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Let’s put an end to the term “women’s golf clubs”

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As someone who works in the golf industry and writes about equipment, but who has also worked as a clubfitter and club builder, I believe there is one part of the vernacular we need to eliminate—the idea of “women’s clubs.”

“Women’s golf clubs” have been around for as long golf clubs have been marketed, and for a period of time, like so many things I’m sure, they had a significant purpose: helping female players find what they needed to hopefully improve their golf games. But in this modern era of club fitting and customization, I think we need to put an end to identifying clubs by sex.

I remember my experience at the Titleist Performance Institute, and one of the first things I was told by my fitter Glenn Mahler was

“I don’t fit clubs based on gender, age, handicap, or physical abilities. I fit clubs for golfers, period—to allow them to achieve their absolute best results”

I believe this is the best way for people to start thinking more about the segments of clubs made for players across the board. Male golfers don’t walk into a big box store and say “I’m looking for men’s clubs,” they say “I’m looking for clubs,” and then they get fit. If a female long drive golfer (yes, I realize it’s a small market segment) walked into most big box stores and asks to try a driver, I’m willing to guess that 90 percent of the time someone is going to give them a very poor fitting club based solely on sex—and that’s wrong.

This is where the custom club fitting industry has been ahead of the curve for a long time. Golfers, regardless of sex, walk in with clubs. They are assessed, and then a fitting begins. I have built enough clubs to know that sex is not a discussion point when building a set. This is also where OEMs need to start figuring out ways to better communicate options instead of just offering some clubs in different color options.

Yes, there are OEMs that make wonderful sets of clubs designed exclusively for women—one of the best is Ping and its G Le series. Ping is currently in the second generation of the series, but the first generation G Le driver even won a major championship thanks to Pernilla Lindberg at the ANA Inspiration. But for some manufacturers, beyond a different shaft and grip options, there really isn’t anything else that makes the club itself truly different—and if we are just talking a shaft change, that can be made through custom order.

So, why call it a women’s club?

One of the best examples of building a unisex brand is Accra Golf shafts. They don’t identify their shafts by stiff and regular, they identify by a numeric code from M1-M5+. It’s extremely helpful for a couple of reasons, not just with women but with men in need of a softer flex (there always seems to be a lot of ego involved for some reason). It’s a lot easier to say “you are an M1 or an M2” rather than “sir, you need senior flex shaft”

As the demographics in golf continue to evolve—don’t forget women are still the fastest-growing segment of the golf population—I believe that more companies will be taking notice, and soon we won’t be talking about women’s clubs anymore.

I discussed the subject of “women’s golf clubs” on my podcast, On Spec, which you can check out below.

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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.

64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. paul

    Sep 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    First off, often times the reason people say “I’m looking for women’s clubs” is because 95% or whatever percent of golfers are men, so often times it is for a point of clarification. Second, I can’t speak for women, but would think sometimes women want to have clubs that are different from men’s. An example for me would be, if I want a purse, I’m damn sure am going to clarify “I want a manpurse!” because I don’t want them bringing out something pink and frilly or some purse with cats on it. Also, the problem with Accra’s flex designations is that nobody knows what they mean. The industry standard has evolved to an imperfect but functional nomenclature of women, senior, regular, stiff, x stiff, etc. I play uniflex shafts which would basically be considered non-binary shafts. The grips are rainbow. Unfortunately my driver shaft is straight, senior and white, and so it’s obviously a homophobe which causes some issues in the bag from time to time.

  2. Dan

    Sep 11, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Hey Ryan, nice piece. Those of us who weren’t triggered by your point and actually understood it thank you.

    I actually think there’s an interesting point in here about finding a means to denote flex without damaging ego. Some how made the fair point that big box stores need to make it easy and accessibly for less tech oriented customers to know what off the shelf equipment typically meets their needs, but I think there’s a way to move away from Senior Light Reg Stiff X system that encourages people to buy the wrong equipment, regardless of gender.

