Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

The 5 Biggest Mistakes in Club Fitting

Published

on

Throughout my golf career, I have been fortunate to spend time with some of the best club fitters in the world. Before I became a full-time golf instructor, I was a Tour Rep for TrackMan, which had me traveling around the U.S. and beyond to top club fitters and golf professionals. Through that experience, combined with my own teaching and fitting background, I have come to understand the many mistakes that can be made during a club fitting.

This article is not meant as a criticism toward any club fitter or golf professional. I simply want to pass on what I’ve learned to GolfWRXers and the greater golf community to do my part to make sure golfers don’t end up with a set of clubs that are a detriment to their games (and their wallets). These are the 5 biggest mistakes in club fitting.

1. Using Face Tape

Face tape has been used in club fitting for a long time. It is extremely helpful in showing us where on the club face a golf ball was struck, and it helps us understand more about why the ball is flying the way it does. This is the only way I would ever recommend using tape on the face of a golf club.

If you are a club fitter or a golf professional trying to protect your golf club during a fitting, it’s fine to put tape on the top or bottom of a wood to protect it from sole wear or potential sky marks. It’s a grave mistake to use tape on the face when you’re evaluating ball flight and/or launch monitor numbers, however, and you can see why in the example below.

Ghost tape

With the tape on his driver club face, this golfer had about 700 more rpm of spin and 14 yards less total distance. If you are a golf professional and you want to dial in your students, DO NOT use face tape when you’re evaluating ball flight. A good alternative to face tape is Dr. Scholls foot spray. It may sound a little strange, but it will show where the ball was struck and have little to no effect on the ball flight.

2. Assuming Optimal Launch and Spin are Uniform

This is something I hear quite a bit, even from golf equipment manufacturers. Not too long ago, many in the golf industry were in agreement that the optimal launch and spin for any golfer with a driver for maximum distance was a 17-degree launch angle with 1700 rpm of spin. This might be true in a bubble, but we as humans have thousands of different combinations of swings and speeds, making this guideline almost completely useless. Take a look at some numbers for two very different golfers below: Player A and Player B. I want you to consider what you think good launch and spin should be for both.

Player A

Player A

Player B

Player b

In this scenario, I think most would assume that Player A (a low-speed player) would need significantly more spin to be optimal than Player B (a high-speed player). The rule of thumb is that the slower a golfer swings, the more spin they need to keep the ball in the air for maximum distance. Using that guideline, however, you wouldn’t optimize either golfer.

In club fittings, everything hinges on the specific needs of the golfer in front of you. The three main player inputs that determine optimal launch and spin are:

  1. Club Head Speed
  2. Attack Angle
  3. Desired Trajectory

In choosing a desired trajectory, a golfer has three options. They can opt for a high trajectory for maximum carry distance, a low trajectory for the most roll out (and sometimes the most total distance, depending on the conditions of the courses they play), or a combination that balances the two (carry and total). For simplicity, let’s assume both of these golfers want to optimize for the combination of carry and total. Now, let’s take a look at the optimization chart for each player below.

Player A Optimized

LandauPlayer B Optimized

karan

As it turns out, Player B with 135 mph of club head speed needs more spin than Player A with 76 mph of club head speed. It goes against my instincts, too, but it’s true. The reason is the Attack Angle for each player.

  • Player A is hitting 5-degrees up on the ball, so he is already launching the ball into the air. For that reason, he doesn’t need as much spin for optimal distance.
  • Player B is hitting 3-degrees down on the ball, so he needs more more loft and more spin to keep the ball in the air for optimal distance.

3. Only Looking at Distance Gained

This is the biggest and most common mistake I see during fittings. Both golfers and fitters are guilty of focusing on the one shot that travels 8-10 yards further during a fitting, and because it has the most distance potential, they assume that it’s the best club. I will never tell anyone that distance isn’t important, but I believe that too much emphasis has been placed on it in both driver and iron fittings.

Dispersion is huge for playability, and I suggest fitters take the time to allow golfers to hit plenty of shots in fittings. This allows them to not only optimize for distance, but also for dispersion.

Golf equipment manufacturers have given us fantastic equipment that can makes it very easy to adjust ball flight. The ability we have to tweak weighting, face angle, and lie angle can be vital to our ability to create a tighter dispersion. If you’re fitting outside, however, I encourage all fitters to go beyond the flat, perfect lies of the driving range. Have golfers hit shots from different lies and locations, and get them out on the course if you can. By testing clubs for the shots golfers are most likely to encounter during a normal round of play, you’re going to gain a much better understanding of what club will actually perform best for them.

