This is the Part IV and the last, of the Ask Tom Wishon Club Fitting Q&A Series brought to you exclusively by Golf Gear Select. The last one will have 25 Q&A’s as opposed to the 10 we’ve been releasing. As always, Tom’s answers are well thought out and detailed.
I want to personally thank Tom for all the free advice he has given my readers. I also want to thank all the readers that participated in asking the questions, and there were some very good ones.
Don’t forget, I will have all the Q&A’s tabulated into an ebook that you can download very soon, of course, for free.
I note with interest some of the shaft fitting methods that you and others are using to choose a shaft for a particular golfer based on swing speed, tempo and release. With this in mind, would it be better for golfers to build their drivers by choosing the shaft first and then picking a head that gives them the optimal launch angle and spin when used with that shaft? In my experience people tend to do it in the opposite order, but maybe we’re missing something here?
I’d also like to know where torque fits into that equation, and whether it is possible to be fitted with one shaft for distance and another for accuracy – is there a trade off there?
First of all, keep in mind that the shaft ONLY contributes to the launch angle and spin of a shot for golfers who have a semi-late to very late unhinging of their wrist-cock angle coming into impact. For golfers with an early to midway release, launch angle becomes strictly the product of the golfer’s angle of attack into the ball + the loft on the head at the point of impact on the face + a slight contribution of where the center of gravity (CG) of the head is in relation to the CG of the ball at impact.
In the fitting process for a later release golfer who will get some launch angle and spin contribution from the shaft, this is where the fitting process really needs to incorporate a test club(s) session in the fitting AND with a good launch monitor to be reading what is happening to the ball speed, launch angle and spin rate for each test club combination. In that environment, it does not matter whether you choose shaft first, head second or vice versa because the launch monitor is going to tell you what changed with each change in the head to shaft test combinations.
Some clubfitters do use special head to shaft connector devices that allows them to interchange different heads with different shafts on an instant hit basis during the fitting session. Such shaft to head connectors really can be helpful for finding the best combination of loft and shaft for a golfer’s swing speed and angle of attack. It may take you a little research and a few phone calls, but if you take the time to find a clubfitter who can do such a test club session with a launch monitor, this really will nail things down to result in the best fit for head loft and shaft.
As to the torque, over the past ten years this really has become a non-issue in shaft fitting. The reason is because the shaft makers now take the approach to keep torque reasonably low on their shafts for higher swing speed golfers, and vice versa for their shafts for lower swing speed players. Torque only becomes a fitting issue if a golfer with a higher swing speed AND a more aggressive transition and tempo gets into a shaft with a torque higher than 4*. Since almost all stiffer flex shafts are made with 4* or lower torque, this means torque is pretty much a non-issue these days in fitting.
When a golfer wants a separate driver for distance and one for accuracy, the most typical difference in the clubs will be their length – with the distance driver being 2” to 3” longer in length than the accuracy driver. While it has been said that a stiffer shaft offers a little better accuracy, this really is not the way to go when trying to create separate drivers for distance and accuracy. For one, the more flexible shaft would not hit the ball more than a few yards to maybe 10 yds longer than the stiffer one. For the other, you want the shaft to be as perfectly fit as possible for YOUR clubhead speed, transition, tempo, and point of release. To have two markedly different shafts for flex could end up doing more harm to your consistency with very little to no effect on the distance.
~ Tom Wishon
Need a Shaft suggestion. I am 53 years old. More of a hitter of the ball versus a smooth swinger. Swing speed 98-103. Ball speed 148-152. I like a lighter shaft over heavier. Have carried an index of 7 but more like 13 today due to not playing as much. I miss hitting it far!
To do a credible job in shaft fitting, beyond the clubhead speed we need to SEE the golfer’s downswing transition move, their downswing acceleration, their point of wrist-cock release, and get an overall feel for how they use their strength in their swing motion. Based on what you offered, there are tons of shafts which would be in the category of rated for 100-110mph with a firmer tip section design. I say a shaft in a 100-110mph rating range because you say you are a hitter and that type of swing move always tends to bend the shaft more than one with a less aggressive move on the downswing.
BUT. . . if you want more distance as your final statement indicates, the shaft is not where that is going to come from. Distance increase can only come from, 1) going to be fit by a really good clubfitter to get all of the key fitting specs lined up perfectly for your swing, 2) experimenting with longer length to try to get more swing speed. However, as I have said in other answers, longer length only results in more clubhead speed for golfers with a later to very late release. If you have that, then fine, experiment with a longer length, but do accept the fact that if you do, you will see a little increase in off center hits and decrease in control of the club. But if you can live with that for the times you would get the stars all in alignment in the swing, then go for a longer length.
