What's in my bag
Nike Driver (the original model that Tiger gave up on) 9.5 loft
Nike T40 3wood 15 degrees
Nike T40 5wood 19 degrees
Nike 21 degree CPR Hybrid (replaces 3-4 iron)
Custom built irons with Tom Wishon heads, Rifle shafts
5-9, PW (48), AW(52), SW(56), LW(60)
(Everything is stiff flex)
Positive Putter (belly)
Sky Golf GPS (boys have to have toys)
Bridgestone B330 (I do like the "S"'s better and like both better than Pro V1's)
Ogio stand bag (I walk a lot)
But you asked why! I started playing golf 6 years ago as an experiment to help my ski teaching, plus I needed something less physically intense than racquetball as a backup sport as I am becoming more decrepit and infirmed. I wanted to see what was so great about golf instruction vs ski instruction.
I started with a Wilson starter set and an el cheapo putter from Sports Authority. No sense wasting a lot of money if I wasn't going to like it.
At the end of season 1, I found that I had somehow bent my putter. I was taking a lesson and in the last 5 minutes wanted to work on putting. The pro took one look my putter and said: "It's bent", like I could not putt with it. Then I promptly sank a 40 foot putt with a four foot break on my first try and he stopped trying to help my putting. Over the winter I went to a ski and golf show. I was wandering around at the end of the show and found these guys with only putters in their booth. I played around with a couple different ones then sank 8 10 footers in a row with one. Got it for $100 bucks. It seemed cheaper than a $160 two ball and I putted better with it. It's been worth every penny. It's designed to make a pendulum stroke as opposed to a screen door stroke. You have to change your swing to make it work best. http://www.positiveputter.com/
In year two, the irons started falling apart (heads falling off, shafts breaking). I got an emergency set of Cobra irons (3-L) second hand for $200 from the pro at the local executive course. After that, I told myself that I would have to learn to swing the clubs before I invested in good gear. I started taking a lot of lessons and they started to have some impact. My first attempt at a decent driver (Hippo) was a cheap but educational failure. I got the Nike just before Tiger hated it figuring if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me. I liked the looks and the test swings were as good as any other driver I tried. I've gotten a lot of crap from my buddies about my Nike driver being inferior, but they give me more money than crap these days.
3 years ago, I got tired of not being able to hit a fairway wood on the rare occasions I actually hit a fairway and invested in the Nike woods because I'd heard that having the same brand helped. I don't know about that, but the tungsten plug thing made a difference. Sometimes new clubs can fix your swing! The next year I dropped my 3 iron for a Nike 18 degree CPR hybrid because everyone was saying how much easier they were to hit. They were right.
2 years ago, the lessons started to have some real impact as a I dropped from a 22 to a 14. I told myself that I had earned custom fit clubs. After all the crap we give skiers about getting aligned, it seemed the same thing ought to work for golf. It turned out I only needed a 2 degree lie adjustment and that really did not change the results a lot. What did have a big impact was getting the iron shafts balanced. My clubs are much more consistent through the set now.
The custom irons have more loft than the Cobra irons (i.e. they are shorter). I had dropped the 4 iron in favor of an extra wedge per the Dave Pelz recommendation. There was a gap between my 5 iron and the hybrid and my hybrid was pretty close to my 5 wood. So this year, I traded a Taylor Made 580 driver I had won in a tournament raffle (and could never hit for squat because it had an awful shaft) for the 21 degree Nike hybrid (and $5!) and moved the 18 degree hybrid to go with my old Cobra clubs that Bro uses when he comes to town.
I've got my eye on the Cleveland Hi Bore and the Nike Sasquatch. I can really feel the advantage of the lower COG. When I demo'd them, I found that I could work the ball left and right easier. Maybe when the prices come down....