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Wishon: 7 club fitting keys to improve shot consistency



One of the simplest ways golfers can improve their games is through proper club fitting, which is often overlooked because of the emphasis golf equipment companies place on trying to help golfers hit the ball farther. Adding distance is great, but it doesn’t always come with an improvement in shot consistency. Sometimes, it actually has the opposite effect, whereas a proper fitting almost always improves shot consistency and often leads to more distance as well.

When I speak about shot consistency, exactly what am I talking about? A higher percentage of on-center hits? Sure, that’s an improvement in shot consistency. But so too, and perhaps even more important, are elements of consistency such as a reduction in how far a slice or hook curves off line, or a reduction in the number of poor shots.

Perhaps the best way to express what an improvement in shot consistency means is to help the golfer “miss the ball” better. If you’ve played the game a while, you are well aware of the type of shots that are classified as a “good misses.” No one hits all the shots well. In fact, the best golfers can be said to be those who “miss their shots the best.”

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to offer some of the best fitting tips for “better missed shots” and from it, better shot consistency.

1. A shorter driver, but also shorter fairway woods 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the percentage of golfers who have improved their tee shot consistency by going much shorter with the length of their driver is nothing short of spectacular. The only male golfers who have a real chance to play well with a 45-inch driver are those with a smooth tempo, great swing rhythm/timing, inside-out to square swing path, later release and good golf athletic ability on top of those things.

For golfers who fall short in one or more of those elements, don’t even think about a driver longer than 44 inches. If the golfer falls short in three or more of those factors, don’t go longer than 43 to 43.5 inches. Longer length only means higher club head speed for golfers with a later-to-very-late release. And even for those with a later release, for 98 percent of them longer length means more off-center hits.

But don’t just think shorter drivers for better shot consistency. Think shorter fairway woods, too. The old fairway wood length standards were 43 inches for a 3 wood, 42.5 inches for a 4 wood, 42 inches for a 5 wood and 41 inches for a 7 wood. Golfers should consider using fairway woods that are a half inch to a full inch shorter than that if they do not possess most of the above ideal swing tempo/release characteristics. You’d be amazed at the improvement in shot consistency from shorter fairway woods.

2. Proper face angle fitting to address misdirection tendencies

Preaching to the choir, element No. 2 for shot consistency is to fit the face angle of the driver, fairway woods and even the hybrids to offset the golfer’s slice or hook tendency with those clubs.

Always keep these two key points in mind when viewing a face angle change for improving shot consistency through better accuracy:

  • At a carry distance of 200 yards, a 1-degree change in the face angle from what it was before represents a slice or hook reduction of 4 to 5 yards.
  • For a face angle change to work best, you have to know the face angle of your present clubs so you know how much of a change to make to bring about a visible reduction in the slice or hook.

For a face angle change to do its job, you have to address the ball with the face angle sitting as it is designed. All too often, golfers not used to an open or closed face will rotate the head to assume a more square position at address. If you hook or slice and want that to be immediately reduced, you’ll need to just get used to the fact that if you slice or hook the ball, your new face angle is going to sit with the face pointing in the opposite direction of your misdirection tendency.

One last point for golfers with one of the adjustable hosel drivers: The only way these drivers can change the loft is if the golfer always holds the face square in the address position. If you are a relatively straight hitter, fine, you won’t need any face angle help. But if you are a chronic fader/slicer/drawer/hooker, a change in the face angle from what you currently use can be a huge help.

As such, trying to get that from one of the adjustable hosel drivers is difficult and confusing. For that reason, it is best to work with a club fitter who knows his stuff and can source the right driver head that has both the loft AND face angle you need.

3. Matching total weight and swing weight to the golfer’s transition, tempo and strength

If the total weight and/or the swing weight are too heavy for the golfer, more off-center hits, pushed shots and thin shots can result. If the total weight and/or the swing weight are too light for the golfer, a more outside-in path, slice and off-center hits can result.

While we talk a lot in fitting about the total weight (shaft weight) and the swing weight as separately fit elements, from a shot consistency standpoint you have to think of the two working together. For many golfers, the swing weight (meaning the head weight FEEL) is more important for shot consistency improvement than the total weight.

Typically, the more forceful the transition, the faster the tempo and the stronger the golfer, the heavier the total weight (shaft weight) and swing weight would be to best match the golfer’s timing and rhythm. And vice versa, usually the more smooth the transition and tempo and the weaker the golfer, the lighter the total weight (shaft weight) and swing weight would be. It’s not always this way, however, because golfers develop differences in what they think feels best when they swing the club.

It’s also totally possible for golfers with a stronger transition and tempo to end up being well fit into a lighter weight shaft (lighter total weight), but much less likely that a weaker/smoother-swinging golfer would be well fit into a heavy shaft for a heavy total weight.

If a stronger golfer with a little more aggressive transition move were to use a 55-to-65-gram shaft, the light total weight of such a light shaft weight can be offset by using a little to a lot higher swing weight. But on the other hand, it is rarely if ever a good thing to fit a golfer with a smooth transition/tempo and below average strength with a shaft that weighs more than 75 grams, but then try to mute that heavier shaft effect with a low swing weight.

But do remember, weight fitting also has to take the golfer’s personal, acquired preference for the weight feel of the clubs into account. There can be infrequent times when the weaker/smoother-swinging player prefers a heavy feel while a strong/aggressive player could possibly like a lighter feel.

In the end, there is no such thing as a total weight/swing weight detector in fitting. You start with the tendencies of swing force versus club weighting listed here, then experiment to find the combination that works best. In the end, the right total weight and swing weight is found when the golfer never has to make any type of conscious move or effort to control his swing tempo and timing.

4. MOI match the woods and the irons instead of swingweight matching

Ask any mechanical engineer. If the goal is to build all the clubs in a set so they swing with exactly the same effort and feel, the best way to do that is to build the clubs to have the same MOI rather than the same swing weight. MOI matching has been around now for 10 years so the statistics are starting to show tendencies.

When the MOI is chosen properly for the golfer, again based on his transition, tempo, strength and personal FEEL preference, the subtle improvements show up as more on-center hits more often, fewer pulled and pushed shots and a few more greens hit in regulation. But what MOI is right for each golfer is still a guess-and-check process.

The way the best club fitters do it is to build a test club of at least the 5 or 6 iron that possesses everything BUT the weighting the golfer needs in his fitting. The club has the right length, loft, lie, shaft and grip, but the head weight is left light. Then the golfer goes through a process of hit three shots, after which weight is added to the head. This process is repeated until the point is found when the golfer definitely perceives the head weight to be too heavy and too laboring to swing consistently on tempo. A fitter then backs off some of the weight and that becomes the benchmark club from which the MOI is measured and then duplicated on the other clubs in the set.

Final point: For the vast majority of golfers, the best MOI for the driver and woods will be +60-to-70 g/cm2 (the MOI measurement increment) higher than what was found to be the golfer’s best MOI in the irons.

5. Set makeup changes: so underappreciated, but so important

One of the most overlooked fitting factors that will assuredly improve overall shot consistency and deliver better misses for golfers is the set makeup. The whole concept of proper set makeup fitting is to get rid of hard-to-hit clubs and replace them with clubs that hit the ball the same distance and are easier to hit more consistently.