Graham

Above are the Trackman numbers for a highly skilled junior golfer during a driver fitting. He was carrying shots about 245 yards with a total distance of 260 yards, and the ball was flying very straight. In the fitting, we were able to narrow down his best options to two drivers. With one of them, he cracked the longest shot he hit all day: 251.5 yards in the air, rolling out to almost 280 yards.

With that driver, he also recorded his fastest ball speed and best total distance by about 8 yards. When we look at the full picture, however, we will see it was not the best driver for him.

graham 2

Driver #2 (white) is absolutely the most consistent in length and dispersion despite the fact that he hit Driver #1 (yellow) farther one time. Most golfers only think of their bad shots as “outliers,” when in fact they should often be discounting their very best shot with a club in the cases when the majority of their shots with the club are off-target.

4. Using a Lie Board

Impact

Lie boards are a thing of the past. There, I said it. Basing any loft or lie adjustments purely off a lie board is completely useless. On any well struck golf shot, the golf ball has already left the golf club before any significant ground and club interaction has occurred. This means the marks on the bottom of the club tells us next to nothing.

Lie Angle

Above is a great picture from a friend of mine, Errol Helling. He’s the owner of Profectus Golf in Nashville, Tennessee. The photo shows the difference in where two golf clubs point at address: one at 3-degrees upright (pointing left) and one at 2-degrees flat (pointing right). It’s important to remember that the photo shows “static loft.” We are most interested in “dynamic loft” and the face angle at impact because that’s what effects ball flight. Just because we have an iron that is orientated a direction at setup does not mean it will point in the same direction at impact.

5. Looking at Divot Direction and Depth

Recently, this has been a frequent topic of discussion in the golf world. I hate to disagree with one of the greats of our game, Ben Hogan, but the secret is not in the dirt. I can’t say that Hogan was wrong, as his thoughts on the golf swing worked very well for him, but we now know that divot direction and divot depth tell us very little about ball flight. You can hit any kind of golf shot with every kind of divot, so why assume that the divot is going to tell us anything valuable?

Below are some pictures of shots I hit on the range. The divot direction is indicated by the alignment stick (on the left in each photo) that travels directly through the divot. The target line is the alignment stick on the right side of the picture. As you can see, the divots had no correlation to direction or curvature.

Shot #1

Divot 1

Shot #2

Divot 2

Shot #3

Divot 3

Shot #4

Divot 4

If you are trying to determine swing faults or fitting issues by looking at divots, you will be chasing an answer that does not exist. Keep your focus on impact location, face angle, club path, and angle of attack, and you’ll be on your way to better fittings.

Your Reaction?
  • 494
  • LEGIT79
  • WOW21
  • LOL15
  • IDHT12
  • FLOP12
  • OB2
  • SHANK97

PGA Member and Golf Professional at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, NC. Former PGA Tour and Regional Representative for TrackMan Golf. Graduate of Campbell University's PGM Program with 12 years of experience in the golf industry. My passion for knowledge and application of instruction in golf is what drives me everyday.

57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. when_is_a_wrench_not_a_wrench

    Aug 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Did anyone notice the main photo shows someone pretending to insert a wrench into a M2 Tour Iron head?

    • Beta

      Aug 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Yeah? So? It’s a Fitting head. They have one of those last year lol so he’s not pretending

  2. SoonerSlim

    Aug 27, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Hunter, very interesting article, but for me it did not go far enough because I’ve never seen and do not understand what the side and spin axis numbers you offer for the divot pictures represent. Unfortunately, you did not go far enough and offer an explanation for them. For example, what’s the difference between + and – spin axis? What does the side number mean? Great article except for the last part.

    thanks, SoonerSlim

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Sooner, thanks for reading and giving your feedback. You are probably right I should have included some definitions about Spin Axis and Side. Coming from that world sometimes I forget not everyone knows the terminology. Spin axis represents which way the golf ball is curving so if positive the ball is curving to the right and if negative it is curving to the left. Side represents how far off of the target line the ball landed. Hope this helps! If you want to learn more about TrackMan Definitions visit the trackman blog.

      • SoonerSlim

        Aug 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

        Thanks, Hunter

        Never have seen or used a trackman, too old school I guess.

        S

  3. Michael

    Aug 26, 2017 at 11:10 am

    What if your line is straight on the club face but out towards the toe?

