your pocket or golf bag and pop back into shape in a second. 

    Pros
    • Covers ears perfectly
    • Perfect for all weather condition especially windy as well as hot conditions
    • Worldwide shipping
    • Soft brim for a very comfortable fit
    • Made in two sizes from 59cm to 64 cm heads which is very rare
    • New designs in July will be reversible for double the value
    Cons
    • Designs sell out quickly and so new stock takes a while - very often sold out

    Wide brim cotton hat for temperate climates

    The DPC Outdoors Solarweave Treated Cotton Hat is a winner on so many levels.

    The fabric is certified 50+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and with the mesh in the top, you'll feel that breeze blowing through and your sweat will evaporate quickly. The top is totally closed so don't worry about the sun coming through the top part.

    A built in sweat band will stop your sweat rolling down into your eyes and helps keep the hat in place. For extra security, there is a cord to adjust the fit of the hat. 

    Pros
    • Maximum sun protection 50+ UPF
    • Nylon mesh for super coolness
    • Much better price than most Tilley hats - the premium hat in this category
    Cons
    • You need to handwash this, so don't just throw it in the machine - it'll go super floppy..

    Big wide brim for maximum sun protection

    The bucket hat is always one of the best golf hats for sun protection because of the all-round brim. This Coolibar Matchplay hat has a 4" brim which makes it unbeatable for shading your whole neck and face. 

    If you pop your golf shirt collar up, you have in impenetrable protection from the sun. It's like having an umbrella on our head. 

    The hat can feel a little heavy and to be honest, doesn't look very 'slick' or 'professional' but if your main concern is sun protection, this is the best golf hat for sun protection.

    Pros
    • Keeps sun off entire neck and face
    • Wide 4" brim for maximum coverage
    • Many many colors and LARGE sizes
    • Elastic cord to adjust the size so it stays on your head!
    Cons
    • A little heavy 
    • Doesn't look very 'chic'
    • Brim is quite stiff so not great for travel

    Lightweight and slightly narrower brim

    Super cool hat that's very light and breathable. This is a multi purpose hat for golf, tennis, running and hiking. You can use this thing everywhere if you're a multidiscipline sportsman.

    The fabric is moisture-wicking and my favorite part about this hat is not the function, but it looks so similar to Tiger Woods cucket he used to wear. 

    There are 2 sizes so if you have a big melon, you can still fit into one. The Callaway 2016 Classic hat is synthetic so when you're sweating your bag off, you won't have a hot head and a soaking wet hat. Callaway make top quality products and this hat is no different.

    Pros
    • Moisture wicking fabric
    • Built-in sweatband keeps sweat away 
    • Relaxed brim with stretchy durable fabric
    • Classic look - not too wide and not too narrow - looks like Tiger's bucket
    Cons
    • Nothing

    Breathable and cool so your head doesn't get hot

    My favorite hat for sun protection while playing golf is definitely a cowboy hat. I like to look like a maverick. The Stetson is a classic

    The secret to a good cowboy hat is that is needs to be made of straw or synthetic materials. I've played in many kinds of cowboy hats but found the suede and leather types don't keep my head cool and get very stained by the sweat which doesn't evaporate quickly.

    That's why straw or grass hats work best. Wind will blow through the small gaps and dry your head and keep you nice and cool. The brims have wire in them so you can also turn the sides up for a slightly more 'maverick' look.

    Pros
    • Cool material that allows wind to come through
    • Looks very outlaw and always turns heads
    • Wire in the edge of the brim to customize the shape of the turns on the sides 
    Cons
    • Not crushable or foldable
    • I often hit the brim on doors and windows

    Like a mini-cowboy hat that protects those ears

    This is a super easy, wrinkle-resistant, hat that you can pack into your travel case or golf bag and take it with you anywhere you go.

    You can use it on the course, while you're on a boat, taking a walk around the island or out for lunch. The fabric is moisture wicking and with a rating of 50 UPF, you're not going to get burned where this thing covers you.

    The best part is that it's a fedora but looks a bit more down-to-earth as a mini cowboy stetson.


    Slick James Bond style golfing hat

    The Havana and Fedora looks slick. While the brims are not as wide as the bucket hats or the hunting hats out there, the Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat still offers you great sun protection.

    On top of looking like James Bond on the golf course, the hats are also crushable so you don't need to worry about your bag crushing the brim or the head part. 

    I've used these hats countless times and even stuff them in the side pocket of my golf bag. 

    Pros
    • Look suave, like an international man of mystery
    • Good sun protection
    • Very cooling and crushable and storable in the golf bag
    • Use it on your golf holiday away from the course
    Cons
    • Not the best at redistributing sweat
    • You might be perceived as arrogant

    My choice of golf hat

    I like off-beat hats with floral designs or childish designs on them. Most people don't take me seriously on the course when they see my hats but once I hit a shot, they know I'm there to play.

    Mix it up. Put your personality into how you dress on the course. I like narrower brimmed hats like the Ralph Lauren bucket and I like them bright. 

    This hat can just be thrown into the bag, into the car and can be stuffed in your back pocket. 

    Pros
    • Looks eye-catching
    • Good sun protection
    • Everyone is gonna know who you are at the course
    • Conversation piece
    Cons
    • Needs a personality or a golf game to back it up otherwise no one takes you seriously
    • Too many women will be chasing you

    Without a doubt, THE BEST sun cream I've ever used is this one my wife bought me in Japan. Now I live in Thailand and the sun is vicious out here. Since using this sun cream on my face and neck particularly, people don't believe I live in the tropics.

    Hands-down my sun cream of choice. I apply it once before the round and keeps my complexion delightful for the full 18. It also softens out the skin and your missus will notice those wrinkles getting shallower.

    The best part is that there is no oily residue after applying so you can apply it on the first tee and rip your drive down the middle without needing to wash your hands.