~ Tom Wishon
Tom, I play Mizuno irons that I have been fitted for, they are 2degrees flat and I hit them very well with a slight draw. All my clubs are regular length. I hit the driver well, but when I miss, it always a fade or push. Will buying a driver like the new Titlist 910 which allows both lie and loft adjustment help reduce the number of fades and pushes? Will a slightly heavier shaft from my current 65 Diamana to a 75 gram shaft help?
When a golfer has a relatively consistent push or fade with the driver, the main reasons for this are one or a combination of the following, 1) the face angle is not closed enough for your typical swing path and face angle delivery in your swing, 2) the total weight of the driver may be a little too heavy for your swing tempo and timing, 3) the swingweight may be a little too high for your tempo and timing, 4) both the total weight AND swingweight could be a little too high for your tempo and timing. Loft is not an issue in directional problems. Driver lie angle is ONLY a possible in this if the driver lie you now have is too FLAT for you and your swing. Since pretty much every company’s driver heads are made with a 60* lie, and since that is quite an upright lie for the majority of golfers, it is not likely the lie of your driver is a culprit in your push fade tendency.
There is a BIG myth associated with these adjustable hosel devices on drivers. You definitely can change the lie angle to be more flat or more upright. But the other direction of adjustment does NOT change the loft unless the golfer intentionally holds the face square to the ball in the address position instead of letting the driver head rest flat on its sole. If the golfer always sets up to the driver by letting the sole sit on the ground, this other adjustment direction then causes a face angle change and not a loft change.
~ Tom Wishon
Name of fitter in Cork area?
I am 79. my wrist is 33–34 inches above floor. what should be length of driver, and what shaft is appropriate, please? recommend a suitable driver?
I beg your pardon because my knowledge of Irish geography is not as good as it should be, but if you are not that far from Waterford, I would recommend you contact Jim at JB Custom Fit Golf in Waterford on 051-355 551 to inquire about working with him to meet your custom fitting needs.
Wrist to Floor measurement is only a starting point for length determination. From this, the final length is determined by evaluating the golfer’s golf athletic skill, swing path, downswing tempo and transition aggressiveness and point of wrist cock release on the downswing to come up with the best final length for the golfer. Based on your 33-34” wrist to floor measurement, that gives a STARTING POINT for driver length of 43”. If you have ALL of the following – a smooth tempo, if you do not have a very aggressive transition move to start the downswing, if you have a square to inside out swing path and if you have a midway to later release of your wrist cock angle on the downswing, then you could go longer than what the wrist to floor measurement indicates as the starting point up to as much as 45”.
If you have two of these characteristics, you could go with a 44” length. But if you have a fast tempo, if you have a more aggressive transition, if you have an outside in path and an earlier wrist cock release, then we would recommend you stay at 43” for the driver length.
~ Tom Wishon
i am 61 with a 15 handicap. i am 6’4″ and weigh 300lbs. my swing speed is about mid 80’s to low 90’s. driver distance is about 200 yards with moderate fade. what do you suggest i use for a driver/shaft to maximize distance. any help to get more distance would be appreciated plus any suggestions on fairway woods/irons.
For golfers with a 15 hdcp and a swing speed between 85-95mph, the most important driver fitting specifications for maximizing your distance will be the length, loft, shaft weight, and swingweight. Shaft flex certainly needs to be fit properly for your swing speed and your downswing characteristics, but it is not going to be nearly as important for maximizing your distance as will these other 4 fitting factors.
The one swing characteristic that you did not offer which adds to clubhead speed to allow us to judge your best loft is your angle of attack into the ball. With your current driver now, if your shot trajectory/height is average, then for your swing speed the best loft for maximum carry distance is going to be in the area of 12*. If however, you hit your current driver higher than normal, then of course your ideal loft has to be lower than 12. And likewise, if you hit your current driver lower than normal, your optimum loft will be 13-14*.
Gene, the very, very best thing I can advise for you to squeeze out every possible yard for your swing speed and how you swing at the ball is really to find a good, experienced clubfitter in your area with whom you can work. A good clubfitter can take all the proper measurements, observe the key swing elements you have that relate to distance fitting decisions, and come up with the best length, loft, shaft weight, swingweight, and the other fitting factors which would combine to maximize your clubhead speed and your angle of attack for the most possible distance. Again, to find a good Clubmaker in your area, check out this link – http://www.twgolftech.com/locator.php
~ Tom Wishon
I have a taylormade superfast driver and three wood. My three wood is great, driver I lose it right to often. Can a driver be matched to a three wood. Driver is 9.5 regular flex. Three wood same. Would more loft and smaller head help. I am 64years of with a smooth tempo.
