In the first segment of this blog, we discussed hitting the ball on the sweet spot in order to optimize your “smash factor” or efficiency. In general, this will be a spot that is slightly towards the toe and just above the center of the clubface. Remember, to maximize distance, it is a combination of ball speed, launch angle and spin rate. In this segment, we are going to talk about the optimum launch angle for your club speed. Launch angle is determined by several factors: Club loft Angle of Attack Impact point on the clubface Forward lean of the shaft Today we are only going to talk about club loft for the driver. Most drivers come in degrees of loft from 8.5 to 16. Long Drive competitors have drivers that have only 4 to 7.5 degrees of loft. This is because at higher ball speeds, there is considerably more lift created which allows the ball to climb rapidly after impact. In general, the slower the swing or club speed, the higher the loft of the driver to optimize both carry and roll. Let’s assume for now that you have a 100 mph club speed and your driver launch is... Read More
What's New: Fitting Tips
While this trend has been going on for a while now, it has really accelerated in the last few months. With steel shaft companies coming up with lightweight iron shaft designs like the True Temper XP95, KBS Tour 90 and Nippon N.S. Pro 950 GH, it was only a matter of time before graphite shaft companies would counter. Graphite iron shafts have traditionally been in the 55-85 gram range, especially for stock shafts in club manufacturer’s irons. That changed a couple of years ago with Project X graphite and Aerotech Steelfiber iron shafts in the 95 gram range. Next came the OBAN i-series, the UST Mamiya Recoil and now the Loomis EFP shafts. These shafts are all in the 90+ gram range. We are now seeing another move to 110 to 130 gram graphite iron shafts as well. These will be in direct competition with traditional steel shafts. Three things you should know. First, we can make any shaft, graphite or steel, perform true to flex with consistency that is as good or better than steel. Second, graphite tends to be more expensive than steel so be prepared for that. Finally, graphite reduces vibration of the shaft and will give... Read More
#1 – Find the Sweet Spot (See Intro to this Series here…) We all know that the sweet spot on your driver is right in the middle, right? Wrong. If you really want to optimize and increase distance you have to find the spot on your driver that gives you the highest ball speed for your swing speed, reduces spin and gives you the correct launch angle. In this discussion, we will be working on getting the most out of your existing club head speed by optimizing smash factor. First an explanation. Smash factor is determined by dividing ball speed by club speed. For a driver, the smash factor we are looking for is 1.50 or slightly higher (will explain later). So, if your driver club head speed is 100 mph, your ball speed should be 150 mph to get you the most distance. Every 1 mph in ball speed is roughly 2 yards in carry. If your club head speed is 100 mph but your ball speed is only 142 mph (1.42 smash factor), you are giving up 8 x 2= 16 yards in carry distance so maybe 20 yards total distance. Remember, our goal here is to get you 20... Read More
As you start dreaming about the 2015 golf season and visualizing those perfect tee shots, approach shots that snuggle next to the pin and draining 10 foot putts, your dreams may be interrupted by the thoughts of those shots that don’t always work out the way you want them to. “Man, I thought I put a great swing on that ball!”, you say as the ball sails OB left. While you can blame your swing, or the club, maybe it’s the shaft that isn’t quite right. With 13 clubs (not including the putter) in your bag, the chances of all of those shafts being consistent in weight, flex, and profile are slim and none. The lightest shaft in your bag should be your driver, and the heaviest ones should be in your wedges. Too often I see shafts in fairway woods and hybrids that are too light for the set making for inconsistent shot patterns. Same with shaft flex. The stiffest club in your bag should be the driver with flexes getting progressively softer as the clubs get shorter. This is rarely the case when I test clubs during a fitting. Finally, the profile of the shaft (high or low... Read More
This just makes sense, right? The farther you hit your driver, the shorter the club you will be using for your approach shots. And, the shorter the club you use for your approach shot, the more accurate you are, right? Well, Trackman has thousands of shots in their Combine testing that prove this out. Bogey golfers only hit 21% of greens in regulation from 160 yards but hit 42% from 140 yards! And the proximity to hole increases by 50% as well! Mark Broadie, author of Every Stroke Counts, shows that a bogey golfer will gain 1.6 strokes if he/she hits it twenty yards farther. So how can YOU get that extra 20 yards (without Teeing it Forward)? I will be blogging here over the next few weeks on the seven keys to improving your driving distance. Ultimately it comes down to hitting the highest loft, lowest spin shots that allow you maximum carry and roll. The keys to YOUR success will be: Finding the Sweet Spot on the Driver Face Optimizing YOUR Loft Improving Attack Angle and Why it Works Getting the Right Shaft for Distance AND Accuracy Swing techniques Strength, Stability and Conditioning Mastering your Driver Swing... Read More