    Conclusion

    In the end the choice comes down to how you like to look on the course. When I feel regal, I wear the Havana. When I'm feeling like a crazy man, I wear the cowboy hat. But in general, I use narrow brimmed bucket hats from my own making.

    In general all of the hats above will be great for sun protection. I would strongly suggest avoiding caps and visors if you want sun protection. Your neck and ears are still too exposed leaving that opportunity for those little cancer spots so many of our buddies have cut out of their faces.

    Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicappers 2020

    Do you want longer tee shots for shorter approaches?
    Are you getting close to breaking 80 and want that club to get you into the 70s?
    Or worse, are you hitting the WRONG fairway?
    Or my biggest fear...do you know where the ball is even going to go?

    I've been there. That level of anguish sucks the enjoyment out of the game. 

    But NOTHING puts more enjoyment into the game like a solid tee-ball with a decent driver and the confidence knowing the ball will BE IN PLAY!

    Shaft flex and loft are essential to getting that extra oomph

    Modern technology is here to help. Having unshakable confidence standing on every tee box is easily the best feeling in golf. You just know where it's going and the shape it's taking to get there. It does take time to settle into a new driver but when you do, man...it's electric.

    I've found the best golf drivers for mid handicappers right here to get you that same nonchalant feeling. You're going to be hitting it longer and straighter with the right club suited for your swing speed. I'll go through shaft flex as well as loft so you can select the correct one for you to have more fun on the golf course.

    How to pick the right shaft for you 

    best drivers handicap golfer

    It's important to choose the correct shaft flex for your driver. To do this, you need to know your swing speed and as mid handicappers, we have a wide range of swing speeds. 

    Here's a quick reference to picking a shaft based on your driver swing speed:

    70-80 mph : Senior Flex (A)
    80-90 mph : Regular Flex (R)
    90-100 mph: Stiff Flex (S)
    100+ mph: Extra Stiff Flex (X)

    You can easily test this at a golf shop or driving range. Most places let you hit in the nets for free because that way they can convince you to buy a driver. I use them to test my swing speed then buy my stuff elsewhere!

    Amount of carry depends on the loft too

    Loft is the 2nd most important aspect. Less loft is less forgiving which is evidenced by how much easier it is to hit a 9 iron than a 3 iron.

    Your slices and hooks will be even worse with a lower lofted (8 to 10 degree) driver while more loft (10.5 to 14 degrees) means your slices and hooks will diminish and the ball will fly higher and straighter, giving you more carry and hence, more distance.

    •  Fast swing (100 mph +) and hit it reliably in the fairway, best driver is 9 to 11 degrees loft for extra forgiveness.
    •  
    Average swing speed (80-95 mph) it's best to get 11 to 13 degrees of loft for more carry.
    •  Slower swing speed
    , it's best to get a driver with 13 or 14 degrees of loft.

    New technology makes you your own club fitter

    Paired with the right golf ball, modern drivers can add significant yardage to your long game. Some guys even notice 20 yard gains. Below are the best drivers mid handicappers. 

    WARNING: I do not advocate for the hyper-adjustable drivers on the market. While they appear to be 'more value' because you can adjust the settings to anything you like, the problem with them is this very benefit. You're going to be wondering whether you have the right setting every time you hit a drive in the trees.

    I prefer making golf simple and making it fun. Removing decision paralysis by setting yourself up with a simple, moderately adjustable driver will serve you well mentally, which is all that really counts. By moderately adjustable driver.

    I mean being able to change the loft setting up or down a degree or two, but not sliding weights around the sole of the club. That's where the head worms take over and crawl in your brain, making you question yourself on every tee shot.


    Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicappers

    1. Cobra F9 Speedback (most forgiving distance driver for any golfer)
    2. Wilson D300  (best value driver pound-for-pound)
    3. Taylormade SIM (best adjustable driver)
    4. Srixon Z585 (best for golfers who hit it toward the toe)
    5. PING G400 (best driver for higher ball flight)
    6. Cobra Speedzone Driver (best for adding distance with many shaft options)
    7. Titleist TS3 (great Titleist for mid handicappers)

    All-round best driver for most golfers

    Cobra have become one of the front-runners in golf club tech. They now make very forgiving golf clubs that are really aimed at the mid-handicapper, including their brilliant F7 and F8 irons. Their one-length irons are working magic for many golfers.

    As with most drivers on this list, the crown is very simple without any flashy graphics or ridges. It's easy to align and it does so without putting you off while standing over the ball.

    The name Speedback comes from the apparently aerodynamic design of the clubhead. Truth be told, I don't believe much of the aerodynamic hype out there. But this driver delivers regardless of these buzzwords.

    Simple, beautiful face filled with tech

    The milled clubface is very reassuring to look down at when addressing the ball. This is half the battle of driving the ball. Feel comfortable. Cobra immediately puts you at ease when sliding this F9 behind the ball on the tee.

    What they have done behind the face is also important to the performance. Behind the milled clubface, you'll find they've designed the clubface to deliver better performance where most of us hit the ball on our bad shots.

    I personally hit it high toward the toe while others hit it low toward the heel. Cobra has both shots covered by making the sweet spot more elliptical. 

    Adjustability

    You can switch the two weight plates back and forth but honestly, it's fine out -the-box. As with most drivers now, you can adjust the loft up or down to increase height in ball flight or lower it. 

    Pros
    • Sweet spot designed to help toe and heel hits
    • Simple adjustability that reduces opportunity to have decision paralysis
    • Lighter crown for more swing speed
    • Crisp sound at contact
    • Superb, simple, milled club face for confidence at address
    Cons
    • May not add more distance but go straighter it will
    • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

    Looks SO strong at address and well balanced

    If you recognize that weird shape on the sole, yes, that's pretty much a copy paste of the Cobra F9 speedback design. It's far more pronounced and is apparently for aerodynamics. The SIM is a a monster. 

