Matt, Author at Golf Sidekick - Page 3 of 9

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Best Driving Iron for High Handicappers

Driving irons have historically not been easy clubs to hit but manufacturers are discovering ways all the time to increase forgiveness and make the driving iron accessible to everyone.

Before pursuing one of the best driving irons for high handicappers, perhaps take a quick look at the guide for hybrids. They are supposed to be easier to hit, but if, like me, you'd prefer a driving iron, I've listed the best, most forgiving utility irons below.

Best Driving Irons for High Handicappers 2021

  1. Cobra King Utility Iron  (Forgiveness for high handicappers)
  2. Cleveland Golf Launcher UHX Utility  (Best value for money utility iron)
  3. Taylormade GAPR MID (Best for slower swingers)
  4. TaylorMade SIM Max DHY (Best if you struggle to launch it high)
  5. Callaway Big Bertha B21 Single 4 or 5 Iron (Top secret option no one tells you)

The case for the driving iron

I don't like hybrids personally, as they like to go left and and lefter. I've tried countless hybrids and just always come back to my Srixon ZU85 2 iron. 

Some people find the extra junk in the trunk distracting plus the increased offset at address makes the club look closed.

I've found a lot of utility (driving) irons are standard fit with steel shafts and that's a big plus so it can match the behavior of your set of irons. Of course, the driving iron can also have a graphite shaft standard fit, but hybrids all come with graphite shafts.

Should I get a driving iron?

Have you ever hit one?

I mean that without malice. I've seen high handicappers like Brian (BDog) on my Youtube channel try a driving iron and all he felt was pain and ringing in his hands. He LOVES a hybrid though. 

Other times I've seen my high handicapper partners hitting driving irons and telling me that feel that they can't get a hybrid in the air and the driving iron gives them way more roll out.

It comes down to swing speed and amount of tension in your body. If you have good swing speed, you can go lower lofted. If your swing speed is not fast enough, the driving iron may hurt you more than a hybrid would. Tension in the arms, shoulders or hands will also kill the speed and relaxation needed to hit a driving iron. If you have these two things sorted, you're going to be okay.

It's all personal choice and if you have the speed; or just prefer the look of an iron behind the ball, you have to go with your gut. The aesthetics are 75% of the battle. If you don't like the LOOK of the club, you're not going to hit it well.

How do I select the correct loft for my driving iron?

Honestly, at high handicap and slower swing speeds, you should be looking at higher lofts - 20 degrees and higher. As your speed increases, you can look below 20 degrees. 

The current driving irons are higher lofted than the ancient ones which could go down to 15 degrees. Modern ones seem to start around 18 degrees and they're tough to get airborne. They're A LOT easier than the antiquities you can find at junk shops, but still, we want to have a club that is not hard to hit. It needs to be a joy-bringer.

Keep in mind also, that a graphite shaft will be lighter than a steel shaft and can assist in increasing some club head speed.

Below are some of the top driving irons to help you with accuracy off the tee and get you in play to start lowering that score to the low 90s, upper 80s. These are the easiest to hit and will provide maximum benefit to high handicappers looking for a reliable tee ball.

Adjustable and forgiving driving iron

The Cobra King Utility comes in either a graphite or steel shaft and with the graphite, you'll be able to get a lighter experience but if you're a fast swinger, the steel can match your irons.

You want to pay more attention to the 19.5 and 22.5 degree lofts. These driving irons are adjustable and can be set to a "draw" setting to promote more of a right to left ball flight. The 22.5 degree club for example can be adjusted to 21 all the way up to 24 degrees for more forgiveness.

The ball speed is very consistent off the club face between thins and mis hits and center strikes. Cobra are becoming well-know for the forgiveness of their irons for the weekend player and the Utility iron is similar in that regard.

From the top, the iron has a thick top line and the overall look is very similar to a normal iron in your set. From a distance the club LOOKS like a blade but it is not. it's a hollow-backed design and that resembles more of a hybrid action without the extra baggage in the back of the club.

Despite being hollow, it sounds crispy and tasty off the club face and when you pure one, everyone in the vicinity knows it. 

Pros
  • Delicious sound on good contact
  • Off center hits still fly reasonable distance but more importantly, less off line
  • Adjustable in a range of 3-4 degrees of loft and has a draw setting
  • Strikes low in the face, still provide good results
Cons
  • Loft settings will be more appropriate in lower lofted models for low handicappers

Best value for money driving iron for high handicapper

The UHX from Cleveland features a hollow-body construction, same as the Cobra above, delivering more distance with additional forgiveness when comparing to normal irons.

Cleveland's Launcher UHX comes with a graphite shaft and with lofts of 20 degrees for the 4 iron and 23 degrees for the 5 iron, the club is going to help you get it airborne and flying long.

The steel face insert in the variable thickness face delivers stronger ball speeds for distance, reducing the impact of mis-hits off the toe and heel.

Interacting with the turf is much smoother with the v-shaped sole. This is a feature on the Srixon irons. Srixon is part of the same company as Cleveland and XXIO. Quality and value for money combined with forgiveness make Cleveland an EASY recommendation for your game.

Pros
  • Hollow back design for more forgiveness throughout the face
  • V shaped sole allows for smooth turf interaction without digging
  • Value for money at this price is top

The most hybrid looking driving iron

They might almost appear to be hybrids, but when you cozy the club to the ball, it looks so different. The Taylormade GAPR MID is a chunky driving iron.

The GAPR MID is more prone to a right to left ball flight. Looks-wise, it looks like an iron on the face and the slight offset helps to stop the left to right movement. The sound of the club lets it down with a heavy, thick sound. It can be quite a common complaint with the foam-filled clubs being produced lately.

The GAPR HI is much more of a hybrid club so was not included in this purely driving iron list. It will be easier to hit but at the same time, regardless of which model, the best lofts for this driving iron are 21 and 24 degrees.

Remember we want to have a club that is easy to launch and forgiving on mis hits. The GAPR is a solid club.

Pros
  • Thick top line covers the ball at address
  • MID and HI models are easier to hit higher and longer
  • Easier to use from the fairway and rough than other brands
Cons
  • HI looks like a hybrid and MID looks like an iron wood

DHY model is best for high handicappers

In the Taylormade SIM Max DHY, you have a very forgiving DHY (Driving HYbrid). The bottom of the club very thick and full of meat which helps with confidence - as opposed to the razor like thinness of a 1 or 2 iron of old.

The trajectory is higher than the other Taylormade offerings in the driving iron category because of the hollow-body construction with a low and deep center of gravity. 

It's important to steer clear of the UDI model as this is for better players with more speed. Everything about the UDI model is thinner, smaller and harder to hit. The DHY SIM MAX model has been designed to be the easiest to hit by putting the weight in the sole, not behind the face.

Because of the thick sole, the DHY can be used from the rough as easily as any hybrid. It's a big plus because driving irons can often be seen as only a tee club. I can see this club being used to punch out down the fairway under trees, but from the fairway, I would be worried about chunking the ball because of the massive sole. Tee and rough is where the DHY will shine.

