What’s In My Bag: Red Clay Soul

Anyone that has read this blog knows that one of my favorite hobbies is golf.  I try to play as much as I can…and I’m rarely without my clubs.  You never know when you’ll get ‘the call’.

Golf Digest is an outstanding golf publication.  They do an excellent job of keeping amateurs like me up to date on all things golf – the Tour(s), players, courses, and equipment.  One of the best features of the magazine is ‘What’s In My Bag’, where Tour players talk about what they carry in their golf bags.  It’s fascinating.

In keeping with the Masters theme this week, I give you the Red Clay Soul edition of What’s In My Bag:

I am very picky about my golf equipment.  It is a large investment – not only financially, but also in time.  I spent quite a bit of time deciding what to get – down to the grips.

In my bag, I carry Mizuno MP-60 irons (4-PW) with 5.5 Rifle shafts, bent down one degree.  Why bent down?  Two reasons – first, it affects my mental state in that I don’t feel like I have to swing as hard and get appropriate yardage.  Second, I have a tendency to hit the ball high, and the bent irons help.  My MP-60s have been fitted with the black/blue Golf Pride Multi-compound Grips, which have held up very well.  From a yardage perspective, I club off of my 7-iron, which I play to a 160 yard carry off the turf, and about five yards longer off the tee.

My driver is a Titleist 905T (9.5 degree) with a Graffaloy extra-stiff shaft.  I had this shaft tipped, so that it has a greater thickness at the hosel (safe 260 yard carry – more is gravy).  My fairway woods are Titleist 980F (13 and 15 degree), and a Titleist 585-F (19 degree), all with steel True Temper shafts.  The Hybrid is my 3-iron replacement (215 yard carry), and I alternate between the 13 and 15 degree fairway woods depending on the conditions.  I usually bring the 15 degree unless it’s wet.

My wedges are Titleist Black Nickel Spin-milled Vokey Designs (52, 56, and 60 degree).  These have not had their lofts adjusted so I can add some spin when needed.  These are probably my favorite clubs in my bag (2009 version of this Titleist stand bag).  The 52 degree wedge is my 100-yard club, but don’t like taking a full swing with any of the wedges.  The 56 degree is my 75 yards and in club, and the 60 degree I play out of the sand (under 40 yards).  I replaced the stock Titleist rubber grips with Lamkin Crossline Full Cord grips.  They chew up gloves, but the club doesn’t slip.  Ever.  I feel very comfortable with any of these wedges in my hand.

The money club…  I just started using this 2005 Scotty Cameron Studio Design 2.5 putter this year.  I had been a Ping Anser player for years, mainly because I liked the feeling of the ball strike off of the insert.  I was against any putter that cost $300, but came to own this one under unique circumstances.  The black paint has been removed, which I prefer.   I believe this putter will stick in the bag – I have putted very well in the ten or so rounds I’ve played this year.

My stuff – I’m a pretty minimalist golfer; I don’t carry around a ton of gadgets and junk in my bag.  I prefer non-painted tees so they don’t leave a paint streak on my clubs.  I do have quite a few divot repair tools, as most courses give them away.  If I’m playing with someone who isn’t repairing their divots, I’ll give them one as a not-so-subtle reminder.  …let’s leave it better than we found it… For ball markers, I like something small – nothing bigger than a nickel.  I don’t need a satellite dish to show me where my ball is on the green.  There is a weird trend happening where people are using poker chips to mark their ball…I don’t get it.  It looks like a sprinkler head on the green.

I’m not too picky about golf balls, but I do like something soft.  I like Titleist Pro-Vs, Bridgestone B330s, and/or Nike 20XIs.  I don’t buy used balls or Practice balls.  I don’t know why – maybe it’s a mental thing…I like looking down and seeing a clean, white ball, and knowing that it is my job, and mine alone, to crush it down the fairway.

Speaking of ‘clean’, I’m a towel guy.  I always carry a dry towel with me all over the course.  In addition, I keep a wet towel in the cart (usually the one provided in the cart).  I clean my grooves and wipe down my club after (almost) every shot.  I know, weird.  Another mental thing.  It’s hard for me to look down at a dirty club and expect to make the best shot possible.  There are quite a few idiosyncrasies I see on the course – all of which are fine.  It’s about playing your best.  Even after a few beers, we all want to score well.

While playing in the Southern heat, I’ve picked up a few tricks that make it manageable.  First, eat a protein bar and drink something with electrolytes a couple times during the round – especially if there is beer being consumed.  Stay hydrated – otherwise the last couple holes will feel like they are a few miles long.  Second, wash your hands and face with soap and cold water at the turn.  I picked that up from a pro buddy of mine.  It does work….it makes the 10th hole feel like the first.

A gripe I have about golf equipment is the overuse of logos.  Understand that on tour, they are using headcovers/bags/umbrellas/etc. for advertisers, and the players are contractually obligated to do so.  You and I aren’t.  I wish there was an option out there for headcovers that didn’t look like party favors.  Something to chew on…

What about you?  What are you playing these days?



  1. Scott Stephenson
    04/02/2012 / 8:51 AM

    Well said on all acounts. Sounds like we’re both cut from the same mold as far as golf equipment needs and etiqutte. I’m currently playing a set of Callaway irons, but have set up a club fitting for next month for a new set of the Titleist AP2 712 irons.

