Club Up vs Club Down: How to Play Better Golf

Ah, golf. A stimulating and challenging experience spanning 18 gratifying holes. Just ask the 60 million people who play golf annually around the world!

Golf is often regarded as more of a mental game than a physical sport. It involves a series of make-or-break moments as you deliberate between your seven wood or your four iron.

Which one will withstand the wind and make the green? More importantly, do you club up or club down?

The solution to how to play better golf is in the palm of your hand – literally! Whether you’re an amateur or an aficionado, choosing the right golf club can make all the difference to your swing, score, and strategy. Let’s explore some effective tips and tricks to help you get into the “swing” of things!

Club Up vs Club Down

Clubbing up or down affects the ball curve, distance, and overall performance. It involves assessing the situation, selecting the right club, and effective execution – all while considering altitude, temperature, direction, and speed!

Here is a simple breakdown of what these terms mean, and why they’re critical to the game, regardless of your skill level:

Club Up Golf

To increase a player’s chances of achieving the desired distance, accuracy, and trajectory for their shot, they can club up, or select a club that is better than their current one. Golfers do this when they need to hit the ball higher or farther due to various conditions like weather, elevation, or course obstacles.

Club Down Golf

Club down means using a golf club with a lower number than normal for a particular shot. This method can help improve accuracy, distance, and ball control. Faced with a strong tailwind, players will club down because it causes the ball to travel much farther and adds extra yardage to the shot. This can also be used on uphill terrain where height is more important than distance.

Why High Handicappers Should Club Up

When faced with unforgiving winds, tricky elevation, intimidating shots, or persistent insecurity, the simple act of clubbing up from a five iron to a four iron for a high handicapper can make all the difference.

While golf is a challenging and unpredictable game that involves patience and practice, clubbing up can do wonders for promoting greater distance, better accuracy, and a more controlled and confident swing.

With all of the variables in golf, from water hazards to weather changes, clubbing up may be the solution to saving you some strokes and lowering those scores.

Types of Golf Clubs

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, choosing the right club – right down to the golf club size – is essential to every player’s success.

Understanding club selection can help you strategize your shots, lower your handicap, and make effective decisions on the course. Continue reading to learn about the main types of golf clubs to best suit your needs:

Irons and Wedges

The most adaptable clubs are irons and wedges, which are built for medium-range shots and used for pitching and chipping. Wedges are specialized irons that come in different lofts and are designed for short game shots. This allows golfers to control the height and rotation of their shots.

Putters and Chippers

Putters and chippers are the most important clubs in a golfer’s bag and are used for shorter shots. Putters come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed to roll the ball smoothly and accurately on the course. Chippers have a vertical angle that allows players to hit the ball with more roll and less trajectory.

Woods and Drivers

Woods and drivers are long-range clubs used to tee off at the start of each hole. Their large, round heads, flat fronts, and long shafts are designed to maximize distance and velocity.

Types of Putters

A putter is a specialized golf club designed for use on the green and is arguably the most important club in your bag. Mastering your putting technique can save you countless shots on your scorecard.

Selecting the proper one all comes down to personal preference and how each golfer impacts the ball on the green. Let’s delve into the different types of putters that work best for your game and how to utilize each one effectively:


Considered a staple to a golfer’s putt game, blade putters are traditional, elegant, and lightweight. Designed with a thin, flat club head and a straight or slightly curved shaft, it’s built to provide optimal contact with the ball. The sweet spot is located near the heel of the club face and enables players to strike the ball higher for a more accurate roll.


Mallet putters are built with a flat body and greater head mass designed for a straight-back-and-through stroke. The putter head offers a larger sweet spot, making it more forgiving on off-center strokes and easier to hit putts with accuracy, distance, and stability. 

Modern Mallet

Modern mallets are built with oversized, adjustable putter heads. Their innovative design and materials are engineered with the center of mass positioned far back in the putter head to help maintain stability at impact. 

Best Putters for High Handicappers

If you have a handicap index above 18.4, no worries! Here’s a quick guide to the best putters and golf clubs designed for high-handicap golfers: 

  • Drivers for long tee shots to improve distance and trajectory
  • Hybrids for longer shots built for precision and easier hits
  • Irons for shorter distances to give the ball loft and scope
  • Putters for use on the green to maximize control and accuracy
  • Wedges for short approach shots around the green
  • Fairway woods for longer shots off the tee or rough for reliable chip shots and forgiving mishits  

Overall, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing the ideal club. It’s a personalized experience that boils down to trial and error and the confidence you feel with that putter in your hand.

Choosing the Ideal Golf Club

Using the proper golf clubs can make a world of difference to your game and help you drastically reduce your handicap. When it comes to choosing your clubs, there is no right or wrong answer; only what’s best for you.

However, if the idea of too much variety seems overwhelming, you’re not alone! Here are some key elements to help narrow down your choices and discover the right golf club for you:

Grip Size

Consider the thickness of the putter’s grip. Your accuracy and range for each shot will be impacted differently by different grip sizes. The handle’s shape, firmness, and absorption factor are also important.

Shaft Length

Make sure your arms hang comfortably at your waist and the club head is flat against the ground when you grip your putter. The standard length of a golfer’s putter is between 32 and 36 inches.

Sweet Spot

The more prominent the sweet spot, the more control and consistency you maintain over the putt. A higher quality club won’t hurt your shots either!

Swing Style

Every golfer has a distinctive swing that’s personal to them. In addition to practice, coaching, and research, you’ll be able to figure out your swing type based on your strength, speed, and flexibility.

Impact Bags for Quality Striking

golf impact bag is a reliable training tool that has been utilized for decades. It involves placing a large, soft bag on the ground and striking it with your club in place of a golf ball. This allows you to assess your impact position and determine whether any changes are needed.

Impact bags also help coordinate your body throughout the golf swing. This encourages swing consistency, solid contact, shaft lean, and proper weight transfer at the point of impact.

An impact bag is a great investment that will significantly improve your golf game by enhancing ball striking accuracy and polishing your short game skills.

Best Golf Tips on How to Play Better Golf

While golf can be a highly rewarding experience, it can also leave golfers feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. But if you’re a high handicapper looking to enhance your golfing journey, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are some effective tips on how to improve your golf game to get you feeling confident on that green:

  • Practice with purpose and intention to build up your confidence
  • Commit to mastering the basic golf fundamentals 
  • Develop a solid short game 
  • Educate yourself on golf strategy and course management
  • Challenge yourself by playing with more seasoned golfers
  • Invest in one-on-one lessons with a golf professional for in-depth analysis 

Overall, focus, consistency, and a positive mindset go a long way. The more you embrace the moment and enjoy the experience, the quicker your game will improve. Above all, trust the learning process and have fun!

A Game Changer

Nobody becomes a golf pro from the first putt. Being a high handicapper is the ideal starting point for improving your game and gaining valuable insight. With time and practice, you’ll recognize when clubbing up or down is required to achieve the desired results on that fairway.

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