Thursday, March 31, 2011

Equipment secrets of the Pros.

The latest issue of 'Golf World' has an article about custom-fitting, but unlike the one that appeared in Golf Digest a month or so back, it doesn't say anything at all about independent clubmakers - I apparently do not exist!! It consists of five pages, the last two of which only give details of the custom fitting centres operated or franchised by Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, Mizuno, Nike, Ping, Titleists, Taylor Made and Wilson.

However, there is an interesting article entitled 'Equipment Secrets of the Pros'. There are the usual howlers from the journalists who write this stuff - for example, Robert Karlsson's Lob Wedge is stated to be 37" long, which apparently means that it ".... close to the length of a regular #8 iron ...", but there are some interesting snippets:

- Both Garcia and Paul McGuinley use 43" drivers. McGinley is quoted as saying: "Most people will tell you that a longer shaft in your driver can add yards, but having been on the TrackMan launch monitor, I have found that my clubhead speed increases with a shorter club."

- The most common driver loft is 9.5º (46.4%), followed by 8.5º (29.7%), 10.5º ( 12.5%) and 9.0º (8.1%). However, these would appear to be NOMINAL lofts, because at least one player is stated to be using a driver picked to a different loft - Ping's Tour Manager is quoted as saying that Lee Westwood's G10 driver "... has 9º on it, but the loft is actually 10.5º". The article goes on to say that "All the driver heads are slightly different, so Ping select the ones with more loft to use for Lee".

- Jimenez's driver is 46" long, which is said to be longer than the Tour norm. This section of the article goes on to say that (as we all know) long drivers are much more prevalent in the consumer market than on Tour because of the falicy "... the longer the club, the longer the hit ...", but refreshingly there is an addendum, again attributed to Ping's Tour Manager: "Ah, there's a catch there. Miguel boasts that he can still hit it out on the middle of the clubface, but even with the Pros, the number of strikes dead centre goes down the longer the club gets."

- A lot of players have the face angles of their drivers & fwy woods cranked or set open by between 2º-4º. The exception - surprisingly - seems to be Garcia, who has his r11 set closed ".. to take the right side of the course out of play."

- Sergio Carcia's irons are apparently shorter than standard, but have counterweights installed.

- Most of the players interviewed have the soles of their wedges re-ground to reduce the bounce at the heel (which Tom Wishon has always done as standard).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why are Tour Pros hitting a 5 iron 200+ yards?

For one thing, ALL the Tour Pros hit an iron the way it supposed to be....hands ahead of the ball at impact resulting in a descending blow which takes loft off the iron. It is also a fact that the AVERAGE tour player's clubhead speed is substantially higher than it was back in the Nicklaus/Miller era on tour. Back then the average driver speed was about 104-105 with avg 5-iron speed around 79-80 while today we're seeing that average be around +9 to +10 mph higher....because of stronger, more physically fit golfers.

Most of the tour players do not use irons based on a 24, 25, 26 deg 5-iron loft - they use iron lofts more in the area of a 27-28 deg 5-iron. Now granted, back in the Nicklaus/Miller era, irons were made more based on a 30*-32* 5-iron and it was more common to see the avg tour player hit 7 iron from 150, with big hitters using 8 iron from 150 - but still when you see the avg clubhead speed be that much higher today, this is a chief reason you see the 175 yd 7 iron and 200 yd 5-iron with a slight loft decrease contributing a little.