MICHELLE MCGANN was something of a child prodigy when she started putting around on the local golf course with her dad at the age of 7. “I was taking lessons every Saturday with all the kids,” recalls McGann. “I was the only girl in my junior group when I started playing tournaments.” Despite being diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes at the age of 13, McGann went on to dominate the West Palm Beach junior circuit and became a three-time Florida State Junior Champion. National acclaim soon followed, as she was ranked the top amateur by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. In 1988 at the age of 18, McGann qualified for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, where she amassed seven LPGA career titles.
Her love for the game has blossomed into a lifelong journey. Now at 51, she is a formidable force on the Legends Tour, formerly known as the Women's Senior Golf Tour. This summer, she debuted at her first U.S. Senior Women's Open. Equally important as her sports accolades is the philanthropic work she does through her nonprofit, The Michelle McGann Fund, which seeks to provide education and raise the visibility of families impacted by juvenile diabetes.
According to McGann, the key to unlocking a golfing game is finding the right essentials that work for you. “If you’re really interested in playing and getting better, you have to have the right equipment so you can actually put a good swing on something.” Naturally, McGann’s Tools of Craft is not a list of superlatives, but rather tried and tested essentials that have worked for her. Here, she divulges a few of those, but insists that you curiously seek out the items that fall in line with your swing.
When shopping for a set of clubs, be mindful of all the factors that will affect your game. Whether you’re a newbie or an advanced player, McGann suggests finding the right clubs for your age, height, and level of strength. “I play Callaway, but there's a club for everyone out there for every strength, height, and grip size. If you've got clubs that are too heavy or too light, then you know you're behind the eight ball. Honestly, I would say that every club company is amazing right now. So I would say the best thing is to definitely get fitted, get some help. We didn't have the internet when I was coming up. Do some research and take advantage of the local pros in your area. That's what they're there for.”
For a non-traditional putter/club, McGann suggests the Callaway Apex 21 Hybrids. “Hybrids are like the new rule — well, they're not new anymore, but I think they're becoming more and more popular because they're a lot easier to hit than the iron. And I think as people get older, you know, you want to hit great shots, you want to be successful, you don't want to struggle at it. Hybrids have a little bit more loft. They're easier to hit. So you don't have to work as hard. You have to take advantage of the equipment that's out. There's something for everybody out there, let's put it that way. So it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or you're an advanced player. There's equipment out there to make you, you know, have fun when you're out there playing golf.”
When it comes to kitting out her clubs, McGann leans into customizing her gear in her signature colors of pink and green. “My golf bag is made by UFO Tour Golf. And then my headcovers are from Jan Craig. Jan Craig has been around for years. Jack Nicklaus started using them like when they first came out. All the greats use them, like Tom Watson, Greg Norman, and Michelle McGann,” she adds with a chuckle.
Hitting the greens for McGann is as much a style moment as it is a sports one. Finding a golf ball that’ll stand out from the pack is just par for the course. “Back in the day, Titleist was the ball to hit. Right now, I play Elixr OnCore Balls. I like the way it feels around the greens. For the ladies, there's a ton of variety of colors of balls. I recently played a yellow golf ball. I loved it because you kind of stand out and you can easily notice your ball. Callaway makes balls that look like a soccer ball too. It would be hard for me to pinpoint exactly which is good for this one or that one. There are balls that will do something for everybody's golf game. So it's a personal preference.” And for the tees that cradle her statement-making balls, McGann uses PrideGolf Tee.
To keep track of everything that goes down on the greens, McGann uses the Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder and yardage book. “These are a few things that I have as a tour pro, but an amateur could have a laser as well.” While McGann’s book is customized with motivational messages and a picture of Teddy, her Goldendoodle, any standard yardage book will do, like this one from Smythson. For an entry-level price point, try the TourTrek Signal Slope Laser Rangefinder.
Whether it’s time to warm up or wind down, keeping your muscles limber and your joints juiced is the key to a great swing. McGann uses CBD Medic Muscle and Joint Pain Relief Spray. “It's the same one that the Gronk — the former New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski — is using. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, my shoulder is in so much pain. I put KT Tape on it and then I rub it with CBD. I had to try everything because I had to play in an hour. And the amount of golf I'm going to be playing in the next couple months is a lot on the body. Typically on the road, I’ll bring my foam roller, resistance bands, and CBD Medic spray. I do all the above. If you find something that really helps you, then stick with that.”
Deidre Dyer Writer
Deidre Dyer is a writer, editorial director, and brand consultant. Her clients include brands such as Nike, Converse, Instagram, and The RealReal. Dyer’s writing has appeared in Vogue, GARAGE, SSENSE, and Riposte magazine. She is currently an editorial and publishing manager at Netflix Queue.
Gentl and Hyers Photographer
Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers are the New York–based photography team Gentl and Hyers. They have been working together for over 25 years and are at their happiest when wandering in a far-off land, cameras in hand, exploring and connecting with people.