    I work in branding and advertising, so I totally appreciate their argument about simplicity, but I’ve managed to buy shoes my whole life without a small medium and large sizing model just fine. People just don’t like change. Especially ageing white dudes tired of the gender conversation, because it’s not about them for a change.

    • Scott

      Sep 12, 2019 at 12:26 am

      Dan,
      Good luck in “Brandinfand advertising”… because the whole “ write complete sentences, spell correctly” thing just isn’t working out for you…

      Signed,
      “Ageing” white guy who is triggered by your micro aggressions and racist, ageist, and misogynistic comments.

  3. K

    Sep 11, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Clickbait & lame. Stick to golf

  4. Flano

    Sep 10, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    I purchased men’s clubs a year ago but they now identify as women’s clubs. I’m so tolerant I tell people I play women’s clubs.

  5. BMS

    Sep 10, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    I see a lot of negative comments… how many people who commented here have daughters? My daughter plays and by the age of 12 had advanced to men’s clubs. That’s a hard sell to a 12 year old, she fought giving up her women’s clubs because she wasn’t a man and didn’t understand at first why she needed men’s clubs. My daughter loves to play, but a lot of the comments I see on here are the same type of stuff she gets at the course. It’s not direct but she here’s the moans and groans, the negativity by men. She reads these types of articles, especially the ones about females. Maybe it’s time we think before we type…

  6. PD

    Sep 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Might as well get rid of womens golf events as well then. Instead of calling it the LPGA just call it the PGA. Oh wait.

  7. Keith Allen

    Sep 10, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    I’m a 69 year old male golfer with a handicap of 16. Driver is not my best club. I played today with a TM Aero Burner Mini Driver with a ladies shaft. Hit it miles and in play. My three (male) partners didn’t ask to check the shaft.

  8. Webster Miller

    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    FWIW, in tennis there aren’t gender specific rackets. There are just as many if not more variables with rackets as there are with clubs in regards to fitting. I’ve been playing both sports at decently proficient levels, college tennis and single digit HDCP, for over 30 years and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a woman complain about a lack of women specific rackets but I HAVE heard women complain about being pigeon holed in regards to golf clubs.

  9. Allie

    Sep 10, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the article, I completely agree with you and wish more people felt the same! I am a former collegiate golfer and have always played men’s equipment. I drive the ball 250yds and play standard everything. I would love to be fitting for clubs that suit me regardless of how they are branded. I believe the fault in our current market is that it assumes all womens’ clubs should also be beginners clubs. Women have a place in golf and people will have to accept it sooner or later. There are female golfers who have been playing for a year socially, just as there are men who have been playing for a year. There are women who are playing professionally, just as there are men who play professionally. Skill level should not be defined by gender and anyone pursuing golf seriously who want performance based clubs should have a place in that market.

    Forget the haters, this is an important topic and I appreciate you bringing it to light!! As a woman who’s been working in the golf industry for years, I support you!

  10. Puff Puff Give

    Sep 10, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Y’all getting pretty triggered over this.

  11. dat

    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Insufferable article and logic of a typical brainwashed sheeple. Women want clubs that suit their game, and fashion sense 99% of the time. Put a matte black ACCRA shaft in there and it ruins the look and appeal of being a female golfer. Perhaps for the best of the best they’ll love having a custom fit, bada$$ set fit for a queen. But for most women, they want lightweight, attractive designs that are FUN. The game is social for most of them. I would know. I fit many of them in my day.

  12. Jim

    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:10 am

    This is the same as being left handed. It is small niche market for clubs. It isn’t biased to say I want left handed clubs the same as women’s clubs. Its just not the standard men’s right handed clubs that are made for the overwhelming market.