I am talking about the following elements:

  • Having an alternative “control driver” of shorter length and higher loft. It can be used in lieu of the normal driver for courses with a greater number of tight tee shot holes, or for days when the swing is not as much “in sync” as other days.
  • No three wood for the majority of golfers. Many should start with a 4 or 5 wood, unless the golfer definitely has the skill to consistently hit a fairway wood with 14-to-15 degrees of loft off the ground well up in the air.
  • Having more woods, and definitely a 7 wood for most average players. Even a 9 wood for many golfers will work well, especially if the golfer tends to sweep the ball and/or has an early to midway release. And make it a little shorter as well.
  • More hybrids instead of more fairway woods? As the golfer’s release gets from midway to slightly later than midway, and as the golfer can consistently hit down and through the shot, the option leans for more hybrids instead of more fairway woods to avoid the hard to hit low-lofted irons.
  • Use one more hybrid than the golfer thinks he/she should use. Get the golfer to be totally honest in answering this question, “What is the lowest number iron I can hit consistently well 4 out of 5 times from normal lies?” If he is an 8-handicap golfer or lower, make that iron the break between the last hybrid and first iron in the set. If he is above an 8 handicap, add on one more hybrid and start the irons one number higher than what the golfer thinks he should use. Today’s much lower-lofted irons are fine as long as the golfer is honest in admitting what iron number sees the first big increase in inconsistency and starting the hybrids there. Don’t let ego get in the way of a smart set makeup that allows you to hit more greens and score better.
  • Additional wedges. Or rather, tailor the wedge set makeup to the grass, sand and green design of the golf course(s) the golfer plays the most. It is very smart for a golfer to have different wedges of different lofts and sole designs so he can pick the wedge set makeup for the course he happens to be playing that day (this is a big topic to know what wedges to play for what differences in turf, sand and green design, and one I promise to write a detailed story about it in the future).

6. Grip size and feel for comfort

Forget the hand size/finger size charts that golfers use as a deciding factor for grip size. Fit for grip size ONLY on the basis of golfer comfort. Regardless of hand/finger size, the best grip size for every golfer is the size that he feels is most comfortable and allows him to maintain a secure hold on the grip with the least amount of grip pressure with the hands and forearms.

One more thing about grips versus shot consistency: Scrub/wash your rubber grips every other round, and lightly sand the rubber grips every 1 to 2 months as needed with 220- to 240-grit sandpaper. Keeping grips feeling more new can most definitely can help the golfer maintain a higher level of swing and shot consistency.

7. The correct lie angle for ALL the clubs 

You’ve all seen the diagram that shows the ball going left when the toe end of the club head is up at impact and the ball going right when the heel side of the head is up at impact.

It goes without saying that dynamic lie fitting eliminates all possibility of an ill-fit lie from ever causing an offline shot. As such, why NOT do it? And think about getting your woods and hybrids fit dynamically for lie. Can’t find anyone with fairway woods and hybrids that can be bent to accommodate a wide range of lie fitting needs? If you look hard enough, you will. They do exist.

I can’t tell you enough in strong terms how valuable all of these fitting keys can be for your score and your enjoyment of this great game. Don’t pooh-pooh these fitting elements as either being less important or something only for mid-handicap players and above. They work to deliver better misses, which in turn means lower scores. Have fun, and as always the very best to everyone in this great game.

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Tom Wishon is a 40-year veteran of the golf equipment industry specializing in club head design, shaft performance analysis and club fitting research and development. He has been responsible for more than 50 different club head design firsts in his design career, including the first adjustable hosel device, as well as the first 0.830 COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: February 2014 Tom served as a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory Panel, and has written several books on golf equipment including "The Search for the Perfect Golf Club" and "The Search for the Perfect Driver," which were selected as back-to-back winners of the 2006 and 2007 Golf Book of the Year by the International Network of Golf (ING), the largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the USA. He continues to teach and share his wealth of knowledge in custom club fitting through his latest book, "Common Sense Clubfitting: The Wishon Method," written for golf professionals and club makers to learn the latest techniques in accurate custom club fitting. Tom currently heads his own company, Tom Wishon Golf Technology, which specializes in the design of original, high-end custom golf equipment designs and club fitting research for independent custom club makers worldwide Click here to visit his site,



  1. Don Koes

    Jan 7, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Hi Tom,

    In regards to MOI matching, is there any general rules of MOI increment between iron set vs hybrid vs woods vs driver?

    Thanks a lot.

  2. rob huget

    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Tom I have ordered your 575 mb 5 to the gap also your driver. When I ordered my previous set of mizuno mp 32 they were 2 degree’s flat, when Ross Beebe in Chilliwack measured the shafts they were an inch longer than standard. Is this normal if you are going to flatten the degree’s to have the shaft longer. Also I would assume lie fitting for the driver would be the same as the irons, if impact is more to the heel the lie should be flatter. Thanks Rob Huget

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  4. Jim

    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Tom, I would like to learn how to be a club maker and fitter, I have
    read your materials and have some fairway woods from you and
    very happy with clubs and your knowledge. So what I am asking is
    your advise on how to go about this venture. Thanks Jim
    PS I live Massachusetts

  5. zzkevinw

    Feb 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks Tom,

    I’m 60 years old, fit and athletic, a 21 handicap, and have played for 4 years now. I’m ready to buy my first set of new clubs, and put the yard sale clubs in the basement. Whenever I’m listening in on a fitting session at a golf store, the whole experience seems daunting and a bit dodgy, as if it’s only about how much money they can talk you into spending. I’m very green when it comes to the golf-club lingo and such. Can you steer me toward a competent, trustworthy fitter somewhere near either York, ME or Worcester, MA? Cheers.

  6. Starving Golfer

    Feb 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm


    Any recommendations for club fitter/maker in Nashville, TN?


  7. Scall1968

    Feb 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm


    How long until the wedge article?

    • Tom Wishon

      Feb 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Well the WRX editors were talking to me today about what’s next. Are you asking about how to choose the right wedge for you and your game?

    • Iain Clarke

      May 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Hi Tom ,
      I am also very interested in you forthcoming wedge article as I am currently producing a my own line of wedges via a manufacturer in Fujian , I read part of an article where you were promoting the virtues of a company called Vtech in Tiawan . would it be possible for you to recommend at contact at the company please.


  8. Zdenek

    Feb 6, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Hi Tom! I would like to buy first driver for my girlfriend. Like Mizuno EZ driver – 44″ ladies spec…What is you recommendation – something like 42-43? Thanks Zdenek

    • Tom Wishon

      Feb 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Need some more information about her.

      1. What is the measurement of the distance from her wrist to the floor while standing comfortably erect, shoulders level, arms relaxed at her sides, standing on a hard surface floor in flat sole shoes.

      2. What is her avg score or handicap

      3. Is her swing path outside in, square or inside out

      4. Is her swing tempo, smooth/easy, forceful and aggressive or somewhere in between these

      5. Would you say that she is above average in her athletic ability, about average or below avg

      Get that info to me and I will be happy to offer the best recommendation for her so the length does not get in the way of her being as good as she can be, yet it can be comfortable for her too.


      • Zdenek

        Feb 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

        Hi Tom many thanks!

        1. 82cm (32inch)
        2.112, but know in winter we trained a lot with PRO
        3.inside out
        4.slow backswing, fast change to agressive downswing
        5.above average athletic ability

  9. Mike

    Feb 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Great insight Tom. Always learn something from your articles and posts on the site. Just made the switch to heavier shafts in my driver and fairway wood and definitely see a big difference and less Slices. Not to mention cutting the driver down to 44″ and 3 wood to 42″ for better consistency. Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  10. Bo svensson

    Feb 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Thanks tom for an excellent article. I am really keen after reading this to make a proper set for myself. Do you have any experience of teeview, a club fitter in stockholm, sweden? Or recommend someone else in the area?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Tom Wishon

      Feb 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Tee View is OUTSTANDING in clubfitting. Seriously, Conny and Leif are really good, very experienced and without question you WILL walk away with the very best fit you can possibly get. (and I bet you did not know that Leif is a former Olympic athlete for Sweden) Don’t hesitate to call them – your golf game will love them when you are finished!

  11. Jack cheney

    Jan 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Tom, great article, and I told Glenn Malmquist you said hello. He is 88 years young and still active. He says hello to you and keep up the good work! Thanks, jack

    • Tom Wishon

      Feb 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I bet he is still active. Shoot, from what I remember about his energy level when I used to talk to him regularly in clubmaking back in the 80s and 90s, he is going to outlive every one of us here! And you tell him that too!

