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How to create your ideal half set of golf clubs

Using half a set is a great way to enjoy the game.

Ryan Barath

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, playing with a half set of clubs is not only easier to carry, but can also be a fun way to lighten the load and get creative on the course. I personally love playing half set golf and one of the most common questions I get from golfers is how to create the right gapping and how best to choose the right clubs.

I won’t go so far as to call this the ultimate guide, but building the perfect set of eight clubs to guide you on the court and inspire you to improve your shots is my personal philosophy. If you really want to get crazy you can work your way down to five clubs, but if you’re new to half a set this is a great place to start.

The golf bag

Let’s start with how you will wear everything.

Yes, it’s easy to ditch six clubs from your current set and call it a day, but if you have a golf bag with a ton of extra pockets or space, you’ll end up carrying extra weight no matter what — and that’s the point half a sentence is to make things as easy as possible.

Seamus tweed bag
Tweed Sunday bag from Seamus Golf.

Seamus Golf

A lightweight bag without a stand is a great option, but if you want to play early morning games when the grass is still wet, something with a stand is hard to beat. For example, Sunday Golf has built its range around lightweight stand bags.

All of our market tips are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you purchase a Linked Product, GOLF.COM may receive a fee. Prices may vary.

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The rackets to go

Before we get into the racquet details, one of the most important things you should do is analyze which racquets you are most successful with and what type of shots you rely on when you hit the court. For example, if you decide to play a driver (we’ll get to that club in a moment) and you’re unsure about hitting your 3-wood from the fairway, it’s best if the next club is your 5-or 7 -Wood.

The same goes for your irons and wedges. If you’re confident you can play a particular shot with your favorite iron, build the set around the club or clubs you trust most green, not behind, so make sure you’re carrying the right distances comfortably, to get closer to the goal.

driver

If you play fewer than eight clubs, you might argue that you should start with a strong lofted 3-wood at the top of your set, but I highly recommend bringing a driver with you for most golfers.

Don’t sacrifice distance.

ping golf

It will offer the greatest success off the tee, and failure will not be penalized as severely. Giving up distance off the tee, even with half a set, is a big no-go, so be careful not to give up that advantage.

fairway woodS

If you already have a driver in the bag, I suggest not going for a 5 or 7 wood as the next club in the bag. These clubs offer nice driver distance and can come in handy just about anywhere on the course, including in the rough and especially on long par 3s. You can even chip with them.

Iron

Like I said before, if you have a favorite club, it’s okay to build your half set, or at least the iron part, around it. For example, if you love your 7-iron, it might be a good idea to play with your odd clubs, and if you really like your 6-iron, go for the evens.

Miura CB302 half set
Using even or odd numbered clubs will ensure correct gapping in most cases.

Ryan Barath

With that in mind there is one more thing to consider and that is iron gapping. For example, many modern player’s distance irons have 5-degree club-to-club spacing at the bottom of the set and smaller loft spacing at the top of the longer irons. Before making any final decisions, take a quick look at your iron lofts and your distance gap to make sure you don’t have any glaring distance gaps. If you normally have 12-15 yard gaps, expect 20-25 yard gaps in your half set – so get creative out there.

A final note on irons: If you want to build a half set from scratch, all OEMs allow you to custom order just the clubs you want. So you don’t have to buy all the clubs in one set if you only want to use half of them.

CB

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wedges

When you only have 8 clubs to play with, it’s important to have a wedge that you’re comfortable with when hitting a lot of shots. Whether the longest club in your matching iron set is a 9 iron or a pitching wedge, I recommend the highest lofted 54-56 degree wedge with a fairly versatile sole grind.

Cleveland RTX6 grind black
A wedge with a versatile grind makes it easier to hit a variety of shots.

Ryan Barath

This way you can keep your distance gaps to a minimum, but you can still get out of trouble when you need to open the face to get the ball up fast.

putter

What can I say about the putter other than having one in your pocket is a really good idea. You’ll be hitting a lot of putts, so bring your favorite putter regardless of how many clubs you have in your half set.

Diploma

While this is just my personal guide, the end result of my creation of half a set is as follows:
Driver, 5-wood, 4/6/8/pw, 56 degree wedge, putter — everything I need and nothing I don’t need.

Looking to overhaul your bag for 2022 or build your own half set? Find a suitable location near you at the GOLF subsidiary True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Geared Podcast below!

Ryan Barath

Golf.com editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and Senior Gear Editor at GOLF.com. He has an extensive background in club fitting and building with over 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels including players on the PGA Tour. Before joining the team, he was the Lead Content Strategist for Tour Experience Golf in Toronto, Canada.


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