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 argue that you prefer the classic shape and feel of a blade putter, that you putt better with a blade, but consider this: Nearly half the top 50 players in the world are using a mallet putter. If that fact alone doesn’t get you to ditch those blade putter longings, you might want to catalog all the good things a mallet putter can do for your game: It’s got aim and alignment features usually on multiple levels that let you know the face is square to your intended line. It’s got better off-center hit forgiveness through heavier elements pushed to the extreme edges of perimeter weighting , which doesn’t necessarily mean your misses will turn into makes but it does most likely mean that your misses from long range won’t turn into three-putts. And thanks to the movement toward increasing hosel options, you can now get mallets that have the toe hang of blades. That gives you the blade feel you’ve been craving with the mis-hit forgiveness that leads to fewer putts and lower scores. In short, the best of both worlds.