  12. Christian

    Jan 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Tom, thanks for the article. I have a question specifically about Hybrid fitting. I have been trying very hard to find a 2H with mixed results. I’m a 1 hdcp and play a straight or small draw, can’t hit a fade to save my life. I’ve owned three 2hybrids in my search and am finding a pattern. The 2h’s I’ve tried from a tee produce an unexpected big fade and often start right of target. I’m not sure why it is the only club in my bag producing these results. All shafts have been stiff at 75-80 grams.

    So the question is, what are the most important spec’s to consider when getting fit for a 2hybrid? Thanks Tom.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      It is difficult to know for sure what could be causing you to fade the ball this much with this hybrid when you do not do that at all with any other club. Typically for that to happen, the face angle of the hybrid would have to be much more open than any of your other clubs. But as a 1, I would think that you would see this when you put the club down in the address position. Really from all my experience for a really good player to fade/slice one club only would point to this having a much more open face. Only other thing would be if the headweight feel was much too light for your swing tempo, but here again as a 1, you would have noticed that right away.

      I tend to see hybrids as irons, meaning to be the same length as an iron of that same loft. Most all OEM hybrids are made to lengths that are longer by 1″ to 2″ than what an iron of the same loft would be. Now for you as a 1, that length should not be an issue. Only other thing I can add is to experiment with your ball position with this hybrid. Some hybrids by virtue of their length play more consistently when a little more forward ala a fwy wood, while others require from their length to be played a little back, like halfway between left heel and center.

      • Christian

        Mar 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        Thanks for the reply Tom. I have since tried another 2 different 2h which produced big hooks. I’m starting to think I just don’t know how to hit a 41″ 2h 17* club specifically.I don’t know enough about shafts to compare and all 5-6 2h’s I’ve tried have all had different stiff shafts. At this point I think I’ll go find a fitter just to find a 2h I can become “friends” with. I have 13 clubs that are my close “friends”, can’t wait to figure out what my issue is with 2h’s and find one to fit into my set. *still searchin*

  13. Don Porter

    Jan 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I have been more accurate with my driver since I started choking up. Does shortening the club help more than just choking up?

    • Tom Wishon

      Feb 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      As Mr Penick taught me years ago, he preferred the term “gripping down” on the club as there is just this “other” connotation with the term “choke”. . . . cough cough. ((!!))

      Gripping down is fine as an alternative to physically cutting the club shorter as long as the smaller grip diameter that brings about is not uncomfortable to you. That’s really the only downside to gripping down because grips are all tapered in their diameter.

  14. Brian

    Jan 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Hey Tom, I am a 4 handicap living in Minot, North Dakota. I have been looking into a new set of irons as well as a new 3 wood. I am 6’4″ and have used standard length, lie clubs my entire life. My problem with my irons is that my misses with my short irons tend to be a blade, and my problem with my 3 wood is that it feels way too light for my swing/swing speed. Any suggestions on an experienced club fitter in my area? I would really like to know what it feels like to swing properly fitted clubs.


    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm


      Ouch, sorry about the fact that custom clubmakers are scarce up in your neck of the woods. In such cases when there is not a decent clubmaker in someone’s area, we have a program where we can help you. If you would please send us an email at [email protected] we will be glad to explain how we can help you.


    • Chris

      Jan 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm


      If you ever get the chance to stop in at an Austad’s Golf in Fargo, they have a store there. Talk to Nick, he is the manager at the store and would probably be of great help to you. I work at one of the other stores and Nick is a very nice guy. It would definitely be something I would consider if you wanted to get fit off a launch monitor.

  15. James brown

    Jan 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Just had elbow surgery on left elbow. I’m looking to do a whole new club set. Dr. Says to go with graphite shafts. I had the UST recoil prototype put in my mp-69 and have just hit today the wedge and 9 iron. How good they feel and different also. Can you tell me of a very good Wishon clubfitter in North Carolina? I am in High Point-Greensboro area. That’s in central part of state.

    I have spent my last 2-3 months on the shelf reading your material. Thanks, james

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I can offer two recommendations not too far from High POint. Steve Thornton in the Winston Salem area at 336-817-6907 or [email protected] – or in the Thomasville area, Special Tee Custom Golf at 336-887-3333.

      Thanks very much for using my reading material to help you get through the re hab period! Best to you!

  16. AJ Jensen

    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Funny you mention this about the 7-wood. A friend of mine has an old seven and he uses it for so many different shots, and with such good results, I’ve had my own eye out for a seven just like it.

    With the recent trend toward higher lofted drivers, do you see fairway woods making a similar loft increase? I ask because I’m in the market for a new fairway wood, after hitting a Stage 2 HL model with 16.5 loft, and in the simulator it seemed to outperform my current Burner 1.0 13-degree spoon.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 19, 2014 at 11:28 am

      No, actually fairway woods have undergone a very slight loft decrease over the past 30 yrs – like irons but not even close to as much of a loft decrease as with the irons. Up to the 80s, 3 woods were all 16*, 4 wood was 19*, 5 wood 22*, 7 wood 25*. These days the avg 3 wood is 14-15, 4 wood 16-17, 5 wood 18, 7 wood 21 and 9 wood around 24.

      The reason higher loft drivers hit the ball farther as swing speed is slower while with fwy woods and irons that isn’t the case has to do with the relationship of swing speed to how much the ball can keep flying up and up in the air on a lower launch angle. For most golfers, that “point of reverse return” when less loft means more distance comes at around 16, 17, 18 degrees – also depending on swing speed for sure. But once you get to 20*+ almost all golfers will hit a lower loft longer in distance because the height of the shot at higher lofts keeps the ball up in the air with enough spin to allow the ball to fly as far as the ball speed allows. With slower speeds and lower lofts, you just do not have the ball speed or spin to keep the ball up in the air longer enough to really fly to the maximum distance the ball speed would allow. So more loft on the driver means more distance for slower speeds because the loft launches the ball higher and with more spin to keep the ball up in the air longer.

      Where the slower swingers have to be careful with woods is to generally not try to use a 3 wood unless you have a 90mph speed and have good swing fundamentals. Today’s 14-15 3wood lofts are just too low for slower swing speeds and especially for slower speeds + less that great swing characteristics to hit well up to fly.

  17. JRUt

    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Great article. It really applies to those of us whom are “vertically challenged.
    What are your opinions regarding club fit and the growing junior golfer? Should they be fit twice a year, or more?
    It’s been an interesting 18 months with multiple growth spurts.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Having remembered when the growth spurt hit with my son, I certainly understand what you are going through. Usually though the faster it happens, the sooner it will calm down so changes in the length of the clubs can be limited. In general, with more athletic kids, if their initial jr clubs were fit properly for length, you can figure that for each 4″ they grow in height, the clubs would need to get another 1 inch longer. This is a basic average and for sure can be different due to kids’ differences in height vs arm length. But for economics sake, it would be best if you could extend the length of the clubs for the first length increase you need up to an increase of +2″. Then when you need to go longer than that, you would need to re shaft or get new sticks.

  18. Steelydan

    Jan 16, 2014 at 4:53 am


    Thanks for the great article. For a tall guy like me with relatively short arms (wrist to floor is 39″), would you rather start an iron fitting with upright lie or with longer shafts? I hear so many different opinions about this. Most recommend to limit shaft length and increase lie angle, but I understand length is not so much of a problem in irons? Would +2″ still acceptable?



  19. Ken Christopherson

    Jan 15, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Tom, as usual, you make sense. Thank you. I think any one of your books is a great place for someone to start to get an idea of how they are handicapped by not having equipment that fits them and their game. It is interesting that Titleist used to write on their website that less than 5% of customers can use off the shelf clubs effectively, and that most golfers would benefit from being custom fit. Each of us needs: different swing weights, different club lengths, different lie and face angles, different grip sizes, matching clubs to MOI, the correct choice of shaft weight & flex, all to fit our specific athletic and physical characteristics. You are a voice of reason and effective common sense in a market filled with marketing hype.

