It’s that question we get every year: Is the new stuff really better than last year’s stuff? The answer is a without hesitation “yes.” That said, if you bought a new driver or set of irons or wedges or putter last year, it might not be instantly recognizable. Fact is, seismic shifts in golf equipment are few, the result of the fact that pretty much everything the past few years has been pretty dang excellent. However if you haven’t upgraded your clubs in four or five years or—heaven help you, longer—the chances of you seeing significant improvement is strong.

The fact is, golfers are getting better and equipment technology is the reason. That might manifest itself in better scores or a lower handicap. It might be in the form of more quality shots more often. Or it might come from a less-skilled player getting more enjoyment from the game because they are finally getting the ball in the air and moving it down the fairway. If you haven’t changed your clubs in several years we know the reasons. “I’m not good enough” or “None of that equipment helps average golfers all that much.” Then there’s the one we dislike the most, “I’m doing just fine with what I’ve got.” Unfortunately, not really. We’ve learned over the years that equipment is designed to help average players more than tour players, and the designs today are aimed at helping the mis-hit more than the Sunday punch. In other words, the game can be made easier. Not easy, but easier. And who doesn’t want that, especially when a case can be made that it’s happening across every section of your bag.

You can take a ho-hum approach to a category of clubs that feature so many different takes on the same, basic, but distinctive Ping Anser-style head shape that’s been around for more than half a century. You’d be missing the point. The new blade putters boast faces that change the way putts launch so there’s more natural topspin that gets the ball rolling end over end more quickly. There are heads that work with a new shaft system or alternative head-weight designed to even out the consistency of your tempo for better distance and direction. There are ultra-forgiving that use a wider footprint so you can improve your off-center hits while still staying true to the O.G. of heel-toe weighted putters.