  13. JP

    Sep 10, 2019 at 8:54 am

    This whole argument he laid out is based on a logical fallacy. This is a pathetic attempt at wokeness. Essentially clubs are called kids clubs, women clubs, men, seniors clubs etc when they are off the shelf clubs to let different average people of different groups know what off the shelf, ready to go clubs, will be closest to their needs on average. Because on average kids, women, and men have different physical characteristics. The whole kids, womens, mens, seniors clubs, etc is not a be on end all of clubs it is for ease of entry. All this Ryan idiot is saying is “Hey guys I am better than you and here is why” then he goes on the make an argument where he uses custom club making to attack off the shelf branding. Of course custom club making is gender neutral you dense piece of rubbish. Its individualistic. Its completely ignorant and Ryan should be ashamed of himself for making such a low IQ assessment to just try and act like he is better than everyone else, which is all this kind of stuff is. Ryan here is a simple question, what is a better way to brand kids, women, mens, and senior off the shelf clubs so someones grandma can go to the big box store and know what starter clubs to buy as a gift?

    • Allie

      Sep 10, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Hey JP,

      I think we’d all be suited to think twice before posting nasty comments or assuming we know best. Ryan is trying to bring light to an issue many people want to push under the rug in golf. As Ryan says, ‘women are still the fastest-growing segment of the golf population’ and these conversations are important to have!

      • Larry

        Sep 11, 2019 at 3:12 am

        Ryan is the epitome of a woke feminine male.

    • Tyler Durden

      Sep 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      How does it feel to go through you’re whole life being an assh*le?

    • Bob Pegram

      Sep 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      It isn’t gender neutral. Here is why: most “men’s” clubs do not have L flex shafts available even on a custom order. Most “women’s” clubs don’t have anything other than L flex shafts available even if there are custom options which there usually aren’t. Usually “women’s” clubs can not be ordered at longer lengths.
      When I doing a lot of club fitting and a tall woman came in wanting clubs on a budget, I would steer her towards a “senior” set which was 1/2 inch longer than a standard women’s set and 1/2 inch shorter than a men’s set. Usually that worked well. If that was still too short I would suggest a men’s set with senior flex shafts or (rarely) regular flex shafts if she was a fast swinger. Sometimes she was fine with getting fit for a men’s set, sometimes not.

  14. Adam

    Sep 10, 2019 at 8:51 am

    I agree. Let’s stop saying “Womens clubs”
    We should say “Ladies Clubs”, its much classier.

  15. Jerry

    Sep 10, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Great article, along those lines they’re the forward tees.

  16. J

    Sep 10, 2019 at 5:47 am

    I would just like to add to this story of how deeply offended I am. I went to store the other day where I bought Little Tikes golf clubs for my 3 year old,

    Can you imagine the horror and embarrassment my 3 year endured when they called them Kids Clubs.

  17. Moe Norman

    Sep 10, 2019 at 1:52 am

    LOL Gender neutral golf clubs, screw this political click bait article

  18. Jtv

    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:53 am

    What a croq of bullshit.A big box store ,piss off with your oreneous take on them because I work for one .We are well trained to help everyone but take a retiree who wants clubs,older you think she doesn’t need women’s clubs lighter ,shorter.Sorry I stopped reading after a while.Theres a difference. FOR GOID REASONS.

    • dat

      Sep 10, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Exactly. I worked for GG. I fit college level female players into MEN’S shafts without any concern for their “gender”. I also fit retired women looking for a social game. They played WOMEN’S clubs or senior flex. ACCRA’s M1, M2, M3 flexes are just codes for the same thing. It’s all about swing speed and physical ability. However, a lot of women I helped out or fit simply wanted a set that looked good. So many of the men’s clubs are clearly geared at, well…MEN from a design standpoint, and for good reason.

      • Shank Drop and Roll

        Sep 10, 2019 at 12:15 pm

        As a fellow GG club fitter (formerly of Golfsmith), I too don’t look at gender when I fit people for clubs. I fit the person for what will work for them. I’ve fit women for steel shafts before and conversely, I’ve also fit an 80 year old man for ladies flex because that’s the shaft that gave him the best result.

