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Would a new set of clubs improve your game? It depends on whether your skills have outgrown your current clubs.

There comes a time when your equipment may not be as good as your game, but recognizing when that is can be a difficult thing to see. How do you know when your equipment is what is holding you back from shooting those really low golf scores?

I have been playing golf with the same clubs for close to 10 years now. Some of the things that I have noticed about my game: From a green to tee perspective, I’m hitting the ball pretty accurately and my distance has improved. I started tracking my percentage of fairways hit and have also been taking note of the distance. All improved over the past two years at a good rate, but lately have flattened out.

My approach shots into the green have been much better. My distance is pretty spot on. My accuracy, while better, still needs a little work. If I’m around the green, my wedge game is pretty strong. My putting, while OK, still needs the most work. Something about the steadiness of the putter in order to actually make those 6- to 15-foot putts consistently gives me trouble. But that too will come.

If I ever figure the putter out, that will take three or four strokes off my score. But I’m starting to think the long clubs in my bag may be keeping me from taking another three or four strokes off. The clubs may have exceeded their life cycle.

Let’s face some simple facts. The technology in clubs these days is unreal. What TaylorMade is doing with the “twist face” drivers and woods is absolutely incredible. Titleist still makes a club that is simply awesome too. But the current technology far and away exceeds what my clubs are capable of doing.

I stepped into a simulator about four months ago and started swinging the new Titleist irons. I worked with the seven iron because that is probably my favorite club in the bag. I know my distance well with that club.

While in the simulator, I noticed I was hitting the ball about six to nine yards further — and that was using old balls that have been hit more than we would care to know. The fact that I was hitting those raggedy balls that much further opened my eyes to the fact that maybe it was time to move on from my old Nike clubs (which aren’t even made anymore).

I also noticed while in the simulator that I was hitting the ball much straighter. It got me thinking about how much better my game would be if I hit the irons into the greens with more accuracy. Truly something needed in my game — and if clubs can help, why not consider it?

If you feel like your equipment is holding you back, here are some simple rules to apply to yourself to see if new clubs will make a difference in your game.

Look at how often you strike the ball cleanly on the golf course. Are you consistent with your ball striking? Are you going up there and shanking it time after time? Are you getting the most distance out of your clubs? Ball striking plays a large role in that. If you are hitting the ball square throughout your round and getting all the potential distance out of your clubs, maybe a new set is in order.

I would encourage you to take your clubs with you to a golf shop that has a simulator and hit your favorite club in the bag. Then, take the same club in a new make and model and hit that in the simulator. Now, compare your distance and accuracy. If you are hitting the ball farther and straighter, then maybe it’s time to take a look at what you are holding onto when you are out playing golf. New clubs might take a couple strokes off your game.

My game is pretty much at that point right now. However, I also have a new boat I’m waiting to have delivered. Once that gets here, my next step is to take my clubs down to a golf shop and see what I like and what will work best for me going forward. I can see me swinging a new set of sticks before I get to the summer months, that’s for sure.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes and golfs with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.

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