The other day, as I picked up my golf bag to load it in the car for a day at Crooked River Ranch, I couldn’t believe how heavy it had become, and I wondered, "What the heck is in my golf bag?" I needed to change out bags anyway, since I had just received a beautiful Ping golf bag with my name on it for my birthday, so I decided to lighten my bag.
The most alarming thing I realized I was lugging around was 30 golf balls! Anyone who has played golf with me knows I am a novice, as my 38 handicap proves, but even on my worst day at Meadow Lakes, the most balls I have ever lost in a round was 8! According to the Rules of Golf, Appendix 3.2, the weight of a ball cannot be greater than 1.620 ounces. Assuming my Titleist Pro V1s each weigh about that much, I lightened my bag by over two pounds by just trimming it down to 10 balls.
My bag itself, completely empty, weighs 11 pounds. It’s a beautiful bag, and was a thoughtful birthday gift. So with 10 balls and the bag, I was up to 12 pounds. There are slots for 15 clubs in my bag, even though Rule 4-4 limits us to 14 clubs in a stipulated round. I am a bad enough player that carrying too many clubs in my bag is the least of my problems, but if I ever play in our Chapter Championship (mark your calendars for July 9, 2016 at Black Butte Ranch, Glaze Meadow Course), I will need to vote one my clubs out of the bag. I am thinking it will be my spare 60 degree wedge that I carry just for rough lies and the Aspen Lakes bunkers, which are filled with beautiful crushed red cinder, but can scratch your club pretty bad.
The remainder of my clubs are a set of Ping G30s, an Odyssey chipper, and my beloved Scotty Cameron putter. Even though I am new to golf, I decided last year when I started playing that I wanted to invest in a set of clubs my game could grow into, so I set a budget, and spent two hours with a professional club fitter to find the best fit for my body type. We narrowed it down between TaylorMade, Nike and Ping, and I decided to go with the Ping G30s, after testing everything. I’m not sure I will ever be a good enough player for a custom set of TaylorMades, and the Nike clubs we a little too finicky for my skill level. The Pings, however, were forgiving, and very comfortable to hit with. The Ping G30 driver features "turbulators", which are supposed to help generate greater club head speed and ball velocity. The face material is strong, lightweight and thin, which theoretically optimizes face deflection for higher ball speeds and longer drives. The head is also adjustable, and can be fine-tuned to add or subtract up to 1° of loft, which I am sure I will never do myself, but maybe next time I take lessons, Stuart Allison could make some suggestions on adjustments. Based on my upper body strength, for my shafts the pro fitting me decided I should go with the Ping graphite men’s senior flex, and based on my height and arm length, my clubs are slightly longer than the standard ladies’ size, but shorter than the standard men’s length.
To finish out my set, I have a Scotty Cameron Newport putter, which has weights in the heel and toe that really add to the club’s balance and stability. The final club in my bag is an older Odyssey chipper that I found in the consignment section at Smith Rock Golf Course. I wanted a chipper after seeing chapter member Delores Pliska using her chipper so well. It’s perfect for those shots that didn’t quite make it to the green - too far back for the putter, and too close to risk using a wedge. It has a 37° loft (equivalent to a 7-iron), and its hybrid-like sole allows it to move smoothly through the turf, while still launching the ball high enough in the air to get a little backspin so it stays put when it lands.
I have finally gotten to the point in my game where it’s meaningful to know how close I am to the pin, and I asked many of our chapter members what kind of distance measuring devices they use. I looked at the Garmin Approach watch, which also can tell you about slopes and inclines in the course, keep score, and measures swing strength and tempo. I also looked at the Bushnell Laser Rangefinder, which is great because it doesn’t rely on GPS information and can tell you the exact distance to the flag on a given day, rather than just yardage to the center of the green. But the measuring device I settled on is one I saw many of our chapter members using, including Lorri Evers and Gayle Najera, the GolfBuddy Voice GPS Navigator. It’s simple to use, and extremely accurate. It’s perfect for my game, and only adds .99 ounces to my bag.
For the rest of my bag, I constantly battle with trying to find just the right glove, and finding golf shoes that fit and look good. So far, I have found some great looking golf shoes that feel like I’m walking on sharp pebbles after a few holes, or ugly golf shoes that feel like my feet are encased in thumbtacks. When I find the perfect match of comfort and style, I will add it to my bag. I carry lots of snacks in my bag, powdered drink mixes, band aides, ear warmers, full rain gear, an umbrella, the Rules of Golf 2016 edition, multiple pencils from nearly every course I have ever played, spare sunglasses, spare hat, 8 gloves, including a pair of winter golf gloves, a bag of about 100 tees, 9 balls markers (including my EWGA Mulligan token from last year, just in case), and two golf towels, one for me and one for my clubs.
Maybe that’s why my bag weighs 32 pounds still. I guess I should go back and re-evaluate what’s in my bag, and see if I can pare it down a little more. If you would like me to help you go through your bag, I would love to write an article about it and tell everyone what we find. Just let me know!
Jenny Kimble - Events & Activities Director