        This article reeks of fake “wokeness” and SJW nonsense.

  19. Billy Thomas

    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:44 am

    What’s wrong with calling them “women’s golf clubs”?

    Stop with the PC BS.

  20. Pu Ci Lips

    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:30 am

    Lets get rid of kids clubs too. All clubs are created equal in China.

  21. That chick

    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Perfect case of mansplaining.

  22. Jake from Statefarm

    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Yawn!!!

  23. Rascal

    Sep 9, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    This is a pointless article that paints a demographic with a broad brush.
    Just saying.

  24. Jimmy

    Sep 9, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Ridiculous article. Serious female golfers don’t buy ‘women’s clubs’, they get fitted for what they need. The other 95% don’t get fitted (unlike what the article implies) and buy off the shelf or used and the ‘womens’ label on the set lets them know, approximately, what they’re getting. It serves a purpose.

  25. Brandon Angle

    Sep 9, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Well if you dont want to call them women’s clubs what will you call them? Light flex? Generally that’s the only difference right? I’ll tell you what, if women want to be equal as men, then they can do all the things men do exactly as we do, without any special treatment, if I have to lift 100 pounds repeatedly for my job then so do you. If women want all the things men have, then I have no problem with it, just dont half way do it. Dont just go for the CEO jobs and Senate. Get your hands dirty and pickup a sledgehammer. Get on a roof in the summertime and lay shingles. Frame a house. Drive a trash truck. Not so appealing now is it?

    • Turd Ferguson

      Sep 9, 2019 at 11:13 pm

      Do all of your knuckles drag on the ground? Sheesh.

      • Pound Sand

        Sep 10, 2019 at 7:18 am

        @Turd: So when someone makes a very cogent argument you’re first response is to insult? How very typical when you have absolutely nothing to contribute.

    • Wes B

      Sep 10, 2019 at 12:46 am

      Why all the SJW crap? Really gets old seeing it in the news non stop and now ESPN and all the sports sites wanna shove it down our throats too. We all love women and they arent victims. My brothers wife just started golfing with us and has been using my old set but they’re too heavy and wants a set of girls clubs.

  26. dj

    Sep 9, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Completely out of touch with women.

  27. Brandon

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Women who are serious about golf already go to get fit. The ones who just want to just come along once in a while and enjoy a day outside don’t seem to have a problem with box sets of women’s clubs. I know for a fact my wife would be pissed if I suggested she spend 500 bucks on a driver, a grand on irons, and like another grand on woods, wedges, and a putter.

    • Ron

      Sep 10, 2019 at 1:06 am

      Would she or you also be pissed to find that the box set didn’t care to be even close to the specs for the clubs on the website (for consistent loft and SW)? That happend fgor moine with a Callaway and then an Adams set…they were adjusted by a fittere.

      • Brandon

        Sep 10, 2019 at 8:33 pm

        Honestly I don’t think she would care. She isn’t keeping score or following the rules or anything, she just likes to come along because golf courses are beautiful and it’s nice to be outdoors. She hits every tee shot but if it doesn’t work out she just picks up and drops near the green as to not slow anyone down.

  28. I Voted For Obama

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Enough of the SJW nonsense. There is no stigma attached to the term “Women’s Clubs”. That’s what they are…women’s clubs.

    • drkviol801

      Sep 9, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      Exactly

    • JP

      Sep 9, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      Yet, you voted for obama. Ironic

      • I Voted For Obama

        Sep 9, 2019 at 9:12 pm

        Yeah, exactly. I’m one of the remaining liberals who isn’t out of their ever loving minds.

        • Mike

          Sep 10, 2019 at 7:18 am

          You’re not the only one… there are more of us out there. Don’t call me a liberal though, just say Democrat.

  29. FortySixAndTwo

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Here for the comments from dudes who can’t break 100 but think they could beat an LPGA player on a “real course.”

  30. #1KuchFan

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Good idea Ryan! Excellent Article. Women don’t like pretty colors. Very brave of you to stand up for women like this. Thank you for your service.

