cycles per minute (CPM)

Golf Terminology: Cycles Per Minute (CPM)

Golf Shaft Cycles Per Minute (CPM)

What a frequency analyzer machine does for golf

For many years a golf shaft’s stiffness was determined by using a flex board. This was a simple device. The flex board allowed the shaft butt to be hooked under a fixture at one end of the vertical board. The tip end then would have a weight hung on it, which caused the shaft to bend into a profile that could be measured against the flex board. So, you got a view of the shaft under stress to see if the butt was firm or the shaft had a weaker tip.

Most importantly, though, the board showed what flex range the shaft fell into, such as if it was a softer ladies (L), senior (A), regular (R), stiff (S) or extra stiff flex (X).

With the invention of the frequency analyzer machine, the time consuming task of using the flex board was not as important. Now club makers could get a fast, accurate reading of a golf shaft by checking the cycles per minute (CPM) the shaft would vibrate.

CPM

The frequency analyzer works by clamping the butt end of the shaft in a fixture and then twanging or plucking the tip end. The tip is bobbing up and down through a light source (usually a type of photo-electric eye) and produces CPM readings of the shaft. A cycle is created each time the shaft tip goes through the light beam. 

cpm

Here’s an illustration of this:

Take a ruler and place 1 or 2 inches of one end on a flat surface like a desktop. Hold that section down firmly. Let the remaining length hang off the desktop. Twang the ruler tip and you will see the body of the ruler bounce up and down. Note the speed it moves. Now increase the section that you are holding down where it is now about 3 to 4 inches. Go ahead and pluck the tip end again. You’ll see that the ruler now has a much faster vibration (Therefore, it is stiffer.).

The frequency analyzer also can tell you if a shaft has a slightly stiffer or softer side to it, depending on which way you orient the shaft in the machine. Due to the manner that steel shafts are manufactured, the tubular steel shafts tend to be very uniform in flex no matter which way you position the shaft in the fixture.

Composite graphite shafts, when manufactured in a professional manner, are also very uniform. However, some cheaper graphite shafts may have what is known as a “spine.” This is a slight overlap or opening in the way the composite materials were laid up during production causing either a slightly firmer or softer rib that runs down the length of the shaft.

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Some shaft companies go to the trouble of identifying the location of this spine and mark it for the club maker. What seems to be a continual bone of contention is what to do with the knowledge of where the spine is located. Some folks believe that it should be positioned down the back of the shaft at assembly, while others think it should be oriented on the left or right side of the shaft. The USGA — golf’s governing body — has a rule that says that shafts must flex uniformly in all directions. But the USGA does allow club makers to position the shafts a certain way. This tells me that the USGA doesn’t really think all this effort to identify the spine produces much of a difference in accuracy.

Here is a basic formula your average golfers can use to determine what kind of flex they should have on their shafts. The diagram below gauges flex using driver swing speed matched with what particular club one uses from 150 yards.

X-Stiff; 105-plus, pitching wedge.

S-Stiff; 90-104, 8- or 9-iron.

R-Regular; 80-94, 6- or 7-iron.

A-Senior; 70-85, 5-iron or less.

L-Lady; 70 or less, 5 iron or less.

 

 

 

 

hand stamping

Customization: Hand Stamping

The Art of Clubsmithing: First up, Custom Hand Stamping

2nd Swing Golf offers premier golf club customization services.

hand stamping

When I look at a golf club that has been customized, I immediately become intrigued. 

Not only does this mean that you enjoy golf enough to collect a set, but that you also take pride in the clubs that help you get goosebumps when that ball really listens to exactly what you are talking about. That feeling once is a cure for even an entire lifetime of bad play.

So if we can achieve that feeling more often through the aid of customization, I say let’s get those teeth clenched and fists pumping as you stare down a flagstick.

From the weighting of the head to the size of a grip, any club can be modified and better suited to perform the feats you require. Any swing can be hindered or improved on by the properties of one’s golf set. Not to say that our human nature can not overcome through trial and understanding our ability to adjust to any steel rod with a chunk of metal on the end.

It is just that with each unique swing, we can find that unique customized club for you. We can set that club to your desired specifications and design it to help you send that ball to its proper destination. And, yes, that comes with priority shipping without an up-charge of a swing modification.

hand stamping

Let’s get to the real heart of why I write to you today. I am currently challenged with the task of detailing the workings of our professional club smith, Robert Reitz.

Reitz has been on staff with 2nd Swing Golf working daily on the art of club customization for many years as a complement to his love for the game. I am lucky enough to spend some time with Reitz watching him work and capturing some images of the processes involved in his modifications as the company’s lead photographer.

I have to say that there was a time before I began my work at 2nd Swing when I said, “I know a lot about golf.”

Through Reitz’s work, he has been continuously letting me know that I had no idea what I was talking about.

Through a series of updates, I will let you all know my findings. From the perspective of watching the customization take place, to the literal calculated benefits that can be received from each unique customization.

Since I felt compelled to tell you a bit about the premise of my mission, I think today I should leave you with a quick article on hand stamping.

