Gapping: how to build your setFebruary, 2012 Equipment
How a Titleist fitting builds the perfect bag...
Few of us really know how far every club in the bag goes. Or whether we are more effective with fairway woods, hybrids or long irons. So how do you put your 14-club set together? At a Titleist fitting, using a Trackman launch monitor, we worked with their expert fitter Richard Harris to find the answers
3 wood or 4 wood?
Surely that’s obvious – a 3 wood will go slightly further so if it’s distance you’re after then the choice is made.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. You need to be a pretty good ball-striker to get the most out of a 3 wood, especially off the deck. The extra loft on a 4 wood effectively increases the backspin imparted at impact.
And for many people, this sends the ball higher and keeps it in the air longer, resulting in more yards of carry. The difference in loft between the two clubs is only around 2° and probably half an inch in shaft length.
In practice, many of us will hit the 4 wood further – and probably also have a little bit more confidence than with a 3 wood.
If that is the case then you may well hit good shots more often with the 4 wood.
Few of us really know how far either our longest iron or 3 wood goes.
And if that is the case then how can you possibly know what should go in your bag in between?
Get a fitting with Titleist and they will measure the distance of your longest iron and shortest wood, then fill the gaps evenly with hybrids.
So let’s say your 4 iron carries 180 yards on average and your 3 wood 210.
The fitter can then find a hybrid that carries 195 yards to bridge the gap. Or, if you prefer, one that carries 190 yards and another that carries 200 yards.
You don’t have to worry about lofts and shafts – just hit some shots with various options and let the fitter dial you in using his Trackman launch monitor.
Simple, logical and effective.
Few of us really know how far every club in the bag goes. So how do you put your 14-club set together?
Are your long irons really longer?
It is easy to presume that if your 8 iron goes 12 yards further than your 9 iron, the same relationship will apply between your 4 and 5 irons.
Unfortunately, it almost certainly doesn’t. Especially if you don’t hit the ball like a tour pro.
Believe it or not, in some ways long irons are harder to hit now than they were 25 years ago. They have stronger lofts, turning a 4 iron into something near to what used to be a 2 iron. And because the modern ball spins so much less, it is harder to keep the ball in the air.
For all but the very best, a 3 iron will fly no further than a 4 iron. For the majority, a 4 iron will fly no further than a 5 iron. For many, a 5 iron will fly no further than a 6 iron.
Titleist can assess what your longest iron should be very quickly using a Trackman launch monitor.
How many wedges should you carry?
You’ve got the idea by now – this largely comes down to gapping as well!
We reckon, having spoken to countless experts and through our own experience, that for most of us the answer is three – a pitching wedge (around 46-48°), a gap wedge (50-54°) and a lob wedge (56-60°). This combination should give you all the options you need.
At a Titleist fitting they measure the carry of your pitching wedge and compare that with the carry of your most lofted wedge. Then they can start splitting the difference.
But let’s say you hit your PW a long way, 140 yards, and your lob wedge under 100. There is a very strong case here for carrying two gap wedges, one at 125 yards and another at 110. Because otherwise you will have an enormous gap at a key distance.