    This driver is the real deal - the aerodynamics on the bottom of the head are designed in a way to create more speed in your swing by reducing the drag in key areas of the swing. At address, the driver looks like a boss. It covers the ball unlike even the M5 and M6 drivers of the prior generation.

    The crown is matte finished gray and black composite which is shaped in such a way that is looks WAY bigger than the ball. The sliding weight is much simpler now without too much tinkering needed to adjust your ball flight. 

    Couple the matte-finished composite with the very muted gray color of the top line of the face, and this driver is easy to line up, see the full face at address, and instill confidence just looking at it. 

    Same tech as before, now just more aerodynamics in the design

    The prior models of the M series bring forward the same tech likeTwist face, Speed Injection, Speed Pocket and Inverted Cone Technology to the SIM design. 

    These technologies ave proven successful in their previous models and now with the focus on aerodynamics, it shows a shift in focus away from distance and forgiveness and more toward creating more speed in your swing.

    Pros
    • Superb Taylormade sound - unlike the more expensive TM models.
    • Very well priced for the technology inside the driver
    • Aerodynamic head along the lines of the great Cobra F9
    • Top of the crown is muted in color, matte-finished and with a gray alignment line
    • The adjustability is there, but it's just simplified compared to the M5
    Cons
    • Is the focus on aerodynamics meaning that there is no more advances in driver tech?
    • Headcover that comes with it is ugly as hell

    Best value driver - pound for pound - for slower swings

    The Wilson D300 has a very tall dominating face and setting up to the ball, it looks like a Cleveland of old. Classic shape and tall face with a massive sweet spot. Definitely in the sleeper category, not many guys will know about this driver and at this price, it's a best kept secret. 

    The club is light and by light, I mean REALLY light. That might not appeal to everyone but it can definitely help pick up an extra couple mph in your swing. If you're hovering around 85 mph, this little beauty can bring you up to 90 mph and give you a few yards more off the tee.

    Adjustability and forgiveness that costs not much at all

    A 10.5° Wilson D300 means you can adjust the loft to 11.5° and the 13° can adjust from 12° to 14° giving you plenty of opportunity to find the ideal ball flight for you. You can close the face by turning the hosel, encouraging a draw instead of a slice too. A great value driver overall. I really recommend the 13 degree option to give you the upper end of the loft for more carry distance.

    Pros
    • Adjustable hosel for more loft and draw settings
    • Very lightweight for increasing swing speed
    • Well priced - dollar to extra yards ratio is low
    • Forgiving on mishits - producing acceptable results
    Cons
    • Funny looking spikes on the crown can be off-putting

    Simple point and shoot driver for everyone especially toe-hitters

    From the same manufacturer of Cleveland, comes a very very simple driver from Srixon. The Z series is so good, you can see me jamming it in my latest videos on my Youtube channel. I play the Z785 which is adjustable on the hosel. I haven't used the adjustability which essentially means, I have the even easier to hit Z585 and that's why I recommend this highly for mid handicappers.

    Very popular from 5 handicap up to 20

    The best part of these drivers is how SIMPLE they look at address. There is almost nothing on the crown except a little mark to show the center of the face.

    The stock shaft is a Project X HZRDS which is a high quality shaft indeed. The shaft really is the powerhouse of the club and these come fit with a very strong engine.

    What I've noticed the most about this club is how on toe hits, the ball actually goes AS FAR AS solid strikes which is perfect for someone like me who hits it toward the toe more often. 

    The face has no fancy graphics on it. The crown is super simple and the sweet spot sends feedback up your arms, knowing you've hit it in the pantie.

    Pros
    • The beauty is in the simplicity of design and superb performance
    • Extremely large sweet spot where toe hits go almost as far as middle hits
    • Z785 has some adjustability for loft while the Z585 is super simple no adjusting
    • The crown has very little detail on it, it is very classic looking
    Cons
    • Z585 model has no adjustability at all

    One of the simplest to hit drivers in the world

    PING has to be the most popular name in amateur mid handicapper golf. This is easily the most gamed club I have seen in guys bags who were NEVER able to hit a driver before. You get the guys who don't play PING and then you get the guys who do, and they LOVE it.

    My friend Steve just upgraded to this PING G400 and I haven't seen him hit a driver like that before. He was using a Jetspeed from Taylormade, which he was great with, but the G400 just takes it to another level. 

    The main difference I see in the G400 and other clubs of the same spec and loft, is the higher ball flight. The ball flight is penetrating and high. It carries much further which gives guys a load more distance with the exact same swing. 

    Minimal adjustability and straighter shots

    There's only a single weight plate on the bottom of the club so you'll never be worried about the settings. The loft can be changed up or down a degree or two and that's about all you need to increase or decrease height of the launch. 

    PING keep it simple and are really geared toward the mid handicapper in every sense of the word making forgiving irons, forgiving woods and superb putters. On Tour you might find only a couple of guys like Lee Westwood and Bubba using PING, but really, these clubs are not Ferrari, but they're more like Ford, built tough and reliably.

    Pros
    • Very classic head and face design with minimal graphics
    • The ball goes straighter and in some cases reduce shot shapes to baby fades and draws
    • High-launching for much more carry but maybe less rollout on soft fairways
    • Minimal adjustability options for a nice simple point and shoot driver
    • Bigger sweet spot than ever on a PING driver
    Cons
    • Sound is very muted and may not appeal
    • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

    Brilliant update to the F9 if you prefer newer models

    The F9 Speed Back is simply superb and you wouldn't make a mistake getting it. But the Speedzone is an improvement in terms of looks. The performance is pretty similar but the look of the new driver at address is quite significant.

    Brian from the channel got himself a new Speed zone and has been THUMPING it up to 275 yards. He has a swing speed of around 98 to 103 mph and settled on this driver over the F9 because of the crown. The face melts into the crown in a much smoother way to the F9, giving the face a very BIG feel to it. 

    best driver for mid handicappers

    The sweet spot is really easy to find on the club and with the right shaft, is a well-weighted and balanced club. You can also purchase 3rd party weight kits to play with the two weights on the bottom of the club for more penetrating flight or more spin.