  20. dman

    Jan 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Tom, I find it hard get a hold of good clubMAKERS. Can you recommend someone in the LA area? East side if possible? There are so many guys out there at these big box stores that really don’t know what they are doing or are just careless. Thanks.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Based on my limited knowledge of LA geography, a really good clubmaker in what I perceive to be “sort of east” LA would be Ron Burleson of Corona Custom Golf in Corona – 951-279-9663 or [email protected] ( And then further east would be Philip Moore of Exact Golf in Cathedral City – 760-904-5198 or 951-377-6268 / [email protected]. I’ve known both of these men for some time, have had them at clubfitting seminars over the years, and can testify they both know what they are doing for sure in serious clubfitting.

  21. Stan Szczsponik

    Jan 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Wondering if you can recommend someone in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut to perform the fitting. If not, are you available and where are you located?
    Thank you.
    Stan Szczsponik
    Coventry, Rhode Island

    • Chad

      Jan 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm


      Tom Spargo – Spargo Golf in Cranston, RI

      You won’t be disappointed!!

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Real quick Stan to echo what Chad told you about Tom Spargo. I know him personally from him being at a number of the clubfitting seminars I have done over the years and he is VERY good.

  22. Tanner

    Jan 10, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Good info Tom. As a life long 25-30 handicapper, should I forget the
    the proper core turn and swing from the ground up and just get the face
    fixed? I will say, I don’t have an issue of a slice. The problem is usually a lack of distance or a proper strike where my ball falls short of the target. Will these changes help there or is it more to fix
    a slice?


    • dman

      Jan 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      this is a very specific question for a high handicapper. go see a pro who is also a clubfitter!

  23. Phil Marshall

    Jan 10, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Superb article, I have followed conventional wisdom and industy maketing down some blind allies eg lighter shaft, total club weight, that were inappropriate for me. Amazing results from trial and error outcomes that so closely match Tom’s real wisdom. This shaft weight and head weight matching to a golfer is just so impotant to performance.

    Tom, I think another book is warranted.

    Thanks so much

  24. Dennis

    Jan 10, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Hi Tom,
    Great article, has got me thinking and reading more shafts. I play Mizuno MP 58 with DG S300 shafts that play well. Woods and hybrid not so much. These are also Mizuno. Driver MP 630 10.5 deg, 4 wood mp 16.5 deg, 20 deg hybrid mp clk. What shaft would be best to get the same feel in these as the irons?


    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 13, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Most players who like the feel of the Dynamic Gold do need to get themselves into a tip firm shaft as well for the woods. Problem is there are MANY tip firm shafts in woods in MANY varying levels of tip stiffness. So the bottom line is really to see if there is a really experienced clubfitter in your area with whom you can work so he can better evaluate the shafts you have used in the woods that are not quite right, then from that he can get a better idea of where you need to go next with the wood shaft. What town/city do you live in/near? Let me know that and I can look to see if there is such a good clubfitter in reasonable proximity to where you live.

  25. Chuck

    Jan 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    This is just a stunningly intelligent article. I’ve been playing with a 42.5″ steel (DGLite X100) 3-wood for 12 years. TM 200 Tour “smoothie”. I would not take $400 if someone wanted to buy it from me.

    And I plan to build myself a 43.5″ steel (DGSL) driver this year; probably a SLDR 430.

    Experimenting is fun, easy and enjoyable when the shafts cost $14.95.

    Thank you for all of your wonderful writing, Tom.

  26. Shallowface

    Jan 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    The tricky part about grip size is the different amounts of taper from one shaft to another. Some shafts taper very little, and some taper a great deal. When you’ve got a driver with one shaft, fairways with another, hybrids with another still and then the set of irons, getting that grip size consistent, especially under the trail hand, can be a chore. But it’s necessary if you’re going to have a consistent grip with every club.

  27. Loop

    Jan 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Tom fantastic info on the budget MOI fit for irons. Thanks. With the 3/8 length changes, do the lie angles have to also be adjusted accordingly?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Lie angle always should be rechecked dynamically whenever a golfer changes lengths on his clubs (or if you’re dead serious when you change shafts, change swingweight/headweight too).

  28. LY

    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I saw a big improvement in my consistency when two years ago I changed my set make-up so that the 7 iron was the first iron in my bag. I volunteer at an LPGA event every year and I get a chance to look in a lot of the players bags. I noticed a very high percentage carried more than one hybrid. So I’m thinking to myself on the drive home, if the best women players are using more than one hybrid then how come I’m not.

  29. James

    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Mr. Wishon, what is the best way to ensure my current driver, if cut down to 44 inches from current 45.5, is weighted properly? Unfortunately in my area, clubmakers are rare and most things I have to do myself.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Get yourself some lead tape and head to the driving range. After warming up through the bag, hit 2-3 shots, add 2 strips of lead tape, each 4″ in length (anywhere you want on the head – though flat across the sole is a real easy place to put it) hit 2-3 shots, add tape and so on.

      What you want to do is note the feeling of the head’s weight during the whole swing, backswing, transition and then downswing while hitting shots and progressively adding a little weight. Do this until you start to feel that the head’s weight is feeling a little on the heavy side to you. Then back off 1-2 strips of the lead tape and hit 3-5 shots with that, and see if you feel that you need to drop any more headweight from a FEEL standpoint of it still being a little heavy.

      Then several days later come back to the range, warm up, then hit 3-4 drivers with the club as you finished weighting it the last range session and reflect on that headweight feel one more time to see if you sense whether the weight feel of the head on the end of the shaft still feels pretty good, not too heavy and not too light.

      It really is best to do it this way so you do not get trapped into a specific set swingweight measurement. Some guys will add weight back to the head after shortening the club to make the shorter club’s swingweight the same as what it was at the longer length. Lots of times if you do cut 1″ or more from the length, that becomes too much headweight when you add weight to get the swingweight back to the same as it was at the longer length. Swingweight is not an actual weight – it is simply an expression of the relationship of weight on one end of the club vs the other. When you change length dramatically, the swingweight that represents the best headweight FEEL for your swing timing and tempo won’t likely be the same at the shorter length as it was at the longer length.

      Hence the reason to have to go through a hit a few, add weight, hit a few, add weight – and reflect on the headweight FEEL as you keep doing this a little at a time. You’ll find that point where the weight feel of the head during the swing is not too heavy and not too light. And that’s where you stop and forget it from then on as you head out to play.


      • Ron

        Jan 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Tom, love your posts. I’ve got a Nike Covert that I have to choke up about an inch or so to hit consistently, but I was hesitant to cut it down. It’s the stock length which is 45.75 which is way too long for me, even as a 3 handicap. I’ve got a very aggressive swing with fast tempo so I’m right in the category you say will benefit from shorter driver length. If I lop off 1.75 inches, I’m afraid that’s going to take an awful lot of lead tape. Any ballpark of how many strips I’ll need? If it helps, my favorite driver of the past few years was a Callaway Razr Fit with a whiteboard x73 that measured D6. I went away from it last year when I gained about 20 pounds, lost flexibility from less play, and lost about 8 MPH swing speed. I haven’t been fully properly fit since my fitness declined but I just tweaked based on feel. Any advice for a fitter in central NJ?

  30. J.A.

    Jan 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Tom, what about proper iron length? If you recommend shortening woods by a half to a full inch, would that also be suggested for irons?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

      No, irons over the years have not increased inordinately in length as have drivers and fwy woods. If you go back to the 80s before this length increase began, drivers were 43″, 3 woods were 42″, and the 5 iron std length was 37 1/2″ Today we see the avg driver at 45.5″ with some at 46″, the avg 3w is 43 to 43.5, but the avg 5 iron length is 38″, representing only a half inch increase.

      So irons have not “gotten out of line” nor have they increased in length to the point that the modern length could be a performance problem for golfers.

  31. Duncan Castles

    Jan 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    As always, fascinating and informative. And it all works.
    Tom is too modest to mention it, but his excellent hybrids, fairways and drivers can be easily adjusted to the correct lie angle without the use of any weight-adding, deceptive hosel device.

  32. Ralph Patterson

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Someone asked if you should shorten the driver, 3-wood etc. by cutting the butt or the tip of the shaft but I never saw your answer. What’s the best way to shorten them?

    • Oldplayer

      Jan 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Always the butt. Cutting the tip can change the flex characteristics dramatically.

