In golf, as in life, it is the follow through that makes the difference.
One of my planned chores this weekend was to clean out and re-stock my golf bag. I had a good excuse for not getting the job done as scheduled since our building elevator was out of order and getting my big stand bag full of clubs upstairs would not have been simple or easy. Now that the elevator has been repaired, it’s time to get down to business.
I’ve been inspired to give my bag a thorough cleaning and re-stocking as I recently joined the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) in an effort to get serious about improving my golf game and expanding my business network. If you’re not familiar with EWGA, it is an international community which promotes the game of golf and provides business networking opportunities for women. I thought this post might be useful to other women golfers and have modeled it after a segment on Tennis Channel called “bag check” where they give you a peek inside a pro’s bag. BTW, I am not a pro by any stretch of the imagination. I am, however, one of those women who carries a well-stocked handbag. Not as well stocked as my Nana who would likely have a few liverwurst sandwiches, a boiled egg, etc. wherever she went.
In random order, these are the nine key types of items I want to always have in my bag. The items may be different for you, so feel free to customize to suit your needs. I will often package up a group of items in a ziplock bag to keep things neat and tidy in my bag.
- “Essential” toiletries include lip gloss/moisturizer, hand cream, insect repellant, and sunscreen. The insect repellant and sunscreen are kinda obvious and apply equally to men and women. The lip products and hand cream are personal pet peeves of mine. I suffer from dry hands and lips so I don’t want to be distracted by those types of annoyances when they can be prevented so easily. Your essentials may be entirely different, and there is no judging coming from me. Golf is hard enough without losing focus due to relatively petty annoyances.
- Zyrtec or your antihistamine of choice if you’re an allergy sufferer. I’m allergic to weeds, trees, and grasses. I haven’t seen a golf course yet without at least two of the three — I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here and assuming there are a few courses somewhere that are 100% weed free. I get individually packaged tablets (samples) from my allergist periodically and stick those in my golf bag. Useful in case I forgot to take one before leaving the house, or if I feel the need to double up. You may also want to consider Tylenol, a mini first aid kit or whatever helps you feel prepared.
- You never know when you’ll need tissues, and with my allergies I know I need to have them on hand. I always need to work at keeping these in my bag lest I end up with strips of TP out on the course. Also handy if you’re on a public course where they’ve run out of TP . I buy the small purse size packets in bulk. I also carry individually wrapped wipes like Wet Ones which I buy at Target. You never know when you might need or want a quick cleanup.
- Tech stuff, including earphones, a spare battery and charging cable. The earphones are useful to have for practice on the driving range or for putting practice. I went to a short game clinic a couple of years ago where it was recommended to practice your putting with a metronome to help reinforce your putting rhythm. I still do this, and it really does help. I have a free app on my iPhone that I use called MetroTimer. When I’m on the practice putting green, I plug in the earphones and turn on the app (I set it to 75 Beats Per Minute or BPM). Try this, it really works. If you’d like to learn more about this, click here for a video from The Golf Channel. I also carry a spare battery and charging cable for my phone. I don’t use a GPS device for distances or keeping track of my score, instead, I use an app on my phone called GolfLogix (available for iOS and Android) This type of app will chew up your battery so I always try to start with a fully charged battery and case. The “candy bar” charger is for extra insurance.
- I always have a selection of practice aids including my range key on hand. I don’t always have all of them with me, but I’ll have at least a few. My favorite is the PVC pipe alignment tool (see photo below) that I was given in a short-game clinic a couple of years ago. You can easily pick up the parts needed at your local hardware store and make your own. The other interesting item in the photo below is a Putter Wheel which helps with your putting and can make a huge difference in your final score.
- Basic golf supplies including ball markers, tees, balls, and gloves. The list here could get long, but you get the idea.
- Miscellaneous items I like to have for my comfort include a case for Sunnies, spray cleaner and cleaning cloth. I also have a set of Nike sleeves, a golf umbrella, and a cooling towel. I would also recommend that you include a supply of business cards for networking opportunities after your round.
- Although you won’t find me with a liverwurst sandwich, snacks, beverages and Altoids are typically in my bag. For snacks, I love the individually packaged trail mixes at Trader Joe’s and Kind bars that I pickup from Costco.
- Last but not least, you can carry 13 clubs in your bag, and this was one of the things I focused on relatively early. Prepackaged sets of clubs may have as few as 7 clubs so you really want to figure out where the gaps are in your bag and close those as soon as you can. When I first began to play, the first “extra” club I purchased was a used 60° lob wedge. I needed a bit of extra loft for my short game and that club became one of my favorites. When I finally upgraded to a custom fit set of Mizuno’s I passed that wedge along to a playmate who came to love that club. She still plays with it.
Did I miss anything? I know that I’m not traveling light, but I was a girl scout and our motto was to always be prepared. Let me know your thoughts…I’d love to have a list of ten.