I've replaced every club in my 10-year old bag except my putter over the last three months. Kind of an expensive endeavor but I think it will pay off. Decided finally against carrying both a 3 and 5 wood. I will carry only a 4 wood and use a GW as my 14th club to close the horrible 9 degree gap between my PW and SW. I don't need the distance of a 3 wood and I'm probably not accurate enough from 210 to 250 yards out to need two fairway woods anyway. I'm also looking forward to getting back my Taylormade driver and permanently retiring the Ping G10.
I've continued working on my short game. Mostly pitch shots and chipping. I'm of the belief that if I can hit pitch and chip shots to within ten feet I'll be able to score well. It'll take pressure off my distance putting, which is by far the worst part of my game and make it less of a big deal if I miss a green in regulation. What I'm struggling with now is the ball control once it hits the green. I'm trying to teach myself to read the green better on the pitch shots, but sometimes depending on how crisp I've struck the ball there is excessive back/side spin which can cause the ball to behave somewhat unpredictably on the first bounce on the green. My distance control at 20, 40, and 60 yards is becoming very precise though. I'm no longer shocked when I envision an approach shot and I actually execute it that way. So there is hope.
So I've had a lot of practice and two rounds since the bag configuration. I had a 88 at a course (70.1/123) I don't play often followed by an 85 on my home course.
I have not noticed a problem with the large distance gaps between Driver, 4-wood, and 3-iron, but I don't know if the recently added gap wedge has helped me so far. I'm still operating in the 3 wedge mode. I don't quite know where to use the gap wedge. It cost me probably two strokes in each round because I misused the club. I have to remember that it plays more like a sand wedge with all the bounce than it does a pitching wedge. Distance on these wedges is shorter than I'm used to. I'm also not used to all the bounce, which has turned out to be a blessing. I am hitting great shots from 60 yards and in, and the weight/bounce gets through the sand traps gracefully.
A short review of the Callaway JAWS wedges:
They may say forged on them, but they are HARD. They don't chatter like my soft mizuno wedges do. As far as feel goes, they are a little on the numb side, but still very controllable, and I would say that on average they are much more playable than my Mizuno Mp-Ts. The amount of spin that can be put on the ball is insane. When struck cleanly, I can hear the ball buzzing from all the backspin. I also won't be playing any fancy golf balls (Titleist Pro-v1's, etc) because the grooves on the wedge cut chunks of the ball off. I noticed when I was practicing that after every shot I'd have to remove pieces of golf ball from the face. As earlier mentioned, the bounce on each of the clubs, 12, 16, and 12 degrees are large, and I can't for the life of me force the club to dig. A nice confidence boost for swinging aggressively.
I feel like my game is coming around. When I was playing the first round, I felt as though I was fucking up left and right. But at the end of the day, my score wasn't too terrible. I think that's progress right there. If I can eliminate the two or three blow up holes I seem to have each round, I should shoot high 70's, low 80's consistently.
I played two rounds this weekend. Scored a 94 on a pretty hard links-style course (71.0/134). Most of my problem there is that I had never played it before so I had no clue on the yardages. The added effect of severe elevation changes made club selection even more of a crap shoot. I was also annoyed throughout the round by my friend's wife who was playing with us -- if you want to call what she does on the course playing. I'm not terribly disappointed since a 94 is about current handicap index. I showed moments of brilliance despite my horrid course management, being one over par after 6 holes and completely exploding on the back nine.
The second round was at my home course. Shot an 89. Still struggling with blow up holes. Two triple bogeys and three double bogeys got me up there pretty fast. My putting is woeful. When I add up the putts, I had 38 which is about 6-8 more than my goal. The strange thing is I feel like I only hit two bad putts all round. I was lagging putts in close from all sorts of distances for a two putt. The problem was I never sunk anything outside of about five feet. It was infuriating to see the ball skirt the edge of the cup hole after hole.
I have no idea how to improve my sinking ability with the flat stick, since I feel like I was reading the greens pretty well. I'm considering switching putters again, or possibly going back to putting left handed.