  4. Jeffrey

    Aug 26, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Heres an idea. Why don’t we go out with our golf clubs and hit the ball and have some fun and forget about all this numbers/fitting/trackman/drills/etc BS. If you play good, great. If you play bad, there is always next time.

    • emb

      Aug 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      ya who cares about shooting your best possible scores, might as well buy your equipment from walmart and play top flites right

  5. Stevegp

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Enjoyed the article and subsequent discussion. Getting fitted and hitting a club outdoors always seemed much different–and better–than hitting into a net while indoors.

  6. Guia

    Aug 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I am lost! Seems most of what has been accepted in the past is wrong, or misused.

  7. Marooned

    Aug 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    No idea of how the “fitting culture” are in the states. But here in Europe (Sweden) most of this is common sense except your point of the lieboard.

    It is such a great and easy tool and a must have. One thing about lie though that I feel is that many people just hit a couple of shots with an 7-iron and that sets the marknfor the lieangle throughout the set.

    A longer iron such as an 4-iron often needs a more upright lieangle then a 9-iron for example.

    The majority of people a do an lietest with hitting a 4, 7 and 9-iron are hitting it more on the toe with a 4-iron compared to the 9-iron.

    • Bert

      Aug 26, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Good thoughts – I’ve always just hit a 6 or 7 off the lie board. I’ve measured all my lofts and lies but tomorrow I’ll hit the long irons and short irons off the board and note the results.

  8. Bob

    Aug 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Gee, it seems like there is a lot of disagreement about proper club fitting technique. I have gotten advice about clubs on several occasions but never really had a fitting. One reason is that I have heard so much disagreement about how it should be done and am not aware of any standards or any acknowledged experts (e.g. Ping vs Callaway, etc.). I suppose the best shot might be to work with a pro, who also provides instruction and who will be around to provide guidance after new clubs are purchased or current clubs are adjusted for length, loft, lie, swing weight, grip, etc. The big question is why spend a lot of money, if you don’t know what you are buying?

  9. Rors

    Aug 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Steve Elkington has a video on youtube about dynamic fitting for irons… He marks a ball with a sharpie and that mark imprints on your club… I tried it and its the best…

  10. Ben Jones

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Good Lord! How did we survive before technology. Now, I can get some really great clubs perfectly fit for me on that day for $4,000 or more, but if my swing ain’t worth crap and I can’t putt, what good is all this?

  11. Lorne

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Clubs have a ‘static’ lie and a ‘dynamic’ lie which is a function of shaft tip ‘droop’. The position of the hands and club butt end changes through release and impact, which will affect the shaft lie.
    The weight and shape of the clubhead will affect dynamic lie because the clubhead CofGs vary the droop characteristics of the shaft. Shaft specs influences dynamic loft as does downswing plane and clubhead speed which can vary as the golfer fatigues during the round.
    So we have how many variables for dynamic lie? 6? 7? 8? 9? More? Less?
    A good fitter can measure several of these lie factors but must also use intuitive knowledge to match the golfer to the optimal shaft and clubhead, and grip too. Good luck.

  12. Tata

    Aug 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    In regards to #3.
    I can guarantee you that 9 out of 10 amateurs who can’t hit their driver past 200 yards is solely focused on that aspect. They don’t care about anything else, because they all believe that once their distance is sorted out, that they can then learn to control their ball flight. Which is deadly absolutely true.

  13. Dave

    Aug 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Very interested in this article, yes I understand how you can determine lie angle by using a marker pen on the ball and Callaway use this method a lot with there fitting. We use the marker on the ball when fitting outdoors, but indoors with launch monitor the Marker ruins the white screen we have for our projector and leaves black marks on the screen. Would be interested to know if there are any other ways of determining a correct lie angle without the option of a lie board or marker pen on a ball???

    • Noodler

      Aug 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      I temporarily hang a black tarp/net in front of the screen to prevent the marker from being left on the white screen.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Dave I would suggest always keeping your focus on flight and dispersion. From there if you need to make adjustments to lie angle you can but it shouldn’t be the first thing we go to

      • Noodler

        Aug 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

        Sorry Hunter, but I believe this is misguided advice. Golfers should be fit to their physique, strength, flexibility, etc., not to their swing mechanics. Swing mechanics will change over time (even day to day). Using lie angle adjustment to compensate for swing flaws is not the right approach. Trying to use club fitting to compensate for swing flaws is the 6th biggest mistake in club fitting.