    I agree on the overuse of logos on equipment and apparrel. For me, the more plain, classic looking, the better.

    Happy playing, and go low.

    Scott Stephenson

  2. JC
    04/02/2012 / 8:54 AM

    Last time I checked, you can get “plain” head covers at any of the golf superstores. There’s no reason why you should have to stick with the ones that came with your clubs. IN my mind, these are like the logos and trademarks on a car – they’re there so everyone will know what you’re “driving.”

    My bag:
    Diver – Cleveland Classic 270 (12 degrees, stiff shaft)
    Driver No. 2 – Cleveland HiBore XL – 16 degress (doubles as a 3-wood)
    Mizuno T-Zoid Steel 7 wood (21 degrees)
    Irons (4-PW) – Mizuno MP-37s w True-Temper S300 Shafts
    Wedges – Mizuno 54 degree and 56 degrees (bent to 52 and 55) and a Cleveland CG-15 (60, bent to 61)
    Putter – Cobra Bobby Grace (“Payday”)
    Balls – don’t care really, but I favor Taylor Made Pentas

    My irons are 4.5 degrees upright, but after some swing changes, I might flatten them out a few degrees.

  3. BFT
    04/02/2012 / 10:48 AM

    Great post. Having grown up in Aiken, SC, 20 mins from the gates of AGNC this week has always been my favorite of the year.

    My Bag:
    Driver: Nike SQ Tour 9.5* w/ Aldila NV-85 grams Stiff
    Fairway Wood: Tour Edge Exotics Fairway Wood #4 16.5* w/ Aldila Proto NV 80 gram Stiff
    Hybrid: Titleist 909 19* w/ Aldila NVS 85 gram X-Stiff
    Irons: Bridgestone J-36 w/ Rifle Project X 6.0 standard
    Wedges: Cleveland C15 52* Black Metal Finish
    Cleveland 588 56* Black Metal Finish
    Titleist Vokey 60* w/ 6* bounce
    Putter: Never Compromise Gray Matter 2 Exchange
    Grips: Tour Velvet Midsize
    Balls: Nike 20xi-D or Titeliest Pro-V1x
    Bag: Ping Hoofer 2

    I agree completely with the plain head covers and apparel.

  4. Yankee
    04/02/2012 / 5:28 PM

    Second vote for Jan Craig Headcovers.

  5. 04/02/2012 / 6:00 PM

    Loving the setup. They don’t get much better looking than Mizuno’s cut muscle (did you have yours blasted?). Most importantly, the Vokey wedges. Tell me those things won’t shave some Urethane off of a B330!

    We need to tee it up sometime my friend.


  6. Kyle
    04/02/2012 / 6:09 PM

    How do you feel about personalized Head Covers?
    A couple years ago I got some as a gift. They are simple solid black with white stitching and my first & last name in a cursive font. The person giving them to me was going to do initials, but she did not like the layout choices that were available. I like them, but I once read somewhere that if you are not a tour player then you are not important enough to have your name on equipment. What is your take?

    Austin, TX

    I will also say that while my head covers might seem a little extravagant to some, none of my other equipment should. I play i5s, 8-10 year old vokey wedges, Titleist 980F 15*, and a Cleveland Launcher 400cc. I do have a new Scotty Cameron, but that is a replacement my ’98 Newport that was stolen.

  7. Golf Swine
    04/03/2012 / 12:20 PM

    Check out Iliac Golf they make cool retro head covers sands any logo

  8. Jared Boggus
    04/04/2012 / 11:03 AM

    Love the Oak Mountain Golf towel. I work there, so it was pretty awesome to see it in your bag. We just got some new towels in, and they’re real sharp. Thanks for sharing.

    Jared Boggus

  9. Clay
    04/05/2012 / 10:31 PM

    Great set up – love Golf Digest’s “What’s in the bag” too. Here’s my low budget set-up – mostly used, ebay, or Play It Again:

    Driver: Cleveland Launcher 10.5
    3 Wood: Cleveland Launcher 15
    Hybrid: Nickent 21 degree – need upgrade
    4-PW: Cleveland Launcher LP steel shafts w/Lamkin Crossline Medium
    SW: Cleveland TA7
    Wedge: Cleveland 588 black “The Bus Killer” 60 – there’s a story
    Putter: Dunlap T Line – need immediate upgrade

    I know better equipment would make me a better golfer, right? Right?

  10. Ctn
    04/09/2012 / 10:29 PM

    Not into jane Craig head covers?

  11. BJH
    02/20/2013 / 2:51 PM

    I have a 100 yd. wedge that I found at a course in Alabama. I think it’s a MacGregor with a bent shaft just north of the head. I ran over it on my way through a mudhole going to the front of a green. I noticed the grip just barely uncovered laying flat in the mud. That club has been in my bag for 18 years. When my short game goes sideways, I use that club to reboot. I use it a lot.

  12. sean_miller
    10/15/2013 / 2:59 PM

    @BJH – after 18 years in your bag, does that 100 yard wedge still feel stolen?

  13. Mason
    03/27/2015 / 3:39 PM

    You should make another What’s in the bag.

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