Hand stamping is basically driving a steel stamp into the back or face of an iron, wedge or putter.

hand stamping

After you decide on what you would like embedded into your club, you are then ready to get to work. Common stampings would most likely be one’s initials, along with college or team names and symbols of encouragement. From my initials of D.R.B., to a slogan like “Roll Tide,” stamping is something that could possibly help bring the confidence for consistency, or at the very least, deliver a smile.

When hand stamping, you must first secure the club to a solid mount. Reitz uses industrial double-sided tape to fix the wedges to our reinforced workbench. Then, the metal stamp is struck firmly into the club. The striking is where the skill comes in for this particular modification.

With the quality of the stamp and the weight of the hammer aside, if the stamp is struck too hard or too soft, the impression could be faint, or have a halo from the tip of the stamp being driven into the metal. A quick double tap also can end in a hologram effect in the metal.

So a skilled hand with proper force always is recommended. When a club is properly hand stamped, there will be a mushroom effect around the stamp where the metal is pressed up and out of the impression, thus the term. This is a sign that the club has been genuinely hand stamped.

Once we have the stamping firmly impressed into club, we can now look to coloration. Color is added with a paint marker for ease of use, or you could use a tiny brush and a steady hand. Either way, it is best to use paint that is bondable to metal. The excess then is wiped from undesired areas, and the club is ready for play as soon as soon as the paint is dry.

hand stamping

This customization is something that can be done by our club smith. For more information on all forms of customizing clubs, just email Reitz at robert@2ndswing.com and set something up.

This added personalization can help you play proud. And for the good people of the Upper-Midwest, join me in getting back out there this year and enjoying this life we call golf.

Thank you.

 

 

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Customization: Shaft Tipping, Cutting and Gripping

The Art of Clubsmithing: Custom Shaft Tipping, Cutting and Gripping 

Start with the right fit for you

Distribution of force during a golf swing starts from one’s core and flows down through the arms, along the shaft and is delivered at impact between the ball and the clubhead.

Now, that sounds simple enough (Right?), but there are many points along this chain of distributed energy where power and control can be lost. As we all know or could imagine, in golf we should try and harness every foot or pound of torque and every variable per second of velocity.

The problem is if we lose control and power in the shoulders, elbows or wrists — then we lose control of the shaft’s effectiveness and the club itself. The loss of power in one’s body is a whole separate issue and requires a swing analysis, or at the very least, a lesson or two.

However, with the shaft, we can always find a match that’s best for you. 

clubsmithing

Let’s get a run down-on shafts. Shafts come in different flexes, here are some flex suggestions based upon swing speed. These figures are taken from TaylorMade’s fitting system:

Shaft Flex Selection (Driver)

Carry Distance – Swing Speed – Flex

Less than 180 yards — Less than 75 mph — Ladies (L)

180 to 200 yards — 75 to 85 mph — Senior (A)

200 to 240 yards – 85 to 95 mph  –  Regular (R)

240 to 275 yards — 95 to 110 mph — Stiff Firm (S)

More than 275 yards — More than 110 mph — Tour Extra Stiff (X)

clubsmithing

Shaft Flex Selection (6-iron carry distance)

Carry Distance — Swing Speed — Flex

Less than 100 yards — Less than 60 mph — Ladies (L)

100 to 130 yards — 60 to 70 mph — Senior (A)

130 to 155 yards — 70 to 80 mph — Regular (R)

155 to 175 yards — 80 to 90 mph — Stiff Firm (S)

More than 175 yards — More than 90 mph — Tour Extra Stiff (X)

clubsmithing

The importance of torque in golf

Torque is basically how much the shaft twists and allows the clubhead to open or close at impact. The firmer the shaft, the less torque is distributed down the shaft. So the head will be less active on impact with the ball if there is less torque.

Flexes are extremely important for proper contact when ball striking. This is because the “shaft kick” and the torque of the shaft during impact. This will change the loft of the club as well as the angle of the face at the moment of impact.

Everyone should know that flex absolutely is extremely important and helpful for any and all players. Flex can help add yards to any drive as well as help a club become square at impact if the shaft is properly fit to your specifications. With this said, if improperly fit the shaft can hurt yardage as well as create some serious problems with the clubface at impact. Proper shaft fitting is something that no player should overlook if they want to improve their game.

Torque is a specification that is found on most shafts and can be played to your advantage. However, if unchecked the torque can really throw off your ball flight by affecting spin rates. 

There was a previous article on our blog that detailed shaft “kickpoints.” Kickpoints are very important for every player. The kickpoint is part of what defines the degree of loft at impact. If we want to drop the ball flight down, we can get a shaft with a firm tip.

The shaft Master winner Bubba Watson uses is a Bi-Matrix Shaft with a steel tip to help almost eliminate tip flex. To increase the height of your ball flight, we can find a shaft with a lot of tip flex to help add loft to your clubface at impact.

Now that we see the importance of flex, let’s get into the modification process. Just about any shaft can be tipped to fit into your club. Where older clubs are shafted straight into the head, newer clubs have shafts tipped to allow of adjustability as well as ease in changing shafts.

clubsmithing

Tipping a shaft involves the removal of the paint from the tip of the shaft to allow the epoxy glue to form a strong bond to the shaft. This is done either with a hand tool or a grinding wheel.

A grinding wheel can remove the paint, however. So to be more precise with the paint removal, it is usually preferred to have the paint removed with a hand tool to guarantee that the shaft’s graphite composition is not damaged and that only the paint is removed.

