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Building a better bag

Updated: May 19, 2020

I admit it - when it comes to golf gear, I'm an addict.

There aren't many times I can drive past a golf shop and not get that puppy-in-the-window look on my face, wondering what cool new gear is waiting for me inside. But, I need to stay focused here as I'm sure I will ramble on about new clubs/bags/gloves/ball markers/etc. plenty in the future.

That said, I do have a point to make: my obsession with golf's myriad of trinkets has led me to try and build the best assortment possible for myself. And now, I attempt to pass that knowledge on to you -- my fellow hackers.

I'll start with the one club we all love to hate, and that is the putter. I've had my fair share of flat sticks over the years, to varying degrees of success and failure. Blades, mid-mallets, full mallets .. there was even a long putter in the mix for a while. I've gone with big names and no-names; stock grips and something akin to an Oktoberfest sausage. While I can't say I've tried them all (largely thanks to the lack of available left-handed options), I've gone 'round and 'round with enough to know this: trust your gut.

Technically speaking, trusting what feels good in your hands but also what you don't feel scared to use is how I relate my 'gut' feelings about putting and putters. The best one I'd ever had was an Odyssey 2-Ball, because the weight and feel when I swung that club was just about perfect for me. But then I wandered from the path, seduced by Tiger Woods' success with a Scotty Cameron. I later listed over with Lefty, choosing to copy Phil Mickelson's Odyssey #9 blade style.

I fought with a Spider, and then sought solace with a Big Sur ... but I never replicated that same success from the 2-Ball. So I went back to try the newer version out, and it just didn't do it for me. The weight on my backswing felt different, and the sound wasn't the same either.

And so I wandered. I settled (for now) on the Odyssey Stroke Lab #9 with a longer shaft and heavier weights in the sole. It seems to be curing my wandering eye -- for now, anyway.

What have I learned from all of this? Well, let me list my lessons: 1) Never go for the flashiest or priciest thing out there, because it's not likely going to be worth it in the long run; 2) Trust your hands, because when a putter just feels right in your grasp it's a sign you should believe is accurate; 3) Pay attention to your swing arc (or lack thereof), because putters now are becoming more refined for that particular characteristic ... and yes, it makes a big difference; 4) And finally, be patient with your choice. Nothing will feel better than sinking that first 30-footer with your new flat stick -- until you sink the next one.

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