At this time of year, many golfers will feel a natural yearning for new clubs. It can feel pretty awesome to start the new golf season with a new weapon in the bag, but how can you ensure it will help you lower your scores?
If you're looking to take the plunge and make a substantial investment in new golf clubs for 2022, we've a list of tips for you to consider first.
1) Fix your swing, then your clubs
If you're struggling with your golf swing at present and looking to improve your scores as quickly as possible, throwing a few hundred pounds at a new driver probably won't be the silver bullet you're hoping for.
Sure, new golf clubs are increasingly stacked with technology that can counteract your mishits, but you could easily get more benefit from a few lessons with your local golf pro to get the most out of your current set-up.
While there's definite appeal in a shiny new driver or a brand spanking new set of irons, they will help you go even lower if you've ironed out your major swing faults before parting with your hard-earned cash.
2) Do your research
While there's no substitute for trying out golf clubs before you buy, you'll find plenty of reviews online - both written and video content - which will help you make an informed choice.
After taking in all these helpful insights, you'll be in a better place to whittle down the available options to perhaps a few standout models. And then you're on to our next tip.
3) Get a custom fitting
If you're spending hundreds of pounds on new golf clubs, you're probably going to want to make sure they will improve your game. Or at the very least, not make it any worse. It follows then that you'll want to get fitted.
We'd go as far as to say, regardless of the level of money you're shelling out, try before you buy!
Knowing that you have golf clubs suited to your height, body type and golf swing - as well as discussing the best shaft option for your game - will allow you to focus on practising your game safe in the knowledge that your equipment is not the issue.
4) Keep an open mind
We can all get starry-eyed over the newest golf clubs from the biggest names in the game, and rightly so in many cases.
Quite often, these golf clubs are the best options on the market at any given time and they take forgiveness and distance to a whole new level - after all, that's why they spend so much money on R&D each year.
With that said, there are plenty of deals to be had if you look towards previous years' models - so you can build a powerful new set-up for less.
The same thing goes for shelf appeal. The best-looking club isn't always the best club for your game. Of course, standing over a club that suits your eye can have confidence-boosting benefits, but don't be too proud to opt for something less visually appealing which you know will help you shoot lower scores.
5) Driver distance or better dispersion?
Before you settle on a new driver for 2022, you must decide what you're trying to achieve. Are you looking to hit more bombs and leave yourself shorter approach shots, or are you trying to increase your fairways hit percentage and avoid playing from the rough?
In a perfect world, you would be able to achieve both; in reality, different driver options will help you more in one area than the other.
6) Hybrid or long irons?
A hybrid can be an excellent option for the average golfer as it's often easier to launch than a long iron with plenty more versatility from tricky lies. If you find yourself prone to mishits, and you're hitting more shots from the thick stuff than you would like, a hybrid could be the answer.
If you're a golfer who likes a more compact look at address and an enhanced shot-shaping ability, you could be better suited to long irons.
7) Choose your wedges wisely
As we're sure you're aware, there are massive gains to be had if you can tighten up your short game, so you'll need a wedge option that suits the courses you play most often.
If your home course has small, fast, elevated greens, you'll want more loft. If the bunkers have plenty of sand, you'll need plenty of bounce.
If you're a mid-high handicap golfer, there are plenty of game-improvement wedge options with wider soles and higher levels of forgiveness which could help you from 100 yards and in.
8) Blade or mallet?
Average golfers make around 40% of their shots with the short-stick, so it's imperative that you're using a putter that is suited to your game.
A blade putter is more likely to suit a golfer with an arc in their putting stroke, whereas if you're a 'straight-back-and-through' golfer, you may want to opt for a mallet putter.
How the putter feels in your hands will also play a big part so, if you're determined to get it right, book a putter fitting to see which putter type suits you best.