Posts Tagged ‘Equipment’
It’s always nice to get an unbiased opinion from an expert. As a result I recently spent some time with friend and clubfitting guru Ian Fraser from Modern Golf in Toronto Canada, discussing what he deemed to be the top driver and shaft options available for 2013. Ian has no affiliation with any one club or shaft manufacturer so I really value his opinions. Here are his selections for the top shafts available this year:
- higher launch and low spin
- stronger mid-section helps to increase ball speed
- BB – blue bullet
- designed to produce less spin with a lower launch
- designed with feedback from ENSO technology
- lower launching and lower spinning shaft
- excellent price point
I also wanted to hear Ian’s take on the new crop of drivers that have been on the market for a few months now and he had some interesting things to say. Here are his choices:
- improved design and ball speed over the 910 series
- D2 and D3 different in size, yet similar in spin rates
- massive adjustability with very high ball speed
- slightly heavier than the R11S
- highest MOI of any driver available and best paint job!
- slightly less spin and higher ball speed than the G20
I suppose my optimal driver would one that had the looks of the Titleist 913 D3, the stability and matte black finish of the Ping G25 along with the adjustability and ball speed of the TaylorMade R1….one can dream!
Please be aware that going out and simply purchasing and combining one of the above options might not be the best thing for you. I would recommend getting with a professional clubfitter who uses TrackMan technology to find the appropriate head and shaft match for your particular swing. You should be looking for the optimal launch and spin characteristics that match your swing speed.
Read THIS to know where you should be launching and spinning the ball based on your current club speed.
I recently ran an interesting promotion where I offered golfers an opportunity to gain 10 yards if they participated in a twenty minute TrackMan session. The cost was $50 and if they didn’t gain the yardage their session was free. This meant I had to be on my game and I had to make simple and effective upgrades to get paid…it’s not often a golfer can take a lesson and only have to pay for the lesson if they see immediate results!
My reason for running the promotion was primarily to create interest and excitement in the new TrackMan unit and to give the Berkeley Hall membership a peek at what this technology can do for them.
I had eighteen golfers, eleven men and seven ladies sign up and I encouraged each of the participants to focus on the driver. In case a participant wanted to work with an iron I had them each bring their driver and a seven iron along.
When hitting the driver I try to get my students to have an attack angle of somewhere from 1 – 5 degrees up along with a club path of somewhere from 1 – 5 degrees from in to out. I prefer that most golfers hit out and up on the ball creating a high launch, low spin trajectory with the driver. We all could benefit from a few extra yards, no?
Here is a compilation of points of interest from the day:
- The average swing speed for the men with the driver was 83.9mph. The top speed achieved was 96.1mph while the slowest was 70.1mph. Keep in mind that this event was promoted as a “distance” event and as a result the golfers who came out tended not be the longest of hitters.
- The average speed for the ladies with the driver was 65.6mph with the top speed being 73.4mph and the slowest being 60.3mph.
- Before any changes were made 11 out of the 18 golfers hit down on the ball at an average of 1.6 degrees with the driver. After the changes had been made the same 11 golfers averaged 0.6 degrees up on the ball. Not bad…
- Before any changes were made 7 golfers (a surprisingly low number in my opinion!) hit from out to in at an average of 3.3 degrees with the big stick. This means that their club path was travelling 3.3 degrees left (for a right hander) of the target at impact. After adjusting, the same 7 golfers averaged 0.8 degrees from in to out – a very positive change.
- Prior to any changes 4 golfers hit too much (in my opinion) from in to out at an average of 6.6 degrees. After the changes they averaged 2.2 degrees in to out – a far more respectable number.
- Not every golfer gained yardage, although the majority did. A few golfers actually lost some clubhead speed while they were working on the changes which were primarily in the address position. It was interesting to note how some golfers adapted and changed easily while others had a tough time.
- The golfers with slower swing speeds tended to be more efficient, something I had already noted from the PGA Tour stat on Total Driving Efficiency and as a result it was quite difficult to get them make the “required” yardage gains. They were quite close to optimal already…
- Similarly, I found the ladies to generally be more efficient in transferring the energy they created to the ball than the men. I’ve also noticed that LPGA golfers also tend to be more efficient than their PGA Tour counterparts, particularly with the driver. The mantra seems to be “the more energy you create, the more likely you are to waste it!” It does not have to be that way though.
- Every golfer who attended the event improved in an important area regarding how they deliver the club to the back of the ball. Quite a few golfers did not gain 10 yards, but they all left feeling like they had the knowledge and feel they needed in order to realize longer tee shots.
- One lady had a fantastic golf swing with very efficient numbers, but, primarily due to her petite size, she was unable to generate much clubhead speed. She had an older, heavy driver with a 70 gram shaft and so I spent most of our time talking to her about what equipment (lighter = faster) suited her best and what exercises (Momentus woosh) she could do to increase her speed with the driver. I’ll be interested to see how she does with the new club.
- Almost all the participants commented that while the “numbers overload” from TrackMan was overwhelming at first, once we had isolated a particular problem (attack angle, club path, spin axis etc.) it seemed very simple. They were able to key in on one area and get a feel for how much change was required in order to reach their goal – all without much in the way of complicated, positional swing changes.
- The twenty minute time format worked well for the students and for me. They did not get overloaded with information and I had be concise and clear (for a change!) in what they needed to upgrade.