I would suspect three of the reasons that you are struggling with the Superfast Driver is because it is 46.5” in length with a standard swingweight of D8 and with only a loft of 9.5*. You did not say what your swing speed was, but I can tell you that a 9.5* loft is more of a proper fit for a golfer with a swing speed in the area of 95 to 105mph. While you do have a smooth tempo, which is a pre-requisite for being able to consistently control a longer driver length, 46.5” is VERY long and I would suspect, too long for your swing speed and tempo. And then the D8 swingweight. . . well, even at 46.5” of length, that is a lot of headweight feel on that long of a length to swing consistently.
I would recommend you shorten the driver by 1 inch to start with. When you do that, the swingweight will automatically drop to around D2 because the clubmaking rule of thumb for length to swingweight when a club is shortened is 1” = 6 swingweight points. A smaller head really won’t have anything to do with shot consistency unless you would happen to be so pre-disposed to not liking a large head that it would sub-consciously make you swing harder or change your swing in some way to counteract that feeling.
~ Tom Wishon
How important is lie angle when picking a driver? All of my irons have been adjusted but the drivers have been stock (albiet with aftrmarket shafts). Also, is adjustability of lie angle on some of the newer drivers a significant advantage when choosing a driver.
Lie angle is typically least important on the driver because the severity of an incorrect lie to accuracy is related to the loft. The lower the loft, the less off line an incorrect lie shows up for a golfer, even given the fact that the driver hits the ball the longest distance. Even though you may see the toe of the driver tilted well up in the address position, this is not how the clubhead would actually be at impact because of what is called “shaft droop” that occurs during the swing.
When we unhinge our wrist cock angle on the downswing, this causes the clubhead to bend the shaft both a little forward AND a little downward at the same time. This happens because the shaft is attached to the clubhead at the very heel end of the head. With all the head’s weight sticking out there in front of the shaft, this causes the head to elicit both a forward and downward bending action on the shaft. The downward bending action on the shaft then brings the toe down more at impact, thus lessening whatever lie effect there may be on the shot.
With almost all drivers today being made with a 60* lie, this means for 98% of all golfers, if there is any possible misdirection coming from the lie being ill-fit to the golfer, the shot should fly a little left for a right handed golfer. But it is true that with the adjustable hosel drivers, as long as ALL of the other key fitting specifications are correct for the golfer, adjusting the lie to fit the golfer does at least eliminate the lie as being a possible cause of a misdirection shot. It’s just that rarely do we see the lie on its own be the main cause of an off line shot with the driver for the vast majority of golfers because of the reasons I stated above.
~ Tom Wishon
i presently play mizuno mp 57 irons with aldila tp100 graphite shafts regular i swing around 96/100 i have been told to look at lighter steel stiff shaft
i swing quite fast and hard
Typically to match the total weight of the clubs to the swing tempo, timing and rhythm of the golfer, the more aggressive the downswing move at the ball, the heavier the shaft should be. This is because the weight of the shaft controls the total weight of a golf club more than any other element in the club. If the total weight/shaft weight is too light for a golfer’s tempo and timing, the most typical symptom is that the golfer fights getting “too quick” with their tempo and they are always telling themselves to try to slow their tempo. But coupled with the total weight/shaft weight is also the swingweight of the club, or how much you feel or don’t feel the presence of the head’s weight during the swing. What can be tricky is to try to separate the two “weights” to determine which one might be causing a feeling that the weight of the club is either too light or too heavy for the golfer’s tempo and timing.
The Aldila graphite shaft you have in your irons weighs right around 100 grams. In terms of iron shafts, this is considered in fitting to be slightly more on the light side than heavy. Heavier weight iron shafts tend to run between 115g to 130g. Lighter weight steel shafts run anywhere from 90g to 115g. I would not think that if you swing fast and hard that you would want to try anything lighter than the 100g shafts you have now.
Depending on just HOW FAST AND HARD you swing at the ball, a 100g shaft might be a little on the light side. One experiment you can perform to determine this is to get some lead tape and over the course of 2-3 ball striking sessions on the range, add weight to the head to see how it feels – whether you sense that the increased headweight feel helps you control your tempo to be more consistent or not.
~ Tom Wishon
I am 6 feet 10 inches tall My fitter wants me to play irons that are 1 3/4 inches longer and plus 4 degrees upright. he wants to use project x 6.5 shafts. I was concerned they may be too stiff, but he says since they are that much longer they will play shorter. Does a shaft play softer because it is longer?
With the majority of steel shafts, the rule of thumb is that for each 2” longer the clubs are made, the shafts will play one flex softer in feel. So it is true that at + 1.75” over standard length, the shafts should soften up by close to a full flex level in feel. The main point here though is what is your swing speed and downswing transition and tempo with respect to what should be the starting point for flex for you so that when the +1.75” is added, the shafts would drop down to be a proper fit for you.