  33. Conrad

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve always played 46 in my driver, tried shorter shafts but gained little to no accuracy from it. Drivers always been solid as its the best club in my bag

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      If you have the time, find my article on How To arrive upon your best lengths which is floating around the tech forum and has been getting some more commentary so it is not too many pages deep in that forum.

      You’ll find the exact description of how to know what golfer swing characteristics indicate that longer is better or shorter is better. In general, the smoother/more rhythmic the transition and tempo, the later the release, the more square to slightly in/out the path, the flatter the plane and the better the golfer’s sense of feel and timing, the more they could play well with longer lengths.

      The opposite of these swing characteristics all add up to say shorter is a must. I’m betting if you do well with 46″, you possess many to most of the above swing characteristics.

  34. Jeff Burns

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Which one of these tips will give me 17 extra yards? Ha.. I joke, I kid!

    Great article Tom and I’ve very happy to see vindication for my 7 wood in here. I’ve even carried a 9 wood in the past and it’s been a huge help. I’ve taken my driver down to 44.5 but I might go shorter and bring the 3 wood down with it.

    Thanks for the excellent information.


  35. DB

    Jan 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Shorter driver and fairway wood really is the #1 tip. I can’t understand why more amateurs don’t do it. I see all these guys, even shorter guys, with 45.5-46″ drivers.

    I’m 6’1″, and went to 44.75″ driver and 42.5″ 4-wood. Both D3. I love it, will never go back to anything longer. In the fairway more often, and I don’t even think I lost any distance. Still have the same clubhead speed.

    • Bryce

      Jan 9, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Shorter with tip cut to make stiffer or butt end cut?
      Thanks 🙂

      • Tom Wishon

        Jan 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

        When shortening an existing club, cut from the butt end. And then go to work with lead tape to see what headweight increase is necessary to get the headweight FEEL comfortable during the swing.

  36. Mats "PUMP 2" Bergsten

    Jan 9, 2014 at 7:52 am


    Great article, as always when you decide to share your thoughts and knowledge!

    Living in Sweden I use David Leet, PGA Pro at Falsterbo GK, to fit my clubs. He uses all the equipment to get my clubs MOI matched and all other variables as well. Very much into details, as well as I am. Reading your articles and visiting you website, givs me a better understanding, when collaborating with him, in a strive to get the best fitted equipment for myself and my game.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks much and just wanted to echo that you couldn’t be in a better place for your golf! Not only is Falsterbo such a great links, but David Leet is truly a “pro’s pro” in every facet from teaching to training to fitting to being one of the nicest people on the planet. And it is great that your club is continuing to work on improving the links with the course revisions you are making. I’ve been very fortunate to have been to your club several times. I wish I could own a house in the neighborhood and be a member and hang out there a lot.

  37. Rich

    Jan 9, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I have been in the golf retail industry and buying gold equipment on a regular basis in the Australia (Sydney) for the best part of 20 years now. There is no one (green grass or off course retail) that would know how to do this kind of detailed fitting here. It just does not exist. I know more than any (maybe all put together) of the people (including club pro’s) working in golf retail in my area, about golf equipment, shafts, tech data and performance, full stop. I was even fit for a set of Titleist irons in the last 12 months or so and the fitter had to refer to a book (fitting manual of some kind) because he didn’t know how to fit me properly. Needless to say I didn’t buy the irons. Fitting here in Sydney Australia is a buzz word, not something that people know how to do. I’m not sure there is anyone that knows how to do it properly in my experience. The only people I have left to try are the Ping guys here in Sydney. When I’ve spoken to them on the phone, they sound like they actually know what they are doing but I haven’t tried their fitting process out yet so I may have to give them ago the next time I’m in the marker for something.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Do you know Gary Tozer at Aussie Custom Golf up in Gateshead? – 417 297 266 . Maybe about 60 miles from Sydney.

      • Oldplayer

        Jan 9, 2014 at 3:44 pm

        What about Melbourne Australia Tom? I have experienced the same as Rich and find it hard to get fitted properly. Sydney is 800 Kilometers away.

        • Tom Wishon

          Jan 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

          Ahhh, Melbourne you are in LUCK!!!! Call Geoff Waldon on 39 439 8151 or email him at [email protected] and book a fitting appt as fast as you can. Geoff is REALLY GOOD, very experienced and has been doing this on a low key basis for quite a number of years now.


      • Rich

        Jan 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm

        Thanks Tom. Gateshead is about a 90-120 mins drive from Sydney but’I might have to get in touch with him. Cheers.

    • Brandon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Pure Performance Golf Labs Sydney location opens at the end of January. Over 30,000 combinations and every brand that is not only fit but then hand built to those exact specs. is the website

      • Rich

        Jan 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm

        Thanks Brandon, I will check them out too. Cheers.

    • JohSte

      Feb 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Rich
      see Dave Reckless at Dural Golf Driving Range.
      In the best 100 fitters in the world.

  38. sam Brooks

    Jan 9, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Yip I’ve just gone back to 45.5″ driver.. That’s all I need to hear. I’m cutting it down an inch first thing in the morning… Tom says I do!!!

  39. Patrick

    Jan 9, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Tom, fixing slices a

  40. Robert

    Jan 9, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Nice article, a lot of good information in there. However, I am sceptical towards changing the face angle. I mean, shouldn’t we as practitioners of the sport strive towards perfecting our technique instead of compensating with equipment in a way that almost encourages swing faults?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Without question golfers should work on their swings and do their best to keep improving their swing characteristics. But the hard cold fact is that not that many golfers have the time, money or commitment to take the lessons and work as hard as is required to make permanent swing changes. Not only that but the swing moves required to hit the ball straight are most definitely body movements that not that many people have the athletic ability to do – to master a square to slightly inside out swing path with a later to very late release are two very challenging movements for less athletically inclined people to master.

      To natural athletes, these things are not that difficult to do so they can’t imagine why all golfers can’t do it. but it is a fact that with MANY golfers who swing over the top, outside in and slice the ball, no matter what they will never master a swing path and release change to be able to turn that slice into a straight ball.

      It is for those golfers that face angle fitting stands as one of THE most important game improvement elements that can be used to enjoy the game more. And according to Golf Digest, over 70% of all golfers do slice the ball to some degree – so that’s a whole lot of golfers who could enjoy the game more if they did draw upon face angle fitting as part of their fitting improvement work.

  41. paul

    Jan 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    He writes, I read.

  42. P

    Jan 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Problem is, hardly any fitter has MOI machines. And it takes FOR EVER to do MOI fit.

  43. Ian

    Jan 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Tom, after getting the weight in the six iron correct how do you determine the proper weight for the rest of the irons. I know there are MOI measuring machines but if you don’t have one what would you suggest the swing weight progression should be?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      One can come VERY close to an MOI match by making the irons to be in 3/8″ increments for length AND then making the swingweights to progress upward in 0.5 swingweight point increments down through the set. So let’s say the ideal 6 iron you find is 37 1/2″ and D1. Starting with the #7, the lengths get shorter in 3/8″ increments per iron and the swingweights go D1.5 for the #7, D2 for the #8, D2.5 for the #9, D3 for the PW. And on the other side of the #6, the #5 becomes 37 7/8″” longer and D0.5, the #4 becomes 38 1/4″ and D0. WE joke around and call this the “poor man’s MOI match” but it is a VERY close approximation of using the $500 MOI machine to do the match for the clubs in the set.

      • P

        Jan 10, 2014 at 3:26 am

        If that is true, then why do we even need the machine?

        • Tom Wishon

          Jan 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm

          Only if you get concerned about the clubs being perfectly matched for MOI within 1 to 2 g-cm2 or if you are ok with being close within say 10-15 g-cm2. for most golfers, the progressive swingweight approach will be close enough.

  44. John Muir

    Jan 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Great article. I like the driver/control driver/5 wood set makeup idea.

  45. Deck

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I recognize that photo!

    As usual another Fantastic article Tom.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Hey Deck!! Thanks! Staying warm up there? And like us, counting the minutes until spring?!! HA!

