The response from the offer Ask Tom Wishon offer has been overwhelming.  I have to admit, if I were given the opportunity to ask one of the best known club fitters of our time a question, I’d jump on it too!  But because of the sheer volume of questions, we decided to break the Q&A into segments, containing 10 questions and answers each.

Part I of our Club Fitting Q&A Series provided by Tom Wishon, and brought to you by Golf Gear Select, is a good one.  It’s not difficult to see the vast knowledge Tom possesses on the topic of golf club fitting when you look at his detailed answers.  They are clearly coming from a man that knows every aspect of professional club fitting.  He understands that, what works for one person may not, and in fact, probably will not work for another.  Hopefully by reading the questions, you will see yourself in one of them and in turn help you as well.  Our goal is to help out golfers get into the best fitted equipment to help them realize their true potential.

So, without further ado, here is the first 10 questions from our readers that participated in of our Ask Tom Wishon segment.  Keep in mind, I will provide a a summarized PDF version for you to download upon completion December 6th, consisting of a nice concise, categorized version, so stay tuned for that!

Question #1:

I play a Taylor Made supertri driver with a standard 65g TP shaft. Unfortunately i appear to get a very high launch and a less penetrating ball flight. I’m a 5 handicapper, and i’m told i need a shaft with a high kick point, would you agree with this, if so, what shaft would you recommend?

– Adrian

Answer #1:

Adrian

A driver ball flight that is higher than you desire is most typically reduced first by using a lower loft, second by using a shaft that is designed either to be stiffer overall, OR, designed with what we call a more tip stiff bend profile. A lower loft definitely reduces the height of the shot for all golfers. A more tip stiff shaft design only reduces the height of the shot for golfers with a later to very late release of the wrist cock angle coming into impact. Since you are a 5 hdcp, more than likely you do have a later to very late release, so a stiffer tip shaft could lower ball flight a little for you. Of the two, loft very definitely has more of a visible effect on shot trajectory than does a more tip stiff shaft. The stock shafts offered by the big golf companies in their standard off the rack clubs are typically not all that tip stiff in their design because these stock shafts are made by the big companies to try to satisfy as large of a segment of the golf population as possible. Best advice for you would be to find a really good, experienced custom Clubmaker with a launch monitor in your area with whom you can work to be fit with the best combination of loft and shaft to end up resulting in your best launch angle, spin rate and shot shape.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #2:

1. Is MOI fitting more important than static swing weight fitting?

2. How do I determine what MOI is best for me for irons, woods, driver, hybrids, putter?

– James

Answer #2:

James:

Having done serious research in the comparison of MOI matching of clubs to swingweight matching since the late 1990s, and having developed the equipment and techniques for MOI matching of clubs in 2003, I can tell you from communicating with many custom clubmakers who have and do MOI match golfers for their clubs that we do feel MOI matching can bring about a measurable improvement in on center hit consistency and swing tempo/timing consistency than swingweight matching.

When you make the MOI of the assembled clubs the same, from a pure scientific standpoint you are making the clubs so that each one requires the same, exact effort to rotate around your body and release to impact. Swingweight matching does not do that. It comes somewhat close, but there is no question when it comes to making the clubs all require the same exact effort to swing and release, MOI matching does that while swingweight matching does not.

The best way to determine what MOI is best for which golfer first has to start with a little trial and error experimentation. Once the best length, loft, lie, shaft, and grip are determined for a golfer, a test club with those specifications is built. Test club wise it is best to do this with a 3w or driver for the woods, and a 5 or 6 iron for the irons. Then the golfer would add a little lead tape at a time to the head until they find the point that they feel most comfortable with the overall feel of the club, the club does not feel too light or too heavy, and they start to experience fewer incidence of off center hits. This should be done over 2 to 3 different ball striking sessions on the range so that you get a chance to overcome the fact that some days our swing and body are a little off.

Once that right amount of headweight feel is found for the test club, the MOI of that club is measured on the special MOI measurement equipment and all of the other clubs in the set are then built to have that same MOI.

From our experience with tons of MOI fitting experience, the best MOI for a golfer’s woods will typically be in the area of 50 g-cm2 higher (g-cm2 is the measurement expression for MOI) than the irons. This is because woods as a group are all so much longer in length than are the irons. If woods graduated in the same increment of length change from the last wood to the first iron, then the MOI of all the clubs would be the same for a golfer. But that’s not the way woods are vs irons so over thousands of MOI fittings since 2003, we have found that once you find the right MOI in the irons, making the woods to have their MOI be 50 g-cm2 higher is the right fit relationship.

