Golf Swing Dynamics That Affect Shaft Selection.
Every golfer has a unique swing, right? All you have to do is look down the line of golfers on the driving range and you will see every swing imaginable. Go back in time and look at golfers that have been extremely successful on PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours. Players like Lee Trevino, Anika Sorenstam, and Bernhard Langer each show dramatically different golf swing dynamics. (See our blog on Seven Unique Shaft Loading Profiles here…).
I am talking about the major biomechanical moves that truly affect how the golf club reacts during your swing. Those are Tempo, Transition, and Release. What is very interesting is that these biomechanical traits are very difficult to modifiy . So trying to “slow down” your swing may last for a hole or two, but it is better to build golf clubs that match your style rather than changing your swing to match your clubs. If you want to improve accuracy, distance and consistency, you MUST have clubs that match your unique swing dynamics.
First let’s explain these key swing dynamics and then let’s talk about how each of them individually and then collectively affect the shafts that will give you optimum performance. (See Measuring Swing Dynamics blog here…)
This is the general timing of the golfer’s full swing. The full golf swing takes between .8 and 2.5 seconds. Our testing shows that the average golf swing is 1.2 seconds, of which roughly 75% is in the back swing and 25% in the forward swing. In general, slower tempo swings will like a golf club that feels light and smooth. We have seen golfers with very smooth swings that hit their driver 300+ yards and use a very light, soft shaft. On the other hand, golfers with very fast tempo swings (under 1.0 second) will benefit from clubs that have heavier, stiffer shafts and potentially a little more swing weight so they can feel the head of the club during the swing. For our BGF Fitting System and TrueFitClubs Fitting Wizard, we categorize Tempo as Slow, Medium or Fast.
This is the swing move at the top of the back swing where the golfer “transitions” to the forward swing. This measure can only truly be determined by accelerometers or other devices in the golf club. We have used the True Temper Shaft Lab and currently the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer to give us very good readings on Tempo, Transition and Release. In our testing there is a strong correlation between Tempo and Transition. A slow tempo usually is followed by a smooth transition, whereas a fast tempo may mean a fast transition. Again, smoother transitions mean shafts that are lighter in weight and softer in the midsection while faster transitions may mean a slightly heavier shaft with a stiffer mid section is the best performer. For our BGF Fitting System and TrueFitClubs Fitting Wizard, we categorize Transition as Slow, Medium or Fast.
This is the point in the golfer’s forward swing that they stop accelerating the golf club. Every golfer stops accelerating, or releases the club at some point prior to impact. Better golfers typically have a late release while beginners and high handicap golfers typically have an early to mid release. In our testing with the GEARS Golf system, when a golfers wrist rotation is at its fastest level, that is the “release point” in the golf swing. If your instructor is trying to get you to hold the lag, he/she is trying to get you to release the club later in your swing to compress the ball and create more distance. In general, a golfer with an early release has lost energy and needs a softer flex shaft with a softer tip section to create more speed at impact. Conversely, a golfer with a late release (Sergio Garcia) will need a shaft that has a stiffer tip section to control shot dispersion and potentially a heavier shaft in general. For our BGF Fitting System and TrueFitClubs Fitting Wizard, we categorize Release as Early, Middle and Late.
Tempo, Transition, Release and Strength
The unique thing about our research on swing dynamics is that Tempo, Transition, Release and a golfer’s Strength all work together to determine the best performing shafts throughout the set. Stronger players (higher swing speeds) do not necessarily need stiffer, heavier shafts. Our Long Drivers of America contestants both male and female are using lighter shafts to help generate more speed but with materials that maintain stability. On the flip side, some of our slower swinging players have the swing techniques that require stiffer tip sections to maintain proper ball flight. For our BGF Fitting System and TrueFitClubs Fitting Wizard, we have a very sophisticated algorithm that makes recommendations based upon all of these factors. Our research and fittings using these recommendations are accurate over 95% of the time.
So if your distance, accuracy and consistency is not what you want, come in and get fit to see what type of shaft may work best for YOUR Tempo, Transition, Release and Strength!