I can tell you that the normal swing speed range for a golfer to be considered to be properly fit into the Project X 6.5 shafts AT STANDARD LENGTH would be a 5 iron swing speed of right around 85mph – meaning with a normal loft 5-iron at standard length, the golfer would need to hit that club in the area of 185 yards. If you hit a normal 5 iron in the area of 175, then these 6.5’s at +1.75” would probably not be too stiff.
I recently purchased a Ping G10 10.5 stiff driver to replace my current G5, also 10.5 stiff.
My typical drive with the G5 is straight about 240 yards on the fly, but with a rather low trajectory. The G5 has a NVS 65S shaft.
Can you recommend a shaft for the G10 to replace the standard Ping shaft to give me a higher trajectory and more distance?
Without having your clubhead speed and without knowing your transition move, tempo and point of wrist-cock release in the downswing, it is very difficult to talk about specific shaft recommendations. Also, the only golfers who can actually experience a change in shot height from a change in shafts are those who have a later to very late unhinging of the wrist cock angle on the downswing. As a 15 hdcp, you may or may not have a later release to be able to experience a change in shot height from a shaft change.
Loft has a far more direct and certain effect on shot height than does the shaft. Here again, without a clubhead speed, it is difficult to know if the 10.5 loft is a proper fit for your swing speed or not. Typically when we hear that a golfer with a 10.5* loft has a low shot trajectory, two things come up as a reason. 1) if your swing speed with the driver is not higher than 85mph, this could be one reason for the low trajectory because a 10.5* loft is better matched to a golfer with a swing speed in the area of 90-100mph who also has a level angle of attack into the ball, 2) if you have a downward angle of attack with a 90-100mph swing speed, this also can be the cause of a lower than desired shot height.
Without knowing anymore about your swing speed and swing characteristics, my first recommendation would be to say that you should be using more loft, in the area of 11.5 to 12 to be able to see a definite increase in trajectory. But I also would strongly recommend you take the time to find a good, experienced clubfitter in your area with whom you can work to nail this down more accurately.
Hello, my driver 11° = 235 y ; # 3 wood = 205 y ; # 5 wood = 185 y ; # 7 wood = 165 y.
Irons : i.e.
8 = 120 y
7 = 130 y
6 = 140 y
5 = 150 y
As you can read my irons are short.
What could be wrong with it??
I am sorry but it is quite difficult to offer a very clear answer without knowing what your swing speed is with the driver and with your 5 or 6 iron and without also knowing what the actual lofts are on these irons you are using. If you walked into my shop, the first thing I would do is to measure your swing speeds and measure the lofts on your irons. From that I would know for sure what your actual iron shot distances should be.
Based on your 5 iron having a loft in the area of 26-27*, a distance of 150 yds should mean you would have a 5 iron swing speed of around 60-65mph. If you can go somewhere to have your 5 iron swing speed measured ACCURATELY , at least this information here should help you know a little more about whether your iron distances are short or not.
In the golf industry today, each company decides what the loft of their clubs will be. There is no set standard for loft that all the golf companies follow on their clubs. So there are 5 irons in the industry today with as little as 23* loft and there are 5 irons on clubs sold today which have a loft as high as 28*. Loft is the #1 factor that determines how far a shot is hit with the irons. So now you can understand a little more as to why it is important to know what the lofts are on your irons.
Swing speed is the other factor that controls how far a golfer hits any club of a specific loft. In looking at the distances you report for your woods, I will guess that these distances are for the full distance including the roll of the ball after landing. A 205yd #3 wood shot would tend to indicate a driver swing speed of around 80-85mph. Typically if we see a golfer with an 80-85mph driver clubhead speed, the matching 5-iron swing speed would be in the area of 65mph. So from all my guessing here in the face of not knowing your swing speed and loft measurements, it is possible that your iron distances are slightly low, but not a lot. And once again, that also could be because the lofts on your irons might be a little higher than normal too.
The very best way you can know for sure is for you to find a very good Clubfitter in your area and to have him analyze your swing speed and measure the lofts of your clubs. From that, you would be able to know a lot more to help you. To find a good Clubmaker you can head to this web link – http://www.twgolftech.com/locator.php
~ Tom Wishon
New ultralight shafts (Fujikura Blur) and driver heads are becoming available, promising faster speed at longer lengths. The length aspect is contrary to what’s in your books. What are your thoughts on the matter for use by older guys?
As I have mentioned in my books and in other answers here, longer lengths only result in a higher swing speed if the golfer has a later to very late unhinging of the wrist-cock angle on the downswing. If the golfer has an early to midway release of the wrist-cock angle on the downswing, by the time the clubhead gets to the ball the swing speed will be lower than what it was at that actual moment of release. This is why swing technique tries to teach golfers to hold that wrist cock angle until later in the downswing.