The DHY features a lot more offset than the UDI model which will promote less slice. Using the higher lofted options of 19, 22 or 25 degrees will ensure more forgiveness too and keep the ball flying less offline.

Pros
  • Very easy to launch high 
  • Very useful replacement if you struggle with woods
  • Big chunky appearance best for the tee ball confidence
  • Glides through longer grass on short punches or escapes
  • High quality shaft included as standard
Cons
  • HUGE head of the club

A forgiving single iron can work just as well

This is not necessarily a driving iron in the true sense of the word but the Callaway B21 Big Berthas have very strong lofts.

The key in this equation is that these irons are extremely forgiving to hit and that 18 degree or 21 degree loft are designed with special technology to help you get the ball in the air. This is a no brainer if you're looking for a single iron to hit off the tee.

You can order the clubs individually by selecting the number iron. I suggest 4 or 5 iron as the 18 degree loft on the 4 iron will be infinitely easier to get airborne than a driving iron with 18 degrees of loft.

The Big Bertha B21's are deep cavity backs with perimeter weighting to give you the most forgiveness on off-center hits. A really simple, efficient solution.

Other similar options would be Taylormade M2 single irons or Cobra single irons in the 3, 4 or 5 iron model. This is a little secret no one will tell you. Skip the driving iron utility irons and just get a lower lofted forgiving High handicapper iron!

Pros
  • Easy to hit from all lies
  • Can help eliminate a slice with its draw bias
  • Lower lofts but easier to fly higher due to current technology
  • Very forgiving on off center hits unlike a lot of specialist driving irons
Cons
  • Very few

That's right, sometimes single irons from a set work too!

There are driving irons that can help you but the secret sauce is in the fact you can just buy a single iron from a forgiving set of any Taylormade, Cobra or Callaway set and it will work maybe EVEN BETTER than a utility iron.

It's a cheap, reliable option and the clubs made in the last 3-4 years are so easy to hit in lower lofts from a tee peg. 

Conclusion

Taylormade, Cleveland and Cobra are top of forgiveness game in the utility and driving iron world. Make sure you have enough swing speed to get the lower lofted clubs airborne and then proceed with the higher lofted versions to ensure forgiveness.

There's no rule against having multiple driving irons if you prefer them!

garmin s40 approach review

Garmin Approach S40 GPS Golf Watch Review

garmin s40 approach golf watch gps review

I bought the Garmin Approach S40 watch during the time in 2020 when we were not allowed to leave the house. It arrived quickly and was ready to use out the box. It's a no mess no fuss item and can be used straight out the box.

Why did I buy the Garmin S40 at all?

I bought the S40 because I want to:

A) MAINLY track my distances with each club accurately over a long period of time to know my TRUE on-course distances. I also want to track my improvements in distance after taking lessons for my swing.

B) I want to keep fairway, green and putting stats. The fairway stats are more for knowing which side I miss the fairways on to rectify my alignment and direction issues. I want to hit more greens since my lessons and love to track improvement.


Why I chose the S40 over the S20?

I'm always looking to save some bucks but I looked at them side by side online and the S40 beats the S20 for me on the following 3 aspects:

The S40 has a COLOR, TOUCH screen which may not seem important but after receiving it, I am so happy I did not get a black and white screen. The S20 has a black and white screen and it's not a touch screen.

The one and only other feature which the watches do not share is that the S40's strap can be replaced easily. 

Is the difference in price worth it?

I like to look at these higher end purchases like this:

Will I miss the extra $150 I spent on a newer, more intuitive model that I will NOT regret buying? Will I miss that cash in 2 years which is the amount of time I hope the watch lasts? Well on average, that's $8 per month over the 24 months that I intend to have the watch. Will I miss $8 per month? No, that's two shitty Starbucks coffees a month!

Will I regret buying a cheaper model, when I realize I actually wanted the color touchscreen? Yes I will. And I don't like buyers remorse!

So with that flawless reasoning, I purchased the much nicer, touch screen, with color, GPS golf watch, the S40.

They have equal number of courses at around 35,000 worldwide and they connect to the Garmin app on the phone. I like the S40.

Garmin Approach S40 Full Review

Comfort

I don't wear any jewellery and I thought this would be the big stumbling block. The strap however, has many holes in it to fit any size you could imagine. I forget that it's even there and I wear it high enough above my glove so it doesn't interfere with play at all.

Ease of Use

There is a simple USB charging cable that you get in the box and it's a specific Garmin one, so don't lose it. It plugs into the back of the watch and it charges very quickly.

Using it on the course is simple.
1. You switch it on, tap the home screen which says "Play Golf"
2. The watch then finds satellites and depending where you are, this may take a while so do it at least 5-10 minutes before your tee time.
3. It will prompt you to select one of the courses on screen and then ask you if you want to keep score. I do keep score on it.


On-the-Course usage


From there, you just hit your shots, and the watch will automatically detect when you have hit a shot. It must be from some sort of sensor in the watch to know there was a strong enough jerk on the watch to imply a shot was hit. 

It prompts you to select which club you hit from that spot and then as you walk, it tracks the distance you hit the ball on the screen. That's pretty cool to know for immediate feedback on your drives.

Once you get to the ball again, you don't need to do anything funny. You just hit your shot, and the watch will have prompted you when you look at it again, to select a club again. 

At the end of the hole, it will ask you to insert your score, your number of putts, if you hit the fairway, right rough or left rough and if you have any penalties. Then it changes to the next hole. It's THAT easy. 

Important info at glance

The watch allows you to see the following which is highly valuable:

A. Distance to the front of water and bunkers. As well as the distance to CLEAR the water and bunkers.

B. The distance you need to hit the ball to reach the 200 yard, 150 yard, 100 yard and 50 yard distance markers. This is incredible info for lay ups on par 5 holes. 

You can scroll through all this info on the bottom of the screen using up and down arrows.

Back Middle Front of the greens easy life

You can, at any time find the distance to the back edge, the middle  and the front edge of the green from any position on the course.

This is the difference between a rangefinder and a GPS golf watch. You don't need line of sight with a GPS golf watch. This has been valuable on blind shots on a few occasions. 

Change the pin location on the watch

If you click the screen you can see the green view and use your finger to drag the flag around the green to get a better idea of the distance to the pin. I have used this when my caddie forgets to bring my rangefinder. It's not PERFECT but if you know the course well enough, it's useful.

Battery Life is great

I always charge it the night before the round and have never used it for more than one round in a row without a charge.

However, when I finish the round, without fail so far, the remaining battery is always 78%. So it loses 22% charge over 18 holes. I would hazard a guess that you could easily do 3 rounds without charging this watch, perhaps even 4. 


Statistics and post-round analysis

The Garmin Approach S40 syncs up to your phone if you download the Garmin Golf app. 

There is no point to this watch without this feature for me. I want it for statistics and information of my play to go over rounds and track progress.