    Pros
    • Large looking face at impact, showing more to the ball makes alignment easy
    • More composite material in the head for more weight saving - more speed
    • Absolutely the best sound and feel at impact of all current drivers
    Cons
    • Not a very big difference between F9 and this besides aesthetics
    • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

    The first Titleist driver I've seen that is forgiving

    The TS3 is for players looking for increased distance, but need some forgiveness for when they can't to hit the ball in the center every time. Now that's to say it's for high handicappers. I wouldn't give a Titleist to a high handicapper. We all struggle with the sweet spot at times, but this driver is one that allows you to maximize speed, even with a smoother swing.

    Titleist use a weight cylinder in this model as opposed to the TS2 where they use weight plates. The cylinders come in different weights for you to adjust the swing weight of your club.

    Loft can be adjusted at the hosel as well. The looks of the Titleist TS3 are the most attractive part of this package. Sleek black head, with a tall deep face and minimal graphics, the TS3 looks DOMINANT at address and when hitting the ball, the sound adds to the experience.

    Gone are the days of the high pitched ping sound and the new muted thud is more common. Every now and then you find a club, much like the Cobra drivers, where the sound adds to the feedback through your hands. It's a POP that lets you know you've smashed it.

    If you're looking for a distance driver, this one is super and is in the same category as all the top manufacturers. 

    Pros
    • More traditional look of the head 
    • Weight cylinder in the sole is a unique feature
    • Brilliant sound - really POPS at impact
    Cons
    • Too many choices from Titleist for mid handicappers
    • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

    Conclusion

    With so many drivers out there to choose from that are designed to help the average golfer, I hope this cleared up some of the options.

    The winners are easily the Cobra offerings from the prior two years and the SIM by Taylormade. I've hit so many drivers and the biggest surprise to even make this list is the Titleist TS3. Always remember, the PING drivers are an ever-reliable club that will serve anybody well. 

    voicecaddie sc300 review golf sidekick

    Voice Caddie SC300 Swing Caddie Review – How I use it

    I've been using The Voice Caddie SC300 (Swing Caddie) for just under a year now (June 2020).

    We're all a little skeptical about these types of products because they aren't TRACKMAN, GCQUAD or FLIGHTSCOPE! But those big setups cost $25k whereas the Voice Caddie SC300 is around $500.

    voicecaddie sc300 review golf sidekick

    And yes, I took they skepticism to the SC300 when I started using it. But It didn't last too long because the SC300 actually does work. The SC200 is a cheaper model which works just as well.

    The variables you can measure are:
    1. Swing speed
    2. Launch angle
    3. Ball speed
    4. Total carry and total rollout.

    They are displayed after every shot and the sound can be switched up on the machine to have a lady tell you out loud, how far the ball went.

    BUT what do we do with the data that we can collect?

    The Voice Caddie SC300 communicates and syncs with an app on your phone so you can store the info to review later. You can also use the MySwingCaddie app while you're hitting balls and it will show you an estimated ball flight and give you a 'trackman'-style display to see your numbers.

    Once you have this info, it's so easy to do what I like to use it for:

    1. Swing Speed


    Swing Speed Part 1: I like to know my swing speed on my EASY swing (105-108mph) and my HARD swing (113-117mph) on the driver. This confirms to me that the shaft I'm playing is fine and that I CAN in fact hit the driver "softly" and trust it will work.

    Swing Speed part 2: I like to see how consistent I hit my partial shots inside 120 yards. This year in 2020, I'm focusing on NEVER hitting my wedges FULL. So when I want to find out how fast I am swinging the wedge in relation to distance it goes, I can groove a consistent swing for every distance inside 100 with different clubs. Brilliant stuff!

    2. Carry Distance


    I don't care about BIG numbers. What I care about is accurate numbers for approach shots. I don't want to know my rollout distance with a 7 iron. I know my 7 iron will stop within a couple feet of the pitch mark so I need to know the CARRY distance so I can trust that the ball will clear bunkers, water and also, NOT reach the back of the green if there is trouble there.

    What I usually do is separate my range time over a week or so and hit 2-3 clubs every session to really give myself a decent AVERAGE distance. I take the AVERAGE (the app will calculate this for you) and then I compare that to the MODE. The mode is the number that appears THE MOST OFTEN in a set of data. 

    I find with the SwingCaddie SC300, the AVERAGE is VERY accurate over a big sample of 50 shots. I use that AVERAGE as the first part of my thinking. Then I take the number in the data that appears most often, and I use that as my other part of my distance range.

    So let's say my data looks like this:

    Number of shots: 50
    7 iron average: 171 yards
    Number that appears MOST often in the data: 169 yards (18 times out of 50 shots)

    I conclude that my 7 iron range is 169 - 171 yards so I will use this range on the golf course to know which club to hit.

    3. Hard vs Soft Shots

    You can also use it to check your MAXIMUM HIT with a club and know that if you really have to step on a shot, it will go the distance you need. For instance, my 6 iron is my 181-186 club but when I really whack it, it will go 197-202.

    I also have a shot where I put my feet about 8 inches apart and hit softer shots. I like to check how far those shots go. The less stable base means I have to swing softer, so I can check with my 9 iron, which normally goes 138-143. When I take a narrow stance, the SC300 tells me it's a 120 yard shot. That's great information to know to build an arsenal of shots. 

    4. Speed Gains


    When you're exercising for flexibility and strength, you can use the SC300 to measure if you're actually picking up speed from your efforts. I've seen how my swing speed has gone from a MAXIMUM with the driver of 109mph to 117mph in about a year and a half. 

    How can this information help your game?


