Sunday, March 18, 2018

TrueSpec Golf Iron Fitting Review

A month ago I got a woods fitting from TrueSpec Golf (  The fitting recommended me a Callaway Rogue Sub Zero driver and 13* 3-wood.  It reduced my spin rate from 2,800 rpm to 2,000 rpm and improved my carry distance by roughly 10 yards.

I was interested in getting an irons fitting as I was looking to move on from current gamers, the Srixon Z945's:

For those not familiar with TrueSpec Golf, it is a 'brand agnostic' fitting where they carry heads, shafts, grips, etc. from all sorts of OEM's.  They are not a single licensed dealer of a OEM like Ping where getting a fitting from a Ping dealer would consist of finding the best Ping products.  Instead, the idea is to fit the golfer for the best possible product.  If it happens to be a Ping G400 driver with a Mitsubishi shaft and a Titleist 3-wood with a Fujikura be it.

What I prefer about TrueSpec Golf is that it's an outdoor fitting with a fantastic facility.  And in this case, they are at Lake Nona, arguably the premier golf course in Orlando.


I was looking for new irons because I was looking to lower the spin rate a little bit and hopefully gain some distance.  Typically, the Center of Gravity on blades is higher up on the face which makes the ball launch lower and spin more.  High club speed players tend to prefer the blade because of the lower launch angles.  For me, I launch the ball about 4-5 degrees higher than the Tour average with the irons.  Therefore, I estimate I need to have a spin rate of 1,000 to 1,300 rpm less than the Tour average.  If I don't, I feel that it makes for some real problems hitting approach shots into the wind.

The other thing I was interested in was graphite shafts.  I have had shoulder and elbow issues the past 2 years and I think a slightly lighter and better vibration dampening shaft could take the toll off my shoulder and elbow.  Furthermore, there have been great advancements in graphite iron shafts from even 10 years ago.  Graphite iron shafts are now heavier, more stable and can be changed to provide a variety of launch conditions depending on the player's needs.

A week ago, I got my FlightScope Mevo and here were my #'s with each of my irons:

After some initial warm-up, we decided that I would hit my own 6-iron to draw a baseline performance.

Unlike the woods fitting, the iron fitting was on a mat.  They have you hit inside their bay to the outdoors.  I was hitting outdoors on a mat with my Mevo as well.

Here were my 6-iron #'s on Trackman with my gamer Srixon Z945:

Club Speed: 91.2 mph
Ball Speed: 122.3 mph
Smash Factor: 1.34
Launch Angle: 19.2 degrees
Spin Rate: 4,850 rpm
Max Height: 106 ft
Carry Distance: 182.1 yards

Thus, my FlightScope Mevo numbers were very close to what Trackman was reading.


We tried the following heads:

TaylorMade P790
Srixon Z565
PXG 0311T
Callaway Rogue Pro

The shafts we tried were:

Accra Tour 100i
Mitsubishi OT 105
UST Mamiya Recoil 125 Prototype
UST Mamiya Recoil (95 grams)

Right away we noticed the difference with the P790 and the Accra shaft.

There is a lot of talk with golfers about lofts being 'jacked' up and it providing false distance gains because the golfer is deemed to be hitting...for example...a 6-iron instead of the 7-iron that is stamped on the club head. 

But, what I learned from various club engineers is that is not always the case.  Because the Center of Gravity can be put in a location that can cause for a similar launch angle and landing angle as a higher lofted blade iron.  One of the big differences that the loft can make is in helping reduce the spin rate.  And changing the spin rate can have a greater affect on distance than the launch angle.  I checked with FlightScope's Shot Optimizer and found this to be true according to their calculations:

Click Pictures to ENLARGE

So, all I did was change the Spin Rate by 1,500 rpm and the ball carried 6 yards further.

Obviously, irons are not about hitting them long.  It's about directional and distance control.  But, if the shaft length, launch angle, spin rate and landing angle are's not really a 'false distance gain.' 

After the P790 and Accra combo we tried the Mitsubishi shaft that produced similar ball speeds (130-ish), but flew too high.  We were trying to keep the landing angle between 48-50 degrees.  More than 50 degrees would start to get into 'ballooning' range into a wind.  Less than 48 degrees and with the lower spin rate I may have trouble getting shots to hold the green.