On your phone with the Garmin Golf app

The number one priority for me on the watch is to know my distances. I want to make better decisions with the right club in my hand whenever I am facing a shot. The "Club Performance" page in the app gives me that.

Too often we are suckered into using the scorecard distance of the hole, minus the distance left to the pin to calculate our driving distance. That can leave a false impression and devastating results.

The next important thing I want to know is WHERE am I missing the ball on the tee shots? I want to find a reason, and adjust accordingly. The Greens in Regulation statistic is just to track a total number. if I am hitting more, I am getting better and closer to scratch.

Look through the rounds on the maps

This is a great feature to go through to correct the information on your round. The watch sometimes doesn't pick up a shot so you can add it in. 

When i say it doesn't pick up the shot, its usually the opening tee shot only, when you haven't located the satellites in time. You can change the club you inputted into the watch on the course here as well.

Sometimes you click the wrong club after the shot. Not to worry, you can just edit it later in the app. 

This is a great feature to go through to correct the information on your round. The watch sometimes doesn't pick up a shot so you can add it in. 

When i say it doesn't pick up the shot, its usually the opening tee shot only, when you haven't located the satellites in time. You can change the club you inputted into the watch on the course here as well.

Sometimes you click the wrong club after the shot. Not to worry, you can just edit it later in the app. 


Negatives

So far, there are only a couple of things I find annoying but are not really related to the watch per se - more about the user failure (me).

You need to get the satellites located at least 5-10 minutes before your tee time. Don't wait until you're standing on the tee waiting to tee off with your group to find the course you're playing. On two occasions, I waited too late and the watch vibrated when it found signal on my backswing on my opening tee shot.

No statistic for where you miss the greens. I would like to see a stat to show if I miss greens short, left, right or long. That would be the only really big upgrade I would make. 

Best Golf Shirts for Hot Weather

I play in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar. It's hot here for 49 weeks a year (90°-100° F). The other 3 weeks, it's mildly hot.

Here's what I learned VERY QUICKLY when I started playing in Thailand.

DO NOT WEAR COTTON WHEN IT IS HOT!

I nearly passed out the first time I played golf out here in my 100% cotton polo. I lay in the shower, on the floor, eating dried mango while the cold water washed over me. That's not a joke. 

In the hot, we want to wear synthetics. Not silk. Not cotton. Nope. Synthetics like nylon, polyester, and nylon/polyester with spandex woven into it. This will allow the sweat to evaporate and stop the shirt clinging to you. When cotton clings to you, it restricts movement. Synthetic shirts are simply the best golf shirts for hot weather.

But they feel cheap right?

I did not like to wear synthetics back then and I was convinced by the internet articles telling me to wear loose fitting cottons, linens and silks. WRONG!

After the 3rd or 4th round, you really appreciate the advice of people who tell you to get some dry fit golf attire. 

When the wind blows, it plays cool on your skin mixing the moving air with the wet front and back of your shirt. The fabric stretches and moves if it's clinging to you instead of holding your shoulders back and wrapping around your love handles. 

Shirts with spandex woven in are going to be the most comfortable shirts you'll ever wear. I know, because I created shirts specially for my own enjoyment in the heat!

Best Golf Shirts for Hot Weather


Waddaplaya Golf Polo

Created for the tropical heat - fun patterns

I have created these shirts to be the lightest, most comfortable shirts on the planet especially for the heat.

They are spandex and synthetic blended together to create a light shirt that stretches and keeps your cool in the hot weather. The fabric retains some moisture as you play and the wind cools you down as you perspire.

After you get off the course, the shirt is dry within minutes of being indoors and the best part about this synthetic blend is that it does not hold stink under the armpits. I have been using this fabric for 2 years now and cannot be happier. 

Waddaplaya is the only golf polo I wear and that's because I made it the best possible golf shirt for hot weather in the world. 


Three Sixty Six Golf Shirt

Great stretchy blend - tons of colors

Nothing to complain about here. Great shirts for hot weather with 88% polyester and 12% elastene which is also a SUPERB stretchy thread woven into the shirt to make it breath and stretch to your body and keep you cool playa. 


Little Donkey Andy Polo 

Short and long sleeve available

Long sleeve is sometimes an option to if you want to keep the sun off your arms. Have a look at the bottom of the page if you want to see my solution which I use often out here in Thailand. UV sleeves.

This spandex/nylon blend will be a perfect feeling for you on the course and if you're worried about the cancers on the forearms or just don't like too much sun, the long sleeves are a great option. 


EAGEGOF Golf Shirt

Cool patterns and perfect spandex mix

Lovely blend of 85/15 with the poly and spandex. These patterns are not as loud and bright as the Waddaplaya Golf shirts mentioned above but are definitely more interesting than plain golf shirts. 



Conclusion

The best golf shirts or polos for heat and hot weather are always synthetic.

I promise you're going to be thanking me when you try the blended shirts especially the little tidbit about the spandex for stretchiness. You're going to love it and golf in the heat will mean nothing to you, big dog!


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 didn't want to recommend it until I was sure it's legit. It works brilliantly and I've used it up against a Track Man and the averages and numbers are within yards of each other. 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

PGA Tour Stats Excel Download

You can click to download the Excel file below - it's not in a great layout but it's the data from the US PGA Tour 2019 for all the stats used in the video. Enjoy.

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best golf bags reviews

Best Golf Bags of 2021 | The Ultimate Guide

Tired of jamming everything into the tiny pockets of your golf bag? Traveling with your bag a pain in the ass? Embarrassed of your sun kissed (faded) golf bag you haven't replaced in 10 years? Caddies looking at you like you're a bum? 

I understand all of those things.

It happened to me, then I got myself a new bag.

Oh what a difference a great golf bag makes. No more wriggling my fingers around to find a tee in the bottom of one of the three pockets on the back.

No more crusty golf gloves under my rain jacket. No more painful shoulder traveling abroad with my clubs. No more bag flying off the golf cart as you pull away!

These are all things I realized I needed to eliminate only after I got a new bag.

It's like Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with your bag that's keeping you captive.

And sometimes, as in my case, I just had enough of the 8-year-old beat up Jack Nicklaus bag I bought when I was on a very tight student budget. The jokes from my buddies stopped after I upgraded and caddies actually wanted to take my bag for a loop.

My golf bag blues were over! I hope you find one for yourself by using this guide I put together from my experience looking for a new best golf bag of all time.

One & Done Best Golf Bags Selection

Here's my top choices for golf bags if you're short on time and can't look through the whole guide. 


Mini-guide to the Best Golf Bags


What types of bags are there?

Stand Bags

These are usually very lightweight and come with a strap that goes over both your shoulders to distribute the weight evenly. You carry it between shots and place it on the ground. A system on the base of the bag extends two shafts that act as the stand.

