week I will be playing my qualifier for the Florida state amateur at Metrowest.
If I qualify, the state amateur match-play championship will be from August 9
thru the 12th. If I don’t qualify, I will likely try out for the state
mid-amateur, which doesn’t take place until October (qualifier in
With that, I have some upcoming experiments I want to try
I am in the process of being fitted for TrueAim. I should have a review of their
product in the next week or so. I do plan on using their product on my driver
for the qualifier as so far, so good. I’m still tweaking the decals on the
driver and now want to try it with my 3-wood.
am also going to experiment with a driver that will optimize carry distance. I
will do this by altering the loft of the driver. I’m thinking that a 12° loft or
so could optimize carry distance with the same shaft, shaft length, etc. I could
then use this in several different situations, like on soft, wet courses or
downwind tee shots and since I can already hit my 10° loft driver off the deck
well, I can still use the 12° off the deck as my ‘3-wood.’
also interested in trying a belly putter. Statistically, the Tour really hasn’t
seen a big improvement in golfers switching to the belly putter. However, we
have seen over time golfers greatly improve their putting going to the long
putter. But, the long putter has a much larger ‘sample size’ than the belly
putter. Personally, I like the idea of being able to ‘automate’ your stroke a
little more with the belly putter. I think if you can get the aim down, the feel
for the putter and know how to read greens, there’s no reason to not greatly
improve. I think the biggie for me is finding a belly putter that I can aim
well. I will have to get together with Edel Golf and see what they are doing in
this area of putters.
also interested in experimenting with a graphite iron shaft. My thinking here is
that with what we know about shaft bend profiles along with MOI matching, I
don’t foresee any reason why we cannot have a graphite shaft that is the same
MOI and launches the ball just like steel shaft and we don’t have to add length
to the club either. The advantages would be the potential for a lighter static
weight, which could add clubhead speed along with the vibration dampening
attributes that graphite shafts have which can be more friendly on the hands and
wrists. The goal here is simple, if I can hit graphite 1-2 clubs longer, but
keep the trajectory, accuracy and consistency the same it may be worth the extra
dollars to shoot lower scores and better avoid potential injury.
experiment with the Wishon Black Series graphite iron shaft. This shaft weights
85 grams compared to the Wishon Stepless Steel (which is performing great) at
115 grams. My only concern is I may wind up having to add too much weight to the
head in order to match the MOI. So I will experiment with a 6-iron and see how
it works from there.
a great video done by 3Jack Top-20 Golf Instructor, John Graham, showing how
ball flight can sometimes be deceptive it what is actually going on at
One thing…1-dimple on a
golf ball is supposed to be roughly 0.14 inches. In the video, Graham clearly
can tell that he hit the ball off the toe. He estimates that he missed the
sweetspot by about ½-inch. Now remember, the sweetspot is about the size of a
needle point. It is NOT an ‘area’ around the center of the club. It is extremely
minute in size.
So when John misses by roughly ½-inch, he’s missing by
roughly 3.5 dimples. Where ball flight can confuse golfers even more is when the
golfer misses by less than 3.5 dimples because they tend to not even feel that
mis-hit. It doesn’t mean you can’t hit great shots, but it can help explain some
things more clearly about your swing and you can use that knowledge and work on
your mechanics and/or change your equipment specs to start hitting the ball on
the sweetspot. Of course, you could run into an issue of now hitting the ball on
the sweetspot due to changing your specs, but hitting more inaccurate shots
because your impact conditions are designed to hit that push-cut that John shows
in the video.
In that sense, it’s much like fixing your aim in putting.
One can certainly be a great putter despite mis-aiming their putter at address.
But, it requires compensatory moves to consistently get that putter face
pointing at the target at impact. And if they don’t, that can cause a myriad of
other problems like hitting the ball harder or softer to get the ball into the
cup. And from there, it can snowball into some awful putting.
impact tape/spray is good to have and test out what is going on at impact from
time to time. When I fit golfers for clubs, the last thing we fit is the lie
The reason being is that there are many factors that go into
fitting the lie angle that can alter where you strike the ball on the clubface.
Typically we find the head, shaft and shaft length first. Then we figure out the
MOI using a 6-iron and trying to find their approximate fitted lie angle for
I’ve had golfers, including myself, mis-hit the 6-iron
towards one part of the clubhead and start to think the club is too flat for
them. But as we add weight and get their optimal MOI, they not only see their
impact dispersion get smaller, but they start finding the sweetspot as well. So
sometimes it’s not a lie angle issue, but a weight/MOI issue.
get the head, shaft, shaft length, grip and MOI fitted and I get the clubs, I
then assemble the club and I instruct the customer to get the impact tape/spray
out with each iron and hit 3-5 shots. The good part of the MOI fitting is that
it will keep the impact dispersion small and in one area. So the golfer should
not be too confused as to where they are striking the ball on the face. You
won’t see them hit 3 shots towards the toe and 1 towards the heel. Generally if
they are hitting a shot off the toe, they will now hit every shot off the toe.