I cannot remember which Recoil shaft was which, but one produced a landing angle that was a smidge too high and the other produced a landing angle that was a smidge too low. 

We then moved to the Srixon Z565 and that produced 128.5 mph ball speed and with the Accra shaft flew a little too high.

This was the first time hitting a PXG iron.  The 0311T was getting about 129 mph ball speed, but was flying too high as the Spin Rate got up to 5,300 rpm.  Then I went to the Callaway Rogue Pro and that produced the most similar numbers to the P790, but too many shots would fly too high.

In the end, I was recommended on the following setup:

TaylorMade P790, standard lie and loft
Accra Tour 100i shaft (x-stiff) +1/2"

I hit a few more shots with the P790 and the Accra shaft to confirm.  There has been a couple of swing mechanics I was working on and my final shot of the day I focused on them and I got up to 133.4 mph ball speed with the 6-iron.

TrueSpec Golf also measured the loft on my P-Wedge and my 52* wedge as I had yardage gapping issues with those clubs.  They have a digital lie/loft machine and the P-Wedge came out to 46.25* loft.  Then Miura K-Grind loft was right at 52 degrees. 

The 9-iron was at 41 degrees, so perhaps some of the distance gapping issue with the P-Wedge is that the loft needs to be at 45 degrees.  If not, then it may be time to look at the possibility that MOI matching may add too much weight to the head on the wedges.

Overall, the fitting only took 45 minutes.  I was swinging quite well and only missed a handful of shots.  It also helped that the fitter was able to guestimate the right combo for me on his first try.

Here's the pricing from TrueSpec:

The P790 pricing is fair as that is what you will find in retail shops and most online retailers. The Accra shafts go for anywhere from $205-$525 for a set of 8 shafts.

Assuming that the distance gains will remain the same when I get the irons here is the projected change in how I would play a 450 yard par-4 prior to coming to TrueSpec.


Drive - 264 yards carry, 18 yards of roll...282 yards total

Approach Shot 168 yards to the hole (7-iron)

7-iron average carry of 170 yards, 50* landing angle, 6,428 rpm spin


Driver - 274 yards carry, 23 yards of roll = 297 yards total

Approach Shot 153 yards to hole (P-Wedge)

P-Wedge average carry of 150 yards, 49* landing angle, 8,000 rpm spin


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Yardage Gapping Test with FlightScope Mevo

This past Sunday I decided to get on the FlightScope Mevo and check my numbers for each of my irons in my bag. I am going to get fitted for irons at TrueSpec Golf this weekend and I wanted to see what my current performance looked like.

I hit 37 shots with clubs ranging from my 4-iron thru my SW (52 degree SW).  You can check out the data, here:

Richie3Jack FlightScope Mevo Shot Data 3.11.18

Yesterday, I discussed this on my Twitter feed.

The issue with many fittings is that it is easy to get tired doing them. So 5-6 shots per club will not overdo it. For those not as into math as I am, the median helps offset the anomalies in the data compared to using the mean. Here are my median #'s on the Mevo:

I hit these balls off a mat, so the ball is likely to launch a little higher and spin less because of the tendency for the mat to compress as you're striking the ball causing strikes higher up on the club face.

Here again are the PGA Tour averages on Trackman:

Click picture to ENLARGE:

Of course, I'm using a Mevo instead of a Trackman. I'm also not sure how Trackman determines the PGA Tour averages with the irons. My guess is they are doing them on Par-3's. Anyway, here is the difference between my median #'s and the Trackman PGA Tour Averages:

And here is the standard deviation in each of the metrics with each club:

Here are some of my opinions on the numbers:

1. The immediate issues are the distance gaps between the 9-iron and PW (23.9 yards) and then the SW (52*) to the PW (20.3 yards).  I want those closer to a 1-club difference (10-12 yards).

2.  I will be interested in seeing what the lofts are on my PW (Srixon Z945) and my 52-degree wedge (Miura K-Grind).  If it's not a loft issue, it may be specific swing mechanics issues and/or perhaps my MOI matching of clubs puts too much weight in the head with the PW and the SW.

