I had an email yesterday from a client that I had done some work with in the area of club fitting. His question involved the use of graphite shafts as opposed to steel in irons. His understanding was that he’d generate more swing speed with graphite rather than steel since it weighed so much less. This sparked the idea for a series of articles where I will look at “truths” that have been accepted by the golfing community and explore their validity.
The first myth that I’d like to cover is that “bigger heads have larger sweet spots and are more forgiving.” First, all clubs have the same size sweet spot. The sweet spot is equivalent to the club head’s center of gravity. This spot is about the size of the tip end of a needle. Also, the club only has one sweet spot in spite of one company’s advertising that their driver has 9 different sweet spots. If you hit the ball squarely and in the center, the ball will fly straight and true and as far as your club head speed will allow. However, what happens when you miss this spot? Miss the center by ½” and you’ll lose 5 yards. Miss by ½” and you lose 10 yards and so on. Also, the club head will start to twist and impart side spin on the golf ball. What can you do to prevent this from happening? Well, club designers found that if you make the MOI (moment of inertia) of the club higher, it will resist this twisting to some degree. How do you increase the MOI of a club head? The way to do this is to take the center of gravity and move it further out from the axis of rotation and also move it back from the face of the club. The resulting head design then is the “bigger” “clunkier” club head. What happens when you make the MOI of the club head higher is that it takes more effort to square the club face. In essence, you’ve created a club head that in effect gives you a bit more distance and less side spin on off center hits but also cause those off center hits due to not being able to square up the club. Also, just how much more distance does one get from misses with the large heads as opposed to the smaller head? It’s a matter of just a few yards. You have to ask yourself, if big is really better, why are players not improving consistently? I will give you a bit more insight into the main feature of a golf club that will be of the most benefit to the majority of players. That feature is called offset. If you have trouble getting the hands through impact and squaring the club head, offset can be a valuable feature.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d be more than happy to field them and assist in any way possible.