Each week in this feature, we'll tap into the expertise of our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, to answer reader questions. If you have a question for the Gear Doc, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. He'll answer a few lucky readers' questions every Wednesday on GOLF.com.
Right now I have a TaylorMade SuperQuad driver, as well as a TaylorMade fairway wood, irons and wedges. I've been offered a set of Nickent clubs, including a 4DX driver. How is the Nickent line, and is it worth swapping?
Both manufacturers make very good products, so in my opinion it is not about changing because one is better than the other. The real issue is how well each set is fit to you. If the lengths and lie angles of the irons are not right for your swing, you will not like them and you will not hit good shots consistently. If the driver increases or decreases your launch angle or spin rate to the point that it affects your ball flight, you'll lose distance or control.
My point is this—don't change just for the sake of change. Go with the clubs that fit you best.
Dear Gear Doctor,
What are your thoughts on lead tape?
I think that lead tape is a great tool for determining swing weight and feel. It is easy to use, it doesn't require permanent changes to the clubs, and you can leave it on your clubs forever once you determine the proper amount.
Dear Gear Doctor,
I have a pitching wedge and my old Hogan Special SI sand wedge that I got when I was 18—I'm 35 now, and I'm not even sure what the loft is on the Hogan. Not surprisingly, I'm worthless from inside 130 yards, the distance I hit the pitching wedge. I think I need to lose the old Hogan and get a couple new wedges, but I don't know which lofts to get. Where should I start?
This could be the smartest thing you've ever done for your game. If you are trying to hit it close from 130 yards and in with only two clubs, you are making the game much harder than it needs to be.
First, determine the loft of your existing pitching wedge so you can add wedges with the appropriate loft spacing. Assuming your pitching wedge is close to standard at either 47° or 48°, I would suggest you add a gap wedge of either 53° or 54° and a 58° sand wedge. That would give you wedges that are evenly spaced at either 4° or 5° from your pitching wedge. Plus both of these clubs will give you versatility and options around the greens.