3.  The 5-iron is a bit of an issue as well.  The standard deviation in carry yards (6.3 yards) along with the deviation in the Spin Rate (1,018 rpm) furthers the belief I have had that the lie angle and/or loft may be off.  I think it's a lie angle issue given how I was able to hit one shot 192.3 yards and another 199.4 yards with my 5-iron.  I'm guessing the club is too upright and that effectively raises the loft thru impact if I'm a smidge off with my swing.

4.  The S-Wedge reading may be false due to the bad reading of 67.5 mph club speed on shot # 24.  I think with the full swing the ball launches perhaps too high with the S-Wedge to get accurate readings.

5 .  My club speed and ball speeds were not too far off from the Tour averages.  I am curious to see how much the launch angle increases versus the spin rate decreasing when hitting off a mat.  My contention is that my launch angle tends to be high and I need to keep the spin rate down to not lose to o much distance.

6.  The club speed numbers do get bunched together.  This may be part of the MOI matching with the irons, particularly using 3/8" shaft increments on most of the irons instead of 1/2" increments.  However, I took the maximum club and ball speed numbers and we see more of a reasonable gapping between club speed numbers:

In the end, a lot of it comes down to improving swing mechanics and consistency, but the issues with the PW and SW yardages was an eye opener as well as the confirmation that there may be some spec issues with my 5-iron.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What To Look For: 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill

The Tour comes back to one of my favorite Tour events, The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill:

Why do I like Bay Hill so much?

Obviously, it being Arnie's tournament is a big reason.

But, it's also the most spectator friendly event on Tour.  The parking is the best, it's one of the easiest courses on Tour to walk as a spectator.  There are bleachers and upper deck seating right on the driving range.  And during the event it's quite a party atmosphere with the surrounding houses celebrating the event with viewing parties throughout the course.

It's also a very good design.  I've always felt that Arnold Palmer is the most underrated course designer.  I think because he doesn't quite have the history and mystique of Tillinghast, Ross or MacKenzie and doesn't have the vast array of Tour designs like Dye, Fazio and Jones that Mr. Palmer usually gets overlooked.  But, he was one of the more clever designers out there that was good at keeping his designs fair.  Hit bad shots and you're punished.  Hit good shots and you're rewarded.  Some holes are not what they seem and he really wanted you to keep the ball below the cup.

A few of my favorite holes at Bay Hill are the par-5 4th hole.

It goes uphill, but is still reachable in two on occasion.  It's easy to miss right which has a better angle into the hole, but there is water on the right that comes into play.  Left provides a worse angle, but the bunkers can also come to play.  The green is elevated and makes approach shots for those that lay-up more difficult.  But a good drive and 2nd shot can really swing the door wide open for competitors.

Then there's the par-4 8th hole:

The fairway is settled down a bit and the green is more elevated.  You will see a lot of players lay-up off the tee here, but the closer they can get to that fairway bunker on the left without going in, the better off they generally are.  It may only put the golfer 30 yards closer, but the approach shot is more difficult than your average 180 yard approach shot and that is what many golfers don't account for.

Then there's the par-4 13th hole.

This is a hole where almost the entire field will lay up.  The reasoning is that if they lay-up they will only have about 135-155 yards into the hole and that is 'no big deal.'  But what is not accounted for is that this is a more difficult 145-ish yard approach shot than your normal approach shot from 145 yards.  That and a lay-up shot puts the fairway bunkers into play.  Obviously, some players are too long to hit driver with the water coming into play.  But for the others...the players that hit driver tend to play #13 far better than the rest of the field.

And then there's the par-3 17th:

The video doesn't do the hole justice of how daunting and beautiful the hole is.  The bunker off the water is a unique and gorgeous touch as well.  This is a very difficult approach shot.  But, Mr. Palmer countered it perfectly by making it a very flat green that has a very high make percentage for putts.   In other words, it's difficult but fair.  And it's breathtaking and exciting due to the possiblity of ending up in the water off the tee and the putts that can fall either leading to a key birdie or double bogey down the stretch.

And the 18th hole is the last 'Critical Hole' on the course and between 16, 17 and 18 you have a terrific stretch of finishing holes. 

If there's a problem with the event it's that the tickets are not cheap.  A practice round ticket costs $55.  You can go to a practice round for The PLAYERS Championship for $15.  And the field is usually only 'okay.'  Hopefully with The PLAYERS Championship moving to March next year...that will entice more of the world's top talent to add Bay Hill to their schedule.

Most of the strokes will be lost and gained on mid-to-long approach shots:



Tiger Woods +550
Justin Rose +1,600
Marc Leishman +3,500
Patrick Reed +3,500


Cameron Smith +5,500
Jason Kokrak +7,500
Sam Burns +8,000
Kevin Na +10,000
Russell Knox +12,500
JB Holmes +15,000


Friday, March 9, 2018

Rant: Soft Tip Golf Shafts Need To Stop Ruining Our Industry

Here's a great video from golf instructor, Michael Manavian ( on the issue with OEM's continuing to create soft tip golf shafts:

As I have preached since the first edition of Pro Golf Synopsis, driver fitting is a must for any golfer that is serious about improving their handicap regardless of their level of play.  My research has found that as the handicap increases, the more important driving becomes with regards to improving your handicap by the greatest margin and permanently improving your scores. 

The latest research showed that the average Tour player's driver was 44-3/4" long compared to the OEM drivers which are almost always at least 45" long and more closer to 46" long.  But the same goes for the tip stiffness of the golf shaft.  And it's impossible to make substantial, long term improvements when you have a shaft that is too long and too tip soft for your swing.

For golfers where money is a little tighter they may not need that iron fitting, particularly if they are using steel shafts.  But because driving is so important to amateurs, they really need to be fitted for a driver and in the end, a properly fitted driver will save them money and help them improve their mechanics much more quickly.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What To Look For: 2018 Valspar Championship

The Tour hits Tampa for the Valspar Championship:

The tournament was founded in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Championship. They have played the tournament at the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook resort. The course was designed by Larry Packard back in 1974.

The course is very well received by the players although it can get a little soft to the point mud can get on the golf ball. The big thing to watch for is the par-5’s as no course emphasizes the par-5’s on Tour like Innisbrook. For the par-4’s, it’s mostly about mid length approach shots.



Jordan Spieth +850
Paul Casey +2,500
Ben An +4,000
Gary Woodland +4,500


Kevin Streelman +6,000
Scott Stallings +6,600
Martin Laird +7,500
Bryson Dechambeau +9,000
Chesson Hadley +9,000
Rory Sabbatini +17,500


Athletic Motion Golf Videos - Pieces to the Transition

Here's a couple of very good videos from Athletic Motion Golf:

What I like about the videos is that they address key components of the transition phase which I believe is the most important part of the golf swing.  I feel the transition really dictates the downswing mechanics as a whole and in particular what your impact conditions are going to look like.

I believe that a reason why golf is so difficult is because of the transition motion is difficult to master and that is due to the sudden change of direction and speed that is occurring at.  If I put in enough range practice, I could 'master' any backswing change I wanted to make.  The speed of the backswing is slower and speed plays a large role in how quickly you can learn new movement patterns.  Not only is the downswing faster, but it mostly starts with the transition move and that area has speed and a change of direction and that's why golfers struggle and good golfers can struggle to make changes to their downswing.

In the first video, I like how they address 'weight shift.'  In particular WHEN it needs to happen (prior to P5).  Here's a video of Victor Rodriquez on Swing Catalyst to help illustrate that point:

Victor uses what is called a 'fish hook' CoP trace.  This is quite common for the super long golfers like Victor where their Center of Pressure trace goes towards their lead foot in transition and then as they continue to rotate the body into impact, the CoP traces back towards the middle of his stance.

The second video destroys the idea of 'wide to narrow to wide.'  This is something I never quite understood as when I worked with M.O.R.A.D. one of the things that was preached was to straighten the right arm out in the downswing and not pull the hands into the body.  You could clearly see the best ballstrikers doing that, but you couldn't understand why their hand path got narrower.

The only thing about the 2nd video that needs to be re-emphasized is that there is a blended motion the shoulders make in the downswing.  One is that they will tilt.  This comes from the arms pulling down.  If you're at P4, the rear shoulder will be higher than the lead shoulder.  As the arms pull down, the shoulders will tilt to the point where the rear shoulder is lower than the lead shoulder.

