I gotta tell you, when I read or hear fluff golf stories about “Oh, this new technology just changed my game”, I want to puke.
Really? Something that’s been stagnant for about a decade now has honestly “changed your game”?
You see, everything about a golf club head has been maxed out to the USGA and R&A’s limits since around 2005.
Yes, 2005. Some examples:
Length: 48″ is the max
Head volume (driver): 460 cubic centimeters
Head size (driver): it has to fit within a 5″ X 5″ box
Face Height (driver): 2.8″ from sole to crown.
COR (Coefficient of Restitution, or “springlike effect”): .83
View more at the USGA’s website here.
We can talk about things like face thickness, and how some designs help a little (emphasis on “a little”) more than others, but if you’re properly fitted to your clubs, that becomes almost irrelevant. Besides, every company has their version of what they think is “best”, and no one’s going to sell you something that’s actually crap.
So why do people believe that their shiny new purchase has somehow elevated their game?
Furthermore: why are we subjected to these golf stories- especially when there seems to be some endgame (a promotion) involved?
What people fail to mention is what’s different about the club, other than the brand name, where it was purchased, or what year it was made. The list can be long…
- The club’s loft actually matches their swing speed and angle of attack
- The club’s length is more suitable to their swing, allowing for more “sweet spot” contacts
- The swing weight (head heft) and overall weight more closely matches their “golf strength”
- The shaft flex actually matches their swing speed and transition, creating better swing rhythm
- The grip matches their hand size, meaning no more “death grip” and more control over the face
- If we’re talking irons and wedges, the lie angle matches their impact location, for more accuracy
See what I mean?
There are many other factors that no one talks about in these golf stories!
It’s a nice way to sell that shiny new club… but they’re not being completely honest with you.
I’m not saying that people lie. No no no no no no. OK… some might, but not everyone. Some just don’t understand what’s really going on with their new purchase.
You need to know that it goes both ways, as well. If you just buy something off-the-rack, with what you assume to be your specs, you might be in for a shock. Check this out:
If you’re like the majority of golfers, you should actually be looking for drivers in the range of 12-14 degrees! Unfortunately, many believe they belong in a 9.5, though some get closer by buying a 10.5.
What that means is, you could move from a driver that you hit pretty well, to one you can’t hit to save your life. It makes it harder to swallow if you spent more than what you do a month for your car.
Another thing to consider, for irons:
What can we deduce from this picture?
If the lie angle’s too flat, it’s very likely you’ll be hitting pushes and/or slices. With a lie angle too upright, we’ll be hitting more pulls and/or hooks.
What’s the most talked-about swing flaw in golf? I’ll give you a second…
…Know what it is? The slice! Depending on who you ask, 80-90% of all golfers suffer from a slice. That very well could be you!
So, what do many OEMs do to offset that percentage? They make their lie angles more upright.
On its surface, it makes sense: the vast majority of golfers slice, so they think “let’s do something about it”. That “something” is making the clubs the opposite way: they increase the lie angle of the irons, making them more upright.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ strategy. Just one more little factoid that should ingrain in your brain the need for getting fitted.
Let me be clear: having the lie angle fitted is a very important factor for accuracy with the irons and wedges… but a slice is a swing flaw. The best way to counteract it, is to learn how to hit a draw!
By now, my hope is that this makes you take those fluff pieces you hear about big gains with new gear with a grain of salt. As with anything you read, there’s usually more to the story than just “I switched from Company A to its competitor (or bought it from Golf Store A instead of its competitor) and I picked up X more yards!”.
There’s no need to be a dick about it; just read the story, nod your head, say “good for you” and move on with your day.
From now on, you’re going to be an informed buyer. You’re going to know that it’s about the fitting. The brand, model, price- that’s all up to you, what you’re comfortable with.