Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Checking the fit of your clubs on a budget

Published

on

During the last 17 years, I’ve graduated from the simple regripping of golf clubs to creating full blueprints. Today, when I build clubs for friends and family, I try to leave no stone unturned and work to minimize the variables from club to club. For better golfers, this consistency pays off with a predictable ball flight when you are looking at a shot that requires delicate touch. But does a newer golfer need 100 percent blueprinted clubs? Is that expenditure really going to pay off?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not swimming in cash. My obsession with putters aside, I have to budget and decide where I am going to spend my dollars. For a lot of golfers, the cost of that fitting or repair may not make sense when they can just apply that cost to buy new clubs. But there are a lot of things you can check without having to visit a shop.

GRIPS

I’ve got big hands. Not ROBOPTI big, but they are pretty meaty. One of the first things I learned was that a larger grip fit my hand better and allowed me to keep control of the club during the swing. I’d suspect that a lot of golfers just play with whatever grip came on the club when they bought it.

Golf Grip Size Hand

Checking for free: Grip the club and look at your hands. The rule of thumb is the tips of your fingers should be lightly touching your palm. If they are not, the grip may be too large for you. If your fingers are digging into your palm, the grip is probably too small.

If you decide you need a change: Now is the time to have your hands measured. Beyond standard, midsize and jumbo, the repair shop can add extra wraps of masking tape as needed to fine-tune the feel. Take the Goldilocks approach and make sure the fit is just right. Grips have different taper rates, so try different brands to get the right combination of taper, feel and tack for you.

Obsessive-compulsive details for WRX members: Just because you have used .600-inch Golf Pride round grips for the last 10 years, understand that not all shafts are .600-inch anymore. Your driver might have a .605-inch up to a .620-inch butt diameter depending on the model. What used to be a perfect on Dynamic Gold will not be the same with PX or C-Taper because the butt section tapers under the grip.

A top-tier clubfitter will measure your grips in two or three areas to make sure you have consistent sizing for both hands of the grip.

CHECK YOUR LIE ANGLES

OEM Online Fitting programs will get your lie angles in the ballpark if you want to order new clubs. But the final step is verifying the measurements against your swing on a lie board. You can see if you need to be more upright or flat while you are at the driving range.

Golf Lie Effect

Checking for free: A lot of people hate them, but the range turf mat is your friend in this exercise. I shouldn’t have to state this, but I will anyway: hit off the mat. Don’t hit off the tee! As you hit balls, the green schmutz on the sole of your irons and wedges will tell you if the clubs are too upright or flat for you. Properly struck shots will have the green in the center of the club, or evenly across the entire sole. If you see that the mark is biased towards the heel or toe, it’s time for your clubs to be adjusted.

If you decide you need a change: This is a serious step and you have either an easy choice or a time-consuming choice. The easy way is to let the clubfitter set your lies from a single club, usually a 6- or 7-iron. The clubfitter will see what lie angle you need compared to the reference standard of that set and then adjust the lies accordingly. This is when you will hear people tell you they are “2-degree upright” or “1-degree flat.”

Obsessive-compulsive details for WRX members: The time consuming method is to hit every club on the lie board and adjust each club as needed for your swing. At this point, you will refer to each club by its lie. I have a 61-degree 5-iron, a 64.5-degree 9-iron and a 65-degree sand wedge. My lie progression does not match the factory model and if I just said I was “one-degree up,” my long irons would be too upright.

A good fitter will give you a chart with your lofts/lies when you walk out of the store. You should check these specs against the new clubs you may buy in the future and order your specs accordingly.

Note that loft/length are dependent on each other. The Ping color chart is a good example of this. If your 7-iron is 63 degrees, that lie is based on the length of your current club. If you extend or shorten your clubs, you will want to verify your angles again on the lie board.

CHECK YOUR SWING WEIGHTS

All clubs start their lives as components. Heads, shafts and grips each have specifications and tolerances for angles, lengths and weight. For the majority of the industry, there is a tolerance of plus/minus 2 grams on weights. As a result, the specified swing weight of the club may not match the actual swing weight. One club with a heavy head and light grip can feel radically different compared to the same model with a light head and a heavy grip. Yet both would be “in spec” for a production line built set of clubs.

