This week's league play challenge is to use only four clubs for the whole round. I love these types of challenges. I sometimes had my team do this, and it was always very interesting while providing fun variety.
Having only four (including putter!) really forces one to learn to trust their decisions. You can't be between clubs if you only have one club to choose! You also learn to get creative with the clubs you bring. There is a popular belief in the artistic world that placing constraints can actually unlock creative potential. If you've ever watched a pro golfer who seems to play like an artist (I'm thinking about that recovery shot Bubba Watson made at Augusta in 2012 from behind the trees that boomeranged all the way around to the green - magic), they learned over years and years of experimenting with these types of constraints. It's great for growth as a player. And since it's more than just one club, you get to be a little more practical than Kevin Costner.
Choosing the four clubs takes some thought. You definitely don't want to just wing it, and you can just go back home to get the rest of your bag if you regret your choices.
I first think about the type of course I'm playing. Is it short? Long? Narrow? Open? The course I play each Friday is an executive course so all par threes. Makes it easy to eliminate woods and driver. On days it plays long I sometimes reach for a 7-wood on a few holes, but I am actually more accurate with irons even if I don't reach the green, and I should actually play that way more often anyway. So I won't fret about not having my long clubs. I'll select an iron for tee shots that will reach some of the holes but leave me short on the longer ones.
Since it's a par 3 course, two-thirds of my score should be putts following the rules of GIR. So putter is staying in the bag. I also love sometimes chipping with the putter and so it can serve a little more than just on the green.
Next I think about the types of lies I've experienced in normal play around the green. Usually they are pretty tight, and there are lots of little hills around some of the greens. So I'm going to keep my 60-degree wedge for all pitches and lobs to the hole.
The fourth club I'm still debating with myself. I've taken full swings from the tee with my pitching wedge so I might use that, but since I can also use an 8- or 9-iron around the green I might use the opportunity to round out my bag with something that can fill some awkward distances I might encounter depending on where they put the tees. This is the only one I'll let my gut decide come morning.
So my four are: 6-iron, 60-degree, putter, and either 8-iron or PW.
Otherwise, a sunny day is predicted after almost two straight weeks of chilly rain. I'm very much looking forward to that. I'll be back after the round to reflect on the experience!