The Myth of the Fancy Tool

It’s highly likely that you don’t need a new golf club (or multiples). Chances are your current set is perfect – that they are good enough and can allow you to play your best golf.

My first set of golf clubs were purchased from Kmart. My Grandparents bought them for me and the total set was worth around $100. They were cheap and nasty but looking back on it I played some great golf with them.

Despite the clubs not being matched and having the odd bend in the shafts I learned to play golf with those relics. When the time came to change them (they were in a state of disrepair!) I had maximised everything I could get out of them. After two years I was scoring around par and could beat most of the older golfers who were using expensive brand name clubs.

I’m not trying to gloat here – my point is that many golfers wrongly believe that a new set of clubs are the answer to a better game. Usually it is not.

There is no colleration between playing great golf and owning good equipment. None.

The big golf manufacturers would have us believe that it’s possible to buy I better game. Again, I don’t think we can. You might get a little surge in confidence, but your old game will return before long.

I call it the myth of the fancy tool

A friend and client of mine is obsessed with his clubs. He is buying a new club (or set) every other month and hassling me with questions like, “should I have a 65 gram shaft or a 55 gram shaft?” or “do I need a low or high kick point?”.

His handicap? High 20’s. Would different golf clubs help him? I don’t think so. It really doesn’t matter.

If you believe in fancy tools you still have to learn to play. Find your own golf swing and learn to bring that to the course. There is no getting away from that and one reason why golf is such a great game.

Believing in the myth of a fancy tool usually results in you hiding from the truth. You’re hiding from the fact that you have weaknesses and you don’t know how to fix them. You are hoping against all hope that a new tool will deliver you a magical quick fix. This rarely happens.

What’s my solution?

Own a good set of golf clubs. You don’t have to buy the best, something good will do the job (I still think your current set is all you’ll ever need).

Then play. Forget about shaft flex, lie angle and all the rest of it. Play golf and ignore the distraction of your tools. Learning to play golf is the number one skill – a fancy tool gives a poor golfer an excuse to hide behind. One reason why there are so many hackers with the latest Callawey.

This post was inspired by the fact that I took ownership of some new irons over the weekend. After eight years my Maxfli irons needed retirement and I’ve scored some top line equipment. I’ve played two games with them – both rounds have been poor because I’m thinking too much about the clubs and not enough on playing golf. It’s time to get bact to normal.

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  • Tim

    Reply Reply December 20, 2008

    Did you check the lie angles on your new set? I bet you did unless you know off the rack is correct for you. If you don’t think that an incorrect lie angle on your irons is going to hurt your game you are kidding yourself and misleading others. A lot of what you have to say about golf is very interesting but to say lie angle is not inportant you are beginning to lose credibility.

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply December 20, 2008

    Hey Tim,

    Where do I say lie angles is not important? What I say is get a good set of golf clubs and then forget about lie angles and shaft flex etc. If you own a “good” set the chances are your lie angles will be OK. Kind of like set it and forget it.

    Playing golf and being worried about your clubs will not help your score. I’ve seen too many golfers waste time, energy and shoot bad scores by being over concerned with their clubs.

    Learn to play golf first, and then you can think about your clubs second.

    By the way, the new clubs were put together by one of Australia’s best clubmakers. He could be the best.

    My problems were caused not by the clubs, but by a weak mental game and attitude.



  • Karl

    Reply Reply December 20, 2008


    Sorry, but I disagree a bit. I use to use a set of Dunlop MXII woods (the 7, 5 and 3) and struggled horribly.

    But since using the same woods by King Cobra, its been amazing. They feel so much more balanced, and I can even use the 5 wood off the fairway, which i thought in a million years i would never be able to do!

    So, yes, I think better clubs produce better results.

    Still a great site though Cam!


  • Douglas Purdie

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    If Bernard Darwin is to be believed, then three times (British) Open champion, Bob Ferguson, won his first trophy “with a miscellaneous pack (of clubs) of which several were borrowed”. He won by five strokes over two rounds. Until this victory, Ferguson had never possessed a complete set of clubs of his own. I’ll bet the shaft flex of his miscellaneous pack wasn’t fitted. I’d also be prepared to bet that he had a strong mental game and attitude…

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply January 22, 2009

    Hi Douglas,

    Good advice. Most of the old time golfers would have had a miss match of clubs. I don’t think they played well because of them, but rather, as you suggested, because of a strong mental attitude.



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