  31. Angelo

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Ryan uses women’s clubs and is sick of being ripped on for his 212 yard drives and 135 yard 7 iron.

  32. William

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Cool. Wow Ryan. You’re so “woke”.

  33. Madeline Morgan

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Well I’m a woman, one who takes the game seriously, and still plays off a 4 hcp even in her 60’s. And the last time I looked my MP 18 irons and Miura wedges and Z765 driver weren’t pink and didn’t say Ladies on them anywhere and I didn’t require a man to tell me that they were the clubs that would work for me. I did my homework and figured it out myself. That said, though, I would love to have had the help of a knowledgeable female golf shop sales person/fitter or a male of the same species whose knee-jerk assumption wasn’t that pretty mattered more to me than performance.

    • Ryan T

      Sep 10, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Bingo. You are a knowledgeable consumer. If you walked into a store and said, “I’m looking for clubs” and were taken to the women’s section, how can you really be offended? Is the rep supposed to look at you and go, “oh this woman hits men’s clubs and I need to fit her as such” Its the same if a man walked in who looked like he was a player, was shown blades and then said, “man I am just beginning. I think these are two difficult for me” or even vice versa. If the consumer goes in and just lets the customer service rep dictate what they want, then they can expect game improvement clubs. Be smart. Be knowledgeable and there is no need to be offended. Now if you walk in and tell the guy what you want and he balks at it and still shows you the game improvement women’s section, then you have a problem.

  34. Dave r

    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Good luck with that . if they want pretty givem pretty.

  35. Distance Compression Dude

    Sep 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    The title of this article is reeking of SJW nonsense. Enough already!

  36. Ro

    Sep 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Not only am I a woman, but I’m petite and left-handed. Try finding clubs for me! I’ve had to settle for less than I want or need. Somehow, I’ve been able to play and enjoy the game anyway for the last 25 years, usually with off-the-rack clubs. Go figure!

    • Bob Pegram

      Sep 10, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      There are some people who can get properly fitting clubs only from a custom club fitter. I am one. You sound like another. It is sometimes more expensive (not always), but worth it.

  37. JThunder

    Sep 9, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Trying to fight against lowest-common-denominator marketing is going to be a steep uphill battle.

    Big box stores and enormous chain golf shops offer simple solutions for those who want them… or cannot comprehend the more complex answers.

    Those with the interest or intellect for something better can find their local serious fitters. And a good instructor. The way things are going, eventually the choices will be a serious independent golf shop or Wal-Mart.

  38. JP

    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    When my wife asked me to buy her new clubs, she specifically said, “Can you find me a nice new set of Women’s clubs? I want something pretty if possible.”

    Who am I to tell her that doesn’t exist?!?

    • A. Commoner

      Sep 9, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      That is difficult to believe.

      • JP

        Sep 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

        If I could post a pic, I would. She got new pings and she liked the color of the shafts. Fairway woods the same. She’s in a G400 driver now, and I had to change the shaft to a colorful one.

        • JK

          Sep 9, 2019 at 11:56 pm

          My wife is the same way. Wants as much pink as possible on the club

          • jp

            Sep 10, 2019 at 8:58 am

            Bet yet here we have Ryan “I want everyone to know I am better than everyone else” Barth telling your wife she is wrong!

  39. Mansplaining

    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Sure… let’s tell women that they don’t really want what they want.

  40. Not Paula Creamer

    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Not helpful. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is that while half of women want unisex equipment, half want pink-everything. It’s a colour way, and it identifies an appropriate level for many.

    If you carry your argument further, you shouldn’t have “kids” clubs; just cut down unisex clubs.

    Carry it further, and then you should have only monochrome shaft colouring, because it’s distracting… etc. etc.