Once the paint is removed, the inside of the shaft tip is scoured with a tool to give greater surface area inside the tip. This also allows the epoxy to have a stronger bond to the inside of the tip. With the proper epoxy mixture we then coat the inside of the tip as well as coating the tip of the shaft itself. The tip is then slid onto the shaft and adjusted to insure the epoxy is even inside the tip  and that the tip is properly aligned with the shaft to allow for the adjustability to be correct with the manufacturer’s specs.

Once the tip is secured and the epoxy has dried creating a strong bond, we can now move onto shaft cutting. Shaft length is equally important as shaft flex. With a shaft that is too long, we can face difficulty with the control of the clubhead. The longer the shaft, the stronger one’s wrists must be to get the club square at impact.

clubsmithing

But a longer shaft will produce a higher swing speed. A good analogy for this is to reference the gears on a bicycle. With a larger gear, you can get faster speeds with the same effort given for a small gear. However, to start pedaling in high gear can prove extremely difficult. In golf that would be like having a shaft that is too long to consistently hit square by leaving the clubhead open at impact.

Here are some Taylor Made’s specifications on shaft lengths:

Men’s New Modern Standard Length

Club – Graphite – Steel – Ladies

Driver — 45 to 46 inches — N/A — 44 to 45 inches

3-wood — 43 inches — 42.5 inches — 44 to 45 inches

5-wood — 42.5 inches — 42 inches — 41.5 inches 

7-wood — 42 inches — 41.5 inches — 41 inches 

Utility No.  3 graphite — 40.5 inches — 40 inches — 39 inches 

Utility No.  4 graphite —  40 inches — 39.5 inches — 38.5 inches

Utility No.  5 graphite  – 39.5 inches — 39 inches — 38 inches 

Utility No.  6 graphite – 39 inches — 38.5 inches — 37.5 inches

3-iron – 39 inches — 38.75 inches — 38 inches 

4-iron – 38.5 inches – 38.25 inches – 37.5 inches

5-iron –  38 inches — 37.75 inches — 37 inches

6-iron  – 37.5 inches — 37.25 inches — 36.5 inches

7-iron – 37 inches — 36.75 inches — 36 inches

8-iron – 36.5 inches — 36.25 inches — 35.5 inches 

9-iron — 36 inches — 35.75 inches — 35 inches

Pitching Wedging – 35.5 inches — 35.5 inches — 34.5 inches 

Gap Wedge — 35.5 inches — 35.5 inches — 34.5 inches 

Sand Wedge — 35.25 inches — 35.25 inches — 34.25 inches

Lop Wedge — 35 inches — 35 inches — 34 inches

Note: All the estimates are different on their standard length and loft. These figures are an average.

Any shaft can be cut down to find the point where we achieve maximum clubhead speed without sacrificing control. One thing to keep in mind is when a shaft is cut down, it will become stiffer. As the strength of the shaft remains the same, the distance between flex points is decreased. So, you always have to factor in the cutting process when assessing your desired shaft flex.

Cutting is done with a high-powered cutting wheel from the desired length at the butt of the shaft.

clubsmithing

Once the shaft is cut, we can now grip the club. Gripping is done by wrapping the butt of the shaft with grip tape. When wrapping the shaft, we can add extra grip tape to add girth to the grip. If we have a midsize grip that we would like to make a little bit larger, we can wrap the shaft several times with tape to add grip size.

The grip is then slid onto the shaft with an air-compressed gripping attachment. If you want to kick it old-school, you can bust out your bottle of grip solvent and force that bad boy onto the shaft by hand. But I can personally attest that the air gun makes gripping a whole new game when it comes to ease of use.

clubsmithing

Once the shaft is cut, we can now grip the club. Gripping is done by wrapping the butt of the shaft with grip tape. When wrapping the shaft, we can add extra grip tape to add girth to the grip. If we have a midsize grip that we would like to make a little bit larger, we can wrap the shaft several times with tape to add grip size.

The grip is then slid onto the shaft with an air-compressed gripping attachment. If you want to kick it old-school, you can bust out your bottle of grip solvent and force that bad boy onto the shaft by hand. But I can personally attest that the air gun makes gripping a whole new game when it comes to ease of use.

clubsmithing

At 2nd Swing, we have a large selection of upgraded shafts for any and all to come in and try. We have professional fitters who can help you find exactly what shaft flex, tip strength and shaft length works best for your unique swing. We also have a large selection of grips that can be added to your new or current clubs. Remember you are always welcome in either of our Minnesota locations to try out all of our inventory as well as free fittings with all club purchases.

If you happen to be out of state, or would like to browse the possibilities from the comfort of your own home I strongly recommend taking a look at 2ndswing.com. From rare and unique clubs to the best deals on genuine pre-owned clubs, 2nd Swing has you covered. As always, it is a pleasure to write to you on the possibilities of club customization and how all of this can help you enjoy a round on our fine U.S. courses.

For any customization questions or requests, please do not hesitate to email 2nd Swing Golf clubsmith Robert Reitz at Robert@2ndswing.com. We are also happy to talk about your game via telephone at (612) 216-4152, or go online to 2nd Swing’s fitting page.