And we now know that they have to bend the lie angle upright to some degree.
I’ve also found that impact tape/spray is very helpful when you mis-hit
a shot and miss the sweetspot low or high. Sometimes a shot can FEEL like a toe
hit when instead you hit it up too high on the face, even off the heel.
So not only can a Trackman and some impact tape/spray help your swing,
but it can help you find the right equipment for your game. You can find John at
Jeff Martin over at www.jeffygolf.com, was able to get the measurements of Ben Hogan's irons from the USGA House. In particular a set of 1953 irons Hogan used and a
‘practice’ set that he also used. You can follow the thread at this link:
1953 set had different lie angles than his ‘practice’ set. We don’t have the
measurement of the 1953 iron lengths. However, I will assume that Hogan used the
same length irons as his practice set.
Here’s a look at the lie angle
1-iron: 54.6° 2-iron: 55.6° 3-iron: 57.2° 4-iron: not
available 5-iron: 59.3° 6-iron: 60.2° 7-iron: 61.7° 8-iron:
61.7° 9-iron: 62.6° PW: 62.5° SW: not available
lengths (based off the practice set):
1-iron: not available 2-iron:
38-1/2” 3-iron: 38-0” 4-iron: 37-1/2” 5-iron: 37-0” 6-iron:
36-3/8” 7-iron: 36-0” 8-iron: 35-3/8” 9-iron: 35-1/4” PW: not
available SW: 34-7/8”
And here are the swingweights (based off the
1-iron: not available 2-iron: C8 3-iron:
C7 4-iron: C7 5-iron: C9 6-iron: C8 7-iron: C8 8-iron:
C7 9-iron: D2 PW: not available SW: D5
what do we see?
His clubs were very short in length. Hogan was only about
5’6” tall, but he had no problem with making his clubs rather short in length.
Even back then, they were about ½” shorter than vintage iron
His lie angles were fairly flat. But, we have to understand
that for every ½” difference in shaft length. That equates to 1° in effective
lie angle. So, Hogan’s clubs with relation to today’s standard were more like
this (rough approximation):
His clubs also had a very light swingweight to them. However, we
would need to get a better idea of the total weight of the club and the MOI to
understand more. That’s part of the problem with swingweight, Hogan may have had
very heavy static weight clubs that would be difficult to swing with any real
velocity. But if the weight was primarily located towards the butt end of the
club, the swingweight will drop.
I have been told by people who have hit
his irons how stiff and difficult they were to hit. Give this information, I
think it is within reason that Hogan may have put an inordinate amount of weight
on the butt end of his clubs.
Once again, thanks to Jeff Martin and the
USGA people for putting this
of the players fighting for his Tour card as we head down the stretch in Tommy
‘Two Gloves’ Gainey. He is currently ranked 104th on the Money List and even
more disconcerting, 170th in Adjusted Scoring Average. Last year he finished
35th on the Money List and 88th in Adjusted Scoring Average.
here’s what I wrote about Gainey in the 2011 Pro Golf
There are some
similarities between Gainey and (Rickie) Fowler and as I stated before, I find
them to be two of the best players without a PGA Tour
what’s going on with ‘Two Gloves?’ First, let’s take a look at his
There are some metrics that stand out,
but I should go over them before we delve further.
I’m sure some will see
the dip in Putts Gained, but Putts Gained is by far and away the most ‘volatile’
metric I use. Meaning, it can change dramatically from one week to the next.
Last week Gainey was ranked 99th and now he’s 110th. If he has a pretty good
tourney with the flatstick, he can easily be at the ranking he was last season.
I would be more concerned if the difference in ranking was 50 points or more at
this time of the year. But since it’s still pretty close, I wouldn’t worry too
much about it.
While I’m a big believer in the Danger Zone play for Tour
players, the difference between 78th and 64th would only equate to a minute
difference in Adjusted Scoring Average and money earned. So I wouldn’t read too
much into that at the moment.
What’s interesting though are his rankings
in Advanced Total Driving, Birdie Zone and Safe Zone play.
improved in Birdie Zone play (shots from 75-125 yards). Last year it was a weak
spot for him and I believe during the offseason he worked on shots from this
distance. It’s a real common theme from the Tour players, caddies and coaches
I’ve worked with, each of them talk about wanting to be an elite wedge player.
But as Gainey shows, it’s often a very overrated part of the game, something I
pointed out in 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis.
There are 2 big reasons for Birdie
Zone shots being overrated.