  46. Merty Huckle

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    good stuff.

  47. tom stickney

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Fantastic article….big fan of your work, sir!

  48. melrosegod

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    It’s refreshing to read intellegent thoughts based on precision experience rather than “smash-boom” hype. Thanks Tom!

  49. Jeffrey Trigger

    Jan 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I play an R1 Black with a Kiyoshi white shaft, I had it cut down. I actually hit it further than my longer shafted driver. I play an RBZ Stage 2 Tour HL 3 wood that is a quarter inch shorter than standard. I will never again play a 15 degree 3 wood. Absolute monster. I have a 4 hybrid and 4 through PW. All of those are two degrees upright. I like slim wedge grips on all my clubs. Although finding 580 core grips can sometimes be very hard.

  50. Andrew

    Jan 8, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Very insightful as ever Tom. Gone to a 44″ driver earlier this year after reading some of your other articles and the consistency difference is massive…still thinking of going shorter as well along with shortening the 3 wood/3 hybrid to more ‘old school’ lengths.

    Was fitted and Went to four wedges last year and have never looked back. Got 46/06, 50/08, 54/11, 58/6 to make sure distance gaps are covered. Santa brought me some higher bounce options to help with the softer winter conditions in the UK and they’re working well also and should give me options through the summer I guess

    People really need to look at this especially given some of ‘std’ (very strong) lofts manufacturers are using.

  51. tiger168

    Jan 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Back to the basics, awesome article, this will be an instant classic.

  52. Pingback: Tom Wishon: 7 club fitting keys to improve shot consistency | Min kärlek till golfen...

  53. Dwaine Ingarfield

    Jan 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Great article. I am a big believer in using a shorter than new standard driver.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jan 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      From 1905 to 1985, “standard” length for a men’s driver was 43″. And believe me EVERY company followed that as their standard driver length. having worked in the golf equipment industry since 1980 and doing head design work since 1986 it has always been interesting to be to wonder just why did that “standard” grow some 3″ in the years from 1985 to present day. Golfers didn’t get taller or grow shorter arms over the past 28 yrs. I’ve always wanted to ask the golf companies for an answer to that question.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 PGA Championship betting preview: Rising star ready to join the immortals at Valhalla



The second major of the 2024 season is upon us as the world’s best players will tee it up this week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky to compete for the Wanamaker Trophy.

The last time we saw Valhalla host a major championship, Rory McIlroy fended off Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler and the creeping darkness that was descending upon the golf course. The Northern Irishman had the golf world in the palm of his hand, joining only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as players who’d won four major championships by the time they were 25 years old. 

Valhalla is named after the great hall described in Norse mythology where the souls of Vikings feasted and celebrated with the Gods. The course is a Jack Nicklaus-design that has ranked among Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Courses” for three decades. 

Valhalla Golf Club is a par-71 measuring 7,542 yards with Zoysia fairways and Bentgrass greens. The course has rolling hills and dangerous streams scattered throughout and the signature 13th hole is picturesque with limestone and unique bunkering protecting the green. The 2024 PGA Championship will mark the fourth time Valhalla has hosted the event. 

The field this week will consist of 156 players, including 16 PGA Champions and 33 Major Champions. 

Past Winners of the PGA Championship

  • 2023: Brooks Koepka (-9) Oak Hill
  • 2022: Justin Thomas (-5) Southern Hills
  • 2021: Phil Mickelson (-6) Kiawah Island
  • 2020: Collin Morikawa (-13) TPC Harding Park
  • 2019: Brooks Koepka (-8) Bethpage Black
  • 2018: Brooks Koepka (-16) Bellerive
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8) Quail Hollow
  • 2016: Jimmy Walker (-14) Baltusrol
  • 2015: Jason Day (-20) Whistling Straits
  • 2014: Rory McIlroy (-16) Valhalla

In this article and going forward, I’ll be using the Rabbit Hole by Betsperts Golf data engine to develop my custom model. If you want to build your own model or check out all of the detailed stats, you can sign up using promo code: MATTVIN for 25% off any subscription package (yearly is best value).

Key Stats For Valhalla

Let’s take a look at five key metrics for Oak Hill to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their past 24 rounds.

1. Strokes Gained: Approach

Valhalla will play as a true all-around test of golf for the world’s best. Of course, it will take strong approach play to win a major championship.

Strokes Gained: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Shane Lowry (+1.25)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+1.09)
  3. Jordan Smith (+1.05)
  4. Tom Hoge (+.96)
  5. Corey Conners (+.94)

2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Valhalla will play long and the rough will be penal. Players who are incredibly short off the tee and/or have a hard time hitting fairways will be all but eliminated from contention this week at the PGA Championship. 

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Over Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+1.47)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+1.11)
  3. Keith Mitchell (+.90)
  4. Alejandro Tosti (+.89)
  5. Ludvig Aberg (+.82)

Strokes Gained: Total on Nickalus Designs

Valhalla is a classic Nicklaus Design. Players who play well at Nicklaus designs should have an advantage coming into this major championship. 

Strokes Gained: Total on Nicklaus Designs over past 36 rounds:

  1. Jon Rahm (+2.56)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+2.48)
  3. Patrick Cantlay (+2.35)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+1.79)
  5. Shane Lowry (+1.57)

Strokes Gained: Tee to Green on Very Long Courses

Valhalla is going to play extremely long this week. Players who have had success playing very long golf courses should be better equipped to handle the conditions of this major championship.

Strokes Gained: Total on Very Long Courses Over Past 24 Rounds: 

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+2.44)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+2.24)
  3. Will Zalatoris (+1.78)
  4. Viktor Hovland (+1.69)
  5. Xander Schauffele (+1.60)

Strokes Gained: Total in Major Championships

One factor that tends to play a large role in deciding major championships is which players have played well in previous majors leading up to the event. 

Strokes Gained: Total in Major Championships over past 20 rounds:

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+3.14)
  2. Will Zalatoris (+2.64)
  3. Rory McIlroy (+2.49)
  4. Xander Schauffele (+2.48)
  5. Tommy Fleetwood (2.09)

Strokes Gained: Putting on Bentgrass Greens

Valhalla features pure Bentgrass putting surfaces. Players who are comfortable putting on this surface will have an advantage on the greens. 

Strokes Gained: Putting on Bentgrass Greens over Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Ludvig Aberg (+1.12)
  2. Denny McCarthy (+1.08)
  3. Matt Fitzpatrick (+0.99)
  4. Justin Rose (+0.93)
  5. J.T. Poston (0.87)

Strokes Gained: Total on Zoysia Fairways

Valhalla features Zoysia fairways. Players who are comfortable playing on this surface will have an advantage on the field.

Strokes Gained: Total on Zoysia Fairways over past 36 rounds: 

  1. Justin Thomas (+1.53)
  2. Will Zalatoris (+1.47)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+1.40)
  4. Brooks Koepka (+1.35)
  5. Rory McIlroy (+1.23)

2024 PGA Championship Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (25%), SG: Off the Tee (22%), SG: T2G on Very Long Courses (12%), SG: Putting on Bentgrass (+12%), SG: Total on Nicklaus Designs (12%). SG: Total on Zoysia Fairways (8%), and SG: Total in Major Championships (8%). 

  1. Brooks Koepka
  2. Xander Schauffele
  3. Rory McIlroy
  4. Scottie Scheffler
  5. Bryson DeChambeau
  6. Shane Lowry
  7. Alex Noren
  8. Will Zalatoris
  9. Cameron Young
  10. Keith Mitchell
  11. Hideki Matsuyama
  12. Billy Horschel
  13. Patrick Cantlay
  14. Viktor Hovland
  15. Adam Schenk
  16. Chris Kirk
  17. Sahith Theegala
  18. Min Woo Lee
  19. Joaquin Niemann
  20. Justin Thomas

2024 PGA Championship Picks

Ludvig Aberg +1800 (BetMGM)

At The Masters, Ludvig Aberg announced to the golf world that he’s no longer an “up and coming” player. He’s one of the best players in the game of golf, regardless of experience.