Wedges are a separate animal and are typically not made to have the same MOI as the rest of the irons. This is chiefly because wedges are swung more often with a less than full swing than are the numbered irons. Most typically, the PW would be +20 g-cm2 higher than the numbered irons, the SW would be +40 g-cm2 higher than the numbered irons.

Putters are even more different because they rarely are swung with anything close to a full release and at a far lower clubhead speed. We find with putters that once the best length, loft, lie, and grip are found for the golfer, then experimenting with adding weight TO THE VERY GRIP END of the putter can very definitely make a huge improvement in on center hit and distance control consistency. There are special counterweights made for this purpose which can easily be dropped into the butt end of the putter shaft and locked with a hex head wrench. Most typically we have found that adding 60g or 80g in the grip end of the putter works best for the majority of golfers to really calm down their stroke.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #3:

Hi, I currently play a Mizuno MX700 (10.5*) with a stiff Harrison Eclipse 55 shaft 45.5 inches. My SS is 100, quick transition and I play a high fade. Avg carry 255 yds. I like a lightweight shaft and I am thinking of going towards a stiffer shaft, perhaps a Miyazaki Kusala Blue in the 61 gram range. Any other suggestions? Thank you.

– TK

Answer #3:

TK:

Since your question involves specific shaft models, and since accurate shaft fitting really requires a close analysis of the golfer’s swing speed + transition, tempo, release and golf strength, I strongly would recommend that you find an experienced custom Clubmaker in your area with whom you may work to find the specific shaft for your swing.

Typically, a golfer with a stronger transition move at the ball and in your handicap range does better with driver lengths of 44 to 44.5 and with shafts that weigh in the area of 75-85g which are also designed to be a little more stiff in the butt and slightly stiffer in the tip than what your 100mph swing speed would otherwise indicate. However, because lower handicap golfers also typically gain a feel for what they perceive as a more desirable bending FEEL for the shaft, this is why it is always far better for you to find a good Clubmaker in your area to work with to really find that best combination of shaft flex, shaft bend profile, total weight, swingweight and length that works the very best for YOU and your swing characteristics and your swing feel preferences.

We maintain a list of competent, experienced custom clubmakers that you can reference at the following link – http://www.twgolftech.com/locator.php

~ Tom Wishon

Question #4:

how important is the transition in selecting a club shaft, e.g. two golfers with the same swing speed, but one has a very smooth transition, the other very quick.

– Barry

Answer #4:

BARRY:

Very good question because the difference in how forceful the golfer starts the downswing can be of high importance to finding the right overall stiffness in the shaft along with the right shaft weight and right headweight feel as well.

Typically if you have two golfers with the same clubhead speed, the one with a much more forceful transition move will do better with at least ½ flex stiffer shaft than what would be normal for that swing speed, with a 20g heavier shaft weight and in the area of 2 to 3 swingweight points higher in the headweight feel than the golfer with a pause at the top and a very smooth, gradual transition move.

Golfers with a strong transition who end up with too light of a total weight and/or too light of a swingweight tend to experience a higher degree of off center hits, more heel side hits, and even the tendency to make a slight outside in path become more outside in.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #5:

I recently purchased a set of Ping S56 irons (fitted by Ping rep.). They have stiff flex KBS Tour shafts. I hit them straighter and lower than my older i15 irons with AWT stiff shafts, but they don’t feel as solid or go as far. ny suggestions?

– Mike

Answer #5:

The most typical shot result from using shafts that are too stiff for the golfer’s swing speed and transition and tempo is exactly what you report – loss of distance and loss of a solid feel of impact when the ball is hit on center. Without question this sounds like a situation in which you should be using shafts which are less stiff in their overall flex and even less tip stiff in their bend profile design.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #6:

In my irons I like to feel the kick of the shaft but like the ball flighted low. Can I get both out one shaft?