Please see our images of the tipping, cutting and gripping processes for more details. Thank you for the read, and I hope all the best as you march the fairways this year.

 

 

 

 

golf fitness tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Tips for Golf Fitness

Tips for good golf fitness and health: Ditch the cart and hoof it

Golf fitness and your health

Golf witnessed a major transition over the last 60 years. In the past, players walked, carried their bag or used a caddy. Gradually, the game has become dominated by golf carts. The use of motorized golf carts transformed the golf industry in a number of ways.

Golf health facts

There have been numerous studies to determine the exact impact a round of golf has on physical fitness. As a society, Americans overall continue to exercise less and become more overweight and obese, despite some recent trends in the other direction.

While golf does not provide high-impact movement similar to other sports, golf still offers an excellent opportunity to maintain your health — if you take advantage of the opportunities for fitness that the game provides.

According to a study conducted by the National Golf Foundation, 34 percent of U.S. population is within a healthy weight, 33 percent are overweight and 33 percent of the population is obese. Among the golfing population, 27 percent of golfers are within their normal weight range and the exact same percentage are obese, 27 percent. Meanwhile, 46 percent of the population is overweight.

Walking the golf course provides many health benefits, and not just from burning calories and and fat, increasing strength and stamina, shrinking cholesterol numbers and heart rates and to lessening stress and increasing brain endorphin production (which makes us feel happier).

golf fitness tips

Golf cart usage

In 1984, 45 percent of rounds were played with a motorized cart. By 2002, cart usage rose to 66 percent and by 2006 increased to 69 percent.

Its estimated that roughly just one-third — or less — of all  rounds walked today. The majority of golfers use a golf cart.

In fact, some areas and courses estimate cart usage is over 90 percent.

According to administrative staff at several golf facilities in Myrtle Beach, Fla., walking rounds there are virtually non-existent. They estimated that 95 percent of rounds played at specific facilities are with golf carts.

However, there are still clubs that promote the original traditions of the game. Some courses restrict cart usage until certain times of the day while others require walking at all times. Clubs that require walking are in the minority.

Older courses were typically built on less than 100 acres and made walking convenient. They usually have short walks between the green and next tee box.

New courses, tough, tend to stretch between 160 and 260 acres where homes and communities are constructed between hole locations. It’s become common for long walks between holes, which puts a strain on some who’d rather not use a golf care. So, we’re in a dilemma where many newer courses are not suitable for walking and others restrict walking altogether.

Annually, the golf industry produces approximately two million jobs and generates more than $75 billion in revenue. Golf facilities are designed to create make money on cart rentals and encourage golfers to ride. More and more often golf courses expect to drive greater profits — and what better way than with mandatory golf cart fees?

golf fitness tips

Calories burned through golf

Many believe walking is more beneficial than riding in a cart, but how effective is a round of golf on physical fitness?

On average, you walk the equivalent of five miles during 18 holes of golf. In addition, a four-hour round of golf is similar to a two-hour singles match of tennis.

A scientific study sought to find out exactly how calories are burned during golf. Walking and carrying your clubs or pushing a cart burned approximately 1,440 calories while walking with a caddy burned nearly 1,250 calories.

On the other hand, those that preferred to ride burned approximately 820 calories. Indirectly, they still walked nearly a mile during the round.

Even players who fail to make it to the course can still burn a few calories playing video game golf. It is estimated a 175-pound man could burn 150 calories playing Nintendo Wii golf for 45 minutes while a 125-pound woman could burn approximately 100 calories in that same time frame.

golf fitness tips

 

 

clubsmithing

Golf Club Customization: Hot Melting and Club-Bias Weighting

Golf Club Customization: Hot Melting and Club-Bias Weighting

The Art of Golf Clubsmithing: How custom golf club work can improve your game

“You can talk to a fade, but a hook won’t listen.” – Lee Travino

Words that can easily be understood by golfers who have lost a drive deep out to their weak sides. The question really is: “How do I correct this?” 

There are drills and training aids to help your clubface become more square with the ball on impact. These can help you build good habits, but there is an additional way of going about this. 

Add weight to the toe of your driver.  

With a heavy toe, you could add resistance between you and closing the clubface on impact. Lead tape is a solution, although not one that is as structurally sleek as other options.

Golf Club Customization

Now, you may hit the TaylorMade SLDR driver, a SuperQuad — or any other driver with adjustable weights. That would mean that you can adjust the sliding/fixed weights to become fade or draw biased.

Fade biased is to help get the ball to hook less from right to left.

And draw biased is to help the ball slice less from left to right (That’s for right-handers.).

To have a club with a fade bias, we would add weight to the toe of the driver. This is to try and help keep the face more open at impact. Thus removing the spin that causes a hook.

Golf Club Customization

For a club with draw bias, we would add weight to  the heel of the driver. This would try and help close the face on impact. Thus removing the spin that causes a slice.  

Golf Club Customization

I found a lot of language out on the Internet that really confused me on which was a draw bias and which was a fade bias, so hopefully this will be a bit clearer. 

Now for how hot melting applies to all of this. Hot Melting is a procedure where a driver is internally filled with a specific amount of a special glue/adhesive. If the glue is added to the toe, the club can help you hook the ball less. If the weight is added to the heel, hot melting can help you slice less. 

Golf Club Customization

There also is an affect on the sound of the club when you insert hotmelt. This soft glue can help take the bang out of your driver by absorbing/dampening the sound waves bouncing around in your driver just after impact. So if your club needs a silencer, you can add some hot melt to the very center of your driver as to not offset the weight of your driver. 

Is there a rattle in your driver? Small pieces of old glue and metal can clang in your head making it seem like you have a long maraca at the tee. With hot melt adhesive in your driver, those loose pieces will stick to the adhesive and stop that jingle-jangle. 

A good question here is: “Does hot melting aid players with straight or very controlled ball flight paths?”

Yes, hot melting is something that is done on tour to help subtle ball-flight adjustments. If we want the ball to have a slight bend to the right, we add a slight amount of hot melt to the toe. The same concept can be applied to your driver with the proper fitting and attention. 

There also is an affect on the sound of the club when you insert hotmelt. This soft glue can help take the bang out of your driver by absorbing/dampening the sound waves bouncing around in your driver just after impact. So if your club needs a silencer, you can add some hot melt to the very center of your driver as to not offset the weight of your driver. 

Is there a rattle in your driver? Small pieces of old glue and metal can clang in your head making it seem like you have a long maraca at the tee. With hot melt adhesive in your driver, those loose pieces will stick to the adhesive and stop that jingle-jangle. 

A good question here is: “Does hot melting aid players with straight or very controlled ball flight paths?”

Yes, hot melting is something that is done on tour to help subtle ball-flight adjustments. If we want the ball to have a slight bend to the right, we add a slight amount of hot melt to the toe. The same concept can be applied to your driver with the proper fitting and attention. 

Golf Club Customization

2nd Swing Golf offers free fittings for any clubs purchased from us. We use the same hot melting technologies as the TaylorMade Tour Van.

If you want to have an adjustment done on your club, have your club fit at one of our two Minnesota store locations. We can help you find what bias you need.

Or if you already know what you want done with your club, please contact us or our on-staff clubsmith Robert Reitz directly via email at robert@2ndswing.com to discuss what modification you desire and to what specifications. If you would like help over the phone on what works best for you, please call (612) 216-4152.

Technology: Golf Ball Fitting

Technology: Golf Ball Fitting 

The importance of golf ball fitting for your game and how one of the best — Titleist — does it.

golf ball fitting

Who knew your ball could be fit to your needs? A lot of people evidently. And our writer gets a custom fit and education on the process from a pro.

Since being on this “fitting kick” for some time now, I have mostly spent time discussing the various components of the golf club. The grip, the weight, loft and lie considerations, etc. I even think about shafts, but I’ll save that for another day. 

golf ball fitting

This is a pretty solid chart for golf ball fitting specs.

Today, I want to talk about Titleist Ball fitting. It basically translates to any golf ball fitting for that matter, such as Wilson, Srixon and Bridgestone, but we are using Titleist as a first-hand example. Several golf ball companies have simple smart phone apps now that also walk you through the process. 

Golf ball fitting really is as simple as it sounds: Find which ball you should be using.

(And, hey, maybe I’ve been using the wrong ball. If so, I’m calling that excuse No. 14 as to why I’ve gone from a 2 to 9 handicap.)

So I received an email recently from 2nd Swing telling me that they will be having a ball fitting session in Minneapolis, where they are headquartered, and that I should sign up and pick a time. However, these sessions are offered to the public all the time throughout the United States and beyond by golf ball manufacturers. Just look at their websites.

golf ball fitting

How Titleist rolls with its mobile golf ball fitting sessions — available to the public around the country.

It began with 2nd Swing’s professional fitters asking me just to start hitting balls to warm up before meeting with Titleist Golf Ball Fitter Jason Ng. He asked me questions about my game, handicap, how much I play, what kind of ball I currently use and what I was hoping to learn from this experience.

My response was, “just want to learn about the ball fitting experience and if I have been playing the correct type of ball or if I should be thinking about something different.” Once the preliminary interview was over, the discussion turned to the process of the ball fitting.

Titleist stresses the importance of the short game first. Not the driver and distance. I was impressed to learn that they would rather find me a golf ball that performs for me when I’m less than 100 yards from the hole, which is where close to 65 percent of the strokes we take come from, or something close to that figure.

golf ball fitting

Jason had set out a Titleist flag approximately 50 yards from my spot and asked me to hit the club I would normally take from that distance, without accounting for wind. I hit about 10 balls in and around the target. Next, Jason asked me to hit the same number of balls but with my 6-iron.

Finally, I pulled out the Big Dog — the driver — and hit the same number of balls. All during this time, we chatted about golf balls and playing golf and sharing stories. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and made for a fun session.

Once this was completed, Jason walked me over to the monitor, and we went over the results. They are shown in this video below:

What did I learn?

That for most of the irons — whatever iron you have — you should have a spin rate about 1,000 times your iron number. So, for the 6-iron, I should be spinning the ball about 6,000 rpm.

I reconfirmed my belief that my driver rpm needs to be less than 2,500 rpm, with a 12- to 14-degree launch angle for me to achieve optimal carry and roll on my tee shots. And I was not getting enough spin on my wedges.

One tip Jason had for me: Keep the wedges clean at all times. Grooves and the clubface. Even grass secretes an oily substance that can diminish spin put on a golf ball when hit. Think about how much that rate goes down when you have dirt in the grooves.

Another thing that stuck with me was when I asked about moving to a different ball is if I would see increases in distance. Jason told me that almost all the golf balls out there all travel about the same distance, and that the differentiating factor was the spin rate on the ball.

USGA regulations limit the speed at which a ball can leave a clubface and most manufacturers have reached that limit. What makes the difference now is the type of core, cover and dimple design that the different companies use.

golf ball fitting

This is a deviation from other tests that have been done with different golf balls. And, yes, I do plan to conduct and attend other ball fitting sessions with other ball manufacturers.

But a quick glance at various websites and periodicals all list the Titleist Pro V1 series their top picks. And this is for all-around performance. Nice distance off the tee, solid iron control into the greens, the ability to spin the ball on closer approaches. It has one of the key things I look for with anything golf-related: the “feel” of the ball off the clubface, how it flies to the target, and how it sounds and feels when putting.

golf ball fitting

And this is how Bridgestone rolls with its own extensive on-site golf ball fitting process.

So what was the recommendation? That I should stay with the Titleist Pro V1. I was then escorted back to the registration table where Jason handed me a sleeve of Pro V1’s and thanked me for my time. My recommendation? I think a golfer should experience as much outside information and assistance available to them as possible. Also, it’s a free fitting. Why wouldn’t you want to take a half hour out of your day for the experience?

What are your thoughts on golf balls? Which ones do you play and why? Is it cost? Is it performance? Is it that you’ve been thoroughly brain-washed into thinking only one kind of ball is for you? I’m curious.

And here’s a video of how Bridgestone goes about its business with exceptional PGA and LPGA tour pros Matt Kuchar and Paula Creamer: 

PING nFlight Gap Analysis

PING nFlight Gap Analysis

What is a PING nFLight Gap Analysis?

PING nFlight Gap Analysis

Living in the Midwest during the winter months and being a golfer can be frustrating and annoying. Sure, sure…you have golf domes, simulators — even outdoor ranges where you hit off mats into the wide open.

However, we know that it’s not the same. So what is a person to do? 2nd Swing Golf offers hitting areas at its Minnesota stores with the opportunity to hit the new toys. I’m positive that many of my fellow golfers work out and stretch to prepare for an  upcoming season, right? Uh, drinking beer on the couch and watching Sunday golf does not count.

What else should you be doing to be ready for a new season?

I posed that question to the staff at the Minnetonka 2nd Swing store. Their response?

“Have you had a Gap Analysis done?” My teeth don’t have gaps. I already own a gap wedge. Do I need a special one? Did they want to know the frequency of my visits to a certain clothing store? And how did that relate to my golf game?

Ever had a set of irons where the average distance between two irons was significant?

You had to swing really hard to make up the distance or choke way down with the longer club. This required lots of practice and knowing your own limitations.

Growing up, the rule of thumb for a set of irons was as each club got longer the loft of the club would decrease, and the difference in yardage was 10 yards per club.

At one time, I was told that typically the 7-iron is meant to carry 150 yards, which meant an 8-iron would carry 140 yards, 9-iron 130 yards and so on in each direction.

But the practical application of that proved to be wrong. Sometimes I hit my 7-iron longer. Many golfers hit their long irons the same distance, which is part of the reason for the growth of hybrids. The 10-yard difference in irons was not necessarily wrong, just different for each player.

A Gap Analysis, or “gapping” as it is called, is a feature provided by the complex PING nFlight launcher monitors, hardware and software in the hitting nets at 2nd Swing. By hitting balls with your own equipment, the computer program is able to calculate your average distance with each iron and the difference in carry and roll yardage between each iron.

That distance is your “gap” between irons.

PING nFlight Gap Analysis

The Process

The 2nd Swing clubfitter (Aaron Roth worked with me) asks you a series of questions: height, length of wrist to floor, hand size, longest finger (Remember, this is PING and this is how they roll when it comes to clubfitting.), plus your average distance with a 7-iron and driver.

Partly, this is to set up the computer program, but also to assess your knowledge of your equipment. Here’s the most important part: Be honest!

It is like going to the doctor’s office: The more honest you are and the more information you can provide, the better your diagnosis. If you tell the clubfitter that you hit a 7-iron 165 yards and then hit five balls and they only go 150, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Check the ego at the door. Or it may be a case where you need new irons to get back to that 165-yard 7-iron. Either way, the clubfitter will be able to tell.

First, I hit a couple of 7-irons, making sure that I hit them just right — not too thin, not too chunky. Then I did the same thing with my 3-hybrid (18-degree), and finally a couple of swings with, ironically, the gap wedge.

Keep in mind, you are looking for your average carry distance and roll. This is one more reason to remember to always swing no more than 65 percent to 70 percent of your full power for more consistent distance and accuracy. Once that was completed, I had the rest of my club lofts’ input. From this information, a gapping analysis was completed and printed for me to review.

You can see that I have a serious gap from my 4-iron to my 19-degree and 18-degree hybrids. Part of that is because my original 3-hybrid is an older TaylorMade; the 18-degree hybrid is a newer TaylorMade RBZ, which comes with a longer shaft. 

What I found very interesting is that the calculated distances are very close to my actual distances. But you can see I have a serious yardage gap.

Here was the interesting lesson learned: It does not matter what the loft of the club is or how long it is or who makes the club. You are looking for the club that will more evenly cover the gap distance. So you don’t need to have all TaylorMade or all PING in your bag (Although the manufacturer would prefer that… and you can always custom order to the specs you need.).

PING nFlight Gap Analysis

Filling the Gap

After knowing the gap, the next step was to find the right combination of loft, shaft flex and shaft length that best allows me to fill the gap.  Aaron worked with me as we tried different brands with varying lofts and lengths. We ultimately found a Titleist 913 24-degree hybrid, but installed a shaft that normally works for a 21-degree hybrid (about a half-inch longer). This got me to an average distance of 208 to 212 yards. Now the gap from my 4-iron is only 13 yards — and order has been restored to my golf bag.

Results

I found the Gap Analysis very revealing. I had no idea my longer hybrids were bunched in distance so closely together. 

While playing, I probably didn’t even realize I was choking down or swinging harder to cover the yardage gaps. On the shorter irons, it may be a case of needing to adjust the lofts by a degree or so to better and more consistently cover the yardage gaps.  

Is this type of fitting necessary for everyone?  No.  A Gap Analysis is better for the golfer who plays and has played for many years. They play in serious leagues or weekend events where the difference in a couple of strokes is shop credit or crying in your cold beer on the patio (I’ve done both, more the latter.).  But knowing your yardages always can give you an added advantage.

There’s also a part of the printout you receive is a small form on which to write down your yardages and have them laminated. Now you have a handy guide ready to go when you play.

 

 

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Golf Terminology: Characteristic of Time (CT)

Measuring a Clubface’s Characteristic Time (CT) or Flexibility and Spring-like Effect

And how the precise method replaced Coefficient of Restitution (COR) in overseeing golf clubface manufacturing and performance.

In the past, golfers with wooden clubheads would gather around the bar after their round and tell tales of how much more distance they were getting from the smokin’ face inserts in their drivers or favorite fairway woods.

Inserts with metal “firing pins” milled into the face, aluminum inserts, or the mythical “gamma-fire” glass insert were all part of the lore. Whether they actually worked or not is still debated, but since very few folks still swing persimmon clubheads we’ll skip that debate today.

When metalwoods became the norm, golfers became obsessed with how far a thin face could hurtle the ball. Manufacturers began making faces thinner and thinner until they were barely able to sustain the impact of a fast-swinging player.

However, distance was improving — and this concerned the USGA.

For several years, the USGA had used Coefficient of Restitution (COR) to identify how “hot” a clubface was. There was a cumbersome method of measuring that started by detaching the clubhead from the shaft, mounting it to a fixture and then firing a golf ball at it from an air cannon to get a reading on the COR.

You may remember that COR means how much energy is maintained after the golf ball (fired from the cannon) strikes the club face. A Perfect COR would be 1.0. The max spec set by the USGA was.830 COR. Anything over that was deemed non-conforming to the Rules of Golf.

Now the USGA uses a different method of measuring this spring-like effect. It is called the Characteristic Time or “CT.” You can click HERE to see the full USGA rules on measuring CT. 

CT

Much easier and less expensive, it measures in microseconds (with the symbol: µs) the dwell time of a steel pendulum device as it impacts the clubface. The assembled club’s shaft is clamped into a fixture and the pendulum is adjusted to allow it to strike the center of the clubface.

CT

Right from the USGA rule book on measuring CT or clubface flexibility.

The specified limit allowable is 239 µs, with a max tolerance of 18 µs, thus equaling a maximum CT of 257 µs.

There is said to be a correlation between COR and CT, but CT is a much more precise way of measuring the spring-like effect of a clubface.

The USGA seems to have tight reigns on the speed that it will allow manufacturers to produce on clubheads. This will further limit just how hot a club face may be and perhaps begin to put a cap on the distance golfers will hit the ball.

Ah, but don’t worry too much. I’m sure that the golf ball makers will be able to squeeze out a few more yards from the clubs when max CT is reached.

 

dynamic golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Dynamic Stretches for Golf

Dynamic Stretches for Golf

A typical golf professional arrives at the course hours before their tee time. And what does the pro do first? He or she starts out simple with stretches to loosen the body up and begin their routine on the practice green.

And you should too.

Formal definition:  Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching very useful in sports such as golf. It utilizes momentum from our body’s form. Static-active stretching helps build strength by in part harnessing the momentum from static-active stretching movements and positions. The important thing to remember with dynamic stretching is that you are not extending or exceeding your normal range of motion as you do the activities. 

Professional players focus on other short game areas such as chips, pitches and bunker shots. Next, they work on their full swing at the practice range. Typically, they spend a few more minutes on the putting green before they head to the first tee. There is no doubt they are fully prepared physically and mentally for their upcoming round.

Recreational players often arrive at the golf course with only a few minutes to prior to their tee time. They spend little or no time warming up and the first three or four holes result in a disaster. While you don’t need to go through an in depth routine such as a tour professional, you should spend a few minutes warming up before your round. 

