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Opinion & Analysis

Do you really need new equipment? Yes and no.

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It’s a question we ask ourselves: Do I really need that new club? Will it help me play better? Will my scores get lower?

For a lot of golfers the answer is still a resounding NO – but it’s not the clubs’ fault! It’s that so many golfers still don’t go through the process of getting fit. Whether it be a driver, wedges, or even your golf balls, taking just a bit of extra time to work with a professional to help you find the best fit, means you won’t be wasting any more money…or strokes.

It used to be (a long time ago) you’d walk into the pro shop or retail store and say, “I’m looking for a new driver, I play a 9.5 stiff.” I still suffer from golf retail PTSD from the particular phrase “I really like that new (insert brand) driver, can you fit me for a 9 degree.”

Yep. You read that right, fit me for a predetermined loft. That’s like going into a tailor and asking for a new suit based off the measurements you had in high school…probably not the best idea.

Let’s start with drivers, considering the number of options from all the OEMs, COG options, through adjustability, hosel adjustments, shafts (profiles, weights, flexes, balance points), and finally grips (size, taper, feel, material etc), there are an almost infinite number of options (with maybe 2-3 that are actually ideal just for you).

You could take the time to try everything, but then by the time you get through most of the options as an individual, I would reckon your golf season would be close to over. There are obviously levels to getting fit, and I’m not oblivious to the fact that for a lot of golfers, cost is a factor in the decision. Even when trying to nail down a previous generation model from a big box store, you can’t go wrong with talking to one of their fitters and going through adjustments to find which settings offer the most consistent results, NOT just the one longest drive.

Irons are just as complicated, if not more, thanks to the fact that now we’re working with more than one club. You have gapping, lies and lofts, sole profile/width, forgiveness, offset, along with “the usual” shafts and grips. I could go on and on, especially when it comes to wedges, but I’m trying to make it snappy. If you are blindly buying a wedge or a wedge set based solely on the loft and stated bounce number, you probably aren’t using the right wedges!

So this brings us back to the original question: “Do you really need new equipment?”

Let’s break it down a few ways.

The “No” Crowd: If you are a VERY casual golfer already having fun with your current clubs and can’t think of a reason to switch. Don’t. I’m not saying these players won’t find improvement from a fitting, but from what I’ve experienced, these golfers will get more from their golfing budget from just enjoying the game when they play. Don’t think that means I’m only focusing on the beginner golfer. If you’re a good player, haven’t experienced any swing changes, and have been fit for clubs in the last 2-3 years, the potential marginal gains (unless replacing a truly worn out club like a wedge),  the cost/benefit of a new club or clubs might not be worth it — but I’ll leave up to the individual player to decide.

The “Maybe” Crowd: If you’re a recreational/club golfer and have been playing the with the same clubs for 6-10 years and are starting to lose the performance that you previously had, whether it be from just playing less, losing speed, injury, or just good old father time, you’re going to see a benefit from a change. This could be as simple as changing a driver to help get back some distance. Even if your average drive is 225 yards, a six percent improvement in length off the tee mean 13.5 fewer yards into every green (on average). That’s some serious strokes gained potential.

The “Yes” Crowd: This is where a lot of “WE, the WRX golfers” probably fit — unless you’re in the “no” crowd because of a recent fitting. We are the tinkerers, the club junkies, the curious, but many or most of us don’t have access to our own launch monitors or fitting studios (myself included, although I used to). The “yes” crowd is for those who constantly seek to maximize performance.

So, do you really need new equipment? Ultimately, that depends on who “you” are and which crowd you’re a part of.

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. The dude

    May 10, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Good article!….I’m a ~ +2..and all my stuff is at least 8 years old. I wonder what new stuff could do for me?

    • David Elliott

      May 10, 2019 at 9:53 am

      I’m in the same boat as “The dude.” Fitted in college and got a whole new set in 2013. 6 years later I still like and trust my clubs, but wonder how my swing/technology have changed now that I’m playing less.

      • the dude

        May 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm

        I gotta “glued in” old TM…… I”ve tried all the new stuff (not as good). Kinda frustrating in a way…i wanna some new sh*t!!!!