One of the most frustrating things I encounter during a fitting is a golfer that hits their driver low with a lot of spin. These two factors are notorious distance killers. When I look at the face impact of the golf ball, the golfer is typically hitting below the center of the club (see the little white dot in the picture) and towards the heel. Hitting the ball a half inch below the center can turn a 10.5 degree driver into an 8 degree driver – a distance killer on uphill or wet fairways. Hitting a half inch towards the heel can add as much as 500 rpm spin, another distance killer. During a fitting, we look at a number of things that could be causing heel shots. Is the shaft weight correct for the persons tempo? If the golfer’s tempo is fast, a heavier shaft or heavier weighted head will help reduce the amount of extension away from the body during the swing which causes a heel shot. The club may be too long as well. Most stock drivers for amateurs are 45.5″ to 46″ in length because the manufacturer’s do not want you to lose distance. We always... Read More
In our last blog on this topic we discussed the impact of the golf shaft on accuracy. Another one of the major premises of our shaft test using Trackman and the GEARS Golf motion sensing system was that the proper shaft can also improve distance. Or, conversely, the wrong shaft can negatively affect distance. Four shafts varying in weight from 53 to 68 grams and from senior to X-stiff flex were used in the test. This part of the test yielded some very interesting results. For some of our testers, the distance differences between shafts were almost negligible, i.e. 3 yards at 260 yard total distance. For others, the distance gains (or losses) we pretty huge. One tester lost 26 yards with a shaft that was very heavy and stiff (from 200 yards to 175 yards), which was a loss of 12.5%. From a TrackMan fitting perspective, the biggest factors affecting distance were smash factor (face impact location), launch angle, spin and for certain golfers, club speed. For the stronger players, there was very little variance in club speed between the different shaft weights and flexes. But the slower club speed golfers (75 to 90) saw drops of as much... Read More
One of the major premises of our shaft test using Trackman and the GEARS Golf motion sensing system was that the proper shaft can improve accuracy. Or, conversely, the wrong shaft can negatively affect accuracy. In TrackMan’s research, 75-80% of your accuracy can be explained by the face angle of the club at impact and only 20-25% by the club path, or swing direction. This was definitely borne out in our testing. With four different test shafts, swing direction or club path variances were insignificant from shaft to shaft. But, face angle varied as much as 4 degrees which could mean the difference of up to 30 yards on a driver shot of 200 yards. In fact, the biggest variance we saw with a shaft that was literally 3 flexes too soft was 30 yards EACH DIRECTION, or 60 yards! Now, not everyone is going to be playing shafts that are way too soft/stiff or heavy/light, but certainly every golfer can gain more accuracy with properly fitted clubs. In fact, when we measured the drivers we had fit our testers for, they were the most accurate! Of course, they had better be or we would not have done our job!
This driver is all about creating speed which will result in more distance! The aerodynamic design of this head along with its lighter weight design will help you create more clubhead speed. In some tests, this driver created up to 2 mph more clubhead speed which is 5-7 more yards distance. Doesn’t seem like much but that could get you a half club closer to the green! Of course, our job is to help you select the proper shaft weight, flex and tip profile to maximize your performance.
For us club builders, the addition of a lighter weight C-Taper shaft in parallel tip is awesome news. Building with parallel tip shafts gives us more flexibility in controlling flex and launch versus using taper shafts and either hard or soft stepping. The problem really comes when building wedges with taper shafts as KBS makes only one shaft, a 9/PW for all clubs from 9i, PW, GW, SW, and LW. Because the SW and LW in most clubs is significantly heavier than the PW and GW, controlling flex and swingweight is an issue with discrete length taper tip shafts. That problem, for the most part, goes away with these new parallel tip shafts. We like the C-Taper Lite for a player that needs a lighter weight shaft (roughly 10 gr. lighter) or the player that needs extra length but wants to keep the total club weight down. Next step is to test them against their taper-tip brothers to see how they stack up in terms of launch and spin. See the technical specs here…