A typical stand bag

Pros
  • Lightweight for travel
  • New designs cart friendly
  • You look less "old"
  • Won't fall over in the wind
Cons
  • Taxing on shoulder and back
  • Pressure on spine and shoulders
  • Clubs banging when walking

Cart Bags

These are specifically used for push or pull carts and golf cars. They do not have pockets on one strip of the bag to line up with the centre shaft of a push or pull cart. Most sit flat on driveable golf cars and on the ground.

Pros
  • Storage for everything - even a 6 pack
  • No club chatter when walking
  • Fits all push carts and buggies
  • On push cart, it's the most comfortable way to walk
  • More protective of clubs when travelling
Cons
  • Extra cost of push cart
  • Single-shoulder strap sucks for travelling
  • If there is no cart to push or drive, you're screwed

Staff Bags

These are used by the pros. I don’t recommend these as they’re inconvenient and cumbersome. They’re used for advertising on TV more than actual utility. There is little value to an amateur golfer besides for a boost in ego.


The Best Golf Bag Brands

The highest quality golf bags are made by the top club manufacturers but there are a few names who specialise in producing bags, in particular golf bags you may not have heard of.

The best golf bag brands

  • OGIO
  • Datrek
  • Titleist
  • Bag Boy
  • PING
  • Taylormade
  • Callaway
  • Sun Mountain

The above brands are considered the best due to high quality materials and innovation in developing their bags. Bags they produce carry everything you need; are durable, easy-to-use and look stylish.

There are lesser known brands and budget brands available. The main issue with the very budget options is the quality of the fabrics and zippers used. Often the very cheap bags fall apart after 6 months. Zippers break, lining comes undone and the finishing frays very easily.


How to choose the Best Golf Bag for You - Important Questions

There are some important questions to ask yourself before buying a golf bag which can help identify which one is best.

Is it important your bag brand matches your golf club brand?

Some golfers love to match their clubs with their bag brand but often this is a non-issue. Totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers who focus on bags and apparel place more importance than a club manufacturer would on creating a great golf bag.

Do you prefer walking the course or driving a golf car?

If you like driving a golf car when you play, a cart bag will suit you best. They’re designed to fit and stand easily on the back of a golf car. The pockets are designed to be easily accessible from a cart. The stand bags are often awkward to put upright on a cart. Newer stand bags have flat bases so don't write them off too quickly. It all depends on the next few questions.

If you like walking, you have the option of carrying the bag on your shoulders with a stand bag or using a push cart with a cart bag attached to it.

Do you prefer walking the course with a bag on your back or on a push cart?

If you prefer using a push cart you are best served getting a cart bag. They are designed specifically to give access to all the pockets and align correctly to the cart. Weight of the bag is less of an issue because it’s rolled on the cart over the ground.

Carrying a bag would require a lightweight stand bag with nice double straps to distribute the weight over your shoulders evenly. Cart bags only have one strap and are cumbersome to carry around the course.

Do you have any back problems?

If you have a bad back, it’s best to have a cart bag you drive with on a car or you put one on a push cart and push your bag around easily. Carry and stand bags will place added pressure on and tire out your back.

Pull carts wreak havoc on your lower back so it's best to avoid pull carts and opt for a push cart.

Do you travel with your clubs?

Travelling with a cart bag is a major pain. The single strap is uncomfortable and the bags have not been ergonomically designed to be carried.

If you travel with your clubs, it’s best to have a carry/stand bag. You can hitch it up to a cart you rent or carry it around yourself on the golf courses you visit.

A great option is to have your cart bag for your home course and the courses nearby. Then for travelling to other cities or countries, have a second, lightweight carry bag.

Is storage space a priority for you?

A cart bag on a push cart offers you maximum storage space for everything you need on the golf course. The push carts have their own built in storage on top of the cart bags many compartments. You’ll have enough supplies to live for a week on the course.


Reviews of the Best Golf Bags


The Best Golf Stand Bag for Walking

Stand bags have come a long way. Nowadays, the best golf stand bags have stronger legs, more club dividers, more pockets, less weight and can be used on carts. A double strap to distribute the weight comfortably over your shoulders is going to add enjoyment to your game.

The Best Stand Bag: PING Hoofer

Top Stand Bag Alternatives

PING Hoofer

The PING Hoofer is my top selection for best golf bags because I like the light weight, intuitive storage options and easily adjustable strap.

Like with all Hoofers, this bag is built to last. It’s a very simple design, the material is rugged and the zippers are the best in the stand-bag class. The zipper pulls make opening and closing the many pockets quick and easy.

The huge number of pockets means you have place for everything in your golf bag. Pockets are placed in such intuitive ways and are easily accessible even when walking.

Everything is placed perfectly with attention to detail and the needs of the golfer in mind. You can access everything you need while walking. The insulated drink pocket also means your water isn’t going to seep onto your grips and valuables.

The simple and effective pen holder slot and golf glove Velcro pad add a touch of class to the bag. Little things like that and the rain cover that slides into the pocket that presses against your butt as you walk make the Hoofer ergonomic to the max.

Great legs and bottom that won't age

The stand mechanism is a work of art as the legs have only 2 positions: in or out. So many bags on the market have mechanisms that fail, leading to legs that hang loose instead of tight up against the bag while you carry it. Not the PING.

The legs have been designed with a small bend in them to make them stronger and sturdier than other bags on the market.

The bag is just as comfortable flat on its base as it is with the legs extended on the stand. You can put this on a cart easy-peasy. The smaller base ensures ease of use on a golf cart.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • 5 way top divider
  • 12 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Sensor Cool Technology in straps keep moisture away
  • Many color designs
Pros
  • Hoofers last FOREVER
  • Best stand mechanism 
  • Great pocket design and config
  • Top quality zippers
  • Easily adjustable straps
Cons
  • Pockets are numerous but could've been larger 
  • Velcro glove pad is a little small

The Best Lightweight Golf Bag

For a lot of golfers, the weight of a bag is a deal maker or breaker. While the Callaway Hyper Lite Zero is an astonishing 2.5 lbs, the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite  offers more overall value in terms of storage, colour options and style.

Best Lightweight Bag: TaylorMade FlexTech Lite

Top Lightweight Bag Alternatives

TaylorMade FlexTech

The best thing and what makes this range so good is the similarity to PINGS new designs. Like the PING Anser putter has been replicated millions of time since its patent expired, it seems the design of PINGs bags is so good, people want in on them too!

The stand is legit. It’s sturdy and works well keeping the legs extended fully or contracted fully, no loose hanging legs while carrying. Like with the PINGs, the bag is at home in legs spread position as well as flat on the base for cart hookup and storage.

Comfort and Ergonomic Design

Carrying the bag is very comfortable on the back and butt, while the straps are very comfortable, holding the bag in a very pleasant position across your back side. TaylorMade used high quality fabrics in creating this bag and probably rates as the best they’re released.

The pocket configuration is intuitive and accessible while walking. You won’t need to always put the bag down to reach your valuables or your drink. The zipper pulls are large rings which are very easy to get your fingers into and yank open the zippers.