        • Hunter Brown

          Aug 27, 2017 at 9:19 am

          Why can’t it be both? I never said you shouldn’t fit for the human being in front of you. Too much mutual exclusivity in your train of thought.

  14. TexasSnowman

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Agree with the comments on hitting indoors; I never feel like I hit my best shots. Club Fitting needs some type of standards or certification for competence. Even if you pay for a “tour level” fitting, you really have no idea if the fitter knows what he is doing… I’m not saying take all the ‘art’ out of the process, but it’s really the wild west out there in terms of quality.

  15. Bobalu

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Hunter- Great points! Fittings need to be done with a competent fitter with Trackman on the range. Period. Good luck finding this.

  16. ADIDAG

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Looks like to get optimum anything players need to focus on roll

  17. Nack Jicklaus

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

    You can get a good idea if your lie angle is correct by drawing a straight line around the circumference of a ball with a sharpie. Sit the ball on the ground with the line pointing straight up and down and with the line also pointing directly where you intend to hit the ball (just like people who line up putts with a line drawn on their ball). Now hit your shot and some of the sharpie line will stick to the face of your club. If the line is perfectly perpendicular to the grooves on your club, then your lie angle is correct. If not, it needs changing one way or the other.

    • Steve

      Aug 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      100% spot on. Well done.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      I agree with this however if the line is perpendicular and the golf ball is going as straight as possible for that player then why should we care. My point is we should always focus on ball flight not the extraneous details that sometimes do or do not matter

  18. Sam

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Lie angle has been a big question mark for me. So what is a better way to determine this other than a lie board? Almost, every ‘fitter’ or club seller I’ve seen, used a lie board, with one exception at DSGoods .. one employee used impact tape and adjusted lie angle until center contact was made .. very strange to me.

    • OGWC

      Aug 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Use a dry erase marker and put a vertical line on the ball. This is a simple and effective way to read the lie. When you hit the ball, the line gets transferred to the club face. A straight line up and down on the iron face means the lie is good.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Dry erase is a decent solution however I would suggest just to focus on ball flight and dispersion. I would never care if a sharpie isn’t perpendicular or a piece of tape on the bottom of the face is telling me the club is “upright”. If a player is getting good results then that’s all that matters on course.

      • Noodler

        Aug 25, 2017 at 8:30 pm

        This only makes sense if you adhere to the idea that you should use lie angle adjustment to change ball flight. Many other factors could be impacting ball flight. Trying to fix ball flight due to other swing flaws via lie angle adjustments is a fool’s folly (IMHO).

  19. KV

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Help me understand your thoughts on lie boards. You talk about dynamic loft but criticize the lie board. It’s not called a “loft” board it’s a lie board. How else do we adjust lie without knowing where and how the club sole contacts the ground? Get everything else right and have the wrong lie adjustment and you’ve wasted a lot of time.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Hey KV thanks for reading and your thoughts. I would always start with ball flight and dispersion if this is something you can measure or a pro near you can. Lie board’s tell us nothing about the shot that was just hit so I don’t know why we should care.

      • JN

        Aug 25, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Although there are better ways to examine dynamic lie over the lie board (e.g. HMT), it definitely is relevant. Regardless of someone’s ball flight, getting them fit so that the dynamic lie is near 0 will improve their consistency and quality of impact. It’s just hard to consistently hit the center of the face when the toe or heel of the club dig into the ground early. The small change in face angle due to a lie change can be always be addressed after the fact. If you need help with a slice, just closing the face during setup with a proper lie angle is better than making impact toe up and getting the face closed from that.

  20. Justin

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:58 am

    You say not to use a lie board…not to look at divots…. How do you determine proper lie? Cannot do by shot pattern into a net. If you are going to give criticism, provide a solution as well.

    • Jon

      Aug 25, 2017 at 9:19 am

      I couldn’t agree more, Justin. How am I supposed to determine the proper lie angle without the aid of a lie board? I am new at this and am trying to learn how to make the proper adjustments on my own.

    • Nick

      Aug 25, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Trackman

      • Nick W

        Aug 25, 2017 at 11:15 am

        Trackman does not tell lie angles, trackman spits out information regarding ball flight. It does not care if its 10* upright or 2* flat.

    • Matt

      Aug 25, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Take some chalk or marker that will transfer when struck. Draw a straight line on the ball. Put the ball on the ground with the line vertical where you will strike it. Hit the ball. Look at the club face… you’ll have a good idea whether your club is too flat or upright.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Hey Justin thanks for the input. I would always prefer to do a fitting outside if possible. Even on the course sometimes. If not possible and you are only hitting into a net then hopefully you have availability of TrackMan. If not I would suggest trying to find one. My point of lie boards and divots is that they have no correlation to what the ball is actually doing so why should we care? TrackMan does not specifically spit out a number called lie angle however it does tell us Face Angle at impact and Dynamic loft which would be a result of lie angle. If those numbers are good then you should be ok.

  21. Jon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:54 am

    If lie boards are horrid, how am I supposed to determine what lie angle is best suited for me? I am looking for a little more education on this subject as I am just getting started with trying to assemble and adjust my own clubs. Thank you in advance for any and all advice.

    • Greg

      Aug 25, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Draw a vertical line on the ball with a sharpie. Examine the line it leaves on the club face. Adjust until vertical. Google it or search the forums.

    • Hunter Brown

      Aug 25, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Hey Jon thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. I would rather the focus to be on ball flight and dispersion in a fitting. Also loft and lie adjustments can sometimes be a band aid for a bullet hole as it doesn’t address the root cause of the issue. Not always the case if you are really trying to dial things in with little tweaks but I get scared when people are fit for major lie adjustments. Often I think it actually makes the problem worse. I would work from the ball flight backwards. If thats good then why adjust? If it isn’t then you can make some adjustments of the loft lie but as I said earlier be cautious

      • Loz

        Aug 26, 2017 at 3:44 am

        So as I’m 6′ 4″ provided I can hit an off the shelf club ok I shouldn’t worry about custom fitting? On the Ping scale I come out at 4 degrees upright and plus one inch. I know I can hit an off the shelf club well, but won’t I subconsciously be compensating in my setup and swing. I’m a 4 hcp and have pretty solid fundamentals. Surely I’m going to be catching the toe first on everything, which can’t be a good thing. What would be my start point in your fitting?

  22. Robert Malaussena

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Get fitted by your local PGA pro on a range.

    • Bert

      Aug 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      I’m not sure that’s good information. PGA Pro, good fitting? Maybe find a good PGA professional or golf instructor for lessons.

  23. xjohnx

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Though some of these mistakes are made only in professional, outdoor fittings, #3 is the biggest thing wrong with the golf industry as a whole. Most people getting “fit” are walking into a sporting goods store or golf shop and comparing a few drivers and looking at the “numbers” on a very one dimensional basis and in a short amount of time. #3 happens just about everywhere just about every time.

  24. Me

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:47 am

    As a fitter ….

    Irons, I weigh on more ball flight, direction and consistent carry. Ideally on natural turf as opposed to a hard mat. Driver; I agree completely with the writer, then again the golfer has final say, after reviewing the data of what ball flight they “like” . There are some that prefer a lower ball flight period, its often what they feel the most comfortable with- despite the technology and Data. Sergio for example prefers a slightly lower & more boring trajectory. No everyone is like Sergio but there is a fair amount of my customers that prefer a 10 degree launch angle than a say a 12.

    Even tougher to fit is older guys, who have slowly lost distance every year. Who in a subtle attempt of trying to speed up the driver head at impact, resort to lurching ahead of the ball with their hips, body and head, de-lofting the head to a negative attack angle. Rather than neutral or +1, 2, 3 degree attack angle by staying behind the ball.

    good article over all.

  25. Andy

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:39 am

    I suspect many people do not feel like they are swinging 100% like they normally do with indoor fittings. I am one of those people who feel confined and I also like to have a further away target. We will look back at hitting balls 15 feet into a padded screen as a huge mistake. Hit the clubs on the range and on the course before purchasing. Not many fitters offer this.

    There will come a day when we can swing some tool at a course and capture all the necessary data and the tool will identify the possible clubs to maximize our swing. The possible clubs will include past years and even various cost options. The Fitter model today is like new car salesman. I don’t feel 100% sure that their interest and my interest is fully aligned.

    • Me

      Aug 25, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Andy, that’s not unusual & normal for some. I compare the feeling you have to driving a car. When we do we focus on an object 100-150 feet ahead ( depending on car speed) as opposed to looking just over the hood and have to constantly correct steering of the automobile. In other examples some people feel like they are hitting into heavy fog when being fitted in an indoor simulator. I still do the fitting, but once things are narrowed down, take the club outdoors.

  26. Tom F. Stickney II

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Good points HB!

  27. Thus

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Great advice, as a club fitter I recommend all other fitters and even coaches read this… lie boards are horrid and reading divots can create disastrous thoughts

    • Nick W

      Aug 25, 2017 at 11:18 am

      What would you propose for lie angle assessment if you are not using a lie board or reading divot patterns?

      • Loz

        Aug 26, 2017 at 3:26 am

        Yes I’d like to hear this too. I’m 6′ 4″ and am 4 degrees upright on the Ping scale. I currently have 2 degree up 1/2″ long Mizuno from their national UK fitting centre, yes a lie board was used. As I can hit my friends off the rack club straight, probably subconsciously compensating in my setup and swing, then I actually don’t need custom fit clubs. My natural swing is always going to hit slightly toe down and you think there’s nothing wrong with this in the long term?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

A new NCAA transfer rule gets passed… and college coaches are NOT happy

Published

on

New rules just keep on coming from the NCAA; college coaches are not happy about this one.

In a summer of block buster coaching changes, the NCAA has done its best to stay atop the news cycle by making some significant changes, which will impact the recruitment process. In an article two months ago entitled “The effect the NCAA’s new recruiting rules will have on college golf,” I spoke to college coaches about a new rule, which will not allow unofficial or official visits until September 1 of the players Junior Year. To go along with this rule, the NCAA has also put in place a new recruiting calendar which will limit the sum of the days of off campus recruiting between a head and assistant coach to 45 days starting August 1, 2018.

The 45-day rule will have several potential impacts for both recruits and assistant coaches. For recruits, it is likely that after a couple (2-3) evaluations, coaches will make offers and ask for speed responses to ensure they are not missing out on other options. I also think you will see far less assistant coaches recruiting, which ultimately hurts their opportunities to learn the art of recruitment.

The new transfer rule

In the past, players were subject to asking their present institution for either permission to contact other schools regarding transfer, or a full release.

Now, starting October 15, players can simply inform their institution of their intensions to leave and then start contacting other schools to find an opportunity. This is a drastic shift in policy, so I decided to poll college coaches to get their reactions.

The poll was conducted anonymously via Survey Monkey. Participation was optional and included 6 questions:

  1. New NCAA Legislation will allow players to transfer without a release starting October 2018. Do you support this rule change?
  2. Do you believe that this rule will have APR implications?
  3. Who do you think will benefit most from this rule?
  4. What are the benefits of allowing students to transfer without a release? What are the potential harms?
  5. New NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?
  6. What implications do you see for this rule?

In all, 62 Division I golf coaches responded, or about 10 percent of all Division I coaches in Men’s and Women’s Golf. The results show that 81.25 percent of DI coaches said that they do NOT support the rule change for transfers.

Also, 90 percent of coaches polled believe that the rule will have APR implications. APR is Academic Progress Rate which holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The APR is calculated as follows:

  • Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.
  • A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.
  • In addition to a team’s current-year APR, its rolling four-year APR is also used to determine accountability.

Teams must earn a four-year average APR of 930 to compete in championships.

While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams that under-perform academically over time.

The first penalty level limits teams to 16 hours of practice per week over five days (as opposed to 20 over six days), with the lost four hours to be replaced with academic activities.

A second level adds additional practice and competition reductions, either in the traditional or non-championship season, to the first-level penalties. The third level, where teams could remain until their rate improves, includes a menu of possible penalties, including coaching suspensions, financial aid reductions and restricted NCAA membership.

Clearly coaches are not happy about the move and feel that the rule unfairly benefits both the student athletes and major conference schools, who may have a swell of calls around middle of October as Student athletes play great fall golf and look to transfer. Although coaches are unhappy about the new rule, it is very difficult to predict what direct impact the rule will have on teams; coaches are extremely smart and understand recruiting and development within the frame work of college better than anyone can imagine. As a result, I think coaches will react in many ways which are impossible to predict.

The survey also asked, “new NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?” For this, coaches were more divided with 45 percent in favor of the rule, and 55 percent not.

Although coaches supported the legislation, many (41/62) suggested that it would potentially hurt international recruiting at tournaments like Doral and the Orange Bowl and they had, in the past, used December as a time to recruit.