The other motion that good ballstrikers make with the shoulders is they rotate them (thru the rotation of their upper torso).  See how Dustin Johnson's shoulders are open at impact, below.

The reason why many teachers like George Gankas are now preaching to 'leave your hands up' and 'don't pull down' is because the vast majority of golfers always get the shoulder tilting motion and do not get enough of the shoulder/chest rotation motion.  There is little in the way of blending the shoulder tilt and the shoulder rotation and it's mostly all tilt and little rotation. 

So these instructors work on exaggerating the rotation and trying to FEEL like the golfer is not pulling down the arms in order to not tilt the shoulders too quickly. 

I tend to look at it like a race.  My arms are going to pull down and tilt the shoulders eventually.  My goal is to FEEL like my shoulder/chest rotation is beating my shoulder tilt.  In reality, when I'm swinging well it's almost like a synchronized blend of both motions. 


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Swing Journal 3.4.18

Here's my latest swing videos:

These weren't very good swings for the following reasons:

1.  They were recorded when the wind was blowing about 25 mph and it was difficult to feel the swing.

2.  I've had issues with shoulder and neck pain the past 2 weeks.

3.  There was some new things I was working on that are different from these swings.  But for the purpose of this journal post, I wanted to go back to how I was swinging before I started to experiment with some new mechanics and I was a little rusty.  I hope to go into some of the new things I was working on later this week on the blog.

So, let's look at the big changes in these videos.  The biggie being how upright I have the shaft in the backswing with a more 'across the line' look at the top of the swing:

Here's an old swing from December:

It's not that one is 'right' and one is 'wrong' or one is 'better' or 'worse' than the other.  In fact, the bottom (December) picture looks prettier.  But, what I am using is the Stretch Shortening Cycle.  The SSC is defined as:

An active stretch (eccentric contraction) of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening (concentric contraction) of that same muscle.

A simpler way to think of it is when you 'torque' a muscle one way in the backswing, it will 'un-torque' in the opposite direction.

So, if we want External Rotation of the right shoulder in the downswing a good method of doing it is to internally rotate the right shoulder on the backswing.

Fred Couples is a good example of this:

And so is Ryan Moore:

Now, in the December swing I had the right shoulder internally rotated in the backswing:

As George Gankas has explained, you can have this 'look' and have the right shoulder internally rotated as there is some rotation/roll of the forearms that go with it.  The reason why I changed is that when that picture was taken I was having issues getting the forearm rotation/roll right and for was a maintenance issue. 

With this type of move:

There's less maintenance for me.  Mainly because if I over-do it I can still recover. With the December swing (green shirt), it's too much about getting the forearm rotation just right. 

The only issue with the more across the line move is that you really cannot have a short backswing with it because you need to have time to allow the Stretch Shortening Cycle to go into action.  As you can see, neither Moore nor Couples have short golf swings.

So while it doesn't look pretty, it works better for me because I don't have the time or talent to work on it.  And a lengthy backswing isn't an issue for me.

The ballstriking has been pretty good.  With this swing, my Trackman numbers were the following at a True Spec Golf fitting:

One of the positives is that depending on the missed shot, I can better gauge what caused the issue:

Struck Well but Offline = Left arm jutted out too quickly in transition and chest did not rotate fast enough

Struck Poorly and Offline =  Left arm pulled down too much, too soon in the downswing.

Toe Hook = Left hip didn't clear soon enough and right femur kicked in on transition (causing right pelvic tilt and the chest can't rotate and I get too steep)

Fat = Shoulders tilted down too quickly and chest did not rotate

As a result, the ball flight is better as it is usually not so high.  And this shows up in the release as I don't have a 'flip' release:

But there's a good amount of a 'roll release' and thus consistency is not quite there.

The stuff I have been experimenting with success is how the quads and femurs move in transition.  I really believe that if I don't pull down the arms too soon and rotate the chest, I'm likely to hit a pretty good shot.  The issue for me is the lower body movements that prevent the chest from rotating or stall the torso rotation and then the arms eventually pull down rapidly to get the club head on the ball.

I will go into that in a post later on this week.