– Richard

Answer #6:

RICHARD:

This is a little difficult to achieve because typically a shaft that is flexible enough to offer more of a feeling of the shaft kicking through impact will also generate a little higher ball flight. But there are some ways to “trick” this to a certain extent. If you found a shaft model that was designed to be much more of a tip stiff shaft, you could try one flex lower in that model than what your swing speed would ordinarily indicate was a proper fit. The hope would be that the softer butt stiffness of the one flex less version of the shaft could offer the kick feel you want, while the tip stiff part of the design could possibly help keep the ball on a little lower shot shape.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #7:

I am 50yrs old and play of 5 handicap. I have always been a good iron player and still hit all irons very well. I play Mizuno MP 63 with KBS tour shafts. My problem is my driver. I play Mizuno MP 600 with Fubuki X flex. My loft is 10.5 deg. Set to nutral. I draw the ball and often hit trouble on the left. I have played 9.5 degree Wishon Driver with Accra S4 dymatch shaft but with this club had a very low ballflight and hit a lot of low cat fade shots. My swingspeed is 105 tot 110 with even tempo and late release. I therefore lose a lot of shots with the driver. I need a driver with square face and shaft that will give me controll and a higher ball flight. I like the Grafalloy shafts. The driver I have had the best results with was Titleist with Grafalloy prolight S flex. It was more stiff tiped because of the bore through. What would work best. Lower loft driver with Garafalloy Axis Blue or Higher lofted driver with Grafalloy Axis Red?

– Jakes

Answer #7:

JAKES:

There are several points to discuss in your question to be able to get to the best final solution, so please bear with me as I guide you through them.

First of all, you need to determine what the chief reason is you can hit trouble on the left with your MP600 + Fubuki X driver. If the left misses are from more of a PULLED SHOT than a hooked shot, it could be that either a higher swingweight or a heavier version of the same flex/bend profile of the Fubuki could help reduce this tendency. If the left misses are from more of a HOOKED CURVING SHOT and you know your path seems to be ok, then the logical solution would be to have the driver head with a little more open face angle/less closed compared to what the face angle is now.

On the other hand, if you hit the MP600 + Fubuki X reasonably straight most of the time, but only occasionally hit the left with a HOOK, then this too could be an indication that if you increased the swingweight on this club by at least +2 over what it is now, that might help reduce the incidence of the hooked left shot.

On the Wishon 9.5 driver with Accra S4 DyMatch shaft, from what you say about the VERY low ball flight with low fades, this says that both the loft is a little too low for you AND the shaft is a little too stiff. It is also possible that the face angle on the driver may need to be a little less open or more closed than what it is, but first and foremost it sounds if you had a 10.5 to 11 and a little less stiff shaft, this would bring about a definite increase in trajectory and probably reduce the fades as well.

One of the biggest problems that golfers have in making equipment changes is that they change too many things on the clubs all at the same time so that they cannot pinpoint what one thing ends up being the biggest reason for the shot differences they experience with the new club. For example, if you found a driver head with the SAME LOFT, SAME FACE ANGLE as the Titleist, and then used a Pro Lite of one more flex stiffer than what you had in the Titleist to counter the difference between the through bore of the Titleist and the blind bore of the other driver model, you would be keeping a lot more things constant and stable to get where you want to be.

Since you seem to be very perceptive in your shot analysis, and since you seem to be able to detect shot differences pretty well, you really should find a very experienced custom Clubmaker in your area with whom you can work to experiment with shaft and head differences ONE AT A TIME so that by process of elimination you can end up with the right driver for YOUR swing and YOUR preferences. To just keep trying this shaft or that head is too much of a guessing game.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #8:

I am a scratch player on a 130 slope course of 6800 yards. The fairways are soft therefore they do not produce much roll after landing. I have a low ball flight with 3200 rpm spin. I am playing a Cleveland hi bore 10 degree driver with stock stiff gold shaft 65g (Fijikura) I average 265 off the tee and usually straight. I would like to get more height on my drives therefore more distance due to minimal roll after landing. Basically I am looking for higher loft lower spin. Any suggestions.

– Jim

Answer #8:

JIM

First of all, it needs to be determined if the 3200rpm spin reading you have gotten is accurate or not. Few launch monitors are that accurate for spin recognition. From my experience with tons of launch monitors over many years, the only one that I have found to be very reliable for accurate spin recognition is TrackMan. Even the FlightScope unit is not nearly as consistently accurate for spin as is TrackMan. Launch monitors like Golf Achiever, Zelocity, Vector simply cannot measure spin that accurately.

Higher than desired spin on the driver typically comes more from the golfer having a little more downward angle of attack into the ball or, from the golfer allowing the clubhead to slightly pass in front of the hands so the dynamic loft on the face is higher at impact than the actual static loft on the face. Equipment wise, higher spin can only come from a higher loft on the face and slightly from a shaft that is too soft in flex or too tip flexible for the golfer’s swing. Since you say you have lower ball flight with 3200 rpm spin when using a 10* loft driver, assuming the loft really is 10*, it would seem that you must have a slightly downward angle of attack coming into the ball.