Augusta National gave Aberg some necessary scar tissue and showed him what being in contention at a major championship felt like down the stretch. Unsurprisingly, he made a costly mistake, hitting it in the water left of the 11th hole, but showed his resilience by immediately bouncing back. He went on to birdie two of his next three holes and finished in solo second by three shots. With the type of demeanor that remains cool in pressure situations, I believe Ludvig has the right mental game to win a major at this point in his career.

Aberg has not finished outside of the top-25 in his past eight starts, which includes two runner-up finishes at both a “Signature Event” and a major championship. The 24-year-old is absolutely dominant with his driver, which will give him a major advantage this week. In the field he ranks, in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and has gained strokes in the category in each of his past ten starts. Aberg is already one of the best drivers of the golf ball on the planet.

In Norse mythology, Valhalla is the great hall where the souls of Vikings feasted and celebrated with the Gods. The Swedes, who are of Old Norse origin, were the last of the three Scandinavian Kingdoms to abandon the Old Norse Gods. A Swede played a major role in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, and I believe another, Ludvig Aberg, will be the one to conquer Valhalla in 2024. 

Bryson DeChambeau +2800 (BetMGM)

Bryson DeChambeau is one of the few players in the world that I believe has the game to go blow-for-blow with Scottie Scheffler. Although he isn’t as consistent as Scheffler, when he’s at his best, Bryson has the talent to beat him.

At The Masters, DeChambeau put forth a valiant effort at a golf course that simply does not suit his game. Valhalla, on the other hand, is a course that should be perfect for the 30-year-old. His ability to overpower a golf course with his driver will be a serious weapon this week.

Bryson has had some success at Jack Nicklaus designs throughout his career as he won the Memorial at Muirfield Village back in 2018. He’s also had incredible results on Bentgrass greens for the entirety of his professional career. Of his 10 wins, nine of them have come on Bentgrass greens, with the only exception being the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. He also has second place finishes at Medinah and TPC Summerlin, which feature Bentgrass greens.

Love him or hate him, it’s impossible to argue that Bryson isn’t one of the most exciting and important players in the game of golf. He’s also one of the best players in the world. A second major is coming soon for DeChambeau, and I believe he should be amongst the favorites to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy this week.

Patrick Cantlay +4000 (FanDuel)

There’s no way of getting around it: Patrick Cantlay has been dissapointing in major championships throughout his professional career. He’s been one of the top players on Tour for a handful of years and has yet to truly contend at a major championship, with the arguable exception of the 2019 Masters.

Despite not winning majors, Cantlay has won some big events. The 32-year-old has won two BMW Championships, two Memorial Tournaments as well as a Tour Championship. His victories at Memorial indicate how much Cantlay loves Nicklaus designs, where he ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Total over his past 36 rounds behind only Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm.

Cantlay also loves Bentgrass greens. Six of Cantlay’s seven individual wins on the PGA Tour have come on Bentgrass greens and he also was one of the best putters at the 2023 Ryder cup at Marco Simone (also Bentgrass). At Caves Valley (2021 BMW Championship), he gained over 12 strokes putting to outduel another Bentgrass specialist, Bryson DeChambeau.

Cantlay finished 22nd in The Masters, which was a solid result considering how many elite players struggled that week. He also has two top-ten finishes in his past five PGA Championships. He’s undeniably one of the best players in the field, therefore, it comes down to believing Cantlay has the mental fortitude to win a major, which I do.

Joaquin Niemann +4000 (BetMGM)

I believe Joaquin Niemann is one of the best players in the world. He has three worldwide wins since December and has continued to improve over the course of his impressive career thus far. Still only 25, the Chilean has all the tools to be a serious contender in major championships for years to come.

Niemann has been the best player on LIV this season. Plenty will argue with the format or source of the money on LIV, but no one can argue that beating players such as Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Cameron Smith is an unremarkable achievement. Niemann is an elite driver of the golf ball who hits it farther than just about anyone in the field not named Bryson DeChambeau or (arguably) Rory McIlroy.

Niemann is another player who has been fantastic throughout his career on Bentgrass greens. Prior to leaving the PGA Tour, Bentgrass was the only green surface in which Joaco was a positive putter. It’s clearly a surface that he is very comfortable putting on and should fare around and on the greens this week.

Niemann is a perfect fit for Valhalla. His low and penetrating ball flight will get him plenty of runout this week on the fairways and he should have shorter shots into the green complexes than his competitors. To this point in his career, the former top ranked amateur in the world (2018) has been underwhelming in major championships, but I don’t believe that will last much longer. Joaquin Niemann is a major championship caliber player and has a real chance to contend this week at Valhalla.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: What really makes a wedge work? Part 2



In my last post, I explained the basic performance dynamics of “smash factor” and “gear effect” as they apply to your wedges and your wedge play success. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

At the end of that post, I promised “part 2” of this discussion of what makes a wedge work the way it does. So, let’s dive into the other two components of any wedge – the shaft and the grip.

It’s long been said that the shaft is “the engine of the golf club.” The shaft (and grip) are your only connection to all the technologies that are packed into the head of any golf club, whether it be a driver, fairway, hybrid, iron, wedge or even putter.

And you cannot ignore those two components of your wedges if your goal is optimizing your performance.

I’ve long been an advocate of what I call a “seamless transition” from your irons into your wedges, so that the feel and performance do not disconnect when you choose a gap wedge, for example, instead of your iron-set-matching “P-club.” In today’s golf equipment marketplace, more and more golfers are making the investment of time and money to experience an iron fitting, going through trial and error and launch monitor measuring to get just the right shaft in their irons.

But then so many of those same golfers just go into a store and choose wedges off the retail display, with no similar science involved at all. And that’s why I see so many golfers with a huge disconnect between their custom-fitted irons, often with lighter and/or softer graphite or light steel shafts . . . and their off-the-rack wedges with the stock stiff steel ‘wedge flex’ shaft common to those stock offerings.

If your wedge shafts are significantly heavier and stiffer than the shafts in your irons, it is physically impossible for you to make the same swing. Period.

To quickly improve your wedge play, one of the first things you can do is have your wedges re-shafted with the same or similar shaft that is in your irons.

There’s another side of that shaft weight equation; if you don’t have the forearm and hand strength of a PGA Tour professional, you simply cannot “handle” the same weight shaft that those guys play to master the myriad of ‘touch shots’ around the greens.

Now, let’s move on to the third and other key component of your wedges – the grips. If those are not similar in shape and feel to the grips on your irons, you have another disconnect. Have your grips checked by a qualified golf club professionals to make sure you are in sync there.

The one caveat to that advice is that I am a proponent of a reduced taper in your wedge grips – putting two to four more layers of tape under the lower hand, or selecting one of the many reduced taper grips on the market. That accomplishes two goals for your scoring.

First, it helps reduce overactive hands in your full and near-full wedge swings. Quiet hands are key to good wedge shots.

And secondly, it provides a more consistent feel of the wedge in your hands as you grip down for those shorter and more delicate shots around the greens. And you should always grip down as you get into those touch shots. I call it “getting closer to your work.”

So, if you will spend as much time selecting the shafts and grips for your wedges as you do choosing the brand, model, and loft of them, your scoring range performance will get better.

More from the Wedge Guy

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 Wells Fargo Championship betting preview: Tommy Fleetwood ready to finally land maiden PGA Tour title



The PGA Tour season ramps back up this week for another “signature event,” as golf fans look forward to the year’s second major championship next week.

After two weaker-field events in the Zurich Classic and the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, most of the best players in the world will head to historic Quail Hollow for one of the best non-major tournaments of the year. 

Last season, Wyndham Clark won the event by four shots.

Quail Hollow is a par-71 measuring 7,521 yards that features Bermudagrass greens. The tree-lined, parkland style course can play quite difficult and features one of the most difficult three-hole stretches in golf known as “The Green Mile,” which makes up holes 16-18: two mammoth par 4s and a 221-yard par 3. All three holes have an average score over par, and water is in play in each of the last five holes on the course.