Much lighter weight shafts can result in a small increase in swing speed. This can happen even for golfers who have an earlier release because our same swing effort is now swinging a lighter total weight club. BUT. . . if the length is too long for the golfer’s swing ability, more times than not the length being too long counteracts the lighter total weight to end up with no real increase in swing speed at all.
The perfect candidate for a much lighter weight shaft with longer length resulting in more distance is a golfer who has a smooth, gradual transition move to start the downswing, a smooth tempo, an inside out to square swing path, AND a later release of the wrist cock angle. With all these characteristics, yes, the much lighter weight drivers even at 46” in length can result in more distance.
But if the golfer has a more aggressive tempo and transition, if the golfer has an outside in path, and especially if the golfer has an early to midway release, these very light and very long drivers are going to cause more miss hits and more inconsistency and more of a chance of lost distance than a driver with a little heavier shaft and shorter length.
Not all stiff shafts are the same. I have two drivers, one a 9.5 deg (Grafalloy Prolite 3.5) and the other is a 10.5 deg (Fujikura E160). The Fuji shaft feels better with less effort but doesn”t give me the distance of the Prolite. Would like to settle on one. Which is best for me?
In my company, we maintain a data base of now more than 2000 different shafts made over the past 5 years by more than 30 different companies. IN looking up the data on the stiffness measurements of these two S flex shafts, what you feel is borne out by the data. The ProLite 3.5 S flex is actually a full flex stiffer overall than the E160 S shaft in design. This very definitely explains the difference in FEEL.
As to the distance, you have one other X factor between the clubs that has to affect this, that being the 9.5 loft in the driver you hit farther vs the 10.5 loft in the one you hit shorter. Assuming these lofts are actually what they are, which is no guarantee because EVERY company has to deal with a +/-1* tolerance for the loft on their production heads, this explains some of the distance difference.
Logic would say to always use the driver you hit farther, as long as the directional control is good with that. But in between the lines of your question is the fact that it stands out that you do have a very definite FEEL requirement for the shaft. So logic would also say why not consider putting the E160 shaft into the 9.5* head so you have a chance to experience the best of both worlds in your dilemma?
There very well could be other differences between the two drivers that could also be contributing to the distance difference but this would require being able to measure all specs of the two drivers to be able to go through any differences, one by one to eliminate variables. The best way to do that would be to find a good Clubmaker who has all the proper club measurement equipment so you could know everything more clearly.
But off the top of my head I still would be interested to see you switch shafts in the heads and see what happens because just from what you said in your short question, that seems to be a logical thing to try.
~ Tom Wishon
I am 54 and retired. I was thinking about starting a small buisness by buying a Trackman launch monitor and helping golfers get fitted to correct clubs or building clubs. There are launch monitors at some golf stores but they seem suspect to me and are geared into getting the person into buying a new clubs always. What advice could you give me? Thanks Randy Farris
There is no question that the number one best and most accurate launch monitor in the business and ever made is TrackMan. Even the FlightScope trails in accuracy in several of its parameters compared to TM. The units which are all in the $3000-$5000 range, meaning units like Zelocity, Golf Achiever, Vector are not nearly as accurate as is TM.
And don’t get me started on the golf retail stores and their launch monitor use. From lack of knowledge in how to translate the data into meaningful fitting recommendations to lack of accuracy in the launch monitor to pressure from the store managers to make the sale as fast as possible, fitting in the large chain stores is ridiculous and a definite buyer beware situation. I’ve seen it first hand in my experience many times, unfortunately.
For sure, being able to know exactly how to translate what TrackMan reads into really accurate fitting recommendations is first and foremost. But a really close second for success in what you want to do is whether you are really outgoing, have a really engaging personality, and whether you are very comfortable “talking the talk” to the golfers you will see.
I’ve worked with custom clubmakers for now more than 30 yrs in my career. The ones who are the most successful are the ones who can combine BOTH a strong technical knowledge/experience with the courage and ability to really engage the golfers in a comfortable conversation which educates the golfers and makes them realize what the Clubmaker is telling them really is the truth about golf clubs. I can’t tell you how many clubmakers I have met and known who are SUPERB in their technical skills but struggle in their business because they just cannot “talk the talk” to the golfers they see.
~ Tom Wishon
i have a swing speed of 82 and play reg shafts,the other day i asked him for a shot with his stiff shafted driver and fealt that i hit it better,why
First of all, not all Stiff flex shafts are the same in their actual stiffness design. There is no standard in the golf industry for how stiff any of the letter flex designations on shafts are. Each golf company and shaft company is free to determine how stiff they want each of their different flexes to be in their shafts. As a result, there is an INCREDIBLE range within the shafts of each flex designation that exists in the industry, even sometimes within the shafts of the same flex from the same company!