    SWING SPEED: When you compare your HARD swing to your EASY swing, you can notice the difference between the two can be very minimal. That can really show you that you don't need to step on your shots. You can swing smooth and know that you may only lose 5 yards. Better yet, you may find you PICK UP yards when you're not swinging fast!

    CARRY DISTANCE: This is the NUMBER ONE factor in golf that amateurs just do not know. This was a blinding realization for Brian (B Dog) on my channel. We went to the range with the SC300 to work out his carry distances. 

    He was completely shocked when his distances were 10 yards shorter than he thought. He was using his TOTAL distance  (including rollout) for his shots on the course. 

    You'll find yourself in a lot more water, missing the greens in the bunker short of the green and overshooting greens if you do not know your carry distance. You can imagine, B Dog was short of the green very often. After finding out his true carry distances, he immediately hit 5 more greens per round.

    When you know that you can clear the hazards, bunkers, water, you can make MUCH better decisions in shot selection.

    AVERAGE vs MAXIMUM DISTANCES: When I know how far I can go with a maximal strike, I can be confident when I really need a pressure smash-shot. These hard shots mean your iron shot will go longer distance but perform like a shorter iron.

    For example, if I step on a 6 iron, I know I can carry it 202 yards for sure. The difference is that often, the height of the shot matches my 7 or 8 iron, so it comes in soft, with tons of back spin on a hard shot. A 5 iron that goes 202 will not come in as high as that and will release more. 

    Okay, so is the Swing Caddie SC300 worth the time?


    I've used it for close to a year and would not recommend it until I was sure it's legit. It works and I've used it up against a Track Man. Is a Track Man 100% accurate? Who knows, but it's the market leader and costs $25k.

    I've compared it to the actual real life shot on the golf course. There is often wind and uneven landing conditions out there, and the SC300 reading are within 5 yards either side of the shot. If it says 276 on the machine, it's usually between 270 and 280 on the range finder, shooting back to the tee.

    For the price, it's brilliant.

    Battery Life

    This thing goes and goes and goes. I've charged it maybe 15 times in the last year. It comes with a USB cable that you can charge in any adaptor. 

    Storage

    It doesn't come with a bag or anything, so what I did was buy a cheap $2 scuba diving suit fabric bag with a zip to keep it in. Isn't it pretty?

    Remote Control

    It was a super easy, well laid out slim remote to change the settings and clubs and things. It's light and you can keep it in your pocket as you play. 

    App to Sync Data

    The greatest part is the app you can download and sync your practice data with. It stores it on the phone and you can go through it to see how you did with each club and see your averages. Brilliant. 

    Tips and Tricks for Using the SC300

    It can be tricky when you first use the machine.

    It works best when you put it about 6 or 7 feet away from the ball. You never have to put it so close that you think you'll hit it. In fact, it doesn't work when it's that close. 

    At the range, if you're hitting off mats, you want to have something the same height as the mats to place the model on. I often fold a towel to the height of the mat and place it behind the ball, maybe 7 or 8 feet away. 

    The unit works in good and dull light. I have no idea how, but it picks the ball up during evening sessions when we can no longer see the ball with our own eyes. 


    SC300 - GOLF SIDEKICK APPROVED

    Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers 2020

    Ah, the mid handicap zone. Without a doubt, when I'm choosing my betterball partner, there's no better man than a mid handicapper!

    You hit the ball straight down the fairway, you can chip, you can putt and you can make those amazing pars and birdies at the perfect moment. Mid handicappers are always in the prizes and I play a lot of golf with mid handicappers. 

    What I've noticed though is hitting greens is often a concern especially as the holes get longer. We all want to hit longer with our irons but also we want it to go straighter to make more of those coveted pars and birdies. With modern technology, the best golf irons for mid handicappers make it WAY easier to hit straighter and longer.

    What is a mid handicapper, actually?

    Rick and I winning the pairs tournament as mid handicappers (we wear flip flops after golf in Asia)

    A mid handicapper is a golfer who plays off a handicap between around 7, 8 or 10 up to about 17 or 18. That means you can generally break 90 every other round or shoot in the 80's every round. It's a wide range but the goal is always the same, break 90 consistently or break 80.

    There's no hard and fast rule on the classification of low, mid and high but we all know roughly where we fall.

    When should you buy new clubs?

    I have two theories for when the right time is to buy new golf clubs.

    Situation 1: IMPORTANT - You look down at your clubs and you don't LOVE them

    Half your clubs are irons and you'll use them for more than 50% of your shots on the course so when you look down at them and you don't LOVE them, then there is a serious problem.

    If you've seen my Youtube channel, you'll know I am all about that mental game. If you look down at clubs that fill you with confidence, you've won 70% of the damn battle!

    There is no award for the guy who struggles with clubs he dislikes to prove it's the workman and not the tools. They say a bad workman blames his tools, but I say a master craftsman knows when to replace them!

    If you look at a picture and LOVE the look or hold a club and LOVE the way it feels, I will bet you that you'll hit that club like a boss, immediately. Our brains are very powerful and in golf, it's especially important to be comfortable over the ball. If you're not loving your irons at address, I really suggest replacing them. Now.

    Situation 2: Yours are old and out of date

    Now, I don't believe most of the BS lingo and catch phrases the manufacturers throw at us every few months with the latest and greatest. But one thing I can personally confirm, is that anything made in the last 6 to 8 years is far superior to anything prior.

    Modern irons have been designed to launch higher than ever. For example, an old 6 iron's loft was maybe 28° so it was easy to get it in the air. With modern technology, they've been able to reduce that loft to 25° or 26° so you get more distance but at the same time the ball still launches at the same angle as the old 6 irons. That means you can get them landing a few yards further with an improved trajectory into your target.

    They've also made shafts lighter to get you swinging faster and improved the club faces of the new irons to increase the sweet spots so you hit it longer and straighter even off mis-hits, very often not knowing the difference between a good strike and a bad one. 


