60% of all the grass on putting greens today did not exist 30 years ago and as a result the mow height on greens is 50% lower than it was 20 years ago. Greens are much faster than they used to be.Faster green means shorter grass and shorter grass means there is no longer the need for 4 degrees of loft (the traditional loft) on putters. Most PGA Tour golfers have an effective loft of somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees. This means that when they add the loft on the putter face to the amount of loft they add during the stroke it comes out to somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees. Consequently very little flight time and early roll mean less bounce and skid - a good thing! Zach Johnson actually has -1 degree of loft on his putter face. Speaking of early roll - grooved face putters get the ball rolling 18-24% sooner than smooth faced putters. Not only that, they deter the ball from sliding up or across the face on poorly struck putts too. Sign me up for some of that help.Read More
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.....