12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game (P1)
Modern golf clubs hit farther than clubs of even a few years ago.
In reality, no, they don’t. What you are seeing basically is a marketing gimmick.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
Three things primarily determine the distance you hit a golf ball: the loft of the clubhead, the length of the shaft, and the speed with which you swing. There is also a time proven adage about golf clubs—the longer the length, the lower the loft, the heavier the weight, and the stiffer the shaft, the harder the club will be to hit. Over the past few years your body’s swing speed has probably stayed about the same, but the loft angles and the shaft length of your clubs have not.
Each year, in order to say their clubs “hit farther,” the club companies have been tinkering with the loft angles on the faces of your clubheads—lowering them a bit at a time each year. As a result, every club in the set has moved “up” at least one, if not two, numbers. So, when you go to a driving range for “demo day” and you are hitting a 6-iron farther than you hit your old 5-iron, you now know why. It’s because that shiny new 6-iron in your hands was a 5-iron only a few years ago and probably a 4-iron a few years before that.
In some ways these changes would be comical if they didn’t have such sad results. Now golfers carry clubs that are, in effect, designed from the factory to be unhittable in the hands of the average golfer and are forced to buy additional clubs that they otherwise would not have needed.
Again, let me start with some background.
In the world of club design there is something called the “24/38 Rule.” Basically, it says that the average golfer cannot hit an iron that has less than 24 degrees of loft or more than 38 inches of length. The reason is that a club like that requires a swing precision that the average golfer rarely has the opportunity to attain.
A few years ago the 24/38 line fell on the other side of the 3-iron. So, when you bought a set of clubs, you bought a 3-iron through pitching wedge and you could reasonably expect to hit each of those clubs. Because of the “vanishing loft disease” I just described, the 24/38 line has now moved to just the shy side of the 5-iron—making the 3- and 4-iron unhittable for most people.
So, what are you supposed to do? It’s simple. The club companies want you to buy three more clubs to compensate for the corner that they painted you into. You are now supposed to buy something called “hybrid” clubs, which are easyto-hit substitutes for the 3- and 4-irons that are no longer hittable by the majority of golfers. In addition, as all the irons have now moved up and away from the sand wedge, you are now supposed to buy something call a “gap wedge” to fill in the “gap” they created with their loft-shrinking marketing stunts.
The longer my driver is, the farther I’ll be able to hit the ball.
In my estimation, 90 percent of the drivers sold in the shops today are too long for most players. If that’s the case for you, then get it cut down and re-swingweighted to the shorter length, and don’t be shy about doing it. Here’s why:
- Let’s start with the issue of distance. Most golfers believe that longer length drivers will hit farther. They won’t. Drivers ranging from 43 to 45 inches were put to a test with 50 different golfers of varying handicap levels. Here are the data. Read it for yourself. The difference in distance between a 43- and a 45inch driver is a whopping yard plus inches. Accuracy wise, there is no question that the old adage of “the longer the length, the harder the club is to hit” certainly rings true.
- But wait. The plot thickens.
- There is another reason for having a shorter driver. It appears that, in the hands of real people the shorter driver might very well hit the ball, not just with more accuracy but more distance as well.
- For every quarter inch you miss the sweet spot on your driver, you lose about five yards in distance. Miss it by a half inch and you lose 10 yards; an inch, 20 yards, and so forth.
- Conversely, if you can gain enough control of the club to hit the ball even a half inch closer to the sweet spot, you’ll not only enjoy the distance increase that comes with a more solid impact but you’ll be more likely to keep the ball on the fairway.
- Okay, fine. So most golfers today are using clubs that are too long to allow them to play their best. How do you know what the right length is for you? Most people assume that if they are taller than 6’22” or shorter than 5’8”, they might need “inch-over” or “inch-under” length clubs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
- The length of your clubs is not determined by your height; it is determined by the lenght of your arms, and the massaged from there to final length br your swing plane and ball striking ability! A custom clubmaker works with one basic principle in mind:
- The proper length for all golfers is the longest length that the golfer can hit SOLID AND ON-CENTER the highest percentage of the time. Truth is, when it comes to your woods that length is undoubtedly shorter than what you are using now.
- The way a clubmaker determines proper length is by first measuring the distance from the golfer’s wrist to the floor and referencing that dimension to a chart developed over years of fitting rasearch to guide the initial club length recommendations. Fitting length is not done through a fingertip to floor measurement, but wrist to floor. The reason is because of the wide variance people have in finger length and the fact that the end of your grip lines up closer to where your wrists are in the grip. The wrist measurement is a more reliable measurement to indicate arm length. The size of your hands or length of your finger is only ralevant to grip fitting not club length.
- So, proper length fitting starts with a lenght recommendation based on the golfer’s wrists-to-floor measurement is determined, agood custom fitter will look at the both your swing plane and your swing tempo as well as your ability to athletically control the club during the swing. Only after those data are factored in will a final recommendation be made.