Why play a half set? - Why Not!
Enjoy the simplicity and learn more about your game. But why would I play with less clubs? Why do you have to play with 14? Because the rules dictate it? How often do you use more than 6-8 of your clubs a round? You maybe hit your 3 iron once a round, your 4 iron once and your 5 iron twice? Why carry them all, just learn to play a 4 iron like a 3 iron and 5 iron.
Key benefits of a Half Set
- Weight – You’ll be carrying literally half the weight around (and I’d hazard a guess, you’ll actually start carrying less ‘stuff’ as well. Ditch the dozen golf balls and carry 4, do you really need mittens a bobble hat and an umbrella hanging off your bag for a quick nine holes on a sunny July evening?
- Fun – Have some fun with the shots you can play. Have some fun at your playing partners expense.
- Experience/Simplicity – Pick the bag up, throw it in the boot, take it out of the boot and off to the 1st tee you go. No unlocking trollies, no worrying about whether your trolley battery is charged.
- Understand your game better – This is without question the key for me. Learn new shots, learn how to hit an 8 iron 10 yards off your stock number and 10 yards further. Learn to control your distance with a fade or get it running out with a draw. Re-learn the lost art of the chip and run, and hitting pitches with a 56deg wedge instead of spending 5 minutes deciding if you should hit a little gap wedge, a stock sand wedge or muscle a lob wedge in…
And of course, when you win, you can tell everyone you won with only half a set of clubs…
Set Make Ups
This will depend a lot on the course you play.
- If you play a short course, do you need a driver, maybe a 3 wood, 2 iron or 3 hybrid would be all you need at the top end of the bag.
- For a long course you may need a little extra at the top of your bag
- Playing a links or longer course, throw in a 2 iron or 3 wood
Confident with your driver? You could go as simple as Driver, 4,6,8,PW, 56 and Putter, or you could of course go Odds, with Driver 3iron (or hybrid), 5,7,9 then a 54 deg wedge..
For competition days you might want to add in some extra wedges just to tighten up the gapping at the bottom end of your set.
The biggest thing is to play about with the setup, learn from which clubs you use, and which you don’t. Again this could be based on your home course.
- Never hit more than an 8 iron in to a green? maybe carry a 5 iron for the shorter par 4 tee shots, and add in an extra wedge.
- Always hitting long irons into the par 3’s? Add an extra long iron in.
The beauty is there are no rules, so you have complete authority to do as you please and also to make sure your set make up is what works for you and your course.
Based on my experience we have chosen to stock the GEOM Moe ½ set, this gives 8 deg gaps between irons, so helps with gapping and is a great place to take your first step into a custom built half set.
They only create short sets, so their focus isn't on making a full set work as a half set, they look at every aspect of the club to ensure it is designed to work as part of a short set.
You can of course just take half of your clubs out of your bag and that is a great place to start, as we say, there are no rules, so make up your own set.
Think about your bag, do you really need a full size stand bag full of everything you could ever need OR do you simply want to carry the bear necessities…
A Jones Bag is an ideal bag to use for both full or half sets, but equally look at other brands, who make smaller, half set specific bags, one of our favourites is Streuer, who make a 7inch Sunday bag with one pocket. The perfect way to ensure you only take the essentials.
I have a small accessories pouch holding:
- 10-12 tees,
- 2 ball markers (A handmade clay one from Lie&Loft and a Kiawah Island one),
- a pitchfork (Kiawah Island),
- a sharpie,
- a spacepen
- and a mobile charger with iPhone cable.
- 2 North Coast Gloves,
- a Bushnell range finder (I could of course lighten the load further with a watch, but I just prefer the accuracy of a laser)
- and of course a flask of coffee.
Finally if the weather looks a little questionable I carry a waterproof bag to stash everything in, should the heavens open.. That’s it.
Some sites to follow over on Instagram on your less than 14 journey!
@lessthan14 - The voice of the movement, and a great place to learn more about what everyone else is playing
@minimalistgolfclub - doing whatever he can with a few clubs
@geom - Our choice for short sets, designed in Canada, forged and CNC'd heads specifically lofted to help your half set, set-up
@sundaygolfbag - Beautiful handmade sunday bags all the way from Kentucky.
@one_7engineering - Creator of some stunning putters, One7 is a big advocate of the simplified approach to golf
How to find your gapping
- Launch monitor it. If you have the time and access to a local trackman or similar, get on the machine and give yourself some yardages, then try hitting those yardages with different shots. So if your stock 5 iron is 190 but you're going to carry a 4 and a 6, see how close to 190 you can get by feathering a 4 iron with a little fade or standing on a 6 iron with a runny draw.
- Hit the practice ground. Head out with your chosen set make up. Hit 6-8 balls with each club, pace them out, or laser them, and voila, you have your new stock numbers. Then learn to play shots in between those yardages.
- If that all sounds like way too much hard work. Just go out and play your course and learn as you go..
Making the switch
Don’t be afraid. Have a few evening knocks with your mates or even on your own, with half a set. Once you do, you may never look back. Tweak with your setup, drop the clubs you don’t use and add in some you maybe haven’t used so often, until you find the perfect set up for your course.
Questions? - Feel free to ping us a message and we'll aim to answer as swiftly as we can.