Swing Weight Scale

Checking for free: This one is not completely free, unless you can get access to a swing weight scale. Most club repair shops and big box stores with repair centers should have one. Some driving ranges and pro shops may have a scale as well.

Most golfers, when they think about their clubs, usually have two or three clubs in the bag that they always seem to hit well. There are usually some that always seem to be a struggle. A quick check on the swing weight scale will often times show the good clubs to have a similar swing weight and the tough clubs will be significantly lighter or heavier. When having clubs built for you or repaired, make sure you specify the good swing weight to your club fitter so that they get the club to feel right.

If you decide you need a change: Light clubs can be made heavier by adding lead tape to the club head. Applied to the back of the club near the center of the club head, add mass until the swing weight matches the good clubs. Verify the feel on the range. Heavier clubs can be adjusted by having your clubfitter grind away some weight from the club head. Again, adjust until the swing weight matches the good clubs to give a more consistent feel from club to club. You can get a roll of lead tape at your golf shop for a few dollars. One package is usually enough to raise an entire set of clubs by one swing weight point.

Obsessive-compulsive details for WRX members: Swing weight can be affected by length as well. You may want to have your clubfitter check the lengths of your clubs to ensure consistent spacing between each club. You can also have internal tip weights installed by your clubfitter to match the swing weights and avoid lead tape, which is unsightly to some golfers on their pretty new irons. Grip weights can also change swing weight. The Golf Pride NDMC grips are seven or eight grams lighter than the 50-gram Tour Velvet grip found on a lot of factory clubs. This can move the swing weight up to 1.5 points. A .580-inch core Tour Velvet will also weigh two or three grams more than a .600-inch core Tour Velvet. Midsize will weigh even more than the standard sized grips. Ensure you have consistent grips sizes and weights, especially if you are having your set regripped.

Knowing the specifications that work for you will give you, your teacher and your clubfitter an easy reference to ensure you are getting the best, most consistent performance from every club in your bag.

Click here for more discussion in the “Clubmaking” forum.

Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

A tinkerer since he was a child, Brad Hintz has always enjoyed getting his hands dirty and learning how things are put together. Taking apart and putting together his bicycle and the family room television to make them work better eventually gave way to golf clubs. While a career in operations and analytics keeps him busy during the day, he has been building and repairing golf clubs as a hobby and passion for more than 17 years. Brad has been posting on golf forums since the late 1990s and has been a member of GolfWRX almost from its inception. This is his first foray into writing articles online.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Nocklaus

    Apr 17, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Actually, different gripweights does not affect playability that much. A swingweight measurer, measures the “balance” 14″ from the butt end. But when you hold the club the balance point is just between your hands, about 3″ down and therefore different gripweight affects the club about the same as if you wear a watch or not.

  2. Craig berry

    Feb 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Going to get fitted in a few weeks by “world club maker” of the year 2010!!!!!

    That’s a hefty title…..can’t wait to see what the doctor is going to prescribe for my swing!

    Should be worth it in the end! The way forward!

  3. Pingback: Your Search for Golf Club Ends Here - I Trust My Driver | I Trust My Driver

  4. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the post Brad,

    I never would have thought before to check the grips to see if they were the right thickness. I think most of us golfers just assume it’s a one size fits all situation.

    I’ve always had my lie angles checked and of the course the length of the shafts.

    It’s interesting to know that it doesn’t stop there.

    Cheers

Leave a Reply

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

Courses

Barnbougle Dunes: World Class Golf

Published

on

We arrived to Launceston Airport in Tasmania just before sunset. Located on the Northeast Coast of Australia’s island state, Tasmania, Barnbougle is almost as far from Sweden as it gets… yet it immediately felt like home when we arrived.

Launceston Airport, Tasmania. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The drive from the airport was just over an hour, taking us through deep forests and rolling hills before we arrived to Barnbougle Golf Resort, which consists of two courses — The Dunes and Lost Farm — a lodge, two restaurants, a sports bar and a spa. Unfortunately, it was pitch black outside and we couldn’t see much of the two courses on our arrival. I would like to add that both Johan and I were extremely excited about visiting this golf mecca. We later enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Barnbougle Lost Farm Restaurant before we called it a day.