My guess would be the S flex in your friend’s driver is not really stiffer than the R flex in your driver. But do realize that hitting one club better than another can be from far more fitting differences than just the shaft. To really know the full story of why you hit his driver well would require measuring all the key fitting specifications of yours and his driver, then comparing them one by one.
~ Tom Wishon
Always good to hear from you. I was fitted last season, how often do you recommend going back to your fitter and having a “tune up”?
Thanks much! Good question you ask too, because most golfers don’t have an idea about this. Only if the golfer has been able to make changes in their swing for their clubhead speeds, for their swing path, in their strength, or for when they unhinge the wrist cock release on the downswing should they then head in to be re-fit for their clubs.
If the original fitting was done accurately, and if the golfer has no changes in any of these key swing parameters, the clubs would be good for life.
Only other exception in the area of “tune-up” would be if the golfer plays forged carbon steel irons, has a stronger swing move at the ball, and hits shots off mats or generates pretty significant divots when they play. In such cases, the loft of forged carbon steel irons can change from such use and as such, a check of the lofts (and lies) should be done each year to readjust them back to where they need to be.
~ Tom Wishon
Reshafting a 09′ 9.5 taylor burner with stiff Pro Launch. speed about mid 90’s- need softer shaft, higher ball flight. Would a regular Epic shaft give me a good option-already own shaft.
Bear with me here as there are quite a few different ProLaunch models from Grafalloy. Pro Launch Axis S, Pro Launch Blue S, Pro Launch Platinum S are all very similar to each other in flex design and all quite similar in flex design to the Epic R. So similar that you really should not notice any difference in the actual bending feel among all these models. But the Pro Launch Red S is quite a lot stiffer overall compared to the other PL’s and to the Epic R flex. So check which ProLaunch you have for sure.
The one other big difference is that the Epic is around a 77 gram weight shaft while all the ProLaunch shafts are in the area between 60-65 grams. So a move to the Epic would increase the total weight and increase the swingweight/head feel of the driver.
~ Tom Wishon
I have another question for Tom. What do you do, when somebody who is about to start playing golf, asks to be fitted. It has happened to me, and I tell him not to buy clubs but to rent some, and to come back after at least 10 lessons with a good pro.
VERY GOOD QUESTION and thank you for asking this! Most people think it is a waste of time for any beginning golfer to be custom fit because they do not have any type of a consistent swing yet. Even though a beginner does not have any type of consistent swing, for the purpose of helping them to learn the game faster and to make sure the clubs do not get in the way to prevent them from gaining progress in their lessons, beginners should use clubs to learn with which are shorter in length, with more loft, with more flexible shafts, with the total weight and swingweight matched as well as possible to their strength and with the grips sized to the beginner’s hands.
Using standard clubs to learn with, especially standard woods, can actually cause beginners to have a more difficult time learning some of the key swing elements. Once the golfer gets to a point where they are getting >90% of their shots up in the air and they are seeing some consistency to their mistakes, then the fitting can be done for all the specifications to match how they swing.
~ Tom Wishon
I have a few True Temper Sensicore shafts. I don’t know what the numbers and letters on the butt end of the shaft indicate. I need to know what the raw flex is. They are 18270952-13 USNL IMM 43.00. Can you help me?
Those code numbers on the butt of the shaft are True Temper’s in-house production code designation for the Release Men’s flex shaft. The Release is made only in one men’s flex, which is more like a soft R to A flex. The 43 indicates the raw uncut length of the shaft is 43”.
~ Tom Wishon
My tee shot using driver have no run as my ball most of the time even back spin about six inches. I have tried many low spin shafts with high kick points and even use 9.5deg driver with adjustable face. I even tried low torque shaft at 3.0 to 4.5. All did not work. I have a swing speed of 100-105mph. My tee shot only do 200meters and i have rescue my game with my iron play. I play off a handicap of 10. I really need more row on my tee sho.ts as my flight mates tee shot get at least 20m row and my none.
Dear Unknown Golfer:
Based on your description, I have to assume that you also hit the ball on a higher than normal trajectory to end up seeing no roll at all on the shot. From all my years of experience, more times that not when I hear this type of shot description and the golfer has seen no change from stiffer shafts or lower lofts, what is happening is that the clubhead is passing ahead of the hands before impact.
When that happens, the loft on the head at impact is higher, which generates the higher flight with more spin and no roll upon landing. The only real way to check on this is to video tape your swing with the camera facing your chest. Run the video in slow motion and look for where the clubhead is in relation to the hands at impact.
If this is the case, there is no equipment change that can bring the ball down and generate roll because this is a total swing issue. If this is the case, you would need to take lessons and practice seriously so that you can train your release to allow the clubhead to stay a little behind the hands at the moment of impact. More times than not this swing error comes about from the golfer unhinging the wrist cock too early in the downswing so the clubhead keeps moving past the hands before the head reaches the ball.
We see this a lot in golfers when we see a very high shot trajectory from a driver with a relatively low loft.
~ Tom Wishon
How do you know what is the right weight golf shaft? They vary from 48 to 90gm. It would seem inpossible to just go by feel. You would think there would be a technical indicator.. thanks
Fitting the weight of the shaft has to be done through an evaluation of the golfer’s swing speed, their physical strength, how they use that strength in their swing, and how aggressive the golfer’s transition and tempo are. Then on top of that, the golfer has to be quizzed as to whether they have developed their own preference for the sense of the total weight of the clubs during the swing. Asking for the golfer’s own weight feel preference is important because sometimes you do encounter a golfer whose strength and swing force might indicate a lighter shaft, but they have over years of playing developed a preference for a little heavier total weight feel – and vice versa too.
Typically, the faster the swing speed, the stronger the golfer, the more forceful the transition move to start the downswing, and the faster and more aggressive their downswing tempo, the heavier the weight of the shaft needs to be to then be able to allow the golfer to develop their most consistent overall swing timing. And vice versa, the slower the swing speed, the more below average their strength, the more gradual and easy the transition move and smoother the tempo, the lighter the weight of the shaft should be.
Golfers who are totally on the “low end of these several points” are where you use the 45-50gram shafts. Golfers who are the direct opposite in all these points are where you point to the heaviest shafts. Then you have to use judgment to assess where each of these swing and golfer elements are to pick shafts that would be in between lightest and heaviest. However, of all these fitting elements used to judge the weight of the shaft, the ones that stacks up most important for shaft weight determination are the transition and the downswing acceleration.
Fitting for elements like loft, lie, shaft flex, length are far more cut and dried and able to be accurately determined from various technical measurements of the golfer and their swing. But fitting for the shaft weight (total weight) and swingweight and grip size are the main fitting elements that very much do require judgment from a very experienced clubfitter COMBINED WITH FEEDBACK FROM THE GOLFER about what they may have developed a preference for over years of playing.
This is also where working with a very experienced clubfitter who has years of experience in fitting golfers can be very helpful. A depth of experience in fitting golfers and knowing which ones reacted better to which shaft weights is an extremely valuable trait in a clubfitter because so much of shaft weight and swingweight fitting is judgment and knowing what swing moves react best to what weights in the clubs.
I have been golfing for thirty years. I am a average golfer who shoots in the low 80’s, and really enjoy playing. I am 50 years old and have a driver swing speed of 105 mph+. I am right handed and have had golfers elbow in my right elbow for the last two years. I completely ruptured my flexor tendon in my right elbow golfing towards the end of this year. I had surgery recently to reattach the tendon. I am hoping to be able to golf again this coming spring.
Currently I had been using TT Dynamic Gold S300 shafts with sensicore. Would you recommend I switch shafts when I return to golfing. If so, what type of shaft would you recommend. Would you recommend me switching to graphite shafts in my irons. Should I go to over sized grips. Any help or recomendation you may make is appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
First of all, with a son who is in training to be a Physical Therapist, please DO get yourself a GOOD therapist, DO religiously follow all the therapy exercises and DO NOT push it too fast too soon to get back into hitting full shots. What your clubs become in terms of shaft flex, shaft bend profile, total weight and swingweight after you are completely through your therapy depends completely on what your swing force and swing speed is after you have finished all rehab and have your DR’s and your PT person’s full approval to get back into the game full bore. Most definitely the vibration dampening capability of graphite certainly makes it a definite consideration for your elbow. So yes, once you are back at the game full bore, you would be well advised to move from steel into graphite.
Oversize grips or softer composition grips are more of a thing for arthritic pain reduction than for joint discomfort, so the grips should simply be what you like the feel of, and at the size that fits your hands in a way that you do not have to increase grip pressure to maintain a comfortable, secure hold on the club during the swing. But having seen some friends try to come back too fast, too soon from joint surgery and watching how that set them back another 3-6 months, please do be sure to take it very easy on getting back into full out swings while you keep doing everything your Dr and PT person tell you to do in your rehab.
~ Tom Wishon
Happy Thankgiving Tom!
I am considering the Taylormade Superfast TP 10.5^ stiff w/Matrix Ozik HD6 shaft; is this shaft a watered down version of the real thing? I need it to freq.w/grip at about 245cpm w/shaft length at 45.5″ instead of 46″, dont want to waste money IF the stock shaft is good? hard to beat $299; but IF reshafting to authentic HD6–firm @ 247-251 cpms raw; wil play softer? and help produce a slight medium draw? then thats what l want! Plus i want to cut down the length at least 1/4″ to stay in fairway more! my smash factor is good at stock length, i just choke down, but prefer shorter shaft. My average Driver swing-speed is 95mph; current driver (5-yr old knock off) Average distance is 257 yrds. Whats your Advice??