Eight nicely sized pockets mean you can store a ton of stuff. The interior mesh pockets in the main pocket help to divide up the small and big stuff so there’s no need to rummage. Another cool feature on the inside of the bag is a zip that gives you access to the club compartment to retrieve things you’ve dropped down the top of the bag – keys, bottle, wallets, your kids etc. An insulated drink pocket is included as well.

Edgier colors and design

Where the TaylorMade does have an advantage over the PING bags is the styling. The colours and design of the bags are just a little edgier and less workman-like.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs
  • 4 way full-length dividers
  • 8 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Dual density strap for added comfort
  • Molded hip pad for carrying comfort
  • Brilliant simplistic color schemes
Pros
  • Stylish
  • Fantastic stand construction
  • Intuitive pockets
  • Access to club compartment
  • Lightweight with comfy straps
Cons
  • A rangefinder pocket would be cool

The Best Golf Bag for Push Carts

Best Cart Bag: SUN MOUNTAIN Teton

There is a lot of confusion out there about cart bags for push carts. That is understandable because you get push carts and you get riding carts. The bags for each are quite similar but the design elements are different and having the wrong bag for your push cart can be a real pain in the ass.

Here's the good stuff:

Top Push Cart Bag Alternatives

The 14 dividers are full length from the top of the bag to the bottom. No more taking one club out and three more coming with it. There is no tangling of club grips in the bottom of this bag.

Organizing your clubs with the 14 dividers is simple and leaves a very accessible layout to get any club you need.

Tons of space and storage

7 pockets are placed conveniently so they are all easily accessible while on the push cart. Your valuables can be put in a fleece lined pocket while the ball pocket is very roomy indeed. Despite having so much storage space, the bag is very light at around 5 lbs.

The bag fits well on push carts and won’t interfere with the use of your console. Accessing your shorter clubs is easy and they won’t bash into your cart. You won’t need to rearrange your clubs to find your Houdini wedges.

If you do decide to ride, the bag works well too.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 7 pockets 
  • Anti-flex walls for strength
  • Durable polypropylene top divider
Pros
  • Perfect design for push cart for accessibility
  • Synced functionality and design
  • Putter well accommodates thick grips
  • Lightweight
Cons

  • Colors are not exciting

The Best Golf Cart Bag for Riding

Best Cart Riding Bag: Sun Mountain C130

Sun Mountain has established itself as a cart bag leader. Anywhere you find a Sun Mountain golf bag, you’ll find a very satisfied boy (or girl). 

Sun Mountain's name is associated with high quality golf bags since their sole focus is apparel - they don’t produce clubs. So well-known in fact, they product a lot of Titleist’s golf bags.

The C130 is a seriously popular golf bag with players who ride carts and it’s easy to see why. So popular in fact, stock runs short regularly.

Top Cart Riding Bag Alternatives

All 10 pockets on the bag are forward facing and 100% accessible while on a cart. They’ve designed the bag to be ultra-firm at the point where it’s strapped to the golf cart - the bag doesn’t cave in and pinch your clubs as you pull them out.

Putters with thick grips are more than welcome in the very accommodating putter-well. If you’ve got the yips and want to carry 2 putters in there you can!

The top of the C-130 bag is angled so that the smaller clubs can be organised near the front and the woods around the bag. You can see the full set when looking at the bag. The top features three solid handles to very easily pick the bag up with.

Survive a week stranded on the golf course

The cooler pocket holds between 4 and 6 beers to keep your well lubricated the whole way round the course. You can pack a week’s worth of clothes into the two full length clothes pockets. The multiple “valuables” pockets will host your keys, wallet, watch, phone and rangefinder in their own little compartments. Real attention to detail.

The bag that can't be moved

Everyone's had their golf bag fly off the back of a golf cart when the strap comes undone. Not with the C-130. There are Smart Straps you hook into the basket of the cart so it will NEVER fall off the cart. It's just the best golf bag for carts.

Is there anything to dislike about the Sun Mountain C130? Perhaps the fact it’s not great for push carts. Other than that, this is easily the best golf cart bag on the market for use in a golf car.

Vital Statistics
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 10 pockets
  • 3 integrated top handles for maneuvering 
  • Velcro glove holder
  • Velcro Smart Straps keep bag from falling off cart
  • Angled top
  • Insulated drinks pocket
Pros
  • Easy access to clubs
  • Lots of accessible pockets
  • Will not fall off the golf cart - period
  • Large putter well
  • Store a 6 pack in the bag!
Cons
  • Not that great for a push cart

The Best Golf Bag on the Cheap - One & Done

The Best Cheap Stand Bag 

Vital Statistics
  • Classic simple colors
  • 8 way divider
  • 6 pockets with valuables pouch
  • Only 4.5 lbs
  • Ergonomic straps and carrying design
Top Cheap Stand Bag Alternatives

Best Cheap Cart Bag

Vital Statistics
  • Easy-on-easy-off handles 
  • 14 way  full length dividers
  • 14 zippered pockets
  • Use on riding or push carts
Top Cheap Cart Bag Alternatives

The Best Golf Bag Rain Covers


Rain cover protection for any bag with access to pockets

This Rain Tek waterproof golf club rain cover attaches to any brand of bag. It's secured onto the cart with Velcro straps.

If it looks like you can't access any of your pockets, Rain Tek have included two side access zips and one lower access. There's even a rainproof pocket for your scorecard.

Simply the best golf bag rain cover on the market.


Versatile for riding, walking or pushing - quick fix

 The Sun Mountain Dry Hood drip system and the straps attach to the bag in seconds and won't being moving anywhere. They've used durable and waterproof Nylon that is rip-resistant.

It looks big and ungainly but it stores nicely in your bag inside its own storage bag but doesn't affect access to your clubs at all. A total breeze to use. 

How to Chip – A Complete Guide for Everyday Golfers

Chipping is the most overlooked part of the game yet it doesn’t rely on power or strength or flexibility. Anyone with a brain with half an ounce of brains in it can do it at the same level as the pros.

You don’t need Brooks Koepka biceps to chip well and you don’t need to be 6 ft 5 to dunk a chip.

So why do so many of us ignore it?

Usually it’s ego – most guys just want to hit the big booming drive but don’t realize you need to get stronger physically before you can swing it faster to hit it longer. Lots of guys think it’s boring, but do you think signing for your first 79, 89 or 99 is boring? And that’s how you break your scoring barriers, by shaving strokes around the greens.

GOLF SIDEKICK’S MASSIVE CLAIM

In fact, I’m going to make a massive claim and tell you that after reading this guide and doing the things in it, you can shave off 5-10 shots within 3 rounds.

I understand what you think though. I sucked at the short game for a long time. I thought it was a mystery and fell into the same victimhood trap of watching better players and thinking they can just chip because they were born like that.

What a load of horse twaddle! Just read and watch the stuff below and go try it. You’ll be a new man and a lower scoring man in no time. Chicks dig guys with good short games.

But Golf Sidekick, Is the Short Game Really THAT Important? I Wanna Hit Driver dude!