As we move forward with these changes, here are some potential things that recruits, and their families should consider, including consequences of the rules:

  1. With a limit of 45 days and these transfer rules, it is likely that coaches will be doing significantly more investigation into a player’s personalities and family situation to make sure they know what they are getting.
  2. Coaches may also start skipping over better players in favor of kids they think will be a good fit and are likely to stay
  3. Rosters may get bigger, as coaches are trying to have larger numbers to potentially offset transfers

Unfortunately, we enter a new era of rules at the worst time; we have never had a more competent and deep group of college coaches, the clear majority of whom are tremendous stewards of the game. Hopefully this rule will have insignificant effect on the continued growth of college golf but only time will tell.

Your Reaction?
  • 37
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW9
  • LOL2
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK22

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Is golf actually a team sport?

Published

on

Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.

“I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”

My best guess is that Zach Johnson commits hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to this team, and I assume most players on the leading professional tours are making significant investments in their “teams.” There are three questions that jump out at this point. First, is a team necessary? Second, how can anyone compete without one? And third, how to pay for it?

From the club player to the collegiate player to the aspiring/touring professional, everyone can benefit from a team that offers individual instruction, support, guidance, and encouragement. Such a team, however, needs to be credible, timely, beneficial and affordable.

To be affordable, serious golfers should build their team one piece at a time. The obvious first choice is a swing coach. Golf swing coaches charge from $100-$1,500 per hour. The cost explains why players have historically been responsible for their own practice. The next piece, which is a newly developing trend, should be a performance coach who specializes in the supervision of practice, training and tournament preparation. Performance coaching on-site fees range from $200 to $3,000 per day.

So is team support essential for a player to be as good as he/she can be? My research says it is. When a player schedules a practice session, that session is usually based on what the player likes to do or wants to do. “Best Practices” utilized by world-class athletes suggest strongly that great progress in training always occurs when someone other than the player writes, administers and supervises the programs and sessions. The team approach says the player should focus on what needs to be done. Sometimes what the player wants to do and the things needed to be done are the same thing; sometimes they aren’t.

Now for the question of how to pay for it all. Wealthy players, or those with substantial or institutional support, have access to what they need or want… whatever the cost. If you use an on-site coach, teacher or other professional you will be paying for blocks of time. Fees can be hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly or lifetime arrangements based upon several factors. If your coach of choice is not local, you can also incur travel and per diem expenses. The process of paying for someone’s time can really add up. You can review what I charge for various services that require my attendance at edmyersgolf.com.

For those of you who don’t have easy access to on-site expertise or don’t want to incur the expense, I want to offer an approach that business, industry, colleges/universities and entrepreneurs are turning to: “Distance Coaching.” Distance learning is made possible through modern technology. In today’s world, expertise can be delivered using FaceTime, Skype, texting, email and (old fashion) phone calls. Textbooks, videos, specific programs and workbooks can be accessed from anywhere at any time by anyone with a desire to do so… and who knows what’s coming in the future. Through Distance Coaching, individuals can employ professional expertise on an as-needed basis without incurring huge costs or expenses.

The primary team expenses that can be avoided are those associated with face-to-face, on-site visits or experiences. Distance Coaching brings whatever any player needs, wants or desires within financial reach. For example, a player in Australia can walk onto the practice ground and have that day’s practice schedule delivered to a personal device by his/her performance coach. The player then forwards the results of that session back to the coach — let’s say in Memphis, Tennessee. The player is then free to move onto other activities knowing that the performance, training and preparation process is engaged and functioning. In the same vein, that same player in Australia may have moved into learning mode and he/she is now recording the golf swing and is sending it to the swing teacher of choice for analysis and comment.

So what is the cost of Distance Coaching? Teachers, trainers and coaches set their own fees based upon their business plan. Some require membership, partnership or some other form of commitment. For example, I offer free performance coaching with the purchase of one of my books or programs, as do others. Where face-to-face, on-site fees for performance coaching is available for $200 a day, the same expertise from the same coach can cost as little as $50 a month using the distance format, tools and technology. I highly recommend that players responsibly research the options available to them and then build the best team that fits their games, desires and goals. I’m happy to forward a guide of what to look for in a performance coach; just ask for it at edmyersgolf@gmail.com.

Back to Zach Johnson; he recently admitted that his lack of recent success could be traced to his lack of focus and practice discipline. Additional, he concedes that he has been practicing the wrong things. “It goes back to the basics,” he said. “I have to do what I do well. Truth be told, what I’m practicing now is more on my strengths than my weaknesses.”

Zach Johnson has a great team, but as he concedes, he still needs to put in the work.