    “Pink” clubs serve a purpose, as an entry. But please do not act as if there isn’t a market for it. “Pink” clubs should not be CHEAP; they should be equal in quality… but don’t conflate the issues here. Many female golfers are exactly your Paula-Creamer-type player… they want a bag that isn’t “masculine” colours, but still provides full quality and no compromise.

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Opinion & Analysis

PGA Tour players on the rise and on the decline heading into 2020

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At the end of each season, I compile data on every PGA Tour player and then analyze which players are on the rise and the decline for the upcoming season. There are a number of variables that are historically quality indicators of a golfer’s future performance such as age, club speed, adjusted scoring average, etc. I tend to focus on what I call The Cornerstones of the Game, however, and these Cornerstones include:

  • Driving effectiveness
  • Red zone play (approach shots from 175-225 yards)
  • Short game shots (from 10-20 yards)
  • Putting (5-15 feet)
  • Ball speed

All that is needed to execute the Cornerstones of the Game is for the player to be in the top half on the PGA Tour in each metric. That’s the beauty of the concept; a player does not need to be dominant in each metric. He can simply be average at each metric and it increases his likelihood of not only having a great season but recording a PGA Tour victory. I can then use the Cornerstones concept to more accurately project players on the rise for the following season.

This past season, there were 10 players that reached The 5 Cornerstones of the Game and they made an average of $4.7 million on the season. Given their success, I focused my analysis more on players that narrowly missed The 5 Cornerstones and their metrics to determine what players will be “on the rise.”

Players on the rise

*The following rankings are based out of 194 players

Joaquin Niemann

The young Chilean golfer reached every one of The 5 Cornerstones of the Game, but he made the least amount of FedEx points of any of the golfers that executed all of the Cornerstones.

This was due to Niemann’s early struggles with the putter. However, his putting improved significantly as the season went by.

The dotted black line in the chart represents Niemann’s trendline and that shows a strong upward trend in his putting performance.

Niemann ranked 107th in adjusted par-5 scoring average, and given his quality of ballstriking and distance off the tee, that should greatly improve. The projections are for him to win soon. If he can continue to improve his putting, particularly from 3-5 feet (he ranked 160th last season) he could be a multiple winner this upcoming season.

Sung Kang

Kang recorded his first victory at the Byron Nelson Championship but flew under the radar for most of the season. He also executed The 5 Cornerstones of the Game.

Back in 2017, Kang almost executed The 5 Cornerstones, but I was lukewarm to putting him on the list of Players on the Rise as the one cornerstone he failed to reach was red zone play, and that’s too important of a metric to miss out on.

Kang struggled in the 2018 season, but his red zone play greatly improved. In the meantime, his driving greatly suffered. He continued to struggle with his driving early in the 2019 season but made great strides right around the Byron Nelson and ended the season ranked 80th in driving effectiveness. Meanwhile, his red zone play has continued to be strong, and he’s a sound short game performer from 10-20 yards and putter from 5-15 feet.

While I am a little more on the fence with Kang, given his putrid performance from the yellow zone and generally inconsistent play, his putting suffered from ranking 181st on putts from 25-plus feet. That is more likely to move towards the mean and greatly improve his putts gained next season. He’s also 32 years old, which is a prime age for Tour players hit their peak performance of their career.

Sepp Straka

Straka had a good rookie campaign striking the ball and was a competent putter. The only Cornerstone that Straka failed to execute was short game shots from 10-20 yards. However, we can see that as the season went by Straka’s short game improved

That’s also recognizing that short game around the green has a weaker correlation to success on Tour than most of the other Cornerstones like driving, red zone play and putting from 5-15 feet.

Straka should improve greatly on par-5’s (104th last season). He made a lot of birdies last year (25th in adjusted birdie rate), but made a ton of bogeys (155th). These numbers project well at tournaments that are birdie fests like Palm Springs or courses that are relatively easy on shots around the green such as Harbour Town.

Sam Ryder

Ryder only missed The 5 Cornerstones with a poor performance from 10-20 yards. He’s an excellent putter and iron-play performer, and that is usually the parts of the game that the eventual winners perform best from.

