By Dale Leatherman
Every sport involves critical equipment that can mean the difference between winning and losing: Track stars have their favorite set of spikes; baseball players have gloves molded to their hands; and cyclists have bikes they guard with their lives.
It’s understandable that athletes become attached to their gear—and with a full arsenal of equipment for any situation, golfers aren’t any different. They carry up to 14 clubs in their bags, each of which has a distinct purpose. Yet one club may carry special sentiments over another. Here, Sea Island golfers share their preferences.
Chris Kirk, who trains frequently at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center, scored his second PGA TOUR victory in November 2013 at The McGladrey Classic on Sea Island’s Seaside course. His favorite club is his first choice—literally. “It’s definitely my Callaway Mack Daddy 58-degree wedge, which is a great help around the greens,” Kirk says. “I switched to Callaway clubs in 2013 and it was the first club I put in my bag.”
Sea Island Director of Golf Brannen Veal picks a driver as his favorite tool of the trade. “The most important club in my bag is my Nike Covert driver,” Veal says. “The ability to hit it long and control the shape of the shot leads to better scoring. Having confidence on the tee—and knowing I can hit whatever shot is called for—makes every part of my game better.”
Likewise, Todd Anderson, Sea Island’s director of instruction, says his driver is his go-to club. “It’s the one you hit 14 times during a round and the one that sets up the rest of your game,” he explains. “You can be a great wedge player and great putter, but if your tee shot is short or not in play, it becomes a difficult game.”
As the PGA of America’s 2010 Teacher of the Year—and No. 8 on Golf Digest’s “America’s 50 Greatest Teachers” list—Anderson has amassed a distinguished list of golfing students, including PGA TOUR players Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney.
“Billy Horschel would probably say his favorite is his driver,” Anderson says. “He’s used a Ping G25 the last two years and has been in the top 10 in total driving (distance and accuracy). Nick Watney’s favorite would be his Nike Combo irons. He is in the top 20 in hitting greens in regulation.”
Another of Anderson’s students, Snedeker, was the PGA TOUR’s top putter in 2012 as well as the fourth in 2013. Snedeker has said he depends on his favorite Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie putter, which he has had for eight years with the same grip for four of those years.
Whether golfers prefer a driver or a putter, and rely on either for improvement or consistency, their tools of choice prove to be a valuable asset to their game. While there’s no one club that will turn an amateur into a pro, many seasoned linksmen might agree that behind every great golfer is a great piece of equipment.