“The biggest liar in the world is the golfer who claims that he plays the game merely for exercise.” – Tommy Bolt
By Ian Hardie
In the article 7 things to avoid when buying new golf clubs I talked about dealing with an extremely difficult situation that I expect happens to a lot of people around the world every minute of every day
Although you may recall that describing it as an ‘extremely difficult situation’ probably wasn’t really very accurate as the difficult situation being faced
Was standing in a supermarket aisle attempting to choose a new razor or as I put it
“I was faced with an array of great sounding choices while at the same time having very little understanding of just how these things could help me”
A situation that almost all golfers face when they make the decision to buy new golf clubs
The staggering array of choices which are mostly backed up by some extremely good marketing – instantly confronts the golfer as they begin their search for new golf clubs
Regardless of whether they are looking on the internet, at sports shop or a golf shop
Which means the second they make their decision to buy – they are normally doing so with very little understanding of what could happen to their golf game as a result of getting it wrong
As you may recall from that first article I took a look at the first two things that you need to avoid when buying new golf clubs:
Thing 1 – I need golf clubs that have ‘regular’ shafts (or whatever flex you use)
Which suggested that just because you have been using a certain shaft and brand of club that has ‘regular’, ‘stiff’ or whatever printed on it – you aren’t necessarily going to find that’s what will suit you best in your new clubs
Thing 2 – I use clubs that are adjusted in a certain way (my irons are all 2 degrees flat)
Which suggested a similar thing – just because you got some new irons once upon a time that had the lie adjusted to 2 degrees flat – that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be like that for your new irons
Those two things alone are probably enough to illustrate the reason why a lot of golfers don’t actually improve after getting new golf clubs – if they blindly purchase them using those historical guidelines to buy their new golf clubs without getting their current requirements assessed but there are still five more things that you need to avoid – the next of which is:
Thing 3 – I’m better with a certain weight shaft or golf club
A lot of golfers have been convinced over the years that they need a certain weight shaft in their clubs or on the opposite side of that
They will ask for a heavy golf club – as they think it goes further
The weight of the shaft and the golf club as a whole can affect a couple of things, the first is how it feels to you
If it feels too light or too heavy to you when you use it then I can guarantee that a part of your brain is considering the fact that this cub isn’t quite right for you in the middle of your backswing – generally with disastrous consequences
Want proof of that?
Do you have a club in your bag that virtually every time you pull it out – you think ‘I don’t like this club’?
If you do the reality will be if you do use it – the shot won’t normally be very good will it?
The second is that if you have the wrong weight clubs your impact won’t be as smooth as you would like – a club that is too heavy for you is unlikely to be delivered back to the ball at the right time resulting in a thudding mishit that may involve the ground and a shot that curves to the right
Something that I’ve heard a few golfers talk about over the years
A club that is too light for you will be coming in so fast that you will possibly be topping the ball while feeling like your whole golf swing was a blur and out of control
The flipside of this is that you may have a club in your bag that is just awesome every time you hit it – I’m going to talk more about matching your clubs as closely as possible soon but in the meantime the best suggestion I have
Is to show the club you really like along with the one you don’t like at all – to the club-fitter when you first see them
Doing that will provide them with an idea as to what you need for your new ones
The last point I’m going to talk about when it comes to the weight of the golf club – is the myth that ‘heavy clubs hit the golf ball further’
An idea that couldn’t be further from the reality of the physics that applies to golf
I’m not going to delve into that too deeply today but just consider that if you have two objects that need to be moved to the same point with one object being heavier than the other and you apply the exact same amount of force to each object
It’s pretty clear that the lighter one will be able to be moved faster – not only that but the faster an object is moving – the more force it transmits if it hits another object
I think I’m going to leave you to figure out what that means when it comes to golf clubs so read the above bits again and imagine that the first two objects are golf clubs, you are the one applying the force and the object being hit is your golf ball
It should be clear that most golfers don’t need a heavier golf club – it’s just the opposite for the majority but there is the odd exception which I’ll talk about later
As the next point is one of the most interesting when it comes to things to avoid when buying new golf clubs:
Thing 4 – I’m short so I need shorter clubs / I’m tall so I need longer clubs
Probably the biggest myth when it comes to buying new golf clubs that there is
As the position of your golf hat doesn’t have much effect on the length of golf club that you need to use
Yes, that’s right read that again!
In fact, this is the one aspect of club fitting that I find most brands have got covered when they talk about standard golf clubs
Look around the golf course next time you play and you will notice something blindingly obvious – taller people tend to have proportionally longer arms than shorter people who tend to have proportionally shorter arms
The reality is that the vast bulk of golfers do fit standard length pretty well as their fingertips all sit with an inch or two when they hang their arms down by their side – try this yourself with someone who is a way different height and you will probably find this to be true
Of course there are tall people with short arms and short people with long arms
These are the golfers who really need length adjustments from custom fitting!
I’m not going to talk much more about this as I do have another article coming soon where I am going to give you a real life example of that although I am going to suggest a couple more points to consider when it comes to length
The first of which is that unless it’s abundantly clear that you need at least an inch of extra length – I’d suggest that standard is the way to go
That will surprise any of you who proudly use your ¼ inch or ½ inch longer custom length clubs but the reality is it doesn’t make a lot of difference when you are hitting
Just consider how much your back is tilted and your knees are flexing when you hit a shot and add in the fact that you aren’t a precisely set hitting robot and you will realise
That such a small amount of extra length doesn’t really affect you that much
Especially when most of the golf shots that are played by you find you having to adjust something to accommodate for things like – uphill or downhill lies, rough, wind, divots etc.
That extra ¼ inch or ½ inch longer that you have made your #6 iron – isn’t that relevant!
The second thing is that where possible – shortening any club is a bad idea as not only does it lose the golfer distance but it also generally will stiffen the shaft which also loses distance
Not too many golfers like the idea of losing distance with new golf clubs – do they?
There are still three more things I want to take a look at when it comes to buying new golf clubs that I will be taking a look at in ‘7 things to avoid when buying new golf clubs – part three’