The locals at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The next day, we woke up early and got out to The Dunes Course as very first guests out. Well, to be quite honest, we weren’t actually the first out. There were a few locals — Kangaroos, lots of them — already out on the course. The natural landscape at Barnbougle is fantastic and my cameras almost overheated with the photo opportunities. After two intense hours of recording videos and producing photos both from ground, we headed back to Lost Farm for a wonderful breakfast (and view). After our breakfast, it was time to try our luck.

“Tom’s Little Devil.” Hole No.7 at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Before describing our experience playing the courses, I would like to mention about Richard Sattler, a potato farmer and owner of Barnbougle. In the early 2000’s, Richard was introduced to U.S. golfing visionary Mike Keiser, who had heard about his amazing stretch of farmland in Tasmania and came down to visit. Mike convinced Richard that Barnbougle (which at that stage was a potato farm and still grows potatoes and raises cattle today) might be perfect for creating a top quality golf course.

After an introduction to well renowned golf architect Tom Doak and the formation of a partnership with former Australian golf pro and golf architect Mike Clayton, the development of the Barnbougle Dunes Course commenced.

The walk between the 3rd and 4th holes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Featuring large bunkers dotted between fun rolling fairways shaped from the coastal dunes, Barnbougle Dunes offers the golfer some tough challenges, in particular on the first nine. This is indeed a course that will entertain all kinds of golfers.

After our round, we looked back at some fantastic highlights such as playing the iconic 7th hole, a short par-3 called ”Tom’s Little Devil,” as well as the beautiful par-4 15th. We were just two big walking smiles sitting there in the restaurant to be honest. Lets also not forget one of the biggest (and deepest) bunkers I’ve seen at the 3rd hole. The name of the bunker is “Jaws.” Good times!

As a small surprise for Johan, I had arranged a meeting after our round with Richard Sattler. Richard, ever the farmer, entered the car parking just in front of the clubhouse in a white pick-up van with a big smile un his face. We talked to Richard for almost 30 minutes. He is an extremely humble man and left such a warm impression on us. Richard explained the Barnbougle story: how it all began and the property today.

To me, this is a high-end golf destination offering something very unique with two world-class courses in Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm, both ranked in the top-100 greatest golf courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine (U.S.). With the courses located just next to each other, it’s probably one of the best golf resorts you can find down under and a golf resort that I would like bring my hardcore golfing friends to visit. Everything here is exceptional with the resort providing spacious rooms, comfy beds, good food and spectacular views.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Barnbougle Dunes is a real treat to play for any golfer and will leave you with a sweet golfing memory. Compared to the golf courses available on the more remote King Island, Barnbougle is accessible (given Tasmania is connected by better flight connections) and the hospitality and service at is much more refined.

The golf resort is one of the absolute best I’ve been to. I can also highly recommend playing Barnbougle Dunes; I had great fun and you can play it in many ways. Tomorrow, we will be playing and experiencing the other course at Barnbougle: Barnbougle Lost Farm, a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw course with 20 (!) holes.

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Geoff Shackelford and Louis Oosthuizen join our 19th Hole podcast

Published

on

Louis Oosthuizen and Geoff Shackelford join our 19th Hole this week. Oosthuizen talks about his prospects for the 2018 season, and Shackelford discusses Tiger’s setback at the 2018 Genesis Open. Also, host Michael Williams talks about the PGA Tour’s charitable efforts in the wake of tragic events in Parkland, Florida.

Listen to the podcast below on SoundCloud, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Honda Classic

Published

on

It’s off to Florida this week for the Honda Classic, as the lead up to the year’s first major continues. PGA National has been the permanent home of this event since 2007, and it has proved to be one of the most demanding courses on Tour since then. The golf course measures just under 7,200 yards, but it is the often blustery conditions combined with the copious amount of water hazards that make this event a challenge. There is also the added factor of “The Bear Trap,” a daunting stretch of holes (Nos. 15-17) that are arguably the most difficult run of holes we will see all year on the PGA Tour.