1. The penalty for a ‘bad’ shot by a Tour
player is rather small and the best Birdie Zone players only average hitting the
shot to about 16 feet, where the make percentage is still fairly low. In other
words, put the best vs. the worst Birdie Zone players together and the
difference in their final scores will be smaller than Safe Zone and Danger Zone
2. It’s the least frequently hit Zone shot per round on Tour.
The Safe Zone (shots from 125-175 yards) is the most frequently hit zone
on Tour. However, it falls behind the Danger Zone in terms of importance because
the Danger Zone is the zone that is the 2nd most frequently visited by Tour
players and the penalty is much more severe.
So in terms of shot attempts
per round, it goes in order of:
1. Safe Zone 2. Danger Zone 3.
And there’s a sizeable drop-off in frequency between Danger
Zone and Birdie Zone.
In terms of differences in Expected Score values
from best to worst, it goes:
1. Danger Zone 2. Safe Zone 3. Birdie
And of course, as far as the correlation to Adjusted Scoring
average, it also goes:
1. Danger Zone 2. Safe Zone 3. Birdie
There is a correlation between a player’s percentage of
shots in the Safe Zone that come from the fairway or tee box and their Safe Zone
proficiency. With ‘bomb and gouging’ being all of the rage, the Tour still shows
that to a degree, hitting fairways is important. Particularly when it comes to
how well you will play from the Safe Zone.
With that, golfers who are
struggling from the Safe Zone tend to run into 1 or 2 areas:
too high of a percentage of their shots in the Safe Zone from the rough (instead
of fairway or tee box).
2. Just a lack of skill of hitting those shots
regardless if they are from the fairway/tee box or the
ADVANCED TOTAL DRIVING
In Gainey’s case,
he’s gone from a player who was more or less ‘above average’ off the tee in 2011
and is now ‘below average’ off the tee this season. My Advanced Total Driving
metric is a proprietary formula that factors in:
Distance 2. Fairway Percentage 3. Average Distance from Edge of Fairway on
tee shots that wind up in the rough.
Driving Distance –
Gainey went from 46th in driving distance last year (296.7 yards) to 25th in
driving distance this year (298.6 yards). When looking at driving distance, it’s
better to look at the *ranking* than the yardage to get a more accurate idea of
the player’s driving distance. I like to think of this along the same lines as
Putts Gained, while an improvement of 21 spots on the ranking is better than no
improvement, I would have to see an improvement of 50+ spots to really see a
Fairway Percentage – Here’s where we start
seeing a difference as Gainey went from hitting 58.97% (130th) in 2011 to 53.47%
(160th) in 2012. Last year he hit 822 fairways (out of 1,394 attempts). This
year he would be on pace to hit 745 fairways. In a world where the difference in
100 ranking spots in Scoring Average can be less than 1 stroke, the drop in
fairways hit is hurting Gainey’s game.
Distance To Edge of
Fairway – Here’s where we see an even bigger discrepancy as Gainey has
gone from 92nd in this metric to 150th.
And having looked at his radar
metrics (club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin, etc), they
are virtually identical. In essence, he’s just more wild with the driver this
So that explains the dip in his Advanced Total Driving metric, but
does it explain his Safe Zone woes?
hitting a lower percentage of his Safe Zone shots from the fairway or tee box.
In 2011, 73.5% of his Safe Zone shots came from the fairway or tee box. That was
151st highest percentage on Tour. But this year he is hitting 69.0% of his Safe
Zone shots from the fairway or tee box, 171st on Tour.
And here’s a look
at his rankings from the Safe Zone distances out of the rough and the
So part of Gainey’s
Safe Zone issues are also flat out worse execution from the Safe Zone. He’s seen
a massive drop-off in his fairway shots from 125-150 yards and a drop-off in his
shots from the fairway at 150-175 yards.
Still, his rough play is even
more worrisome and he’s had even bigger declines from that area. I think that
what is happening is he’s hitting more shots off the grid and further away from
the fairway and he’s having more difficulty from the rough and hitting more
shots from the rough, which is not a good combination.
IMO, the way to
secure his Tour card for this season is to focus on the driving accuracy and
consistency. That will prevent those big number scores that can make him miss
cuts, not make any money and put him behind the 8-ball. It will also help with
his proficiency from the Safe Zone and continue to help him from the Danger
Zone, which he’s shown to be fairly well skilled at. But it does go to show you
how you misleading the idea of improving wedge play can be to a player’s
every month or so, Tom Wishon has an updated ‘e-Tech Report’ which is more or
less a newsletter discussing equipment, clubfitting and his research that has
been conducted. I have found his e-Tech Reports to be very enlightening, in
particular the last e-Tech report, which can be found here.
latest e-Tech report goes into shafts. Shafts are something I’ve been studying
quite a bit this year. Ironically, I ordered Wishon’s ‘Shaft Bend Profile
Software’ program right around the time the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show happened
and from there I started to notice that I played better with a softer shaft or
so I thought.
