Golfers are notorious for learning about, and many times investing in, the latest and greatest golf equipment. And for good reason! The technology is impressive and the equipment itself is a big factor in whether folks enter and stay in the game.
With this being said, there is so much out there that is perceived as fact and it might not be the case. As a golf educator, it is important that equipment evaluation and recommendation for my students be a major part of their learning. So, I have to be informed on what’s out there and need to be able to help my students choose equipment that is suitable for them while separating marketing methods versus realities.
Custom Fit Golf Clubs
You need and want custom fit clubs to minimize swing errors and maximize your swing strengths. In fact, it is more important for the average player than not. While fitted clubs do not guarantee a lower handicap or improved swing, it can greatly assist you in becoming a better player who enjoys the game more. The idea of a clubhead, shaft, and grip designed for you and your swing is huge!
Myth: Lower Loft Equals More Distance
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, getting more distance off the tee often requires a higher lofted club. There is belief about “run” after the ball lands, but there is a distance relationship involving carry and roll that has been researched to show higher loft is necessary and desired for better overall distance. Unless your swing speed is about 100 mph, you should consider 11-12 degrees of loft. Ladies—consider a higher loft at 14-16 degrees to increase your distance off the tee.
Myth: Longer Length Equals More Distance
Most drivers sold today are too long for most players. The longer the club, the more likely you will be to hit it off-center, creating a less solid shot, resulting in shorter distance. For every quarter inch you miss the sweet spot on your driver, you lose about 5 yards in distance.
Myth: The Newest Golf Clubs Have a Larger Sweet Spot
This is a bit misleading. Many drivers have a larger moment of inertia, but the sweet spot/center of gravity is a point that is about the size of a pin head. It can’t get larger or smaller…it just is. With that being said, the larger club heads with a higher moment of inertia can take some of the twisting out that occurs when there is an off-center hit and the potential to hit a more accurate drive is enhanced.
Myth: You Can Purchase the Same Clubs that Tiger Uses
While the head design and brand maybe similar, tour players go through extensive fittings that are particular to that player. Testing each shaft in each club to provide optimal ball flight along with grinding/shaping of each clubhead is time consuming and necessary for these top players. It is not to say that you won’t be purchasing good golf clubs, just no where near what the Tour player is actually using. Getting custom fit for your swing, regardless of the manufacturer, can help you get what you need.
Myth: If It Is Not a “Brand Name” Club, the Equipment is “Junk”
This is clearly misunderstood. Some of the finest golf clubheads are made in the same foundries as most manufacturers, just not mass-produced, mass advertised, and then mass-assembled here in the United States. Many times, these clubheads are not brand names but still end up as very high-quality clubs because they are custom fit and then built to your specific needs. Note that knock-offs do not fall into this category. Many times these cheap imitations are junk and should be avoided even if they look cosmetically close.
Myth: Cutting Down Clubs for Women and Juniors is Good
Please do not do this. While you are addressing an important variable in the fitting process (length), you could very well be changing the club’s characteristics by making them too heavy, too stiff, etc. For junior clubs, weight and flex are crucial, and thankfully there are many terrific options. Ladies—know that you can also purchase single clubs or a set built to your specifications with many manufacturers.