Most golfers are creatures of habit – I know I’m certainly no different. Whether it’s an elaborate pre-shot routine, a favourite colour cap or just a go-to club, we all rely on a variety of things to help us through our round. Some are practical, while others provide a psychological crutch or verge on the superstitious – but they do, I believe, all have their value to some extent. I play golf a lot – at least I try to – and there are a number of pieces of equipment that I just have to have with me – I’ve even been known to turn around and head home if I forget one of them. Here’s my list of the things I never play a course without.
I’ve tried a few different tools to help me to check distances – my own judgement (with limited success), the advice of others (with slightly more success) – and GPS devices, which produced mixed results. I was really pleased then to get my hands on a laser rangefinder – this fantastic gadget is small enough to throw in my golf bag and yet it is still a serious piece of kit. It’s really straightforward to use and it gives you an accurate distance reading – mine locks on to the flag and has a clever feature for giving you slope-compensated distances too. I use mine now not only for finding the distance to the pin, but also to check the distance to any hazards or when laying up when no other distance markers are available. An invaluable tool.
So, judging by the number of pitch marks on the greens in Hong Kong I’d guess that this is an item that not many people here have in their golf bags. But it’s something that I always carry – and love using – for a few reasons. The first is that I just think it’s the right thing to do – you’re doing your bit to help keep the greens in good nick for whoever is following you. As I see it, it’s just a responsible bit of good golf etiquette. But beyond this, I also love using it for the simple reason that it means I’ve managed to land on the green – and that’s a small victory that I’m always happy to celebrate.
Spare ball markers
Just a small thing, but I have absolutely loads of these at home and I always make sure that I grab a few extra ones before heading out – it’s incredible how many times I’ve lost my ball marker or someone else has forgotten theirs. I have a few on me at all times – and it’s always nice to know that you can lend a helping hand if someone needs a spare one.
I think most golfers probably have a favourite club, and I actually think that there isn’t really anything wrong with that. Sometimes we all need an old friend we can rely on when things start to get tricky out there on the course – a favourite club, used in moderation, can get you through the tough times.
If someone gave me only one club (besides the putter) to take out on to the course it would have to be my 8 iron. Outside of the traditional 150yd shot and laying up on a par 5, I also enjoy using it for anything out to a 100 yards pitch and run, as well as pitching around the green. I certainly get more use out of the 8 than any other club in my bag.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the beer koozie (or stubby holder as my Australian mates call them). Ideally not to be used during the morning rounds before work, however an essential on a hot summer day! When making the turn there is nothing better than stopping for a cold one to take on the back nine. Now if more courses could start stocking craft beers, life would be perfect…
So, those are my essentials – I’d love to hear what yours are.