    Best Golf Irons for Mid Handicappers


    Taylormade M6 Irons

    Best irons for mid to high handicappers

    The M6 upgrade of the M4 irons has a meatier look to it with some fancy tech inside the club to make the ball go long distances with a nice sound. 

    It's almost effortless to get the ball up in the air and on target with Taylormade game improvement irons. It's difficult to hit a ball far off target with the M6s which brings real meaning to game improvement iron. The sweet spot is so big that it's difficult to distinguish when you hit it badly. They've separated the top line and the bottom of the club with a thru-slot speedpocket. The "speed bridge" connects that top line with the rest of the club and this creates some magic.

    Longer irons in the set have a deeper cavity back with a small hollowing behind the face to get more distance and forgiveness on center and mishit strikes. They come standard fit with a light weight shaft to make swinging them effortless despite the aggressive and thick top line of the club. 

    The lofts are stronger in this set and keep in mind the PW is 45° when picking your wedges to go with the set. You might consider a 50° and 54 or 56 degree, to round off the set to give yourself a good loft gapping.

    You will probably see a distance increase but it will be due to the more upright lofts and less to do with other variables. They are able to decrease lofts on these clubs because they've produced them so well to come out higher and easier to get off the ground. Simply amazing technology that just wasn't around years ago.

    With that being said, I strongly suggest buying up to PW, and no AW or SW. The PW is 45° and the AW and SW will be too 'hot' for consistent chipping. I'd rather see you purchase your own preferred wedges to match into your set with even loft gaps.

    Pros
    • Taylormade have a great track record in the game improvement niche
    • Large address profile with firm top line for mega BDE feeling
    • Crisp sound at contact - more hollow sound toward longer irons
    • You'll be hitting one club shorter to every green
    Cons
    • Not for finesse - more for power and accuracy - 4 iron is 19.5°
    • If you have a wedge set already, consider that the PW in the set is 45°

    Cleveland Launcher CBX Irons

    Game improvement irons to forgive mid handicappers

    They're way more famous for high quality wedges made for mid to low handicappers, but Cleveland have designed a set of irons aimed entirely at the average mid handicapper to boost distance while at the same time dishing out ample forgiveness.

    The Launcher CBX irons give the best of both worlds by making it easier to hit longer irons and have more control over the shorter clubs.

    While not massive on Tour as much as when Vijay and David Toms played for them, Cleveland have remained a favorite among us mere mortals especially the easy to hit drivers. 

    The top line of the club is quite hefty but the offset in the longer irons looks minimal so it looks very professional. A V-shape sole promotes the club moving through the turf to give rock solid hits even if you hit it a little fat. 

    The Cleveland CBX irons have a much larger cavity back in the long irons for more forgiveness and a larger sweet spot and as you progress to the shorter irons, the cavity back reduces for a more control-based feel to knock it close.

    Most golfers notice an increase in distance anywhere from half a club to a full club with this set and it could be down to the stronger lofts. Cleveland actually engrave the degrees of loft on the sole of the club - a nifty idea indeed. 

    Pros
    • Very good for players who hit it toward the toe
    • The ball goes straight and in some cases reduce shot shapes to baby fades and draws
    • High-launching and glides through the turf
    • Crisp sound at contact
    • Lofts of the clubs printed on the bottom so you can buy the right wedges and hybrids!
    Cons
    • Matte finish means scratches are much more pronounced.
    • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

    Mizuno JPX 919 Forged or Hot Metal Irons

    Best for mid handicappers who love FEEL

    The upgrade to the Mizuno JPX 900 come in a forged OR Hot Metal cast head. The sole has a more U-shaped appearance for less digging in the turf interaction. As always, Mizuno forged irons are buttery soft but what's normally reserved for the better players is available to anyone now. The JPX 919 look like muscle backs but are classified as a cavity back.

    You'll be able to shape the ball both ways with these. there are a lot of mid handicappers who were once single figures who still like a fade or draw into a tight pin. There's still hope out there for you if you enjoy shot shaping. 

    The better, lower mid handicapper will love the feel of the forged clubs but the higher mid handicapper will love the hot metal irons. They have stronger lofts but with the movement of the sweet spot to a lower position in the face, the Hot Metals launch the ball high so your strong lofts, go further but also fly higher. 

    What's special about the Mizuno JPX 919, is that once you move south of the double digit handicap, you'll still be playing these clubs. They're timeless in design and with all the latest technology coming out being not-much-different to the previous one or two years, these will serve you a long time. Brook Koepka was playing these in the Tour edition and won a few majors with them.

    They have the look of professional style clubs with more forgiving and bigger clubs heads in the long irons and more compact shorter irons for precision shots. They have a tiny bit of offset so if you prefer a more classical style head but with massive forgiveness, the Mizuno's cater to you.

    Most Mizuno users are Mizuno users for life and you'll very rarely find a second hand sets being traded in by someone who hates the clubs.

    Pros
    • Soft buttery forged iron feel and sound
    • They moved weight into the edges of the club face for more forgiveness and ball speed
    • Classic design and look at address appeals to purists
    • Shot-shapers will love this iron
    • It's a Mizuno, very little can be wrong
    Cons
    • Not  as forgiving as some of the irons like M2, M4, Rogue and Cobra F7
    • Matte finish to the clubs is classy but over time, will wear off

    Ping G710 Irons

    PING ease-of-use never fails

    Always the easiest drivers to hit, Ping developed the G710 irons to behave a bit more like fairway woods by making the face nice and hot at impact. They removed some of the unwanted frequencies by dampening the club behind the face with epoxy.

    Tungsten in the toe and shaft help to recuperate some of the distance losses from mis-hit shots and have increase ball speeds by 5% from the previous G700 irons. The G710 are incredibly forgiving irons. 

    The irons come standard fit with Golf Pride grips  with Arccos shot-tracking sensors. The black color of the irons may not be for everyone but one of the untold features of this is SUPER easy alignment with the increased contrast between the face and the ground.

