Minimalism in golf has many facets, not all intertwined, and it is completely the prerogative of each golfer to explore these as they choose. For this article, we’ll take a brief look at the Minimalist Golfer and what defines them.
The Minimalist Bag
The Minimalist Golfer’s approach is most commonly defined by their golf bag and the set up they take to the course. Following the less is more principle, it is all about taking the clubs you need to get around the golf course, rather than a standard 14 club setup that is designed cover every possible eventuality - regardless of how often your 4-iron or 62-degree wedge are actually used.
The number of clubs that are carried varies depending on the golfer, but it’s always less than 14. A typical 7 club set up may be composed of a Driver, 3 Hybrid, 5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, 54-degree Wedge and a Putter. Who’s to argue that this wouldn’t enable you to get around any course put in front of you. Yes, it would require a bit of creativity but playing this way every once in a while would certainly help develop your distance control.
As the famous story goes, the creative genius that is Seve Ballesteros, once challenged and beat Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw in a closest to the pin competition from a greenside bunker whilst he was using a 3-iron. Remarkable when you consider the other two greats both had sand wedges in their hands!
Alongside the playing differences, which may or may not be to your taste, it’s obvious that less clubs equals less weight to carry resulting in a faster round, more energy for those closing holes and softer on the back. With less clubs required, it’s also financially it’s less restrictive and provides a great way to learn the game.
The Minimalist Mind-set
From my point of view, the number of golf clubs is really just a technicality. There’s a lot more to the Minimalist Golfer than this simplification. Personally, I see the number of clubs in the bag as just a symbol of their association to the title, much like the way that modernists wear RAF roundels.
In the same way that being a Mod is actually a more holistic approach to life than wearing a Fred Perry Shirt and riding a scooter, the Minimalist Golfer’s approach is a mind-set that that promotes the enjoyment of the sport through simplicity.
Whilst there are no strict rules as to what constitutes a minimalist approach, it’s clear that there is an element of nostalgia and the desire to return to a purer, less complicated version of the sport. For an already challenging sport with many complexities, this can only be a healthy way to approach the game.
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