When you are playing a game of golf, one of the ways that you can ensure good performance is to have a good discretion when it comes to picking out the right golf club. In any given situation, you are faced with 14 different choices.
The trick to being an expert golfer is being able to spot these situations when they come up, and decide which club to use from there. This is how you begin to truly improve your game, since each club has a very specific hitting ability. There are many different factors to observe when picking a golf club. Here are the main ones, and how you can analyze them to choose a golf club.
The distance between you and the target is the biggest factor in choosing the club. Since you can pretty much line them all up from the least to the greatest hitting power, you will be able to choose one that is in the correct range. Irons and Wedges are usually best if you are closer. They don't have as much hitting power as the long-range clubs, but they have the higher accuracy that you will need to hone in on your target.
However, if you are still close to the beginning of the course (perhaps in the par-six or par-five zones), you will want to pick the long-range clubs. These include the Fairway woods, or the driver. These will allow you to really put your muscle into the swing and hit the ball a long way.
The wind is something that the real expert golfers really take into account, although often its importance is lost on the newer golfers. If the wind is blowing particularly hard in the direction that you wish to hit the ball, you can drop down to a less powerful club in order to allow the wind to pick up the slack. The same goes if the wind is coming forcefully towards you, in the opposite direction of your target.
You will have to hit the ball extra hard in order to make up for the undesirable wind conditions, so choose a club that reflects this change. Usually it can be very hard for a beginner to determine how the wind strength and direction will affect their shot, so don't worry if the concept is lost on you at first. It just takes experience to start to make the connections.
Besides the horizontal distance between you and the target, you also need to consider the vertical distance. Hitting to a plane that is higher than your current one requires more club power, which means that you should probably switch to the club that is one rank above the one you would have chosen. The same goes if the ground is lower.
If you use a regular club to hit to a target that is 10 feet lower than you, chances are you are going to overshoot it. By using a smaller club according to the change in elevation, you will avoid quite a few lakes and sand traps. Always plan out your shot thoroughly, and consider all of the elevations and the general shape of the golf course.
The surface of the golf course is the final thing that you want to consider, and is probably the easiest. If you are in difficult terrain, your top priority is not necessarily to get the ball to the hole, but rather just to get onto better terrain that will allow a better shot.
Therefore you shouldn't try to choose the more powerful clubs. Instead, stick with the smaller ones and get yourself back into the game as best as you can. High loft irons are good for this purpose, instead of drivers or fairway woods. It may be difficult to remember all of these factors at first, but as you get more involved with golfing you will become very familiar with them.