The field is excellent this week with 68 golfers teeing it up without a cut. All of the golfers who’ve qualified are set to tee it up, with the exception of Scottie Scheffler, who is expecting the birth of his first child. 

Past Winners at Quail Hollow

  • 2023: Wyndham Clark (-19)
  • 2022: Max Homa (-8)
  • 2021: Rory McIlroy (-10)
  • 2019: Max Homa (-15)
  • 2018: Jason Day (-12)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8) (PGA Championship)
  • 2016: James Hahn (-9)
  • 2015: Rory McIlroy (-21)

Key Stats For Quail Hollow

Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes gained: Approach will be extremely important this week as second shots at Quail Hollow can be very difficult. 

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Akshay Bhatia (+1.16)
  2. Tom Hoge (+1.12)
  3. Corey Conners (+1.01)
  4. Shane Lowry (+0.93)
  5. Austin Eckroat (+0.82)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Quail Hollow is a long course on which it is important to play from the fairway. Both distance and accuracy are important, as shorter tee shots will result in approach shots from 200 or more yards. With most of the holes heavily tree lined, errant drives will create some real trouble for the players.

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Ludvig Aberg (+0.73)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+0.69)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+0.62)
  4. Viktor Hovland (+0.58)
  5. Chris Kirk (+0.52)

Proximity: 175-200

The 175-200 range is key at Quail Hollow. Players who can hit their long irons well will rise to the top of the leaderboard. 

Proximity: 175-200+ over past 24 rounds:

  1. Cameron Young (28’2″)
  2. Akshay Bhatia (29’6″)
  3. Ludvig Aberg (+30’6″)
  4. Sam Burns (+30’6″)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+30’9″)

SG: Total on Tom Fazio Designs

Players who thrive on Tom Fazio designs get a bump for me at Quail Hollow this week. 

SG: Total on Tom Fazio Designs over past 36 rounds:

  1. Patrick Cantlay (+2.10)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+1.95)
  3. Tommy Fleetwood (+1.68)
  4. Austin Eckroat (+1.60)
  5. Will Zalatoris (+1.57)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)

Strokes Gained: Putting has historically graded out as the most important statistic at Quail Hollow. While it isn’t always predictable, I do want to have it in the model to bump up golfers who prefer to putt on Bermudagrass.

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) Over Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Taylor Moore (+0.82)
  2. Nick Dunlap (+.76)
  3. Wyndham Clark (+.69)
  4. Emiliano Grillo (+.64)
  5. Cam Davis (+.61)

Course History

This stat will incorporate players that have played well in the past at Quail Hollow. 

Course History over past 36 rounds (per round):

  1. Rory McIlroy (+2.50)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1.96)
  3. Jason Day (+1.92)
  4. Rickie Fowler (+1.83)
  5. Viktor Hovland (+1.78)

Wells Fargo Championship Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (27%), SG: Off the Tee (23%), SG: Total on Fazio designs (12%), Proximity: 175-200 (12%), SG: Putting Bermuda grass (12%), and Course History (14%).

  1. Wyndham Clark
  2. Rory McIlroy
  3. Xander Schauffele
  4. Shane Lowry
  5. Hideki Matsuyama
  6. Viktor Hovland 
  7. Cameron Young
  8. Austin Eckroat 
  9. Byeong Hun An
  10. Justin Thomas

2024 Wells Fargo Championship Picks

Tommy Fleetwood +2500 (DraftKings)

I know many out there have Tommy fatigue when it comes to betting, which is completely understandable given his lack of ability to win on the PGA Tour thus far in his career. However, history has shown us that players with Fleetwood’s talent eventually break though, and I believe for Tommy, it’s just a matter of time.

Fleetwood has been excellent on Tom Fazio designs. Over his past 36 rounds, he ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on Fazio tracks. He’s also been incredibly reliable off the tee this season. He’s gained strokes in the category in eight of his past nine starts, including at The Masters, the PLAYERS and the three “signature events” of the season. Tommy is a golfer built for tougher courses and can grind it out in difficult conditions.

Last year, Fleetwood was the first-round leader at this event, firing a Thursday 65. He finished the event in a tie for 5th place.

For those worried about Fleetwood’s disappointing start his last time out at Harbour Town, he’s bounced back nicely after plenty of poor outings this season. His T7 at the Valero Texas Open was after a MC and T35 in his prior two starts and his win at the Dubai Invitational came after a T47 at the Sentry.

I expect Tommy to bounce back this week and contend at Quail Hollow.

Justin Thomas +3000 (DraftKings)

It’s been a rough couple of years for Justin Thomas, but I don’t believe things are quite as bad as they seem for JT. He got caught in the bad side of the draw at Augusta for last month’s Masters and has gained strokes on approach in seven of his nine starts in 2024. 

Thomas may have found something in his most recent start at the RBC Heritage. He finished T5 at a course that he isn’t the best fit for on paper. He also finally got the putter working and ranked 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week.

The two-time PGA champion captured the first of his two major championships at Quail Hollow back in 2017, and some good vibes from the course may be enough to get JT out of his slump.

Thomas hasn’t won an event in just about two years. However, I still believe that will change soon as he’s been one of the most prolific winners throughout his PGA Tour career. Since 2015, he has 15 PGA Tour wins.

Course history is pretty sticky at Quail Hollow, with players who like the course playing well there on a regular basis. In addition to JT’s PGA Championship win in 2017, he went 4-1 at the 2022 Presidents Cup and finished T14 at the event last year despite being in poor form. Thomas can return as one of the top players on the PGA Tour with a win at a “signature event” this week. 

Cameron Young +3500 (DraftKings)

For many golf bettors, it’s been frustrating backing Cam Young this season. His talent is undeniable, and one of the best and most consistent performers on the PGA Tour. He just hasn’t broken through with a victory yet. Quail Hollow has been a great place for elite players to get their first victory. Rory McIlroy, Anthony Kim, Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark all notched their first PGA Tour win at Quail.

Throughout Cam Young’s career, he has thrived at tougher courses with strong fields. This season, he finished T16 at Riviera and T9 at Augusta National, demonstrating his preference of a tough test. His ability to hit the ball long and straight off the tee make him an ideal fit for Quail Hollow, despite playing pretty poorly his first time out in 2023 (T59). Young should be comfortable playing in the region as he played his college golf at Wake Forest, which is about an hour’s drive from Quail Hollow.

The 26-year-old has played well at Tom Fazio designs in the past and ranks 8th in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on those courses in his last 36 rounds. Perhaps most importantly, this season, Young is the best player on the PGA Tour in terms of proximity from 175-200 in the fairway, which is where a plurality and many crucial shots will come from this week.

Young is an elite talent and Quail Hollow has been kind to players of his ilk who’ve yet to win on Tour.

Byeong Hun An +5000 (FanDuel)

Byeong Hun An missed some opportunities last weekend at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson. He finished T4 and played some outstanding golf, but a couple of missed short putts prevented him from getting to the winning score of -23. Despite not getting the win, it’s hard to view An’s performance as anything other than an overwhelming success. It was An’s fourth top-ten finish of the season.

Last week, An gained 6.5 strokes ball striking, which was 7th in the field. He also ranked 12th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 13th for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. The South Korean has been hitting the ball so well from tee to green all season long and he now heads to a golf course that should reward his precision.

An’s driver and long irons are absolute weapons. At Quail Hollow, players will see plenty of approach shots from the 175-200 range as well as some from 200+. In his past 24 rounds, Ben ranks 3rd in the field in proximity from 175-200 and 12th in proximity from 200+. Playing in an event that will not end up being a “birdie” fest should help An, who can separate from the field with his strong tee to green play. The putter may not always cooperate but getting to -15 is much easier than getting to -23 for elite ball strikers who tend to struggle on the greens.

Winning a “signature event” feels like a tall task for An this week with so many elite players in the field. However, he’s finished T16 at the Genesis Invitational, T16 at The Masters and T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The 32-year-old’s game has improved drastically this season and I believe he’s ready to get the biggest win of his career.

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