Your Reaction?
  • 10
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

What is “feel” in putting… and how do you get it?

Published

on

You’re playing a course for the first time, so you arrive an hour early to warm-up. You make your way toward the practice green and you see a sign at the first tee that reads, “GREEN SPEED TODAY 11.”  That brings up two issues:

  1. How did they arrive at that number?
  2. How is that information valuable to me?

How did they arrive at that number?

They used what’s known as a stimpmeter — a device that’s used to measure the speed of a green. With a stimpmeter, the green’s surface is tested by rolling a ball down the 30-inch ramp that is tilted downward at a 20-degree angle. The number of feet the ball rolls after leaving the ramp is an indication of the green’s speed. The green-speed test is conducted on a flat surface. A total of three balls are rolled in three different directions. The three balls must then finish within eight inches of each other for the test to be valid.

For example, if the ball is rolled down the ramp and were to stop at 8 feet, the green would be running at an “8.” Were the ball to roll down the ramp and stop at 12 feet, the green would be running at a “12.”

Stimpmeter history

The stimpmeter was invented by Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., a Massachusetts State Amateur Champion and former Harvard Golf Team Captain. After attending the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont, he saw the need for a universal testing device after watching Gene Sarazen, who was at the top of his game, putt a ball off the green. He was of the opinion that the greens were unreasonably fast, but he had no way to prove it — thus the motivation for creating the invention.

The device is now used by superintendents to make sure all of their greens are rolling close to the same speed. This ensures that golfers are not guessing from one putt to another if a green is fast or slow based on the way it is maintained. The device is also used by tournament officials who want to make sure that green speed is not too severe.

Do Stimp readings matter for my game?

Not very much. That piece of abstract knowledge is of little value until you can translate it into your own personal feel for the speed of the putt. There is a method that will allow you to turn green speed into a legitimate feel, however, and you don’t even need a stimpmeter or a stimp reading to do it. I call it “Setting Your Own Stimpmeter.”

Before we get to how to do it, the first step is to determine if the putting green is the same speed as the greens on the course. The best source of information in this regard are the professionals working in the golf shop. They will be happy to share this information with you. You only need to ask. Assuming that the speed of the putting green is close to the speed of the greens on the course, you are ready to begin setting your own stimpmeter. This is done by inputting data into your neuromuscular system by rolling putts and visually observing the outcome.

Contrary to what most golfers believe, a golfer’s feel for distance is based in the eyes — not in the hands, which only records tactile information. It’s just like basketball. On the court, you look at the distance to the hoop and respond accordingly. While you would feel the ball in your hands, it doesn’t play a role in determining the proper distance to the hoop. Based on what you saw with your eyes, you would access the data that had been previously inputted through shooting practice.

Setting your own Stimpmeter

  1. Start by finding a location on the putting green that is flat and roughly 15 feet away from the fringe.
  2. Using five balls, start rolling putts one at a time toward the fringe. The objective is to roll them just hard enough for them to finish against the edge.
  3. You may be short of the fringe or long, but it is important that you do not judge the outcome— just observe, because the feel for distance is visually based.
  4. You should not try and judge the feel of the putt with your hands or any other part of your body. You can only process information in one sensory system at a time — that should be the eyes.
  5. You should continue to roll balls until you’ve reach the point that most of them are consistently finishing against the fringe. Once you can do that, you have successfully set you stimpmeter.

The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed. Want proof? Work through the steps I’ve outlined below. .

  1. After having loaded the data as described in the exercise above, pace off a 25-foot putt.
  2. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole as you would normally using your conscious mind to control the outcome.
  3. Mark the location of the five balls with a tee pushing them down until they are level with the surface of the green.
  4. Allow your eyes to work slowly from the ball to the hole while clearing your conscious mind of any thought.
  5. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole allowing your subconscious mind to control the outcome.
  6. Compare the proximity of the five putts that you just hit to those marked with a tee. What do you observe?

Did you have trouble clearing your mind of any conscious thought? Assuming that your conscious mind intruded at any point, the outcome would be negatively affected. You should then repeat the exercise but this time, emptying your mind of any thought. You will have mastered the technique when you are able to quiet your conscious mind and allow your subconscious to take over.

This technique will improve your proximity to the hole on longer putts. And you know what that means? Fewer three-putts!

Editor’s Note: Rod Lindenberg has authored a book entitled “The Three-Putt Solution”  that is now available through Amazon. 

Your Reaction?
  • 68
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW3
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK10

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending