Harry almost bought a …..’swoosh’.

 

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Golfers are very susceptible to advertising and the companies that manufacture golf equipment and golf related gadgets have learned to play golfers like a fiddle.

The biggest selling features for new equipment and gadgets are expressed in these three words: higher, longer, straighter.

Let’s look at ‘Harry’, a typical amateur golfer.  Harry is a few years south of middle age and has reached the stage in his golf career where he realizes he will not be a professional golfer (scoring in the low nineties just won’t cut it on the tour).  No matter, Harry still wants to hit it higher, longer and straighter.

He has tried taking lessons and has purchased some on-line instruction packages that virtually guarantee to make him a better golfer.  Alas, Harry is still shooting 93.

Now understand Harry hits it pretty long.  Once when he was 35 he hit a drive 265 yards, with a nice little 5 yard draw that ended up in the middle of the fairway and rolled out nicely.  So in his mind Harry knows he can hit the ball 270 yards if he catches it just right and the wind is not blowing.

It must be the equipment he is using.

Like all of us Harry watches the Golf Channel and has seen all the infomercials.  Tees that will make the ball go 3 yards farther.  A practice harness that will eliminate his slice and with the slice gone give him an extra 15 yards.   Shoes that will impart latent energy to his feet, that’s good for another extra 5 yards.  Then of course there are those balls, the shiny lime green ones that according to the testimonials on the infomercial ‘added at least 20 yards to my drive’.   Then there are wedges that will do everything – you know, the ones that guarantee you will never leave another shot in the bunker and that make chipping from off the green a breeze and that after hitting them just once feel as though they had been in your bag forever.   And of course those irons and the driver that make the ball go an additional 30 yards.  And lastly of course that gadget, the ‘swoosh’ or whatever it was called.  Just swing that thing 10 times prior to playing and your drives were sure to go an extra 30 yards.

Harry calculated and kept a cumulative total in his mind.  He had already driven the ball damn near 270 yards once back in 1999, add the tees (273), the anti slice harness (288), the shoes, (293) the new balls (313) and of course the new driver (343).

Because Harry plays on a course where many of the par fours are just over 340 yards he decided to pass on the ‘swoosh’.

With the addition of the ‘swoosh’ he would just end up hitting too far over the green on the par 4’s.

Having spent just over a thousand dollars Harry went out and shot….you guessed it, 93.

Happy golfing Harry.

Pinhawk Single Length Irons – Performance Update

In a previous post I promised to provide an update on the performance of my Pinhawk single length irons once the grass was green and the birds were singing. Well the grass isn’t really green yet but like a true Manitoba golf nut, despite the cold and windy weather, I’ve already completed my first 10 rounds of golf.

All 10 rounds have been played using the Pinhawk single length irons.

By way of comparison, my scoring average for the first 10 rounds is 2.9 strokes lower than last year.  It is however not a true apples to apples comparison in terms of equipment as not only did I change my irons I also replaced my driver, a hybrid and my putter.

However all that being said my first impressions are very positive.  I am hitting the single length irons straighter than I did my conventional length irons.  The ball contact is solid, the flight trajectory is good and the distance control is excellent.

I have been tracking the distances on my clubs and as of right now (in cold weather conditions and using a low compression ball) these are the distances I’ve been hitting the irons:

LW           85

SW          95

GW          105

PW          115

9I            125

8I            135

7I            145

6I            155

5I            165

4H          180

 

These distances are not spot on accurate but are based on using a laser range finder where possible and pacing yardages.  The gaps between clubs is excellent and although the distances are somewhat less than with my conventional set of irons I think once the weather warms up and I start using better quality (higher compression) balls the distances will improve.  I am very optimistic in terms of matching my usual distances with my conventional length clubs.

When I first started writing about the single length iron concept I received an offer from one of the golf professionals at a local golf course to test the clubs on Flightscope.  Once I get more used to playing with the Pinhawks and the weather warms up I will be availing myself of that offer and reporting the results.

In the meantime, I’m off to Bridges to play my first round of golf on that course this season.

DeChambeau finishes T4 at Harbour Town

As a golfer who has been dabbling with a single plane swing and single length irons for many years I have been following Bryson DeChambeau’s progress closely.

Many have told me that Dechambeau’s success in winning the NCAA  individual title and United States Amateur were ‘flukes’  and that he would turn out to be a ‘flash in the pan’.    Many are not prepared to believe that a golfer using single length irons and a single plane swing could be successful at the professional level.

After DeChambeau’s recent performance at the Masters (low amateur and T21 overall) and T4 at Harbour Town in his first event as a professional, many including big name television commentators covering those events are starting to come around.  They are starting to admit albeit grudgingly, that Dechambeau may be the real thing.

I for one am a firm believer in DeChambeau’s approach to the game and the method he is using to achieve his goal. For those of you who know me you are probably getting tired of hearing me talk about  DeChambeau and my Pinhawk single length irons.

As indicated in a previous post I will be starting this golf season using both single length irons and a single plane swing.

I’ve played 3 rounds with my single length irons so far and the results are encouraging.

As promised in an earlier post, once we get a little further into the season (a least 10 games) I will report back and provide an evaluation of my single length irons.

Dechambeau sporting Cobra single length irons

The speculation as to which OEM Bryson Dechambeau will sign with once he turns pro is getting clearer.  He recently started playing a Cobra Driver and this week debuted a new set of single length  Cobra irons.

I’ve played a few Cobra Hybrids over the years but have never tried Cobra woods or irons.  That may soon change, especially as it relates to irons.

Cobra has produced, or perhaps, more correctly, altered a set of their Cobra King Forged CB irons to match the specifications of Dechambeau’s original Edel irons. He put them in play this week at the 19th Annual Georgia Cup.

CobraKingMB

Stock Cobra King Forged MB irons

According to WRX Golf,  Dechambeau’s Cobra prototype irons are 37.5 inches long throughout the set with each head weighing 280 grams.  The lie angle is 73.5 degrees.

Apparently the process of altering the Cobra CB irons to meet the specifications of the Edel irons involved a lot of grinding, bending and adding weight to the lower lofted irons.

This leads to several interesting questions:

  1. Which set of irons will Dechambeau put into play when he tees it up at the Masters next week?  My guess is he will go with the Edel irons but there may well be some industry pressure for him to use the Cobra irons, which in my mind would be a mistake.
  2. Are we about to see a major OEM produce a set of single length irons for the mass market?  That will all depend on how well Dechambeau performs once he turns pro, which he intends to do the week after the Masters.  If he were to perform well as a pro with Cobra single length irons, we may well see a major OEM venture into the field of mass marketing single length irons, the first since Tommy Armour’s ill-fated attempt in the mid 1980’s. A winning Dechambeau would provide Cobra with the ‘poster boy’ Armour lacked.

How Lie Angle affects ball direction

What is lie angle?

lie angle

Lie angle is the angle formed between the sole of the club and the shaft as indicated by the blue lines in the picture to the left

What determines shot direction?

The three factors that have the most direct influence on shot direction are the path of the swing (30%),  the centeredness of the contact with the club face (10%) and lastly, the face angle (open or closed) of the club head at impact (70%).

Lie angle has a significant influence on face angle.  Golfers using clubs that have too upright a lie will tend to address the ball with a closed face while too flat a lie will cause an open face.

Determining if your lie angle is correct

One way to check lie angle is to simply have the golfer take their normal stance and grip and have a look at whether the scoring line on the face of the club are parallel to the ground.  The problem with this approach is that because it is static it may not actually reflect the golfer’s club head position during an actual swing.

Another static approach is to place a magnetic pointer on the face of the club and literally have a look at whether the pointer points left of right of the target.  If the pointer points to the left (for right-handed golfers) the lie is probably too upright and too flat if it points to the right of the target line.

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When the lie angle is correct the pointer will be aimed straight down the target line

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When the handle of the club is lowered (to simulate  a lie that is too upright) the face automatically closes and the pointer now aims to the left of the target line

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When the handle of the club is raised (simulating a lie that is too flat) the pointer aims to the right of the target line.

The second method, which is dynamic and is used by many  club fitters,  is to place a marking strip in the sole of the club and then hit off a lie board.  If the mark on the tape is toward the toe of the club, the lie is too flat; if it is toward the heel, the lie is too upright.  This can work well, however if the golfer is afraid of striking down and making hard contact with the rigid surface of the lie board the result can be misleading as the golfer may not be taking their normal swing.

The method I prefer does not involve lie boards or tape.  Rather it uses an approach that comes as close as possible to replicating a natural swing and hit on the ball. Begin by drawing a straight line on a golf ball using a marking pen.  Once the line is drawn place the ball on the turf (or hitting mat if you are indoors) with the line facing to the rear and in vertical position.  Then simply hit the ball as you normally would.  The line drawn on the ball will transfer to the face of the club at impact.

The following two photos show the line left on the club face and what the direction of the lines mean.  These examples are exaggerated to demonstrate the point.

 

Taylormade Warranty

I’ve gotten to a stage in life where I’m not often surprised anymore.

I must admit however that recently I was.

Most companies offer warranties on their products.  I’ve found, though, with automobiles as an example, that whatever ails your car, despite the expressed warranty, frequently falls outside the provisions of the warranty by way of some exception in the fine print.

I recently had the opposite experience.

I’ve bought many Taylormade products over the years and never had an issue.

Recently I experienced an issue with a 2014 Taylormade SLDR 430 driver.  I was not certain if the warranty would cover it so I emailed Taylormade and made an inquiry.  I was advised to take the club to a local retailer and ask them to send to club in to Taylormade so they could examine the club and make an evaluation.

So I took the driver to Golftown and explained the situation to them.  They forwarded the club to Taylormade.

Yesterday I got a call from Golftown to advise me that Taylormade had returned my club.

Imagine my surprise when I went to Golftown to pick it up and they handed me a brand new Taylormade M1 430 with a Kurokage 60 gram shaft as the replacement from my SLDR.

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M1

Now that is what I call a warranty and standing behind your product.

 

New Irons for 2016

Many of the major golf manufacturers have released their new line of irons for 2016.   These are the clubs that will go longer, fly higher, go straighter… well you know, the usual advertising hype.

What was of special interest to me were the lofts of these new weapons.  A few months ago I wrote a post  about how the lofts of irons have been inching downward in an attempt to convince golfers that a particular brand of clubs goes further.   What becomes readily apparent is that there is no longer a  ‘standard’ loft.  I’ve listed the lofts for 6 irons and pitching wedges.  Some of the manufacturers are really pushing the envelope on lofts with 6 irons as low as 25 degrees.  In the 1970’s 3 irons were 24 degrees.

With a variance of six degrees (the equivalent to a club and a half) it is a no brainer that the Taylor made M2 6 iron with a loft of 25 degrees will go further than the Wilson FG Tour 6 iron with a loft of 31 degrees simply based on loft.

 

Manufacturer/model                  6 iron         Cast/Forged         PW        Price

Tour Exotics  CB Pro                   26.5                  C                      45            $700

Ping G Max                                    27                     C                       45           $800

Cobra F6                                        26                     C                       45            $700

Wilson C200                                 28                     C                       44            $800

Wilson FG Tour                            31                     F                       47            $800

Callaway Apex                              27                     F                       45             $1200

Mizuno JPX EZ                            28                      C                      45             $800

Taylormade M2                            25                      C                      43.5          $800

Titleist 716 AP1                             28                      C                      43            $900

 

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