Wyndham Clark

 

One of the new metrics I’ve created is called “power-to-putting.” This is a combination of the player’s putts gained ranking and their adjusted driving distance ranking. Earlier this year I wrote an article here about where exactly distance helps with a golfer’s game. In essence, the longer off the tee a golfer is the more likely they will have shorter length birdie putts on average. That’s why long hitters like Bubba Watson can make a lot of money despite putting poorly and why shorter hitters like Brian Gay have to putt well in order to be successful.

The “honey pot” is for a golfer that hits it long and putts well. This means they will sink a ton of birdie putts because they are having easier putts to make and they have the requisite putting skill to make them.

Clark finished first in power-to-putting (Rory McIlroy finished second). On top of that, he was an excellent performer from 10-20 yards which is usually the last step in a long ball hitter becoming an elite performer. Clark’s iron play was very poor and that downgrades his chances of winning on Tour. But, with his length, putting, and short game, he can very well get four days of decent approach shot play and win handily.

Players on the decline

Charley Hoffman

Hoffman ranked 64th in FedEx points but was 139th in adjusted scoring average. Most of Hoffman’s metrics were not very good, but he was a superb performer from the yellow and red zone. The other concerning part of Hoffman is his age: He is at the point of his career that player performance tends to drop-off the most. He only made two of his last seven cuts this past season with the best finish of T51 at The Open Championship.

J.B. Holmes

Holmes finished 166th in adjusted scoring average and was greatly helped by having a favorable schedule as he ranked 21st in purse size per event. The best thing Holmes has going for him is his distance off the tee. He also had a good season around the green that helps long hitters like Holmes when they hit foul balls off the tee.

After that, Holmes did not do much of anything well. He was 179th in adjusted missed fairway–other percentage (aka hitting foul balls off the tee) and his putting was horrendous and doesn’t appear to be bouncing back anytime soon.

Patton Kizzire

Kizzire only made two of his last 11 cuts last season, and it’s easy to see why with his ballstriking struggles. It also doesn’t help that he was poor from 10-20 yards. He’s one of the elite putters on Tour, but elite putting only helps a player so much in the big leagues.

Phil Mickelson

The biggest positive for Mickelson is his newfound power that he exhibited last year. He will also play a favorable schedule as he ranked 16th in purse size per event and has lifetime exempt status on Tour.

For fantasy golf owners, I would be averse to picking Mickelson in the short term. The question with Lefty is if his newfound distance caused him issues with his iron play, short game and putting, or if that is just a temporary slump that once he works thru those issues with his newfound speed, he may be winning tournaments again. But at his age, history is not in his favor.

Francesco Molinari

Molinari turns 37-years-old in November. There’s still plenty of years for good golf, but Molnari’s lack of power and routine struggles with the putter means that he needs to have impeccable driving and iron play in order to be competitive in big tournaments and the majors. Last season he was an average driver of the ball and he was below average from the red zone.

The positive for Molinari is that he has typically been an impeccable ballstriker, so the issues in 2019 may have been a one-time slump. And while he putted poorly, he putted well from 5-15 feet. He ranked 184th on putts from 15-25 feet and 157th on putts from 25-plus feet, and those are more likely to progress towards the mean over time and help his overall putting.

But, Molinari has never been a great putter, and at his age, it will be very difficult to keep up with his impeccable ballstriking to get back to the winner’s circle.

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Bogey Golf

Bogey Golf: Can a club fitting get you to hit longer drives?

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Larry D interviews a club fitter and talks about his first club fitting. They go into detail about how the process can improve your game, even for higher handicap golfers.

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The 19th Hole: Rory or Brooks?

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Host Michael Williams breaks down the Player of the year controversy in a must-listen open, and we give you a perfect destination for Fall Golf! Guests include acclaimed golf writer Adam Schupak and Giants Ridge Director of golf John Kendall.

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

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19th Hole

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