Since the actual HD6 shaft from Matrix sells as a shaft only for around $300, it is unlikely the one in the Taylor Made driver that is selling for $300 for the full club is exactly the same shaft. Over the past several years, there is a trend for some of the big golf club companies to offer one of their driver models with a shaft that carries the same name as one of the shaft companies’ brand name shaft models. So there is a lot of confusion as to whether these brand name shafts are exactly the same in the big company driver as the company’s actual shaft that they sell in the after-market as a shaft only.
The only way that can be known for sure is to have both “versions” of the brand name shaft to do a full comparison of weight, flex, bend profile, torque and balance point – and that’s pretty tough to have both shafts with which to do that. So what’s left on one hand is to use common sense – if the shaft sells for $300 in the after-market as a shaft only and the driver retails for $300 in fully assembled form, something is not adding up. And that something is usually that the shaft company inked a deal with the big golf club company which in effect says, “if you buy enough shafts, we’ll let you use this name on the shaft.”
With ANY club you’re contemplating buying off the rack, you need to be able to hit test that club enough times to be able to make your own decision as to whether the club and shaft is right for your swing speed and your swing characteristics.
But in the end, since you did ask for my advice, you would be FAR better off finding a GOOD, experienced custom clubfitter in your area with whom you can work to end up with fully custom fit clubs for which all of the key fitting specifications are each tailored for you and your swing.
~ Tom Wishon
I recently bought a Taylor Made Burner Superfast driver 9.5 deg Matrix Xcon 4.8 shaft regular flex after several fitting sessions on an indoor launch monitor. 95mph 16deg launch 3000rpm. I play off 18 h/c.
In general my drives are still being pushed out to the right (I’m right handed) but not with a severe slice and distance is not what I had hoped for – 220 to 225 yards. I rarely manage a draw with this club.
I noted that you are not a fan of long shafted drivers and like your advice on whether I should try cutting down the shaft to 44.5″ or 45″. Would this upset the swing weight and balance of the club doing more harm than good. Look forward to your advice. Raoul
You can shorten the length of any existing club by removing the grip and cutting the shaft to the desired new length. However, when this is done with any club, you MUST MUST MUST re-swingweight the club at least back to its original level by adding weight to the head. Failure to do this will make things worse with the performance of the club. Unfortunately with off the rack clubs like this, there is no other easy way to add weight to the head to re-establish the swingweight than to use lead tape on the outside of the head. But that would certainly be MILES better than not re-swingweighting the club as you try to experiment with the effect of playing a shorter length driver.
~ Tom Wishon
Paul G. Louisville,KY
I am having success with the same length irons theory, can I make my driver’s lie and length the same as my irons? (5i- 110mph clubhead speed, 240y straight). My drives are all over the place, need accuracy and will trade yardage for it!
When the lie angles are properly fit for the golfer for all the clubs in the set, you’ll generally find that each club ends up with a different unique lie angle to fit you properly. This is because the lengths of all the clubs are different, as are the headweights and actual flex of each shaft.
But as to a single LENGTH situation, I’m not a big fan of that for several reasons. First of all, if you did do that, as you say the lie angles are one of the specs that would need to be the same for every clubhead in the set. You just cannot find drivers and woods that would have the same lie as your irons because they just are not made that way. Second, you also would need to have the weight of each clubhead be exactly the same if all the clubs are going to be built to the same length. And again, you just won’t find clubheads made that way because there just is no demand for such clubheads to prompt a company to do that with their clubheads.
There is some proof in the industry that this single length concept really does not work all that well for the majority of golfers. Back in the mid to later 1990s, the former Tommy Armour Golf Company introduced such a concept in a line of woods and irons they named EQL. All the woods were made the same length as a 5 wood while all irons were built the same length as a 6-iron. 6 months after the EQL set was introduced, Tommy Armour Golf Company was out of business and closed down. The reason was because after a very robust period of initial sales, a HUGE percentage of the golfers who bought the EQL set returned them because they simply did not like them for several reasons.
If you’re struggling with drives all over the place, yes, a shorter driver length is part of the help for this, but in general, to be down around 43 to 43.5” and not at the 45.5 to 46.5” that is so common on all the big golf companies’ drivers they sell to golfers off the rack. In addition, getting the total weight and swingweight of the driver properly fit to your strength, your downswing force, and your natural sense of swing tempo will go along with the shorter length to help improve your tee shot consistency as well. And finally, if you see that your miss-direction shots with the driver tend to be more in one direction than another, getting the face angle of the driver fit so it offsets that misdirection tendency is yet another very important thing to do in your search for a better driver.
~ Tom Wishon