Ball strikers have excelled here in the past, with Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy all boasting fine records at PGA National. The par-70 golf course contains six long Par 4’s that measure over 450 yards, and players will be hoping that the wind isn’t too strong — when it does blow here, the course can turn into a brute. Last year, Rickie Fowler posted 12-under par to win the event by four strokes over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland. It was the first time in the last five years that the winning score reached double digits.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Rickie Fowler 8/1
  • Rory McIlroy 10/1
  • Justin Thomas 11/1
  • Sergio Garcia 18/1
  • Tyrrell Hatton 28/1
  • Tommy Fleetwood 30/1
  • Gary Woodland 30/1

Previous champions Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy are sure to be popular picks this week, but it’s Justin Thomas (11/1, DK Price $11,300) who I feel offers slightly more value out of the front runners. Thomas has begun the year well, finishing in the top-25 in all four events he has played. The numbers show that his game is getting better all the time. His iron play has steadily improved, picking up more Strokes for Approaching the Green week by week. Last week he gained six strokes approaching the green at the Genesis Open, which was fourth in the field.

At the ball strikers’ paradise, Thomas fans will be glad to know that he ranks fourth in the field for Ball Striking over his last 12 rounds. He is also ranked fourth for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green and second in Strokes Gained Total. Comparatively, neither Fowler nor McIlroy rank inside the top-50 for ball striking and the top-40 for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green over the same period.

Thomas’ accuracy on his approaches has been sensational lately. He leads the field in Proximity to the Hole for his past 12 rounds, and on a golf course that contains many long par 4’s it should play into Justin’s hands, as he’s been on fire recently with his long irons. He is third in the field for Proximity on Approaches Between 175-200 yards, and second in the field for Approaches Over 200 yards in his last 12 rounds. Thomas has a mixed record at PGA National, with a T3 finish wedged in between two missed cuts, but I like the way his game has been steadily improving as the season has progressed. It feels like it’s time for the current PGA Champion to notch his first win of the year.

On a golf course where ball striking is so important, Chesson Hadley (55/1, DK Price $7,700) caught my eye immediately. The North Carolina native has been in inspired form so far in this wraparound season with four finishes already in the top-5. The way he is currently striking the ball, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see him get his fifth this week. Hadley is No. 1 in the field for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green, Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and Ball Striking, while he is No. 2 for Strokes Gained Total over his last 24 rounds.

Having taken last week off, Hadley returns to a golf course where he has finished in the Top-25 twice in his three visits. Yet there is a sense that this year he’ll be aiming even higher than that. Chesson is fifth in this field for Proximity to the Hole from 175-200 yards and fourth overall over the past 24 rounds. With that level of accuracy on such a tricky golf course, Hadley will be confident of putting himself in position to claim win No. 2.

My next pick was a slow sell, but with the number so high I couldn’t leave him out. Adam Scott (55/1, DK Price $7,700) has been struggling for some time now. He has slipped out of the World’s Top-50, changed his putter from the short putter to the long putter and back again over the winter break, and he doesn’t have a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since the FedEx St. Jude Classic last summer. Despite all of this, I don’t feel Scott should be as high as 66/1 with some bookmakers on a golf course where he has excelled. To put it in perspective, Scott is the same price to win this week in a modest field as he is to win The Masters in April.

There are also signs that Scott blew off some of the rust last week in LA. The Australian was 12th in the field for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green, which indicates that things might slowly be coming around for a man who is known for his prodigious ball striking. Scott’s achilles heel is the flat stick, and I wouldn’t expect that to change this week. He’s been very poor on the greens for some time now, which must be incredibly frustrating for a man who gives himself so many looks at birdie. But average putters have performed well at PGA National in the past, where it seems that excellent ball striking is the key for having a good week. Scott won here in 2016, and on his two other visits to PGA National in the past five years he twice finished in the top-15. If he can continue to improve his iron play the way he has been, I feel he could forge his way into contention.

My long shot this week is Sean O’Hair (200/1, DK Price $6,800). The Texan hasn’t done much so far this year, but he is making cuts and he arrives at a course that seems to bring out the best in him. O’Hair has five top-25 finishes in his last seven appearances at PGA National, which includes a T11 at last year’s edition. At 200/1 and with a DK Price of as little as $6,800, there is little harm in taking a chance on him finding that form once more this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Justin Thomas 11/1, DK Price $11,300
  • Chesson Hadley 55/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Adam Scott 55/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Sean O’Hair 200/1, DK Price $6,800
Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending