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Fitter focus: Don’t think you need a hybird? You might want to think again

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One of the most difficult conversations I get to have is with either “baby boomers” or people who have speed that is slowing down as they age. They still believe they can hit 3, 4, 5 and sometimes 6-irons.

Honestly, it’s not that they are unable to hit them in most cases, it is that they are unable to hit them on a playable trajectory. I would define a playable trajectory as a shot designed to fly high enough and land steep enough so it would be able to stop to a front pin location on a normal green.

With the invention of radar devices like Trackman and Flightscope, it now becomes a little easier to have those conversations. When I do these fittings now, I have what I call a “prove it” session when my customer wants to order a 3, 4 or 5-iron when I don’t believe (based on data) that they can create a playable trajectory with those clubs.

What I find in most cases is that the consumer needs not only one hybrid for their set, they usually need multiple, and in some cases; they maybe need higher-lofted fairway woods plus some additional hybrids. By using these radar devices, the consumer can then peer behind the curtain so to speak and see into the mind of the fitter. These radar devices are the key to the process so the consumer can see data proving the fitters’ point.

By showing them how much easier the hybrids can be to launch in the air, pick up more carry yardage and land on more of a playable trajectory I hope that I can accomplish my goal which is to get them a better chance to play better and have more fun.

Here are some reports and Trackman data to back up the claim in the first illustration 5-iron is white and 5-hybrid is yellow

Notice how much higher yellow (the 5-hybrid) is in relation to white (the 5-iron)

This report shows all the key variables—notice the carry, ball speed, height, and landing angle differences between the two.


I really enjoy doing these “gap” fittings. While the consumer might want the new shiny driver or the latest, greatest set of irons, these clubs that fall in between may make or break the consumer’s chances of scoring well. In doing these gap fittings don’t neglect to try higher-lofted woods—sometimes they can be easier to hit than hybrids for certain players.

There is no one perfect set for all players, there is only a perfect set for you and your speed and launch conditions. My personal recommendation is when you go get that next set of irons or just want to see some lower scores, make sure you look into hybrids and higher-lofted fairway woods. Please find a fitter you can trust, and hopefully s/he will have a radar device so you can see data to make an informed decision about what to carry in your golf bag!

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2010, 2014, 2015 & 2017 Merchandiser of the Year-Public Section Northern Ohio PGA Horton Smith Award Winner Northern Ohio PGA 2018 Inducted in Callaway Retail Hall of Fame 2014 Top 100 Fitter from 2013 - Present for Ping, Mizuno, Cobra, Taylormade, Titleist, Mizuno TOP 100 Fitter from 2015-Present Callaway, Wilson Golf Digest Top 100 Fitter from 2015 – Present Average over 400 Fittings a year last 3+ Years Taught over 200 Lessons a year last 3+ Years Graduate for the University of Akron 2000 PGA member since 2014 Website: www.windmillgolfcenter.com

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. freowho

    Oct 26, 2019 at 4:10 am

    I agree with getting rid of irons but hybrids aren’t always the answer. Fairways are still a better option for a lot of people.

  2. David McCune

    Oct 25, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    One thing is getting lost here- We all know Golf is a very mental game. How about playing with the clubs you’re most confident in ? I’ve always been a better sweeper of the ball, and not a great iron player. I have few hybrids I pick & choose from and the biggest iron I normally play is a 6.

    • Gerald Teigrob

      Oct 25, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      I agree with you, David. Nothing is written in stone when it comes to the clubs you put in your golf bag. I like the option of a 4 iron and 4 hybrid/driving iron right now. And I am not losing any length with my irons. I know what I can do with what I play. To each his own. I don’t look and say…my handicap is higher so I need more hybrids. I say I need more help with the long irons so I need less help from a 4 iron hybrid than I used to think I needed. And what many amateurs seem to forget is that a 4 iron now comes with a 19 or 20-degree loft, which is two or three degrees stronger than my last 3 iron and the same loft or so as my 2 iron.

  3. A. Commoner

    Oct 25, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Amateur golf is chock full of delusional hackers. Face reality and find more enjoyment.

  4. Gerald Teigrob

    Oct 25, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    After eliminating a 4 iron and playing hybrids up to a 6 hybrid in my set, I have gone back to playing more 4 irons. I can still get it airborne and can also play my graphite 4 iron like a driving iron. I know hybrids are helpful for those with slower swing speeds and losing distance, but overall my game is just as good with a 4 iron of 20 degrees in my bag. Sure a 4 hybrid helps on some days, but other days it doesn’t seem to matter as much. I have learned that I do have the ability to play both 4 iron and f hybrid along with a 4 iron driving iron. So I can still enjoy the best of all worlds there! For me, I can get more easily airborne with a 5 iron than a hybrid of similar distance but I am prepared to consider that down the road. So for the time being, I will continue to use my 4 iron option and likely play the driving iron over a hybrid.

  5. Pelling

    Oct 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Or, a golfer could just play a driver, a 5 wood, a 5 iron, an 8 iron, a 54 degree wedge and a putter and shoot virtually the same scores. 6 clubs, carry your bag, no launch monitor needed. Try it sometime.

    • OV

      Oct 27, 2019 at 2:17 am

      I often do but slightly different setup: 3w (coz driver only good of the tee), 4h, 7i, pw, 56, putter. Rarely play with more than 8 clubs.

      Love my hybrids coz no good with long irons. Not because of lack of swing speed, but of talent, lol! Do have 3&5 hybrids but figured the 4 can do the job of both.

