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Wunder: How to fix the biggest hole in my bag

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There is a section of my golf bag that has caused me more problems in the last three years than at any point in my life. It used to be a section that I had dialed in. VERY dialed in. It’s the section between 3-wood and 5-iron. From a distance gapping perspective, that section represents (in carry) 235 to 195. 195 is my current 5-iron number, and it has been that number for a long time. I hate it, so I’m gonna fix it.

It used to be so easy. For the first 10 years of my playing career, it was 2, 3, and 4-iron. Simple right?

In 2005-2006, I swapped the 2-iron for a 5-wood, added a wedge (from 54/60 to 52/56/60), and lost the 3-iron to make room. It was in that initial swapping that the problem began.

Now, 15 years later, that problem has turned into a complete abyss of doubt, confusion, and damn near Jekyll and Hyde performance.

To give you an idea of what I have done to find a recipe that works, these are the combos I’ve gone through—just in the past two years.

  • Dr/3/5/7
  • Dr/4/7
  • Dr/3/5/4H
  • Dr/3/5/3H
  • Dr/3/5/3H/4H

As you can see, it’s all over the map.

In that time, the wedge set up has done its own flip-flop through a number of configurations

  • 52/56/60
  • 50/55/60/64
  • 52/58/64
  • 53/60
  • 52/58
  • 51/56/61

You can see how one part of the bag that doesn’t work can affect so much. I’m a good wedge player and play my best when I’m in a simple 52/56/60 setup. I’ve never questioned that—I do now.

Point is, I just want a bag that represents a fixed point of consistency so I can actually play golf and not manage golf.

Make sense?

And yes, I’ve been fit—multiple times, by the best of the best, but that still has yet to solve that problem.

What are the core problems here?

The issues I have are versatility, spin, and harmony. For example, I had a 7-wood I LOVED but it went too far, I had a 4-iron that flew perfectly, but I had one shot with it (no versatility). I had multiple 5-woods but some flew great and some went too far.

Point is, it’s a mess. I would stand on long par 3’s or second shots into par 5’s, and unless it was a perfect number for each club, I found myself chipping a 5-wood or trying to reef on a 4-iron. Yes, I understand that happens, but the margin for error was nil. We live in an age where the margin for error should be a no brainer. Clubs do it all these days. So like my good friend Ian Fraser has said

“If you don’t have time to change your swing, let the clubs do it for you”

My plan of action

So here is the plan. I’m going to start with the clubs I KNOW I hit well. “Hitting it well,” in this case, means consistent yardage, face contact, and playability.

For me that looks like:

  • Driver: 275-280 carry
  • 3-wood: 245-250 carry
  • 5-iron: 195 carry
  • 6-iron: 180 carry
  • 7-iron: 165 carry
  • 8-iron: 150 carry
  • 9-iron: 135 carry
  • PW: 125 carry
  • 52: 110 carry
  • 56: 100 carry
  • 60: 85 carry

So after the putter that leaves me 2 clubs that need to do so much.

  1. Need to fill a 50-yard gap
  2. Need to be an off-the-tee option
  3. I need to have confidence in them
  4. Need to have a ridiculous amount of versatility

So I’m going hunting, and I won’t stop until that part is sorted. My hunch is, once I solidify that part, my bag will actually be a set of tools and not 11 tools, a putter, and two monkey wrenches.

I’ll update this as I go, but I’m giving myself a time limit to get it right. August 15, 2020, and that’s it.

Here we go.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Bernard Fitton

    Jul 28, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Try the new Callaway super hybrid 3 or the old Adams super hybrid 3 and add a long 4 iron like the Mavrik or TM P790. Maybe an adjustable hybrid 3 like the epic flash hybrid, can change the face angle to open if you tend to hit hybrids left and can adjust the loft to manage distance gaps.

  2. Pelling

    Jul 27, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Amazingly, if you just went to 7 clubs, you’d probably score the same.
    Driver
    3 hybrid
    5 iron
    7 iron
    9 iron
    56 wedge
    Putter

  3. Jaybee

    Jul 26, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Bro, this is the perfect opportunity for the Taylormade GAPR MID! Not quite a hybrid, not quite a driving iron. Great flight. Workable. Use off the tee. SPEEDFOAM. Great deals online. Adjustable. Conversation starter.

    Heck, the name alone speaks for itself! GAPr

  4. Dennis Beach

    Jul 26, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Like Brendan H said, fill it in with 2 hybrids that you can have workable distances you can use. There are plenty of mfg’s out there, and you don’t have to play “big brands” to get what you want. Try some of the lesser known brands,as there are some that mfr nothing but hybrids. We’re so hung up on playing what the pro’s play, that we miss the big picture for our own game. I have a few club’s in my bag that are not big brands, but I would not trade those clubs for a set of big names for the world.

  5. Dennis

    Jul 26, 2020 at 1:10 am

    Could you please add the loft of your woods and irons.

  6. DelacruzC5D

    Jul 25, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    I wish I had your issue…but I can understand the dilemma…

    IF, I had your 50 yard gap, and wanted a tee club (which I am assuming is the next club in progression after the 3w), then I would consider a higher spinning 7w or 2/3H that protects against bombs. The guys at TXG just did their final video of “The Fairway Wood Bracket”, and while the SIM blew most everything out of the water, the Mizuno ST200 and Tour Edge Exotic had a higher spin rate, which seemed to regulate the distance. However, I’m not so sure you would want to hit that into the wind…but then I guess I would hit a 3 wood in that situation (which I assume is a low spin bomber).

    As far as the next club, my guess/recommendation would be a 4H…but with a steel shaft. I had struggled with hybrids for a long time, and it wasn’t until I read about Web Simpson’s steel shafted 4H that made me try it. It went from my worst club in my bad to my favorite one. It’s now a club that I can hit low and high. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a fairly easy and inexpensive thing to do, so if it’s a flop, it’s not a bank breaker. If the steel is too heavy, then try something like a NS GOST hybrid shaft.

    Those be me two bits

  7. Ben

    Jul 25, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    I think the easier spot is the 4 iron option, I’d go driving iron for that. I personally use Titleist tmb and find it versatile and quite Useful in many situations. There are many of those types of clubs out there.

  8. Andrew K

    Jul 25, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    I agree with the 3H and 4H combo noted above. I have the same set up and it works really well for me.

  9. Ben

    Jul 25, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    I ha e similar numbers as you though I found something that works as a 4 iron which is the Titleist tmb (I have 718-4 iron). This fills the 205-210 spot well and has good flexibility with cuts and draws. Several of those types of clubs out there. More options than a 4 iron and for me better than a hybrid for trajectory control. The longer club which would either be 5 wood/7 wood or 2 hybrid maybe, I went Titleist u510 2 iron and it’s working well, it’s probably 225 carry, maybe 230 if I step on it. I tend to hook hybrids so I went that way. It’s an option.

  10. Rick

    Jul 25, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I had a similar distance range issue – I hated my old 3i, and needed something that flew 215 to 230 (I have similar distance to the poster)…

    I HATE hybrids. So I went on eBay and purchased a semi mint condition Honma Extra 90 4 wood (persimmon).

    It. Is. Clutch.

    Perfect flight. Workable. Not a ton of roll out.

    Try the old stuff. The materials take away the extra distance the new clubs usually add, slotting you into the gap you need.

  11. Henri

    Jul 25, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Srixon U85 4 iron and a 7 wood/hybrid?

  12. Seth

    Jul 25, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Seems like a 3H and 4H/4i should do the trick. Maybe even throw a graphite shaft in the 4i if you wanted.

    Similar to my setup.

    Driver: 265 carry
    3W: 240 carry
    3H: 220 carry
    4i: 205 carry
    5i: 195 carry
    6i: 185 carry
    7i: 175 carry
    8i: 160 carry
    9i: 150 carry
    PW: 140 carry
    50: 120 carry
    54: 105 carry
    62: 85 carry/95 carry pressed
    P: 6in short and pulled left

  13. Steve

    Jul 24, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    This describes my bag confusion perfectly, except for the 5 iron 195 part. I’m constantly swapping out that part of the bag. This last week I went back to D, 5w, 3-P, 52/56/60. If I’d left the drive in the bag and just stuck with the 5w on my last round I probably would have saved 5-6 strokes. Also, why do so many people on this site have such rotten attitudes? Why are they here?

    Loved the article.