    These are the type of irons that do not dig into the turf. That's a major issue, especially with players who are starting to approach the 8-12 handicap range. Turf interaction is so important and with the Ping G710, you'll get forgiveness and speed in all aspects. 

    Pros
    • Black looks extremely modern and chic
    • Point and shoot straight hitters
    • Suited to mid handicappers specifically but will last well into the low digits
    • Distance increase after upgrading especially on mis-hits
    • Look very executive
    Cons
    • Not for fast swingers (95+ mph with driver)​​​
    • Mishits are difficult to gauge from feedback on forgiving club face

    Srixon Z 585 Irons

    So easy to hit

    The Srixon Z 585 irons might not be on your radar, but they should be. This range has been aimed at the mid handicapper who likes shot shaping and forgiveness in one package. The best part is they will last you even as a low handicapper. I went on a recent trip to South Africa and the number of guys playing these was amazing. Every fourball had one or two bags of Srixon z 585's.

    You can see me playing the back 9 with them here.

    The clubs have a formidable but not bulky sole as well as a deep cavity back to help shift the center of gravity lower and move the sweet spot down in the face to get even crisper contact on the ball. 

    Srixon have made these clubs look easy to hit when you look down at them, but they're not oversized at all. If you're worried about your clubs looking very chunky, these ones will quell your fears.

    If you can get them with the NS Pro shafts in them, you'll have a great time with these clubs.

    If you want a forgiving 'player's iron' which performs extremely consistently, have a look at the Srixon Z785 as well. Easily one of the easiest to hit, and easiest to work forged muscle back clubs in the game. 

    Pros
    • Consistent performance across the face 
    • Light and easy to swing 
    • Low center of gravity and lowered sweet spot for easier crisp contact
    Cons
    • Very sweet hits do travel further and overshoot the mark 

    Cobra King Speedzone Irons

    Best for low hitting mid handicappers

    Cobra irons are definitely game improvement irons but have a much more mid-sized club heads. The top line when you address the ball is not as chunky as most game improvement irons. Like with most of the new irons in this category, they've made the club face thinner to promote more ball speed off the flexible face to hit it longer. 

    Behind the face is the power shell they've created to not only increase distance, and improve the forgiveness, as they always do, but also create a very pleasing sound at impact. 

    The head looks really long as well so don't expect a small blade face. 

    Progressively longer hosels and different grooves through the set

    The longer irons (4-6) have shorter hosels, to lower the CG to increase launch and distance, while in the mid irons (7-9), there are medium-length hosels which create a gradual transition from the long irons to long hosels in the wedges (GW-SW). This is to promote forgiveness and accuracy but be aware of it before purchasing as it may look weird to your eyes.

    Longer irons 4-6 have V shaped grooves to reduce the spin on the shots while the shorter irons from 7 down, have U shaped grooves to increase control and enhance spin properties. 

    The light weight of the clubs and decreased lofts can help your swing speed and distance enough to prevent you from moving to softer shafts.

    Pros
    • Progressive hosel length from long irons into the wedges for accuracy and forgiveness
    • Mid sized club head more palatable than most game improvement irons
    • V shaped grooves in longer irons and U shaped in shorter irons 
    • One of the highest flying irons
    Cons
    • Very strong lofts with. 7 iron being 27.5° and PW is 42.5°
    • Extreme length on shots is because of the stronger loft

    Taylormade M2 Irons

    Easy to hit for any level of mid handicap

    Taylormade have gone the extra mile with the M2 Game Improvement irons. They’ve created a hollow Speed Pocket behind the face to make the face flex and give you more distance anywhere you hit it on the face.

    The sweet spot is so wide; it extends over almost the entire groove area so when you mishit the ball it still goes a long way and straight as an arrow..

    Taylormade's M2 set has been specially designed to increase the height of your shots. The short irons get up quickly and mid irons are so forgiving, you'll think they're wedges. With that increase in height, the ball comes down soft to stay on the green and give you more birdie and par putts.

    Easy to hit and the ball flies high

    Balls launch high when you hit them and the wide soles help to get under the ball especially in deep rough to get your golf ball moving toward the green and out of the weeds. The heavy perimeter weighting means you can swing it and trust the club to do the work for you. There's no stress wondering what's going to happen next.

    Taylormade has designed the M2 iron set with forgiveness in mind. They're extremely accurate irons and with the offset hosel, cavity back design, they tick all our boxes. The M2's are one of the best mid handicap irons on the market.

    Pros
    • Massive sweet spot to hit it pure every time
    • Easy to hit the ball high in the air
    • Mishits go an unusually long way
    • Low stress clubs you can trust on every shot
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Looks very busy and less classic

    Titleist 718 AP3 Irons

    For the mid handicapper on the cusp of breaking 80

    Titleist made these irons heads bigger than the AP1 and AP2 range so they appeal to the mid handicapper a little bit more. Though to be fair, the top line of the club is not so FAT, but quite thin and definitely appeals to the eye of someone who likes a more classic iron rather than the beefy game improvment irons out there.

    They look a lot more like a "players" iron but they have the backs of a mid handicapper iron where there is a hollowing out and a small cavity in the back. The result is more forgiveness and also some additional distance.

    So many players are getting these and the best part is they will serve you well as a mid handicapper and you won't have to get new clubs when you eventually become the single digit handicapper you're striving for.

    Pros
    • Very professional level looking clubs with semi-game improvement characteristics
    • These are clubs you can keep into single figure handicap and beyond
    • More distance and accuracy
    • The superior feeling telling people you play Titleist irons
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • NOT for most 18+ handicapppers

    What's the difference between irons for mid handicappers and low handicaps?

    Mid handicapper irons should:

    • Contain at the longest, a 5 iron, and go through to pitching wedge and maybe sand wedge
    • Be cavity backed for a wider sweet spot on the face
    • Have perimeter weighting to increase the sweet spot
    • Have an offset hosel to promote a straighter ball flight

    Most sets nowadays don't come with a 3 or even a 4 iron because they're difficult to hit and are usually replaced by fairway woods and hybrids to complete what should be the best golf clubs for mid handicappers.

