T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Which golf club scares you the most?
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 8:54 a.m.
Back in December, while playing in the PNC Father-Son Challenge, Jack Nicklaus was asked a simple question: Over the years, did he have a favorite club or set of clubs?
Without missing a beat, the world's greatest golfer and winner of 18 major championships gave the kind of answer that made you understand what made him so good.
"People ask me what my favorite club is, and I always said the shot I was playing at the time," Nicklaus said. "I always wanted it to be that way. I can't say it's exactly that way anymore. But if I had a 1-iron in my hand it was my favorite club. If I had a sand wedge in my hand it was my favorite club. You know, driver, putter, didn't make any difference. I wanted to be equally competent with all of them and not have something I didn't like. I've always tried to feel that way. I didn't have a favorite club."
Can you imagine being able to play this difficult game like that? Yeah, neither can we!
Phil Mickelson, one of the greatest player's today, has also spoken about having no fear on the course. And does he ever practice what he preaches -- remember that needle-threaded of shot he hit through the trees on the 13th hole at Augusta National on his way to winning the 2010 Masters?
"I never felt comfortable flying, so I went and got my pilot's license," Mickelson once said. "I never felt comfortable with being in an awkward situation, so I took up martial arts. I just always wanted to take on my fears head-on. That's kind of the way I approach golf. If there's a shot that I don't feel comfortable with, I'll go on the range and work on it until I do, until I turn that weakness into strength.
"Where I see a lot of mistakes being made out here is people practice their strengths, and they don't take their weaknesses and turn them into strengths," he added. "It feels better to practice things you're good at, not the things you struggle at, and I've always tried to do the opposite."
We could all become better players if we followed that logic.
This week, we pitched this question to our friends in PGA.com Facebook Nation: We all have that one club (maybe all of them for some of us) that we really struggle with. Which club scares you the most and why?
We received loads of great answers -- some of them even gave us a good laugh. If you'd like to join the discussion, click here. And as you read these answers and reflect on your own weaknesses, remember how Nicklaus and Mickelson approach the same situations you're dealing with. Will it make you as good as them? We'd love to tell you the sky's the limit, but we're all adults here so let's be honest -- that's an unlikely expectation. But it will make you a better, stronger golfer.
Here are some of your best answers:
"Right now, the 56-degree wedge. Nice and easy, my head will say. And then it hits a nice and easy 23-degree line drive, usually leaving me the same shot on the other side." -- Mike Benzie
"My 60-degree wedge. When I'm on it's a beautiful thing. But when I'm not it's blade city." -- Kevin White
"My 4-iron. I have the worst hook you would ever want to see." -- Mark Church
"It's the 6-iron. All my other irons are fine besides this one." -- Joe Ferreri
"My 2-iron. Took it and the 3-iron out of my bag and have hybrids now. Wish I did this a decade ago." -- John Davis
"The 60-degree wedge. I'm having a hard time getting used to so much loft. I seem to blade it a lot. I played only with a 51-degree for decades. I have a 56-degree in bag now. I'm much more comfortable with that. I'm not giving up on the 60 though. I've had enough quality shots with it to overlook the bad ones." -- Michael Hook
"My wedge. I had a bad case of the shanks for a round and a half and now I can't get that image out of my mind when I have my wedge in my hands." -- Ryan Cameron
"Every club in the bag. Maybe I will go back to fishing. Nah. I love golf." -- David Taylor
"Putter, putter, putter. Can't putt." -- Danny Driver
"Hybrid out of the rough. I don't bother anymore." -- Dick Purdue
"Driver and 3-wood off the tee-box. It's either a duck hook or an extreme slice. I never know what's coming." -- Phillip Allred
"Woods. All of them. Don't even carry them anymore. My game is better for it." -- Kevin O'Rourke
"Any Hybrid, tried every one, every brand. Just can't hit them!" -- Andrew Carpenter
"I'm a 6-handicap and can't hit a 6-iron. Never have and never will." -- Jason Ciolino
There you have it, folks. If you struggle with a particular club or clubs, as you can see, you're not alone. Take Mickelson's approach. Get to the range and turn that weakness into a strength.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
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