If you really can’t get the ball off the tee box and you’re leaving more balls short of the ladies’ tee, then you probably need to get that sorted out by visiting a coach or reputable pro.

But if you can get the ball airborne in the general direction of the fairway and hit it near the green in two or three shots, I’ll bet the short game is where you can shave off some quick strokes.

I’ve played so much golf with mid to high handicappers. Literally 20+ years of it and the one thing in common is usually a shoddy short game. I have a friend, Didi who hits a driver 220 yards off the tee, uses mostly fairway woods to get near the greens and plays off an 8, with one of the craziest swings you’ve ever seen.

But how?

He can chip and putt like a machine!

Do me a favor...

Next time you play a round; I want you to mark down how many shots you take on each hole inside 50 yards.

If you’re green side and getting up and down in two shots 50% of the time, you just need to practice and don’t need to read this article. But if you’re taking three or four shots around the green often, this is for you.

General Premise of This How to Chip Guide

The basic idea I use for showing you to chip is to simplify the technique and remove all doubt regarding the balls interaction with the ground, so you can make consistent chips with consistent results.

To remove the doubt and fear of how the ball will react to the ground, the GENERAL PREMISE is to GET THE BALL ROLLING on the green as soon as possible. This is achieved by the technique outlines below and is the surest way to avoid those inconsistent results you may be used to.

Get it rolling sooner and see more chip-ins and up-n-downs!

Lofting the ball too far onto the green with a high loft club is a guaranteed way to get the chipping yips. Doubt, fear, insecurity all creep in because you don’t know if you’re going to leave it short, if it’s going to spin, if you’ll teeth it across the green or duff it 1 foot in front of you.

My technique combined with getting the ball rolling ASAP will stop these doubts and fears and make you love chipping.

Pick one club to chip with all the time

Before we get into the technique, you must select one club to start chipping with. I suggest the Pitching Wedge but you can use a 9 iron, 8 iron, or any wedge just please do not use a 58° or 60° to start with. We will introduce them much later when you’ve mastered the techniques and have confidence.

Technique: How to Chip Like a Playa

There is one infallible technique to use for chipping. Follow this to the letter and you will go from the skuller, the fluffer and the flipper to the chipping extraordinaire.

Step 1: Open your stance, feet together

With full golf shots, we have to rotate our lower bodies from square to the ball to square to the target. With chipping, I want to eliminate that aspect of the swing to make it super simple.

By presetting your lower body open to the target – essentially aiming your feet left of the target line – we make it simple for our body to rotate through the shot automatically.

By putting your feet close together, you make sure you have no possibility of falling onto the back foot to scoop the ball in the air (explained more below).

Step 2: Ball Position - Front or Back Foot Only

I want you to commit to two balls flights only – high or low.

I would suggest starting with the back foot as we want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible with my technique. If you find you’re hitting the ball before the earth, you can move it to the front foot.

If you play it off the middle of the stance, you’re not committing to a ball flight which is a recipe for disaster as COMMITMENT is the only key to good execution.

Step 3: Hands ahead of the ball at all times

By setting your hands ahead of the ball, you prevent the temptation of “flipping” the ball in the air by flicking your wrists.

This is the death blow for chipping. Any time you scoop with your wrists at the bottom of the swing, you bring shanks, duffs and skulls into play. The consistency is just not there with the scoopy scoop. Wth the hands preset in front of the ball, and a forward shaft lean, you will be preset in a FANTASTIC position to make crisp, clean, consistent chips every time.

Step 4: Weight on the Front Foot

You must place all your weight on the front foot. In fact, you should be able to chip standing just on your front foot.

Why do we do this? This will stop you from falling onto the back foot to try scoop the ball in the air. This is one of the most common things I see in a golfer whose chipping is suspect. A wide stance and the desire to help “lift” the ball into the air while transferring weight to the back foot.

This hurts me deep inside but it’s easy to fix!

Execution of the chip

Now that your body is set up to make a perfect chip, the actual execution is where you’ll most likely fail when chipping. Used in conjunction with the above technique, this is how you chip like a BOSS:

Read the green. Is it uphill, downhill, right to left, left to right?

This is exactly the same process as you would do when putting. But I want you to really and truly envision that ball jumping off your club face and take the line you see on the green, all the way to the hole.

Now, on that LINE you saw in your mind, find the SPOT on the green you think the ball should land to react the way you think it will react and roll up to the hole.

This SPOT is where you want to land the ball.

Because you’ve read it, you’ve envisioned it, this SPOT is all you’ll focus on and your only desire in the moment of the chip is to land that ball on that SPOT. I can’t stress enough how important this is to chipping.

At this stage, the hole means literally nothing. You’ve made your plans, you’re happy with the SPOT and you know if you land it on the SPOT, you’ve executed the shot you want.

Use your practice swings to gauge your power level to get the ball to land on the SPOT and roll out to the hole.

But How Do I Know Where the SPOT Is?

Well my good man, you need to practice. But just a little bit. 

You need to get to a practice green and hit some chips and watch how they react. With experience, this process becomes so easy that you’ll wonder how the hell you were never a chipping maestro before. (Practice section is at the end of the article below).

Once you understand how the ball reacts to the slopes, greens and your particular shot profile which is unique to you, then you actually don’t need a green to practice on.

You can practice anywhere just hitting a spot. It’s that simple. Once you know how to hit a ball onto a SPOT with the TECHNIQUE described above, chipping is merely a copy paste exercise wherever you are playing.

Changing Clubs

As you get better at chipping with your one single club, you’ll we well grooved in the ability to hit the SPOT. But there comes a time when you may need to use a club with less loft for a longer chip or more loft for a shorter chip.

That’s the best part of this system. You use the EXACT SAME swing and power level, just change the club. You still pick a SPOT and then you swing the new club with the same motion you used with your usual chipping club.

Let’s say you use a PW most of the time, but now you have a really long chip – something like 25 yards with loads of green to work with. Now you know your pitching wedge is great for this type of chip but only from maybe 15 yards.

Those extra ten yards requires you to chip it on too far and you don’t know how it will react with a pitching wedge.

So now you find that spot close to the front of the green. Then you pick a lower lofted club like a 9 iron or 8 iron. Swing it the exact same way you would with the pitching wedge and watch it land on your spot and run up to the hole. That’s how easy this is.

The opposite is also true. If you have a downhill chip or a short chip, find your spot within a yard of the front of the green and select a higher lofted club. If you use your PW to chip most of the time, use a 52° or 56° club and watch how it doesn’t run out as far as the PW!

Here at 3:12 second, you'll see how a subscriber to my Youtube channel learn the secret to chipping along the ground, IN JUST ONE ATTEMPT!

Technique + SPOT + correct club = Short Game Nirvana

Why you Shouldn’t Use your 60° or 58° Lob Wedge to Chip

There are exceptions to this but in general, mid handicappers and high handicappers should avoid these clubs because they’re much harder to get right with consistency of spin than a PW, 52° or even a 56°. It’s not only the loft but also the bounce of the club and size of the sole that affects the shot.