    On the other hand, low handicappers often get the impression they need to upgrade to a professional style golf club. Which leads onto the next point....

    Which clubs to avoid!

    Low handicap golfers believe they need a more 'professional' style of club so they upgrade to a set of musclebacks or blades. Avoid any golf iron that has "muscle back", "MB", "blade", "Tour", "players irons" or "pro" in their name unless you really LOVE them! Generally I don't think anyone who plays less than 3 times a week or isn't off a single figure should buy blades. 

    But as mentioned above, if you LOVE them and BELIEVE they will improve your game, guess what! They probably will, just through positive association.

    The main characteristics of these types of irons are GENERALLY the things we don't want when looking for the best golf irons for mid handicappers:

    • Contain 3 and irons (difficult to hit)
    • Have no cavity back and are solid metal on the back of the club (reduced sweet spot)
    • Most of the weight is located behind a tiny sweet spot
    • The hosel is not offset because these golfers shape it both ways (easier to slice if you slice)

    Guide to what makes the best mid handicapper irons


    How mid handicapper irons can help your game

    When you hit more greens, you're going to love going to the course. Once you know where the ball is gonna go, you'll aim at your target with confidence. And when you hit it closer, you'll make more pars and birdies and in the end drop that mid handicap into the single digits.

    To do this, the best mid handicap golf irons need to:

    1. Get the ball into the air high and handsome with little effort
    2. Land softly on the greens
    3. Be very forgiving particularly on mishit shots

    There's just no need to go get yourself a "player's iron set" or a muscleback or blade club because it's expected of you as you get better. The technology out there is so powerful now, while the musclebacks have remained almost identical since Arnold Palmer was a young guy.

    Buying a set of irons is a big investment in yourself and the improvement in your game with a set of mid handicapper Game Improvement irons will be dramatic. There's no need to handicap yourself further with a smaller more concentrated sweet spot unless you're playing 5 days a week. But let's face it, most of us mid handicappers are out there once a week when we get to escape our wives and girlfriends.

    Make it fun!


    What makes a set of irons forgiving for mid handicappers?

    Two things: shafts and club head design will define the best golf irons for mid handicappers.

    Shafts

    There are two types of shaft for your irons – steel and graphite. Graphite is popular in drivers and hybrids. For irons, the extra weight offered by steel gives golfers a better “feel” than graphite.

    Graphite can help with distance and should be looked at if your swing speed is very low. The reduced weight of the shaft can help you pick up a few more mph in swing speed and with that, more distance.

    As a general rule, steel shafts are the best option for the vast majority of golfers and a Regular flex is going to be the best for most golfers based on swing speeds. 

    Tips for shaft flex based on 6 iron swing speed and carry distance
    • X Flex  - 6 iron swing speed 90 mph and carry 175 yards
    • Stiff (S) Flex - 6 iron swing 80-90 mph and carry 155 - 175 yards
    • Regular  (R) Flex - 70-80 mph and 130 - 155 yards
    • A Flex - 60-70 mph and 100 - 130 yards
    • L Flex - Less than 60 mph and carry under 100 yards

    It's always best to go get tested and get advice from a fitter or a local pro to truly maximize your purchase to your requirements.

    Club Head Design

    There are 2 club head designs: 

    Muscleback vs cavity back

      • Muscle Back/Blade irons - used almost exclusively by low single digit handicappers and professionals
      • Cavity Back irons - this is what we are looking for and the most forgiving irons ever have all been cavity back. 

      How cavity back gives extra performance to mid handicap over 'players' irons

      Perimeter Weighting

      Cavity back irons usually have perimeter weighting, which is just a jargon term to mean they hollow out the back of a muscle back iron and put that spare metal around the border of the back of the club.

      Jargon explained

      The perimeter weighting thus adds more weight behind the ball on off-centre strikes.

      A muscle back iron the pros use has the majority of its weight mainly behind the TINY sweet spot. If you miss the sweet spot on a muscleback, the pain that shoots up the club into your fingers is stunning!

      The cavity back iron with perimeter weighting has a massive sweet spot because the face is encased with reinforcement through the perimeter weight.

      Moderately Wide Sole

      The wider sole lowers the clubs center of gravity which means more weight can get under and behind the golf ball on your shots. This produces an arching high ball flight even on mishits.

      The extra beef on the sole will improve shots where you hit the ground before the ball too. That extra weight will “bounce” off the ground instead of digging into the earth like a thin sole would.

      ​For newer golfers, it's better to have a really really fat sole but for mid handicappers we are looking for a moderately fat sole. Those Super Max Game improvement irons don't work as well because mid handicappers have much more skill to be able to already get the ball airborne.

      Offset Hosel

      According to club designer Tom Wishon, “Offset is a design in clubheads in which the neck or hosel of the head is positioned in front of the face of the clubhead, so that the clubface appears to be set back a little from the neck of the club.”

      “The more offset, the farther the head's center of gravity is back from the shaft. And the farther the CG is back from the shaft, the higher the trajectory will be for any given loft on the face. More offset can help increase the height of the shot for golfers who have a difficult time getting the ball well up in the air.”

      Offset vs Standard hosels

      The most forgiving irons on the market are going to have offset hosels. The low handicappers playing blades or muscle backs have such skill to square the club face at impact, they don't need the offset. The offset encourages a draw and reduces workability of the club to hit fades. Highly skilled players want to hit the ball both ways.

      Avoid irons with 'Tour Preferred', 'Tour' or 'Pro' in the name

      These are for low handicap and professional players. You'll get there one day but for now they wouldn't be a wise investment. It would be like starting a video game on Expert setting from the beginning. These 'Tour' clubs are not the most forgiving irons as you can imagine.

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