Tidbits for you to think about
We've all had fun with this topic the past couple of Friday's so I'm going to stay on it for today, and talk about how little things can mean a lot when it comes to tweaking your equipment. What I've been trying to communicate is that when it comes to your golf clubs, what you see is not necessarily what you get. On the surface, a golf club seems to be a pretty simple thing – a piece of metal, at the end of a tubular piece of metal or graphite, with a rubber-like handle at the end. But when that golf club is put into motion at 100 mph or so, a lot of dynamics begin to happen.

This is the most relevant with regard to driver shafts, for two reasons. First, the driver generates the most clubhead speed, and speed magnifies error, as we discussed. And secondly, the driver is the largest head, with the center of mass further from the axis of the shaft, so that exerts all kinds of forces on the shaft itself.

But I thought I’d wrap up this subject . . . for now . . . with some random observations I’ve made over the years about equipment cause and effect:
  1. Increasing your driving distance. The industry has taken us on this dramatic quest for distance and power, and the average driver sold today is over 45” long. That’s two inches longer than the standard of 25 years ago. And while the humongous driver heads brag about “forgiveness”, the fact is that your best shots will always come from dead center hits. FACT: A miss of ½” will cost you 7-9% distance loss, and a miss of ¾” will increase that to 12-15%. If you play your driver at 43-1/2”, you’ll hit the ball closer to the sweet spot and it will go further. It’s been proven over and over again.

  2. Examining Iron Specs – The “standard” way a set of irons has been built for decades is that the irons vary in length by ½”, and in loft by 4 degrees. But the harsh reality of this geometry is that almost every golfer will have smaller distance gaps at the long end of the set than at the short end. Shouldn’t your distance precision be tighter at the scoring range? I have tweaked my irons for years so that I have smaller length and lie differences at the short end than the long, and that allows my distance gaps to be more consistent. From the 7-iron, 3/8” and 3* per club to the PW, 5/8” and 4.5* to the 4.

  3. Fit your putter. It amazes me to watch golf on TV, where these guys have all the equipment gurus at their disposal, and see the toe of the putter up in the air at address. Simple fact is that this makes the face point left because of the loft. I’ve become a true believer in putter fitting. A good fit will ensure that your putter really is aimed at the target, and that the lie angle allows the ball to come off the putter straight. Yes, the style of putter is a matter of personal preference, but a putter that is accurately fit to you makes this maddening part of the game much less so.

  4. Watch Your Grips. We spend hundreds of dollars on a driver or set of irons, and we get disposable handles. That’s a fact. Grips wear out. They get dirty. And they need replacing regularly. Take a close look at yours. Worn, dirty grips cause you to grip the club tighter to have control. And bad shots are much more frequent because of that.

  5. Experiment. The toys are a big part of the fun of golf, so don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve suggested you try the blade style short irons of one of your better player friends or pros, but experiment with other clubs, too. Hit your buddies’ hybrids, fairways, irons, drivers. Try different golf balls. [But I just can’t buy that tees can make a difference, sorry.] It’s fun.

So, there you have some random thoughts of the hundreds that swirl around in my head. Let me know your other questions about equipment and we’ll stay on this as long as you like.

photo source
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
when it comes to tees the best i found are the brush tees. I love them, they last long, and seem to make a positive difference.
8/20/10
 
Banker85 says:
I would love to cut down my driver and 3w shafts about 1" each.
8/20/10
 
Banker85 says:
both are taylormade burners with the long shafts.
8/20/10
 
birdieXris says:
@banker -- definitely get it done. I got my TM driver done and it only made things better.
8/20/10
 
mjaber says:
I've been toying with the idea of doing some custom work on my clubs myself... more because I like to "tinker" than anything else. Plus, I don't have the time/money to get a custom set built for me. We've got a nice second-hand sporting goods chain in the area that sells old clubs cheap ($5-$10). I figure that this is a good place to start my experimentation. If it works, great. If not, I'm only out a couple bucks.
8/20/10
 
pvt4211 says:
Could not agree more with the shorter length shaft for drivers.
8/20/10
 