A lob wedge often has less bounce and a thinner sole which means it will dig into the ground. We want something with a larger sole to glide through the turf and make chipping easier to stop chunked and duffed chips from hitting it fat.

These clubs also sometimes spin a lot, and sometimes don’t if you aren’t a qualified artist with them. The technique outlined above with a lower lofted club produces balls that spin the same way and roll out the same way every time.

But I need to hit flop shots all the time

I’m a single figure handicap (between 3 and 5) and I have to hit flop shots maybe once every three rounds. The rest of the time, I am hitting bump and runs like I describe in this article. If you find yourself needing to hit flop shots, your course management may need work and in that case, I suggest watching my Youtube videos on the topic, and reading my article on HOW TO MISS A GREEN LIKE A BOSS.

The only time you need to hit a flop shot is when you’re short-sided. Instead of covering this fundamental flaw with a band-aid called the flop shot, get to the root of your problem and discover the beautiful world of golf course management strategies.

You can find my strategies on my Youtube channel.

Lastly, here is another video on chipping with some of my practice drills at minute 1:48

NOW GO PRACTICE AND GROOVE THE FEELING!!!! BECOME THE PLAYA YOU WERE MEANT TO BE.

It's all very well reading this playa, but I urge you to get out to the practice green and start learning. This will take you maximum 10 hours of concentrated practice and grooving to get. 

Once you learn these techniques, you will just need to adjust your landing spot depending on the green speed and slopes of the greens wherever you play. I believe everyone can chip like a pro, YOU INCLUDED. No go forth and conquer the hell out of everyone.

How to Break Par and Then Break 70

How to break par imperfectly

In this guide, you’ll learn how I shot a 71 even though I hit some terrible shots. Shooting good scores doesn’t come from perfect rounds of golf – they come from managing the score by eliminating big errors by playing wise shots when things don’t go your way.

I’ve already written this guide to breaking 80 by using my 6-6-6 Sub Eighty System.

The Trlple 6 philosophy of realizing that you’re not perfect and can make mistakes is essential to better golf. We’re never perfect and to strive for perfection, with an expectation of actually achieving it will result in extreme disillusionment and eventually you’ll give up on golf.

I know, because I quite three times over the last 20 years.

The Mind is most important when breaking par

But to really go low, we need a much more measured approach mentally. We need to be stronger in our decisions, we need to remove stress, tension and uncertainty.

We also need to be so focused on what we want to do... in little spurts...while at the same time, letting go of all that focus.

I’ll explain more below, don’t worry.

You can break par with the game you have

The most important aspect of breaking par is easily this mental side of the game. You actually don’t need ALL the shots. You don’t need to boom it 320 off the tee like Rory. You just need to jam with what you got and realize what you don’t got and avoid that!

In this guide, I will focus on the following processes and concepts:

  1. THINK and PLAY boxes for a better pre-shot routine to take you to the next level
  2. Strategizing off the tee
  3. Dealing with disappointment and bum shots
  4. Playing shots you know in a more effective manner through planning the hole
  5. 100% commitment to shots
  6. Control the things you CAN control and forget the rest
  7. Post-shot routine
  8. Other instant game simplifying tactics and gadgets

Reading materials

At this stage, I have to advise you to buy this book: Every Shot Must Have a Purpose. Without a doubt, this is the single best investment in my golf game I’ve ever made. This book is the inspiration behind this guide.

It contains so much mental game insight and after I read it, the next day I shot this round of 71 at Dynasty Golf Course in Bangkok. That’s just how powerful the concepts are.


KEY CONCEPT 1: STRATEGIZING OFF THE TEE

I played some poor shots off the tee in this round but it showed me that I need to play stress-free golf rather. If I am uncomfortable on the tee, I need to change my tactic or club.

It's always better to hit a shot you feel 100% confident on than to just pick up the driver or whatever it is you bash into the trees every shot.

What I could have done better in this round, is select the clubs off the tee that felt comfortable and would also set me up with an easier NEXT shot. 

Set yourself up an approach shot into the green from your best distance and club. We want to hit greens in regulation to break par so it's easiest to do it from a place where you have maximum confidence.

KEY CONCEPT 2: DEALING WITH BUM SHOTS AND DISAPPOINTMENT

There was a time when I tied golf to my self-esteem and self-worth. There are a lot of guys who do that and we get upset because we hit an imperfect shot.

We know we can do better and so we get so frustrated with ourselves that we can’t let it go. That spoils a few holes in a row and then the round goes out the window.

The best thing you can do is let go of the idea of perfection and come to the realization that you don’t practice enough and you’ll never be on the PGA Tour.

That was a big one for me. I lived in a delusional world where I could hit Tour quality shots and in my fantasy, I could keep up with the top 10 golfers in the world. 

Learn from your bad shot and then endeavor to do it differently in the future. Then go hit your next shot by focusing only on that next shot.

You can’t control the shot you’ve just hit, but you can control your reaction and your focus on the next shot. Hit the shots you can hit and jam with what you got. It’s perfectly fine you can’t do certain things, just have the strength of character to accept it and move on.

TOP TIP TO MOVE ON FROM THE PREVIOUS HOLE: Start planning the next hole and respect each hole individually, that they need to be planned as one individual hole apart from any others. Stay in the moment and set up your next shot with the current one.

KEY CONCEPT 3: THE NEXT SHOT IS A MOMENT IN HISTORY, MAKE IT COUNT

By focusing purely on the execution of the next shot, you’ll automatically forget the previous, whether it was good or bad. The most important is that you make sure that this shot you’re standing over is one you are comfortable with and are confident you can do it.

You must plan it in your mind, imagine it, envision the details of the shot and become engrossed In the shot. Any doubt or distraction will mean a poor shot and more frustration.

It’s ultra-important to always pick a shot you KNOW you can hit. Often in stressful situations, especially after a bad shot, we “chase losses” like a gambler trying to win back his last stake he lost. We get emotional and make bad decisions.

Plan where you’ll hit the next shot and how you’ll do it. Think about the layout of the hole. Where is the best miss? Where’s the best part of the green to putt from? Where’s the place you don’t want to be? What’s the least stressful shot you could possibly hit here? Sometimes that’s a lay up. Sometimes it’s a shot to just short of the green. Sometimes it’s just not the Tour shot but the simplest stress-free shot.

KEY CONCEPT 4: COMMIT 100% NOTHING LESS

If you aren’t 100% committed to a shot, you’re done. This is so huge, it’s sad that it’s not discussed more.

To be committed to your shots, you need to know your shots. Once you’ve identified the shots you can hit, you must strive to eliminate the ones you can’t hit. You can work on those at the range every day before introducing them. Playing shots that you are NOT 100% SURE about on the course is guaranteed failure of execution.