  2. James R Miller

    May 10, 2019 at 7:15 am

    I have a old set of Mcgregor irons 2 to the 10 iron that are in great shape can you tell me what year they could be from

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On Spec

On Spec: The origin stories of popular golf club designs

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Host Ryan Barath takes a long look back at the lineage of club designs from putters to drivers, and explains why we often see trends repeat themselves. From the eureka moments to modern-day manufacturing techniques that allow for continuous breakthroughs in forgiveness and overall performance. We try and cover it all on the show!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

Renee Parsons is….

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When we started discussing the idea of a PXG series, one of the things I was most curious about was meeting the person that drives the feel of PXG—not the clubs, the feel of the company, the aesthetic, the physical experience, the style…you get it. My assumption was that an introduction to a creative team would be made, but I was dead wrong. The name I was given was one person, Renee Parsons.

Like my article on Bob, I need to say this out loud. Yes, she’s Bob’s wife. Get over it. Yes, they have lots of money. Get over it. Yes, they live in an atmosphere that to most would seem lavish and a bit extreme. Get over it. And yes, it’s probably convenient that Mrs. Parsons is leading the fashion side of PXG. Get over it. Could the Parsons have gone outside of their family walls to find someone else for the job? Probably. The question is why, when the best and most qualified person sits next to Bob 24/7.

It’s a fact, both of them came from very humble beginnings and clawed, scratched and fought their way to the reality they live in now. I’m sure there are those who don’t agree with how they get things done; I’m certain no one at the Parsons residence or PXG as a company is losing sleep over it. I’d love to meet the person who wouldn’t trade places with them. If that person exists please say hi…I’ll wait.

Now that the housekeeping is done…

Having been guest of PXG a few times, I am always overwhelmed by the detail that goes into the whole experience. I mean even the soap is the greatest thing ever. As the schedule started to go out for our shoot I was most excited and nervous for the interview with Renee. It’s the truth. I know Bob well enough at this point, but the Renee conversation is a bit outside my wheelhouse. She is the president of PXG apparel—fashion—something I know very little about. There is also the elephant in the room (that got blown away the moment we met) she’s Mrs. Parsons and anyone with a brain would approach this with a bit of nervousness.

Any caution or nerves I had amassed leading up to the moment of introduction evaporated quickly. As you’ll see in the video, Renee Parsons is a fun, real, tough and measured businesswoman whose ambition rivals Bob’s. After spending time with her, I not only found enhanced respect for what she is endeavoring but also what she has accomplished already.

The PXG brand overall is a culture. It’s big, disruptive, cocky and oh so much fun. It’s not engineered for everyone to like it FYI. It’s very high end, edgy apparel that refuses to stray away from the simple essence that is PXG. The best materials JAM-PACKED into a clean, sleek package.

Like the clubs, the apparel is expensive. $200 sweaters, $300 backpacks, etc. But, like the clubs, you get what you pay for. For a nonfashion eye, I can even attest that the PXG things in my possession hold up as well as anything I have, and even more they are special to me. That’s the thing. It’s special. This is the essence of what Bob, Renee and Team have done.

Like, for instance, Mercedes Benz, PXG has created a brand that part of you might resent because of the cost, but the other part is not only curious but is attracted to what you see. It makes you curious and that is the secret sauce of what Renee is pushing for PXG Apparel. You may see it and have preconceived notions, but damn if you aren’t curious to know more. Then, you get any PXG product in your hands, or walk into the doors of Scottsdale National or PXG HQ….and you know what? You never want to leave.

That’s the biggest takeaway from my time with Renee: I’m excited and curious to see where this goes. If it’s anything like my own personal experience with the things I have been involved in with PXG (like the Scottsdale National Experience that RP had a huge hand in cultivating) it will be big, fun, cocky and leave me wanting more. So, to answer the question, Renee Parsons is…ambitious, and she is going to make the PXG brand bigger than Bob ever dreamed.

Enjoy the video!

 

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Bogey Golf: How to plan a golf trip

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Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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