  14. Brendan H

    Jul 24, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Seems like a pretty simple solution. Two hybrids. 215 carry with the first and 225 carry with the second. 230 with the second would also be fine as long as your landing angle is acceptable. I let my longest hybrid bunch just slightly with my shorter one since I get more rollout from the longer one. Total yardage gaps are appropriately spaced…

    Make sure you take the Mavrik Pro hybrids for a serious test. They are superb, even with the stock shafts.

    • rog

      Jul 25, 2020 at 10:44 am

      This is exactly what I did. Experiment is working out so far. Got fitted for a 22 and 19 degree SIM hybrids that hit the numbers I needed.

  15. Gianni sucks

    Jul 24, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    As Director of Original content, this content sucks. Why do I care about your bag and yardages?

    • John Wunder

      Jul 24, 2020 at 8:00 pm

      I would suggest you stop reading any articles with my name on it. I seem to write stuff you hate. Just a thought.

    • Jordan Evans

      Jul 26, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      Why should you care? Because the issue he is facing is the same issue that I’ve been trying to figure out and there are probably many others in the same situation.

      The conversational style in which he addresses the issue draws people in and creates a discussion. It also helps others that maybe are struggling with the gapping issue to know that they are not alone or weird or stupid for not having figured this out themselves. Both of which help to create a community.

      Communities have cultures too. One thing I respond well to is feeling welcomed and respected.

      Your comment seems selfish and rude to me. Perhaps you don’t feel you’re getting what you need from this community. I’d encourage you to search for others that may give you more of what you need. I’m sure there are some that would be a better fit and I wish you well in finding them. Until then please don’t disrespect the moderators or members of this community anymore.

  16. Acemandrake

    Jul 24, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Driving iron (or GI iron) AND a Hybrid

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Whats in the Bag

Brandt Snedeker WITB 2020 (August)

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  • Brandt Snedeker WITB as of 2020 PGA Championship

Driver: Ping G410 Plus (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 “Rocket 3” (14 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Srixon Z785 (4-9)
Shafts: Aerotech SteelFiber I95 S

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 52-10S, 56-10S) Vokey SM8 (60K)
Shafts: (48) Aerotech SteelFiber I95 S (52/56/60) True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie
Length: 34 inches

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Grips: Lamkin Crossline

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Bettinardi signs LPGA duo Muni He and Albane Valenzuela

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Bettinardi Golf has announced its partnership with LPGA rising stars Muni He and Albane Valenzuela.

Muni He, who qualified for the LPGA Tour in 2019 and is well-known for her large platform and fashion influence on social media, will use Bettinardi’s DASS QB8 Mid-Slant Tour Dept. putter.

He’s DASS QB8 Mid-Slant Tour Dept. putter is milled to 360 grams and features an oil rubbed bronze PVD finish. The flat-stick is constructed of double aged stainless steel and contains the brand’s F.I.T face milling.

The 21-year-old returned to action last week at the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic and will tee it up once again with the Bettinardi putter in her bag at this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Speaking on joining Team Bettinardi, He stated

“I’m very excited to join the Bettinardi family. The putter gives me great confidence on the greens and hoping that I could bring out my best game for the rest of the season with the support of the Bettinardi team.”

The company have also signed the Chilean Albane Valenzuela to its tour staff, who will tee it up this week using Bettinardi’s INOVAI 6.0 Tour Dept. putter.

The 22-year-old joined the LPGA Tour after being awarded the Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year while at Stanford University. Other accolades include representing Switzerland at the 2016 Olympics, twice finishing runner up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur as well as being an ANNIKA Award finalist.

Speaking after joining Bettinardi, Valenzuela said

”I am thrilled to partner with Bettinardi Golf as I begin my professional career. The company’s technology, craftsmanship and attention to detail give me the confidence that I will be competing with the best putters in my bag. The ability to work with Bettinardi’s designers to customize a putter that optimizes my stroke will be a huge asset for me.”

He and Valenzuela are the latest LPGA players to join Team Bettinardi which features the likes of Annie Park and China’s No. 2 player, Yu Liu.

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From the GolfWRX Forums: Ping putters at the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open

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This week on the Korn Ferry Tour it’s the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open, and in our forums, we have a jam-packed thread showcasing the array of Ping putters present at the event. Check out the new Ping flat-sticks below and let us know what you think.

For more photos, check out the full forum thread here.

Entire Thread: “Ping putters at the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open”

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