So, back to the question, “Can you get better in twenty minutes?” I would have to say an emphatic yes. With the right feedback mechanism, which TrackMan certainly is, and a simple approach, you can make fairly substantial changes in a short period of time. The important thing moving forward is that you practice the changes in order to gain a measure of comfort and confidence in them – and as we know, that takes more than twenty minutes.
Thanks for reading.
So often golfers are tempted into believing their equipment is the reason for the poor results they have been experiencing. Sometimes they may be correct, yet most times, this leads to the decision to make a change.
Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when considering making a change to your set:
- The latest and greatest is not necessarily all it is hyped to be. It is more than likely the same old thing with a new and exciting paint job. Decide what you like and stick with that! I am currently using a set of irons with the same type of heads (blades), shafts (Dynamic Gold s-400) and grips (rubber with reminders) that I used when I first started to play the game. (Titleist 690.MB)
- When it comes to irons there are three options: blades; the oversized helper set; and something in between the two. Get something you know you will be comfortable with.
- As far as fitting for irons we all need to know two numbers: the length and lie angle that we prefer! Not 2 degrees over standard or plus a half inch on length! This is because all companies have different standards (don’t we all?) and if you know the length and lie of your clubs you are immune to any problems that might arise. My 6 iron is 37.50 inches long and has a lie angle of 60.50 degrees. I will use those numbers for as long as I can swing.
- Get clubs that fit your body and not strictly your impact position on the day of fitting! Lose the lie boards and tape on the bottom of irons please.
- Find a shaft that fits your swing and feels good to you and then stay with it for as long as they make it! Make sure it is not too strong.
- When it comes to putters keep in mind that there are essentially two genres: face-balanced and toe weighted. If you are considering making a putter change try to stay in your genre unless things have just been horrific on the greens.
- There have been very few to no improvements made in the field of fairway woods. Titanium is very light and thus the heads tends get too big, so find a simple and small stainless steel head that you like the look of and set about developing a long lasting relationship with it.
- When selecting a fairway wood decide whether you would like to use it predominantly off the fairway or more as a tee club. Select the loft of the club accordingly.
- Limit the number of wedges in your bag to a maximum of three – that means a PW, SW and an LW at most! If you struggle with the wedges stick to a PW and SW so as to not cloud any decision-making around the greens. Tour players practice enough, are skilled enough and play the kind of courses that require precise enough shots to justify four wedges being in the bag.
- There should be an even number of degrees between each of your wedges. Most PW’s are 48 degrees and I have a 54 and a 60. Other viable options are a PW and a 52 and 56 or a PW and a 53 and 58.
- When selecting your wedges be sure to incorporate enough bounce in each club. Unless your name is Eldrick, Phil or Vijay you need more than 6 degrees of bounce on any wedge you own. That’s why manufacterers build clubs with 14 degrees of bounce!
- There are two shapes of grips folks – rounds and reminders! Find out what shape you like and ask for it by name the next time you refresh your grips.
- When it comes to grips forget the latest cool colors or which ones your favorite player is using - they are more than likely getting paid to use the ones on their clubs. Decide which grips are for you and your preference and now you don’t have to worry about the latest fad.
- The driver is the one club in the bag where it pays to stay current. Find a reputable club fitter in your area that uses a launch monitor and go and get fitted. Whenever you get the urge to replace your current big stick get back on that launch monitor to compare the latest offering with your trusty old steed!
- The current fitting carts that most companies have make it very easy to try multiple different heads with various shafts. Be patient, try them all and then find a club that gives you good numbers and looks great to you!
Enjoy watching the world’s best wade through the quagmire that appears to be the 2009 US open this weekend…..
So often I read that it is important to be “behind the ball”. While this statement is almost correct I would prefer for a golfer to be “over” the ball and this sense initiates with the set up position.
The set-up encompasses ball position, stance width and spine/shoulder tilt. Let’s take a look from the ground up.
With the irons I would like to see the ball played from the middle of the stance – keep in mind, that in order to hit down on the ball, a must, the weight must be in front of the ball. Notice that I said weight and not body or head! When the ball is centrally located it is that much easier to hit down on. As you get to the longer clubs(woods) slide the ball up toward the inside of the left heel. In the Ben Hogan illustration you’ll notice how his ball is not quite in the center but a little forward. This is due to his pronounced hip slide into impact which still allowed him to be able to hit down on a more forward ball position.
As far as the stance width goes, I prefer a narrower stance than a wider one and here’s why. A narrow stance allows for the weight to get to the front foot easily – that’s why you should be chipping and pitching with a narrow stance. Too wide and you’ll have a hard time getting onto the front foot without excess movement.
Head position and spine tilt is the most important factor in the set-up! I read an article yesterday pontificating about if you tilt away from the target you’ll reduce your slice. Well, you might reduce the slice, but you’ll have a hard time making solid contact with the ball. All the best ball strikers set up as Hogan has here, with the head positioned between the feet, the left eye over the ball and the spine just about vertical. There should also be a minimal amount of shoulder tilt when the spine is vertical. Make sure you avoid any excess tilt into your back side as this will make it almost impossible to get “over” the ball at impact.
Set yourself up to get into a great impact!
Things to ponder:
- Harbourtown and the TPC Louisiana are both Pete Dye golf courses. They look like they are from different planets!
- Can Steve Stricker finally get the job done on Sunday? It’s been a while!
- Tiger Woods is a great champion, but does he play golf the way it was meant to be played? Does modern equipment let him play the game “his way”? I offer Greg Norman and Nick Faldo as contrasts.
- I was going to ask, ” When will Sergio grow up?” but I’m not sure he ever will.
- Will Sergio ever grow up?