TeT says:
I like the experiment part, I stop when i get something that I really like...
8/20/10
 
rmumph1 says:
I wish I had the money or a good clubfitter to do this stuff. I know my game would improve if I could get fitted. I always tell people to get fitted before they just start buying new clubs. Most beginners think its the brand of club to helps and not the specs of the club. I need to win the lottery, not the powerball, just a couple thousands would do.
8/20/10
 
sepfeiff says:
That all makes sense to me, great article this week.
8/20/10
 
BME_Badger says:
@banker - before you cut your club down you could always choke down an inch or so and see if you like how it feels. It's cheaper to go back to your old setup if it doesn't work out for you :-)
8/20/10
 
666 Iron says:
I never considered a shorter shaft on my driver.....
8/20/10
 
Matt F says:
I had my driver shaft (TM Burner) cut down 1" and it has helped a lot. I'm hitting the ball further than I was with the longer shaft.

Matt
8/21/10
 
birdieXris says:
a guy today just tried to sell me a burner superfast at, get this, 46 INCHES!!! i still hit it 30 yards shorter than my tour burner. I told him the first thing i would do is order it shorter. He says "you can't, it negates all the technology in it" well, i guess i'm not getting a new driver anytime soon. LOL
8/21/10
 
taylortony says:
I just cut down an old R 510 a few weeks ago by 2 inches, and what a difference! i had never heard of doing this before but being a very short person at 5 ft 4 in and haveing the club just laying around i thought id experiment and im glad i did, im hitting it 20 to 25 yrds further,
8/21/10
 
SteveS says:
Terry - Just curious, with your tweeking of the irons,what is the length and lie of your 7 iron? Also, have you ever tinkered with the weight? The reason I ask is that I went to a club fitter yesterday to spec my current set and hit balls for about 2 hours with the 5, 7, and driver, all with impact tape. The fitter added 9 grams of weight to the 7 and my impact improved dramatcially.
Any thoughts?
8/22/10
 
newrider says:
Talking about experimenting. I'm building a high lofted (12*) driver to 3 wood standards. Will use a Grafalloy Bi-matrix fairway shaft cut to 43". Will add about 10 grams to the head to bring it up to 3 wood weight. Trying to build a fairway finder. Normal gamer is a FT-9 I-mix with Fubuki 5ct 63 stiff I hit a ton but inconsistent.
8/22/10
 
wedgeguy says:
SteveS, My 7-iron is 37-1/2", swingweight is D2 with the UST Constant Weight ProForce V2 shaft (95 g). Overall weight I don't have handy, actually. I play old Reid Lockhart RL Blades, which I designed in the mid-90s. I don't know how/why the 9 grams worked so well for you, unless your irons have extra light steel or light graphite shafts. I think the manufacturers, overall, have pushed clubweights down below what is practical for control. JMHO
8/23/10
 
SteveS says:
Terry - My 7 i is 268g with a 65 gram graphite shaft; very light. The fitter had a Wishon 560MC demo 7 that is also 268gr but had a graphite shaft of 77gr. He had to add 6 grams to the demo which got the impact dead center. They MOI'd only 10 points different with the extra weight. The only other difference was grip, my grip was slightly heavier than the demo. I assume that's what made the difference. So..if the overall weights were close, and if he were to build a club at that weight does it make a difference whether the weight is added to the head or go to a heavier shaft?
8/23/10
 
DoubleDingo says:
I always grip down a couple inches on my Cobra driver while teeing the ball about 3/4" off the ground so I hit more of the bottom of the club face fore a lower more controlled ball flight. The guys always comment that I need to grip the club further up the handle and tee the ball higher. When I do that there is no telling where the ball will go. I still like my persimmon driver better than anything. Decent distance, more accurate, etc.
8/23/10
 
mg03062 says:
About 5 years ago I had my stock TM R580 fitted. Cut the shaft to 43 1/2" and added weight inside the head. I also grip down 1". Suddenly, I find the sweet spot 95% of the time and consistently hit 260-270 and keep it in the short stuff. Works for me. :)
8/24/10
 
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
Click here to for Terry's blogroll.
 
    Golf Talk
Most Popular:

Subscribe