Before I go on further, if you’re into equipment and want
to really find the shafts for you, I recommend Wishon’s Shaft Bend Profile
software, which is available to be purchased by the public (even if you’re not a
clubmaker) for $130. The database is updated for free about twice a year to
include new shafts and not only can you start to understand shafts that fit your
swing, but also much more affordable shaft alternatives. The software can be
I think the concept that has to
change about how a golfer thinks about shafts is to stop labeling shafts as a
‘good’ shaft or a ‘bad’ shaft. The reality is that the level of quality of a
shaft does not really differ from one company to another. The difference is that
the shaft may or may not fit your golf swing. So if you like a certain shaft or
a certain companies shafts, you are more or less finding that the shaft(s) just
happen to fit your swing.
Now, some stock shafts are just poorly made in
the sense that they *might* be designed to be a little thinner than their after
market counterpart in order to save some money. But, it’s not like some golfers
cannot hit those shafts well. I just think that they are a little more apt to
break if you slam or throw the club. Also, I believe that the characteristics of
*some* of the stock shafts are different from their after market counterparts.
In fact, Wishon’s Shaft Bend Profile software does indeed have different data
for some of the stock shafts and their after market counterparts.
Even still, some golfers
may hit that stock shaft well. It’s simply a case if the attributes of the shaft
fit the golfer’s swing. You may be a little averse, and rightfully so, to stock
shafts for those reasons. But you should look at shafts as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’
with regards to how they fit your swing instead of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in terms of
One of the first things
Wishon discusses when it comes to shaft weight is when the golfer uncocks their
wrists on the downswing. In Golfing Machine terms, this is called ‘releasing the
#2 Power Accumulator.’
Here’s a set of pictures of golfers with different
times when they un-cock the wrists in their swing.
As the picture frame goes to the right, the later the golfer uncocks the
wrists (the left and middle pic are the same golfer).
So what Wishon is
saying is that the earlier the uncocking, the more important the weight of the
shaft is to the golfer versus the Bend Profile (which I’ll get into in a
Conversely, the later the uncocking of the wrists, the more
important the Shaft Bend Profile is to the golfer. So the golfer on the left is
more dependent on the weight and the golfer on the right is more dependent on
the Shaft Bend Profile for optimal performance.
AND THE SHAFT
One of the things I had questions about is why some
higher clubhead speed players can use ‘softer’ shafts than some lower clubhead
speed players. I had a friend of mine who generated close to 120 mph of driver
speed, yet hit some old True Temper Dynamic Gold R500 shafts the best. So that
always puzzled me when I was at a lower speed and playing better with the X100
You’ll hear a lot of golfers say that it has to do with how the
golfer ‘loads’ the shaft. Well, what does that mean?
I think a simpler
way to put it is ‘how does the golfer get to their top clubhead
Another way to think of it as a sprinter. Let’s say you have 2
sprinters running the 100 meter dash and both clock in at 10.0 seconds. If
sprinter A is 6’3” tall and has long legs and is known as a ‘long strider’, he
may take a while to hit that top speed. Springer B could be 5’7” tall and from
the get-go he’s running fast. So in the first 40 meters or so, Sprinter B could
beat out the long strider Sprinter A. But in the last 60 meters, the long
strider could be running at a faster speed and in the end catch up to the
shorter Sprinter B.
Where it applies to golf is to understand the swing
enough to understand what shaft characteristics fit your swing. And the key part
of your swing to understand is the level of acceleration your swing
Acceleration = the rate of change of velocity per
unit of time.
Let’s say you have 2 cars traveling.
Car A is going
90 mph. The Driver then presses on the gas and is now going 100 mph.
B is going 40 mph. The driver presses on the gas and is now going 60
What has more acceleration?
change in velocity in Car B is 20 mph. In Car A, while moving at a faster
velocity, has less acceleration.
Again, you can start to get an idea of
the golfer’s acceleration in their downswing by when they start to uncock their
Remember Sprinter A vs. Sprinter B?
The swing on the left is more
like 5’7” short Sprinter B. They have less acceleration and get their speed up
as soon as the starter’s gun is shot in the air.
The swing on the right
is more like the long-strider Sprinter A. They have more acceleration as they
start out slower and gradually build up a lot of speed in a
1) The later the uncocking of the wrists = shafts that
are heavier and stiffer in the tip section.
2) The earlier the uncocking
of the wrists = lighter shaft and softer tip section.
So that’s why my
friend liked the old R500 Dynamic Gold Shaft. He generated more speed overall
than I did, but his swing had less acceleration. I don’t think they make the
R500 anymore and I do not have the shaft bend profile numbers, but my guess is
that the shaft had a soft tip section.
The butt section determines the feel of the shaft and
helps with squaring up the clubface. Have you ever hit a shaft that is supposed
to be the correct flex for your swing, but it feels ‘stiff’ and ‘boardy?’ Or how
about that shaft that you feel like you ‘can’t get around on?’
are the butt section profile is too stiff for your swing. It also may have more
of the weight towards the butt section of the shaft.
Again, here’s where
we start to look at how the golfer accelerates the club. But instead of focusing
on the uncocking of the wrists, we are looking at the golfer’s downswing
To me, this is a little more of a murky area. But, Iook at
the golfer’s swing mechanics in the startdown.
Somebody like Jamie
Sadlowksi is a good example of a ‘forceful’ startdown.
If you look at
Sadlowski’s startdown, while he’s clearly lagging the club, he almost does it
all with a rotational motion of his shoulders and it has a look of him really
cranking down. Granted, Sadlowski generates unearthly clubhead speed numbers.
But to me, if he only swung at 110 mph, his startdown would be still considered
‘forceful’ and he would probably need a bit stiffer of a butt section profile on
his shafts over other golfers with 110 mph of clubhead speed.
like Boo Weekley I think has a smoother and less forceful
Boo lags the club as well, but he
utilizes his wrists and shifting the body pivot towards the target in the
startdown to help with that. His rotation of the shoulders is not nearly as much
as Sadlowski’s at this point and he has a look that is less ‘cranking down’ than
That’s not to say one is superior than the other as
Weekley generates about 115 mph of clubhead speed and is one of the best
ballstrikers on Tour. But, it’s to say that part of the way they accelerate the
clubhead in the downswing is different and it would provide different butt
section profiles that fit them best.
The tip section plays a bigger role in the launch angle
and spin rate. The stiffer the tip section, the lower the ball launches and less
There’s a common fallacy amongst amateurs that they want to
have as little spin as possible in order to maximize distance for their clubhead
speed. Instead, they should look to maximize launch conditions because if you
can increase carry, it will help you hit it further more than if you can
increase roll. Of course, one can overdo it by having too much carry and not
getting any roll out of the ball. But, we generally want to see launch
conditions optimized and to get the ball to land on an angle of about 40-45*, so
we maximize total distance.
Tip section profiles is one of the reasons
why I stopped worrying about ‘frequency matching’ shafts. To my knowledge, most
frequency shaft measurements either measure the total frequency of the shaft or
the butt frequency of the shaft.
If it’s just measuring the butt
frequency, that would be good to know when trying to fit the butt section
profile, but what if the tip section is way too stiff or way too soft? The
launch conditions won’t be optimized.
Again, we go back to the uncocking
of the wrists on the downswing to help point us in the right direction for tip
The later the uncocking of the wrists (right) the stiffer the tip
section will likely need to be. Of course, clubhead speed does play into this as
shown by Wishon’s chart in the e-Tech report.
Once you understand your downswing mechanics along with
speed, you should be able to get a general idea as to what shafts work for your
For instance, here’s a swing I made back in January.
I generate 110 to 113 mph of driver head
speed. I’ve found that I play best with a ‘stiff’ butt section shaft, but a very
tip firm (X-stiff) shaft. That’s because I have a fairly average aggression in
the startdown with a later uncocking of the wrists. Since I uncock the wrists
later (and I uncock them later now than in the video), shaft weight is not as
important than if I uncocked the wrists earlier in the swing.
So I play
with a UST Mamiya VTS 65x shaft in my driver. With the 3-wood I play a UST
Mamiya VTS Red 75x shaft. And then I play with the KBS Tour stiff flex shafts,
which spin a little too much for me, but again…they have softer tip sections. So
that’s why I’m in the process of switching to a Wishon Stepless steel shaft,
which has a stiffer tip section to help bring down the spin a
of the fascinating parts of learning about the game is when good golf
instruction adapts over time to find more accurate information. While most golf
instruction fanatics prefer accuracy of information first and foremost, the
applicability of that information should also be given tremendous consideration.
While information may be great in theory, it does the golfer little good if they
cannot reasonably apply that to their own game. From there, we should seek to
make the applicable information more efficient and easy to execute.
putting instructor, David Graham (http://www.efloridagolf.com/david-graham.htm),
went over a new method to learning AimPoint green reading earlier this year. The
older method of walking around the putt in a circle, finding the high anchor,
finding the low anchor, etc, is still applicable to reading greens. However, a
new method has been developed to make AimPoint easier to execute and take much
less time. I actually still use some of the techniques to the older method from
time to time, in particular locating the high and low anchor points. And, the
old method of walking around in the circle does help with training yourself to
feel the slope with your feet. But, the new method has probably increased my
accuracy and efficiency by tenfold.
One of the issues I’ve come across in
discussing AimPoint with other students is that many students do not realize
that you MUST practice AimPoint if you want to get better at it. Learning to
feel with your feet takes practice just as learning how to improve your takeaway
in the backswing takes practice on the driving range. The same goes for
diagnosing the amount of slope, deciphering what the aim looks likes from
different putting distances, getting a routine down, trusting the read, and
Many people who have learned AimPoint don’t
understand that and they think that they can just bring it out on the course and
have no problems. If they would spend their putting practice focusing on
AimPoint instead of blindly hitting some putts or putting some sort of putting
stroke training aid device, I believe they would understand putting much better
and would sink more putts.
was introduced to AimPoint’s new product, the AimPoint Bubble. It’s a rather
simple bubble level device that helps detect the slope. It retails at $40 and
can be found here http://aimpointgolf.3dcartstores.com/
Here’s a little
demonstration of the AimPoint Bubble by its inventor, Stephen Aumock.
Originally, I had some
skepticism about the AimPoint Bubble because the price point was not a lot less
than the Husky Digital Bubble Level that I own that I use for AimPoint. However,
I had some issues with the Husky Digital Level as well:
1. It requires
2. It’s about 1 foot long and is a little cumbersome to carry
3. It does not easily find the zero line.
The first thing you
will notice about the AimPoint Bubble is that it is small in size. It’s about
the size of a silver dollar. In fact, if you are practicing AimPoint on the
course, you can use it to mark your ball (obviously, it’s not legal for play).
It is also a basic level of sorts, so it does not require any batteries or any
using the Husky Digital level, the idea is in order to find the zero line, you
want to want to get the reading of the slope as steep as you can. But, I have
found issues with that and unless you understand how to feel with your feet, you
can produce some fairly inaccurate reads using the Digital Level.
think the issue with the bubble levels is that the bubble lays horizontally. The
AimPoint Bubble lays on top of the ground. Plus, it has directional measurements
on the bubble which are applicable to using AimPoint.
While Aumock shows
us how to use the AimPoint Bubble a certain way. I tried it in different
fashions. For starters, I would put the Bubble where the ball is located and
point the 0-line on the bubble at the hole. If it’s a planar slope putt, the
Bubble will give you a read directly on that putt. So if you have a putt that is
60° down (aka 2 o’clock), if you have the bubble where the ball is located, the
Bubble will be located at 60°.
Again, it’s not legal for play. But, I
would use this for practice to help better understand my skill level with
AimPoint. Sometimes I would flip the Bubble over so it wouldn’t show the break.
Then I would go thru my routine of calculating the break and then I would flip
the bubble over and see what it says. I would also use Aumock’s method in the
video and try to see if I could guess the zero line.
What I found was I
have a tendency to read towards 90° (3 or 9 o’clock) too often. And I also read
too much break when I was actually directly on the zero line.
the greatest part of the Bubble is that I was surprised by its accuracy. Not
only from a slope direction perspective, but also in slope steepness. The little
arc markings are spot on for determining the percentage of slope.
the Husky Digital level, you can still use it. The AimPoint Bubble only measures
the slope to 4%. So if you are looking for readings on slopes more than 4%, you
could use both in conjunction with each other.
The only complaint I have
heard is that due to the small size of the AimPoint Bubble that a spike mark
could throw off the reading. While that could be true to a degree, I’ve found
from owning the Husky and the Exelys Breakmaster, that alterations in the green
from spike marks and ball marks actually reek more havoc because they are
electronic. Not that I think it really matters because I go by the old
carpenter’s rule of ‘measure twice, mark once.’
In the end, the AimPoint
Bubble really surprised me with how well it works and I recommend it for
Tropical Storm Debby drenching much of Florida, I started to think about owning
2 different driver lofts and/or shafts in order to better suit myself for the
weather. Florida summers usually see heat, humidity and then downpour for about
15 minutes to an hour. This actually works out nicely for courses from tee to
green as the rain gives the ground the water it needs and the extreme heat and a
little breeze dries everything up nicely. Then it’s a rinse and repeat
However, if we go without rain for 2-3 days, the ground gets
very hard and you’re now likely to see brush fires. Conversely, sometimes the
rain goes into overload for a few days and absolutely drenches the
With that, I was curious about approaching 2 different drivers.
Now, obviously one could change their swing mechanics to hit the ball lower or
higher. In fact, I usually do that a few times a round with my irons, usually
switching to a higher ball flight mechanics on front pin locations. But, that
may occur 2-3 times a round max.
Because if I’m in the
Danger Zone, I’m usually just thinking about making good contact and finding the
green. So that generally takes away my 3-iron, 4-iron and 5-iron shots. And if I
have less than 150 yards into the green, I’m probably hitting no more than a
9-iron with my stock swing and those shots generally fly high enough and spin
enough to get a front pin location shot close.
However, if I’m trying to
hit high ball drivers to counter soft fairways, now I’m probably altering my
swing at least a dozen different times on the course and I don’t quite feel that
comfortable in doing so.
my reading, it appears that essentially there’s ‘optimal total distance’ and
‘optimal carry distance’ with the driver. So, optimal distance does NOT
necessarily mean that the driver will carry the furthest. In fact, there’s
likely to be some driver components that will max out the carry distance, but in
‘normal conditions’ will not max out the total distance.
The main factor
appears to be the launch angle. And it appears that if you can find the driver
components that equate to maxing out total distance, than you need to find the
driver and components that will increase the launch angle by roughly 2°. So, if
you’re optimal total distance launch angle is 9.3°, then your optimal carry
distance launch angle will somewhere in the neighborhood of
belief is that if you’re going to do this, you should just change the loft of
the club. The shaft and head model should probably remain the same. Sometimes
companies will have similar clubhead models, but alter the location of the
Center of Gravity. The lower CoG can produce a higher launch angle while the
higher CoG can produce a lower launch angle. I believe Titleist’s D2 and D3
models are built that way.
This may not be a bad way to go, if you can
find a company that has driver models built like this. Still, the differences in
CoG may not affect the launch enough and may affect the spin more which may or
may not be conducive to increasing your carry.
The shaft can help with
this, particularly if the tip-section of the shaft is softer which will help
loft the ball in the air. But, I think it’s very risky to change a shaft too
much. In Tom Wishon’s June 2012 eTech Newsletter
(http://wishongolf.com/etech/archive/2012-2/june-2012/) he states that the
maximum difference in launch angles they see between shaft bend profiles that
fit a golfer is 2°. While that sounds exactly what we want, it sounds like that
is still a rare case to get as high as a 2° difference. Plus, that 2° difference
is from the lowest launch angle to the highest launch angle for those given
shafts. So, if I hit a Graphite Design shaft that ‘fits’ my swing and it’s the
lowest launching shaft of the bunch at 8°, then the highest launching shaft
could be an Aldila shaft at 10°. But, the optimal total distance launch angle
may belong to a Harrison shaft at 9.3°. So in order to max the carry, I actually
need to find a way to get the launch angle at +2° higher than the 9.3° Harrison
Lastly, you would need a lot of shafts to try out with a Trackman
or a FlightScope X2 in order to get closer to that 11.3° launch angle that
optimizes carry distance.
Thus, my belief at this time is that you can
probably alter the launch angle consistently by altering the static loft in the
driver and keeping the head model along with the shaft model the same. How much
the static loft will have to change would probably need Trackman or FlightScope
X2 to get a precise measurement.
COMMON WIND PLAY
One of the things that I have found to be a myth is that
hitting the ball high into a wind will automatically cause the golfer to lose
more distance than if they hit it lower. I don’t find that necessarily true.
Where I think golfers get mostly into trouble with high trajectories into a
tough breeze is with accuracy and predictability of the ball flight.
think where the distance differences come from a lower ball flight versus a
higher ball flight is from a ‘spinny’ shot. The extra spin causes the ball to
balloon in the air and the golfer would have been better hitting a lower
trajectory shot. But, if the golfer hits a higher trajectory and keeps the spin
loft lower, they can easily hit the higher trajectory shot into the wind
here’s the formula for spin loft:
Dynamic Loft – Attack Angle =
So what happens with those high ballooning shots is the
golfer may increase the steepness of their attack angle and/or increase their
dynamic loft. Both of which will increase the spin loft and cause a ‘spinny’
shot that balloons into the wind.
Let’s say my ‘stock’ swing produces these
All things being equal, I would
hit Shot #2 further, even though I hit it higher in the air because the Spin
Loft had decreased and I’m not hitting nearly as ‘spinny’ of a shot as Shot #1
which had a lower Max Height.
USING 2 DRIVER IN THE BAG AT
With that, I have talked to clubfitters who have discussed
success with having themselves and their customers who use 2 drivers in the bag
at once. These are often in windy areas where the golfer can use the higher
lofted driver on a hard tailwind and a lower lofted driver in a strong headwind.
So as long as the golfer does not alter their attack angle, they can
effectively reduce the Spin Loft or increase Spin Loft.
The idea is that
they could take their ‘normal swing’ and if their attack angle stays the same,
they’ll reduce the Spin Loft with the lower lofted driver into the wind. And
with the wind, they’ll increase their spin loft which is okay in a strong
tailwind. However, it should be noted that if the wanted to hit it purely
FURTHER with a tailwind, they wound want to actually decrease the Spin Loft by
shallowing out our hitting up with their attack angle. But again, this requires
the golfer to alter their swing and many golfers, even PGA Tour players, do not
like doing this in a round of golf.
most famous case of using 2 drivers at once goes to Phil Mickelson. Of course,
most presume that Phil was automatically correct in his decision because the
first time he used 2 drivers at Augusta, he won the Masters. But, winning
doesn’t always necessarily mean that the player made the right
However, upon further examination, I think Phil made a brilliant
move because it not only put him at a SIZEABLE advantage over the rest of the
field, most of the golfing world thought he was nuts and he did it
First, we should understand that from a statistical standpoint,
expected scores for Tour players start to change when there’s a difference of 25
yards or more. Also, we should remember that hitting the fairway does provide an
advantage to golfers, even Tour players. From about the same distance, Tour
players will hit their approach shot about 30-40% closer on average from the
fairway than the rough.
However, that does not mean that a Tour player
should just take a 3-wood out and hit fairways. Why? Because the loss of
distance between using a 3-wood versus a driver off the tee is too great. And I
think most Tour players probably hit their 3-wood about 40 yards shorter than
their driver off the tee. So not only does their expect score likely go up when
they scale back 40 yards, but you add that up over a round of 18 holes and now
you are seeing a sizeable difference.
In other words, ask yourself
‘would you buy a driver that you hit 40 yards shorter but can hit 80-90% of the
I think most golfers would say ‘no way.’
then…who should consider using 2 drivers in the bag at once?
who can be pretty sure that they can get about 25+ yard advantage with each
driver when used for each condition (ala tailwind vs. headwind
2. Golfers who are long enough where they likely will not need a
3-wood off the deck on par-5’s.
3. Courses that do not call for many
3-wood shots off the tee.
4. Golfers who can hit one of the drivers well
off the deck.
In Mickelson’s situation, his drivers were designed to work
the ball. One could hit a draw, the other a fade. So, there was no 25+ yard
advantage from that perspective.
Mickelson fit well into #2. Holes 13 and
15, Phil could get in two with an iron. #8 may be a stretch for Phil to go
driver-hybrid into, but I think he can get somewhat close. Furthermore, it’s a
tall order to reach that green in 2 shots for anybody.
Phil also doesn’t
hit the driver off the deck much like a Bubba Watson would, so that ruins #4 for
However, the brilliance of the idea was behind #3 and in the end,
that affected #1.
Augusta does generally call for some 3-woods off the
tee for long hitters like Phil. #10 is a perfectly example. It’s a 500 yard
par-4, but it goes straight downhill and bends to the left. The longer hitters
generally take a 3-wood off the tee and with the downhill slope and super-fast
fairways, they can belt one about 310 yards down the middle. The golfers who use
driver are almost exclusively shorter hitters, who will hit it the same distance
But with Phil and his 2 drivers, he had such confidence
in them drawing and fading on command, he could comfortably belt the fade driver
on #10 and hit it, let’s say 350 yards. Thus, while he technically didn’t hit
either driver noticeably further, the fact that he could use the driver on holes
where the longer hitters were using 3-wood, Phil was gaining a sizeable
With the golfers who want to use 2-drivers for wind purposes,
I would first ask “can I get a 25+ yard advantage with either driver versus
using the stock driver?’ If so, I would then start to contemplate using
2-drivers, if I feel I won’t need a 3-wood that much or that I am really adept
at hitting one of the drivers off the deck.
PHIL'S DECISION AT
THE 2009 US OPEN
In the ’09 US Open at Torrey Pines, Mickelson
did not utilize a driver and while he missed the cut, that does not
automatically mean that he’s wrong.
However, I do believe that was a poor
For starters, I do believe that he reasonably could use the
driver on 2-3 holes at that tournament. And on those holes he was probably
losing roughly 40 yards on each tee shot. Total that up, and it comes to 80-120
Secondly, if he gets in a situation where he desperately needs a
birdie, he needs to leave himself with a shorter approach if he can. But, he
doesn’t really have that option if he doesn’t have a driver to bomb away with.
Given his length off the tee, my belief is that the only way going
without a driver would have been a smart decision is if he was very confident
that he could hit his 3-wood accurately enough to be in the top-5 in the field
in driving accuracy. Otherwise, he’s really putting himself behind the
This is something I may wind
up trying out. Currently, I utilize a 10° loft Wishon 919THI driver with a
45-1/8” UST Mamiya VTS Silver 65x shaft. My feeling is that if I don’t optimize
my total distance with this club, I come very close. Thus, I think I probably
need something like a 11.50 to 12.0° head with the same components in order to
find a driver that maximizes carry.
That being said, I don’t think a
golfer has to gain 25+ yards off the tee with an alternate driver if they are
only using one of the drivers for those set of conditions. It’s when you carry
2-drivers in the bag, which may be an entirely smart move, that you need to
consider the potential pitfalls and