Are 4 Clubs Better Than 14?

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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Some of the players at our course must feel golf is too easy playing with their full set of clubs because they have taken to playing with only 2 or 3 clubs and a putter. And you know what? Most are finding they are scoring better than they do with all 14 clubs. Why is this??

I subscribe to the theory that we should try to use one swing all the time and simply switch clubs to the one that goes the desired distance. Sounds pretty good, and after all, most manufacturers build irons in sets of seven to eleven clubs – I’m guessing they do this for a reason. One swing, clubs designed to go different distances….Hmmmm.  But, over the years I have seen so many people playing better with fewer clubs, I wonder if there could be something to this?

In order to test this theory I went out last week with a driver, 6 iron, sand wedge, and putter. At first it was tough because I was missing most of my clubs. But after a few holes, I started thinking better, planning on where I wanted the ball to finish, using strategy, and creating different shots. High soft fades, driver off the fairway to somewhere around the green so I could use my sand wedge to chip it close. It was a new experience, even though I had done this before many years ago.  

What did I say?? Was it, “I started thinking better, planning… using strategy…creating!” Maybe there is something to leaving 10 clubs in the trunk. It reminded me of when we used to try to hit different shots around trees, how close we could get to a hedge and still get the ball over it, or how low we could hit a 9-iron.  

I ended up playing pretty well, at least better than I had expected. It was a different game just having 4 clubs to choose from. But even then, I still had choices to make several times because there were different shots I could create with the few clubs I had. It’s not like I was trying to figure out if I should hit a hard 8 or an easy 7 – I was caught between hitting a driver from 225 yards hopefully near the green but maybe in the rough, a little 6 iron short and in the fairway leaving a ¾ sand wedge, or just hit 2 full sand wedges and be home. The 6 iron, sand wedge won out and I birdied that particular hole.

Many people think a 3 or 4 club event is silly and a waste of time. However, if you take the time to try it, you may find it helps your entire game because you must plan and create and think your way around the golf course rather than simply pulling out the correct club and swinging it with little thought as to what you really want to do. And, you may find 4 clubs really do work better than all 14.

Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting