Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Search for Flatstick Nirvana Part XI (12.09.15)

Part I -
Part II -
Part III -
Part IV -
Part V -
Part VI -
Part VII -
Part VIII -
Part IX -
Part X -

In David Orr's most recent video on his Web site ( he has a lengthy discussion on putter weight.  David warns that he is by no means a master club fitter.  However, I believe he has a great amount of knowledge when it comes to putter fitting that he has obtained through all of the study. 

When it comes to clubfitting, I am fanatical about weight/heft of clubs.  I find more experienced golfers like myself are much more sensitive to the weight of any club through my time fitting golfers with MOI matching.  I know that I am pretty good at telling if a club is only 15-25 MOI points off from another club (provided they are the same model club and shaft). 

And I have greatly benefited from MOI matching as it has improved my impact dispersion and trajectory.  Since I've taken things a bit further with MOI matching and gotten more into Balance Index, I've found ways to improve the spin rate of my clubs as well. 

One of the things I really like about David's video on putter weight was that he takes into account the weight of each individual component of the putter from the head, shaft, grip and grip tape (yes, you have to consider the weight of the grip tape).  David also goes into how too heavy or too light of a putter can affect the putting stroke.

Unfortunately, David uses a swingweight machine to demonstrate the points.  I've discussed the issues with swingweight before.  One of them being that you can have two clubs with the same swingweight, but they may feel very different and when you put them on the MOI machine, you might find a noticeable difference in their measured MOI.

Another issue is that the swingweight measurement is static (lays still on the machine) while the MOI machine is a dynamic measurement.  Here's a video from Tom Wishon showing the difference and showing how a MOI machine works:

Not only is the MOI machine a dynamic measurement, but the movement is actually similar to a putting stroke motion.  So, I wanted to start and look at putters by MOI and total weight instead of just looking at swingweight.


In David Orr's video on putter weight, he talks about the swingweight and how it affects the feel of the putter.  He also mentions some key points on its affect on the putting stroke as well.  How too light of a putter or too heavy of a putter will affect the putting stroke in a certain way.

One of the big issues that MOI Matching clubfitters have to overcome is the golfer's belief that MOI matched clubs are mostly about feel instead of actually improving ballstriking results.  When swingweight matching devotees hear that MOI matching is a 'a more advanced version of swingweight matching', they tend to just think that the benefits are just feel and they like the way their clubs feel, so why change?

However, what they don't realize is that the impact dispersion will likely improve greatly.  Here is an example from clubmaker Richard Kempton of a before and after MOI matching:


Another aspect I've seen with MOI fitting is the trajectory can greatly improve. In fact, the first time I fit myself for MOI I purposely used a very light driver that I hit extremely low for the fitting session. And as I got closer to the ideal MOI for my swing, the trajectory was much higher. Almost a night-and-day difference in trajectory.

So, why can't we use this for putting? 


One of the things I wanted to do was take all of the putters I own and measure their impact dispersion and then look at their MOI numbers.  Here's the putters I looked at ranking at lowest MOI heft to heaviest MOI heft

Ping B61 -- 2,700 MOI 

This putter is 35-3/4" long.  I have a slim, Pingman grip, but added so much athletic tape so that it is now a midsize grip.  The impact dispersion on this putter was pretty good.  This came from the 1980's (possibly the 1970's) and they used to make putters very light because greens were much slower back then.  There is some offset in the hosel, but the hosel is way out on the heel.

Cleveland Classic 3 -- 2,770 MOI


This is 35 inches long with a Pingman grip. I did not strike this putter well, although it was way too flat for me. This is a 1/4 offset hosel.

Mizuno Bettinardi C06 -- 2,945 MOI

This is a face balanced design.  The putter is actually much lighter than what I have for the MOI, but I had put a lot of lead tape to the head years ago.  I don't know how much.  But, the face contact was very good.  This club has a Winn Grips midsize putter grip and is 35" long.  This appears to have a 1/4 offset with a face balanced shaft.

Edel E3 Torque Balanced -- 2,970 MOI

This is the putter I've been using for the past few months.  The face contact was pretty consistent, but not as consistent as the Bettinardi.  However, this performs much better on the Pelz Putting Tutor than the Bettinardi.  This putter is 35-1/2" long with a no offset shaft.

TaylorMade Ghost Daytona Tour Black --- 3,010 MOI

This putter is 35-1/2" long with a standard plumber's neck and a GripMaster USA Leather Wrap grip.  I installed a Nippon putter shaft which is heavier than your typical shaft.  The putter is a little too flat for me, but the impact dispersion was better with this than the Cleveland Classic 3 putter which came in at 2,770 MOI. 

Edel Columbia Custom - 3,025 MOI

This was originally a belly putter.  I then had the belly putter shaft taken off and replaced with a normal putter shaft.  The grip is a PURE Grips putter grip (the slim model), but the head weighs 365 grams.  It is 35" long and the impact dispersion wasn't that great.

YAR Golf Putter -- 3,990 MOI

Yes, this putter had a MOI of 3,990.  Almost 1,000 points higher than the heaviest putter.  This putter was still that heavy despite the hole in the middle of the head.  This putter is 38" long and I think it is too flat for me.  The face contact was decent, but it's a very small head so you don't have much room to miss.

In the end, the most consistent face contact putters were the Ping B61, the Bettinardi C06 and the Edel E-3 putters.  They were 3 of the 4 lowest MOI heft putters.  The 2nd lowest MOI putter (Cleveland Classic 3) was just too flat for me. 


I decided to use my Edel E-3 putter to test for MOI.  Not only is it my 'gamer' putter, but it also has a head weight port.  My putter has a 12-gram weight installed, but I also had a 6-gram weight available as well.

I decided to take the following steps:

1. Remove the head weight and measure the impact without a weight on the head.

2.  Add 3-grams of lead tape, putt and measure the impact pattern

3.  Remove the 3-grams of lead tape, add the 6-gram weight, putt and measure.

4.  Add the 3-grams of lead tape with the 6-gram weight (9-grams total), putt and measure.

5.  Remove the 3-grams of lead tape, add 12 gram weight, putt and measure.

6.  Add 3-grams of lead tape with 12-gram weight (15-grams total), putt and measure.

In the end, I found that 6-gram weight with 3-grams of lead tape worked best.  When I measured the MOI afterward, it came out to 2,930 MOI.

I think it's funny since the rule of thumb is that you should probably have a driver that is +100 MOI points higher than your irons and my putter is nearly +200 MOI points than my irons.  Perhaps that is the rule of thumb needed.

In the end, I noticed much better impact dispersion and started to see differences in my putting stroke for the better.  The old weight appears to be a bit too heavy of an MOI for me.  That's plausible since I do not have a very wristy stroke and in the golf swing, typically the wristy swings require a higher MOI set of clubs. 

This will be something that I will pay close attention to from here on out.


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