There are several forms of stretching. Static stretching is the most common form that greatly improves flexibility. However, static stretches does little to contract the muscles needed to generate powerful golf swings. Dynamic stretches help improve your range of motion while reducing muscle stiffness.

In addition, research indicates dynamic stretches have a positive influence on performance. Many athletes in other sports also prefer dynamic stretches during their warm up routine.

The following dynamic stretches are useful for golfers:

dynamic golf stretches

Supported Squats

Place a club over your head with your hands on both ends of the club. Your arms should be fully extended up. Stand with your feet shoulder width and squat down until your thighs are close to parallel with the ground.

dynamic golf stretches

Arm Swings

Stand with your feet shoulder width and arms extended out to your sides. Slowly swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body.

dynamic golf stretches

Trunk Rotations

Place a club behind your neck with your hands on both ends. Stand with your feet shoulder width and bend your knees slightly and at your waist. Turn to each side so you get one end of the club directly in front of you with each turn.

dynamic golf stetches

Side Bends

Stand with your feet shoulder width and hold a club behind your neck. Bend to each side and keep your torso straight. Avoid leaning forward or backward, only go to each side.

dynamic golf stretches

Swing a Weighted Club

Practice swinging with a heavy club.  Swinging a weighted club is designed to increase flexibility, add swing speed, increase distance and build muscle. Take a normal set up and make continuous swings forward and backward without stopping.

dynamic golf stretches

Leg Swings

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width and near an object you can grab for support. Begin by slowly swinging your right leg forward and backward. Switch to the other leg. Your body should remain standing straight up through the leg swings.

dynamic golf stretches

Alternate Toe Touches

Begin by spreading your feet a comfortable distance apart. Lean toward your left leg and touch your left foot with your right hand. You should feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Repeat the motion for the other foot. 

And try to have fun. Do what you can. Don’t overextend yourself. Maybe, listen to music on earbuds. Relax. Tune out the world a bit. You’re on the golf course!

– See more at: http://blog.2ndswing.com/dynamic-stretches-golf/#sthash.MsZU1ypN.dpuf

static golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Static Stretches for Golf

Static Stretches for Golf

Static stretches are used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. Unlike dynamic stretches, studies indicate static stretches do not improve athletic performance. Rather, static stretches are designed to improve mobility and range of motion.

Make time for these. They work and will help your fitness for more than just golf. 

Stretches are generally held anywhere from 10 seconds or more and require easy breathing while the stretch is performed. The following are only a small sample of beneficial static stretches a golfer can perform.

Static stretching definition: A Static stretching means is one held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretches are the most common form of stretching now in fitness and is great for golf to improve overall flexibility and strength. 

static golf stretches

Standing Shoulder Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder width and vertically hold a club in front of you. Hold onto the club and bend forward at your waist until your back is parallel with the ground. You should feel a stretch across your shoulders.

static golf stretches

Wrist Extensions

Wrist injuries are the most frequently reported injury for female golfers. Try the following exercise to stretch out the wrist and forearm. Extend your right arm straight out and pull back your fingers with your left hand until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat the motion with the other wrist.

static golf stretches

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex your right knee and slide your foot toward your butt. Place both hands behind the flexed knee and pull your knee toward your chest. Hold the stretch for the appropriate amount of time to stretch your lower back and gluteal muscles. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

static golf stretches

Double Knees to Chest

Low-back injury is the number one reported injury in golf. The double knees to chest stretch will focus directly on the lower back, the most frequently injured area resulting from the golf swing.

Begin by lying on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex both knees and slide both feet toward your butt. Place both hands behind your thighs and avoid too much bending in your knees. Pull both knees toward your chest and shoulders and lift your hips up off the floor. Relax and slowly extend your legs back to the original position. 

static golf stretches

Cat and Camel

The cat and camel stretch focuses directly on the upper back. Begin by getting on your knees and place your hands on the ground. Extend your arms forward and lower your chest down to the floor. Exhale out and extend your shoulders while you press down on the floor with your arms to produce an arch in your back. Hold the stretch and then relax.

static golf stretches

Quad Stretch

The quad stretch focuses on the middle- and upper-quadriceps muscles. Begin by standing and hold onto an object for support. Grab your left foot with your left hand and pull your heel toward your butt. Hold the stretch and return to your original standing position. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.

static golf stretches

Triceps Stretch

The triceps stretch focuses directly on the triceps. Begin the stretch by standing and place one hand behind your back and the elbow in the air. Place the other hand on the elbow and pull towards your head. Hold the stretch and repeat with the other arm.    

static golf stretches

Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly stretch targets the inner thighs and groin area. Begin by sitting on the ground in an upright position. While sitting both soles of your shoes should be together.  Spread your knees apart and pull your feet toward your groin so you feel a stretch in the groin and inner thighs. Keep your lower back straight to perform the stretch correctly.   

static golf stretches

Hamstring Stretch

Stretch your hamstring by lying flat on your back with your legs extended out. Raise one leg and place your hands around your thigh. Keep your leg extended out while your other leg still lies flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

static golf stretches

Cross-over stretch

The cross-over stretch targets the hips and gluteal muscles. Begin by resting your head on a pillow or rolled up towel. Position both of your feet flat against a wall while your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Cross your left leg over your right thigh. Position your right hand over your left thigh and pull it down to the floor. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.