For now, it’s all about what you CAN do. It’s not going to be perfect the first time out, but eventually you’ll be able to say to yourself, okay, I can’t hit this draw shot with the 3 iron, let me rather hit the 5 iron just short and because I CAN chip and putt, I am sure I can get up and down.

Maybe it’s the driver. If it’s giving you issues, just leave it out the bag and use your trusty hybrid or fairway wood off the tee. 

KEY CONCEPT 5: PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION TO HIT YOUR SHOTS

So you’ve got your shots you can hit, but now you need to hit your shots in a way that sets up good situations to actually hit them!

I can hit a hybrid with a draw

I can hit a driver with a fade

I can hit my irons high

I can hit my mid to low irons with a draw

I can hit my longer irons with a fade

I can chip and putt like a boss

I can pitch the ball to within 7 feet or so very often from inside 70 yards

I love green side bunkers

I do not hit a good flop shot

I was having problems with chunking my full wedge shots

110-115 yards, I didn’t have a shot for

I can’t draw the driver

I don’t hit a good hybrid off the fairway but good off the tee

3 iron is not great off the fairway

What does this mean?

I want to avoid situations around the green where I’ll be short sided so I never have to flop it. I want to leave myself anything but full SW, GW or LW into the greens. I don’t want 110-115 yard shots into greens. I just don’t have a club or shot that I’m confident in. On holes where a fade with the driver is not possible, I should hit a draw with the hybrid or 4 wood. Off the fairways I may need to hit a shorter club from long distance and pitch and putt. 3 iron and hybrid can end up anywhere, left or right which causes more pain than necessary.

I want to maximize my CAN DO shots and get myself into those positions more often to make birdies and save pars.

MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT & KEY CONCEPT 6: THINK & PLAY BOXES

The single best thing I picked up from the book was this concept.

There are two imaginary boxes. One behind the ball called the THINK box. The other box is next to the ball where you play from which is called the PLAY box. The two boxes are separated by the imaginary DECISION LINE.

We walk up to the ball and on the way, we need to be assessing everything. Wind strength & direction, stance, hazard location, pin location, distance to the hole, distance to clear hazards etc.

Once we have our club selection, we need to visualize the hell out of the shot. You must rehearse the shot in your mind from the THINK box. In this rehearsal of picking your aiming point, focusing on the landing area and feeling the shot, we MUST commit to this plan 100%.

There is no compromise here playas, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT COMMITMENT.

Once set, we walk across the DECISION LINE into the PLAY BOX. The DECISION LINE represents a boundary for our mind. Once we commit to a plan, we walk across that line and forget everything else. No more thinking at all, no doubt, no fear nothing!

Then we execute the shot in the PLAY BOX. We just hit the shot we planned! Any fear or doubt that comes into your mind means you MUST back away and reset. If you hit that shot with even a hint of fear or doubt, you’ll not execute the shot well. Now if the plan was good, you’ll be okay most of the time, but you’ll notice your most bum shots come from lack of commitment and allowing fear or doubt to creep in.

This is the opposite of STRESS-FREE GOLF. Doubt and fear is a stress. Hit shots you can hit and COMMIT to them NO LESS than 100%. 99% is just not good enough! Once in that PLAY BOX, your mind is free of any thoughts at all. Just a blank canvas.

KEY CONCEPT 6: POST SHOT ROUTINE

After your shot, it’s very important to react in a way that will let you continue playing well.

Instead of getting angry and overly emotional, we need to aim at reacting neutrally or positively only to shots. If you hit a good shot, enjoy the moment and remember the feeling for the next one.

If you hit a poor shot, it’s vital to understand why you hit a poor one. Was it lack of commitment? Wrong club selection? Did you estimate the wrong distance?  Is it even a shot you know how to hit? There are many factors and if you can identify the issue, you’ll be more accepting of the result.

Calling yourself an idiot or telling yourself you suck is recipe for disaster. You’re not as crap as you think. You’re more consistent than you think. But you need to understand what happened.

If you made a wrong decision, just make a better one next time.

If you picked the wrong club, then you actually hit a good shot with a good plan, just a small error. Take more or less club next time.

If you missed a putt because you misread the green, you probably actually hit a good putt. Your putting doesn’t suck, your green reading sucks.

I can guarantee, you do not suck at golf. You don’t suck at certain parts of golf.

KEY CONCEPT 7: CONTROL THE THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL AND FORGET THE REST

Have you played golf with that guy who swears, shouts and curses all the time, working himself up into a frenzy? Have you seen the guys breaking clubs? Have you played with that dude who blames literally everything for his game except himself? The weather, the slow players, the grass, the water, the sand in the bunkers, the political situation?

That guy may be you!

I know I would always look for excuses like a punk. That book I mentioned really does a good job of putting it into perspective.

There is such a fine line between a 75 and a 69. It’s actually easy for us to shave off those 6 shots, and we have all the shots, but we will need to be in control of our thoughts, our decisions and the following things we CAN control:

  • Our physical shape: fit or unfit
  • Sleep: this is my biggest problem – not sleeping enough and playing poorly
  • Club selection
  • Shot selection
  • Planning of the shot
  • Focus on the shot
  • The clubs we take to the course
  • Our clothing
  • Our attitude
  • Our reactions
  • Our emotions
  • Our equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Commitment to a shot
  • Your marital status

What we CAN’T control and must totally not allow to affect our purpose and mood:

  • The weather
  • The layout of the course
  • The course characteristics
  • The previous shot
  • The result of a shot
  • The bounce of the ball
  • Our playing partners’ mood, attitude, actions
  • Slow play in front of you
  • Pushy players behind you
  • The price of the golf
  • Speed of the greens
  • Food in the kiosk
  • The hotness of the drinks cart girl
  • The distance the other guy hits it past you
  • Dustin Johnson’s massive drives you can’t hit
  • Everything else you can’t control but that you let affect your mental state!

KEY GADGETS AND ‘HACKS’ TO IMPROVE INSTANTLY

Get a rangefinder.

Knowing distances to clear hazards, distances to fairway bunkers and all sorts of info will really help you to make confident swings at the ball. Knowing you can clear certain things while also knowing you can’t reach certain things off the tee helps your game immensely.

Shooting to the front of the green and back of the green can also help you to know how far back you can go or how short you can go on approaches. I don’t know why I didn’t have one of these much sooner.

Know your distances and drop the ego

Know the exact distances you hit your clubs. By this I mean the distance you hit your clubs 80% of the time. Not the one in 50 shot you hit your 6 iron 210 yards, but the distance you hit it 80% of the time which is more like 185 yards.

Ego shots will leave you in the bunkers short, the water hazards short.

Forget the other guy’s club selections

I was affected by the fact the other dude I am playing with might hit one less club than me meaning he is way stronger or longer. It would make me try keep up and I would end up short of the target every time, or trying to force a shot which is not what we want.

Then I realized my clubs were 10 years older than his and the loft on them was 3 degrees more per club. Now when someone hits a 7 and I hit a 6, whatever! Just play your game and be happy to jam with it the way it is!