So equipment wise, the only ways to reduce spin will be first to use a lower loft, second to use a more tip stiff shaft than what you are using now. But both these changes are going to make the flight trajectory lower than what you are experiencing now. So if you want to increase trajectory in an effort to carry the ball farther, you can only do that with a higher loft and/or a more flexible shaft – and both of those are going to result in more spin than you have now.

I would recommend you find someone with a TrackMan launch monitor and have your launch angle, spin rate and your angle of attack into the ball measured. This way you will know for sure what the cause of the lower flight with higher spin is from. But with my experience, a low flight with higher spin with a 10* loft head means downward angle of attack. Which in turn means to change things to higher launch and lower spin would require a swing overhaul to get into more of a level to slightly upward angle of attack. And that for a scratch player may not be advisable because such a swing change could open the door for other swing errors until you really nailed down the angle of attack change. Bottom line then is that 3200 rpm for a 105mph driver speed is not terrible by any means. Since you obviously do not have a ballooning ball flight shape, for more carry distance you could experiment with a little higher loft on the driver and as long as the shot shape never jumps up into a ballooning flight you could get more carry for your soft fairways.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #9:

I have always had a short back-swing creating a lot of load on my driver shaft thus having trouble finding a suitable consistent (never stock) driver shaft. In the past I have always gone with the lower torque/stiffer tip type shaft set up in a stiff or x-stiff shaft. Should I be looking for suitable weighted shaft based on “flex” first rather than “lower torque”?

Or torque first?

(My ball flight is low)

– Doug

Answer #9:

DOUG:

Short backswings with strong acceleration do require more overall stiffness and/or more tip stiffness to prevent a sudden, forceful swing move from over bending the shaft at the start of the downswing. When choosing the right shaft, the weight of the shaft, the overall flex and the bend profile are the most important elements, with torque being much less important.

The reason is because you just do not see higher torque with any shafts that are designed in a stiffer overall flex with more tip stiffness. The shaft companies know that players who need to use stiffer overall flex shafts and more tip stiff shafts also need to keep the torque no higher than 3.5*. So it is very rare in the industry these days to even see a normal S, a strong S or any X flex with tip stiff bend profile to ever have a torque higher than 4*. In addition, as long as the overall flex and bend profile and weight of the shaft are correct for a golfer’s swing, the difference between a torque of say, 2* and 3.5* is very minimal on shot dispersion. The golfer might notice that the 2* torque shaft felt a little stiffer at impact than the 3.5* torque version of the same flex and bend profile shaft, but he would not experience anything in the way of off line shots from a 1.5* torque difference.

So do your best to get fit for the right shaft weight, shaft overall flex and bend profile for your swing moves and the torque is not going to be an issue.

~ Tom Wishon

Question #10:

Regarding club fitting, does the type of swing make a difference regarding club fitting, specifically regarding length? (Example, the rotational swing vs. the stack and tilt, the PPGS swing that Don Trahan teaches.) Thanks for your time.

-Gregory

Answer #10:

GREGORY:

Proper, accurate fitting is 100% all about matching those specific swing characteristics of the golfer with each one of the key fitting specifications of the clubs. But not in the sense of SWING TEACHING METHODS. The swing characteristics that have a huge effect on the club’s fitting specs are clubhead speed, angle of attack into the ball, force of the transition to start the downswing, downswing acceleration, point of the wrist cock release, position of the hands relative to the clubhead at impact, swing path, hands/arms delivery of the face to impact, and swing plane.

It is completely possible to follow this or that swing teaching method and have all the different variations in any of these above swing characteristics. In fitting, we do not care HOW the golfer achieves their swing characteristics I mentioned above, we simply care to know WHAT those swing characteristics are so we can best match the golfer’s swing characteristics to the best lengths, lofts, lies, face angles, shaft weight, shaft flex, shaft bend profile, total weight, swingweight, grip size and clubhead model.

~ Tom Wishon

Continue to Part II of the Club Fitting Q&A Series

Subscribe to Golf Gear Select RSS Feed to keep track of future posts from this Q&A Series!

Visit Tom Wishon’s website at: http://www.twgolftech.com/home.php.