Weaponology 101 - Do You Know Your Clubs?
I seem to be getting more and more questions from beginning or relatively “rookie” golfers about their clubs, but I think all of you are going to get something from today’s article. It’s about knowing what you are carrying in your bag – and that’s not as easy to determine as you might think.
Today’s winner is John Pinter so congrats to him and keep the questions coming and win a free EIDOLON wedge!
In many ways, a golf club is a pretty simple device – a piece of metal, attached to a tube of metal or graphite, with a handle on it. But there are a jillion ways to combine these parts to give you what may be a perfect club for you, or one that you’ll never master. The secret is knowledge.
My experience is that very, very few golfers really know what is in their bags. Oh sure, they know what brand and model, and they know what the number on the bottom says it is, but do you really “know” what loft and length your 9-iron is for example. How well do you really know your driver, or hybrids, or wedges?
The best investment any golfer can make – regardless of your handicap – is a visit to a qualified custom clubfitter to have him do a complete measurement of your clubs so that you at least know what you are trying to play. He can chart out your lengths, lofts and lie angles to see if your clubs are even matched to each other, much less to your game (the quality standards in this industry sometimes make my blood boil).
He can go further and measure your clubs on a shaft frequency analyzer to see the real flex characteristics within your set. It is not uncommon, particularly with graphite shafts, to see as much as a two flex variance within a set of irons. That means that you could have flexes ranging from “x” to “seniors” within a set of top-brand “matched” irons you paid handsomely for.
This exercise will probably shed light on why you have trouble with that 5-iron, or always seem to lose the 3-wood right, or can’t get the 19* hybrid as airborne as you’d like.
Understand that your clubs are operating in a 100 mph environment and a lot is going on between the top of the backswing and impact. There is a real science to this, and the more you know, the more you can make good decisions about purchases and your game.
So, hopefully I’m stimulating lots of questions with this one. Where would you like me to go from here?
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What happens if you go to a clubmaker and he tells you that indeed your shafts do have different flexes? Do you have any recourse with the company you did spend a lot of money with? Plus- if they have the same shafts in them, isn't it on the shaft company?
Wow, so that is why I have 12 different swings. 176 if you count the bad ones.
My "pool cue" stroke differs very little from club to club :)
Tim Horan says:
6yrs ago I was fitted at a Mizuno centre for the MP33s I still have and have recently returned to. These were fitted 1 degree upright and -+ inch overlong. Over the years I have lowered my hands at address and have had the lies changed to minus 1 degree. I had not noticed the -+ inch overlength until I was recently asked to check the swingweight that I was playing. I had a cheap set custom built but these ranged C9 - D7. I guess the only way is to work with a good clubfitter, working together to achieve the best fit with a keen eye for build quality. I am investigating MOI matching as opposed to swingweight matching with the clubfitter next week.
I am a rookie golf that just started in the fall. I bought my own set of club this winter and have thinking about taking them to get fitted. I have played twice a week on a in-door simulator. I know it's not the real thing (it is winter here and freezing today)but I thought if anything I could work on my swing. My question is how long should I wait before haveing them fitted?
Tim Horan says:
Badly fitted clubs or clubs that are not fitted for you will make you compensate in your swing, stance, grip to get a good contact. Fitting should be done in conjunction with your coach. Get the clubs suited to your build and swing speed first and foremost, then get a grooved swing by working at it with your coach. A full fitting can only be appreciated with a repeatable set-up and swing. In a nutshell get it somewhere near now, adjust it later as your ability grows.
I certainly can understand the importance with irons of lie angle and of course loft accuracy, but why such a concern over a fitted club length, especially on irons? As long as the progression in length and loft between irons is an even progression, the length itself, within reason, should not matter. The body adjusts to the different iron lengths.
I'm not a big fan of radical length changes in irons, but agree that tweaks of 1/2" or so can help a larger golfer stay down through the ball. As for progression of lengths, the industry has accepted that 1/2" from iron to iron is right. Many fitters are using a new concept called "True Length" technology to modify that. In my own irons, for years I've played with 1/4" differences from my 7 iron down, which has tightened those distance gaps, and a 3/4" difference from my 5- to my 4-iron when I dropped the 3 for a hybrid. It's all about tweaking your clubs to get your desired results. I might add that I'm a huge fan of insuring that at least 1/2" of the butt of the grip is past the heel of my left hand when I grip the club. It makes for a much easier release of the club -- see my recent post on that topic.
Consider the following: Many years ago. when I received a lesson from an "Old English Pro", I was given 4 different 7 irons to use at the range. I was told; address the ball in the proper manner, then grip the club in a gentle manner and feel it as an extension of your hands, take a practice swing, then step up and hit the ball. That method works because all 4 clubs produced resonable shots. Hand position was somewhat different on each club but they still felt fine. JWHpurist
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