  6. Tiger Noods

    Oct 24, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    I hope you took more data than that. This is a very, very small sample. One poor 5-iron is not a reason to leave a 5-iron. The “gap” needs to focus more on the idea that your 5-iron and 6-iron aren’t basically indistinguishable. Getting more distance with a hybrid is only good if it makes a PROPER gap. If you are just adding distance because you can, well, then you’ll have a large gap between that 5-hybrid and 6-iron. Then you’ve made things worse.

    I know Trent knows this, but it reads like MOAR YARDS

    • Mark it Zero

      Oct 25, 2019 at 8:19 am

      Hybird

      • Pelling

        Oct 25, 2019 at 4:30 pm

        Now you’re getting pretty technical, Zero…

    • Bill Ryan

      Oct 25, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Its quite simple throw out the 4567 irons in garage now listen. Carefully take a 31 28 25 22 19 hybrids from cobra and yes some are Lexie black hybrids and some are Nardo grey men’s (same exact heads but for color Hybrid shaft for proper length. And distances pure Heaven and will never look back and I am a 7 handicap and 69 years old Drop your egos and your scores ??????????????????????

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Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

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The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

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He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

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Fix early extension: 3 exercises to get your a** in gear

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It’s pretty common knowledge that “early extension” is a problem for golfers everywhere, but how does it affect your body and your game? And what can you do to fix it?

First, let’s look at early extension in its most simple form as a physical issue rather than a technical issue.

During the swing, we are asking our body to not only create force, but also resist a number of different forces created by the aggressive rotational pattern we call a golf swing. The problem comes down to each player’s unique dysfunction which will likely include bad posture, weak glutes or a locked out thoracic spine for example.

So when we then ask the body to rotate, maintain spine angle, get the left arm higher, pressure the ground, turn our hips to the target (to name a few) a lot of mobility, strength and efficiency are required to do all of this well.

And not everyone, well actually very few of us, has the full capability to do all of this optimally during the swing. The modern lifestyle has a lot to do with it, but so does physiology and it has been shown that tour players as well as everyday golfers suffer from varying levels of dysfunction but can ultimately get by relative to learned patterns and skill development.

But for the majority of players early extension leads to one or more of the following swing faults:

  • Loss of spine angle/posture. During the swing, a player will ‘stand up’ coming out of their original and desired spine angle, this alters the path and the plane of the club.
  • “Humping” the ball. Johnny Wunder’s preferred term for the forward and undesirable movement of the lower body closer to the ball.

Lack of rotation during the swing occurs due to the shift in the center of gravity caused by the loss of posture as your body does its best to just stay upright at all.

Ultimately, early extension leaves us “stuck” with the club too far behind us and nowhere to go—cue massive high push fade or slice going two fairways over (we’ve all been there) or a flippy hook as your body backs up and your hands do whatever they can to square it up.

Not only is this not a good thing if you want to hit a fairway, it’s also a really bad way to treat your body in general.

As a general rule, your body works as a system to create stability and mobility simultaneously allowing us to move, create force, etc. When we can’t maintain a stable core and spinal position or force is being transferred to an area that shouldn’t be dealing with it, we get issues. Likely, this starts with discomfort, possibly leading to prolonged pain, and eventually injury.

The body has a whole lot to deal with when you play golf, so it’s a good idea to start putting in the work to help it out. Not only will you reduce your risk of injury, but you’ll also likely play better too!

So we have three simple exercises for you here that you can do at home, or anywhere else, that will help you with the following elements

  • Posture
  • Core strength
  • Glute function
  • Thoracic mobility
  • Asymmetrical balance
  • Ground force development

#1: Forward lunge with rotation

  1. Standing tall, core engaged with a club in front of your chest, take a reasonable step forward.
  2. Stabilize your lead knee over your front foot and allow your trail knee to move down towards the ground, trying to keep it just above the surface.
  3. Maintaining your spine angle, rotate OVER your lead leg (chest faces the lead side) with the club at arm’s length in front of your torso keeping your eyes facing straight forwards.
  4. Rotate back to center, again with great control, and then step back to your original standing position.
  5. Repeat on other leg.

#2: Bird dog

  1. Get down on all fours again focusing on a quality, neutral spine position.
  2. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg backward.
  3. Control your breathing and core control throughout as we test balance, stability and core activation.
  4. Hold briefly at the top of each rep and return to start position.
  5. Repeat with right arm and left leg, alternating each rep.
  6. If this is difficult, start by working arms and legs individually, only life 1 arm OR 1 leg at a time but still work around the whole body.

#3: Jumping squat

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart, eyes fixed forward.
  2. Engage your squat by sending your knees forwards and out to create pressure and torque, whilst sending your hips down and back.
  3. Squat down as far as possible whilst maintaining a neutral spine, active core and heels on the ground.
  4. As you naturally come out of the squat, push the ground away using your whole foot, creating as much speed and force as possible as you jump in the air.
  5. Land with excellent control and deceleration, reset and repeat.

Got 10 minutes? Sample workout

3 Rounds

  1. 10 Forward Lunge with Rotation (5 each leg)
  2. 10 Bird Dog (5 Each side or 5 each limb if working individually)
  3. 5 Jumping Squats
  4. 1 Minute Rest

If you can take the time to make this a part of your routine, even just two or three times per week, you will start to see benefits all round!

It would also be a perfect pre-game warm-up!

And one thing you can do technically? Flare your lead foot to the target at address. A huge majority of players already do this and with good reason. You don’t have to alter your alignment, rather keep the heel in its fixed position but point your toes more to the target. This will basically give you a free 20 or 30 degrees additional lead hip rotation with no real side-effects. Good deal.

This is a great place to start when trying to get rid of the dreaded early extension, and if you commit to implementing these simple changes you can play way better golf and at least as importantly, feel great doing it.

 

To take your golf performance to new levels with fitness, nutrition, recovery, and technical work, check out everything we do on any of the following platforms.

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