Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thinking Man's Guide to Finding Your WITB: Part VIII

In this part I will discuss some of the accessories in the bag.



I feel that the importance of grips are different depending upon the amount the golfer practices and plays and the climate they practice and play in. If you’re playing in a cooler climate and you don’t practice or play more than 1-2 times a week, than any grip that you like should do the trick. I would only recommend that you clean the grips after use with dish soap and then dry them off with a towel. Grips will get slick because the oils and sweat in your hands will seep into the grip and if you leave them in a warm area, like the trunk of your car or in the garage during the summer, they’ll get super slick. Clean them with a scrub brush, dry them off with a towel and leave them in a room temperature area and they will last a lot longer.

For those who play and practice frequently in cooler climates and are looking for durability and help with the rain, I would probably prescribe cord grips. Generally, I find the Lamkin cord grips to be the most durable on the market. But, even the Golf Pride Decade Compound grips will last if you clean them frequently. The main question becomes if you like the feel of the grips.

Now, if you play in a hot climate, like Florida, the Gulf Coast region, South Texas, Arizona, etc, you will likely have to deal with a lot of perspiration. First, I recommend the following items to help with perspiration:

- Microfiber towel for drying your hands
- Regular cloth towel to soak in cold water to cool you off.
- A bunch of gloves (rotate them throughout the round or practice session)
- Gorilla Gold or ‘Dry Hands’ solution

I prefer the Gorilla Gold because I don’t have to wait for it to work like Dry Hands, which takes about 30 seconds. Also, Gorilla Gold lasts a little longer than Dry Hands and Dry Hands turns your hands into a white powdery substance.

As far as grips go, I believe that the Iomic Grips and the GripMaster USA leather grips are the best to deal with the sweat and humidity. I would rank the GripMaster USA leather grips #1. In fact, I’m experimenting with a Classic Wrap grip from GripMaster USA


The Iomic Grips have a good feel to them. And they do work like they claim in that the moisture, sweat and water will stay atop of the grip instead of seeping into the grip. One can simply take a microfiber towel and wipe the sweat or water right off the grip. However, if your hands are still sweaty, you can have difficulty gripping the club even though the grip is dry. Furthermore, the area where I rest my left thumb wears down on the Iomic Grips a decent amount.

I’ve tried one model of the GripMaster USA grips which have a stitchback design. My friends actually like the feel of the grip, although I could not quite get used to it. But, we all agreed that when the GripMaster grips get any moisture on them, they actually get tackier. That’s why I’m going to experiment with their Classic Wrap, to see if that feels any better.

As far as MOI and swingweight goes, I’ve found that grips have a greater effect on swingweight than MOI of the entire club. A 10 gram heavier grip may change the swingweight by 2 points. But the MOI may change about 20 kg/cm^2 or so. That’s still noticeable enough to throw people a little off. That’s why when you are fitting for MOI, you should do that next to last (last would be to put the final touches on the lie angles). You really need to make sure that you have the grip that you want because that can throw things off a little if you decide to play a different grip.

Lastly, I prefer to have grips that I can put on with an air compressor. The reason being is not only is it easy for me to do, but eventually there will be some grips that start to wear down quicker because I use those clubs more often. With the air compressor, I can simply take a grip off my 3-iron that I don’t use a lot and switch that with my more worn down 7-iron grip. It’s a nice little way to extend the life of your grips.



I believe golf shoes are important in the functionality and power in the swing. As I’ve said before, the ground forces you can use in your golf swing are very powerful. Imagine hitting a golf ball while standing on a sheet of ice or hitting a golf ball while standing on grass. It doesn’t take a great imagination which one you will generate more power from.

Thus, I like to go with a shoe that has a lot of spikes on it, to help keep my feet on the ground.

Also, the Asics spikes have a traditional screw-in tightening system. Not only do I prefer that when it comes to removing and installing the spikes, but the traditional metal spikes have that design. If you don’t have that design for the spikes, you can’t install metal spikes. My course has a ‘soft spikes preferred’ designation, meaning that they would prefer golfers to play with soft spikes, but it is not mandatory. Most courses do not have that.

However, many golfers on the PGA Tour still play with metal spikes because they feel like they are entirely better than soft spikes. The problem for me is that most courses and most events do not allow for metal spikes. However, if I get into a situation where I can use metal spikes, I am the first one to install them.

Of course, more spikes and metal spikes can potentially make the shoes harsh on the feet when you are walking a course. And if you have knee problems, particularly with your forward knee, any spike shoe, be it metal or soft spike, may put stress on that knee that you cannot handle. If you’re worried about performance on the course, I would recommend traction over comfort and looks. But, if you have knee issues, I would consider an alternative. The Asics Gel Tour Lyte’s go for about $75-$85 online.



I think the lower the handicap, the more important the ball is for the golfer. The golf balls suited for the higher handicapper tend to run in the same style, designed to max out distance and to avoid curving too much.

Plus, higher handicappers tend to have vastly different swings in a round of golf as well. One swing they’ll chop down on a driver, the next, they’ll maybe have an upward attack angle with the driver.

When it comes to the ball, you can figure the ball for you if you use a Trackman or a FlightScope (latest model) launch monitor. Here are some key numbers that can help with your decision.

Clubhead Speed
Launch Angle
Max Height
Spin Rate
Spin Loft

With better golfers, I think it’s best to really understand what type of trajectory and spin rate they produce with their swing. Are they:

- High launch, high spin player
- High launch, low spin player
- Low launch, low spin player
- Low launch, high spin player

Spin loft is a calculation that Trackman came up with which is the difference between the golfer’s attack angle number and their dynamic loft (the loft the club has at impact).

I would recommend looking at this with the driver.

First, we need to dispel the myth that the steeper the attack angle will automatically mean that you will generate more spin. You will generate more spin if the spin loft increases.

For example, let’s say your stock numbers with a driver are:

Attack angle: 0°
Dynamic Loft: 10°
Spin Loft: 10°

Now, you hit down more on the ball:

Attack angle: -2°
Dynamic Loft: 8°
Spin Loft: 10°

Because those Spin Loft numbers are the same and you’re using the same club and the same clubhead speed, the spin rate will not increase or not by any significant number.

However, if you produce these numbers:

Attack angle: -2°
Dynamic Loft: 10°
Spin Loft: 12°

You have kept the dynamic loft the same, but are hitting down more. This creates a higher spin loft and the spin rate will be higher as well.

Generally, the idea is that you want the lowest number you can possibly get with Spin Loft. I think there is some flaws in that thinking in certain circumstances. For instance, I would rather produce these numbers with a driver:

Attack angle: 0°
Dynamic Loft: 12°
Spin Loft: 12°

Than these numbers:

Attack angle: -4°
Dynamic Loft: 6°
Spin Loft: 10°

I think of spin loft like hitting a ping-pong ball with a ping-pong paddle. If I want to get backspin on the ball, I will increase the loft of the paddle and hit down on the ball with a chopping down motion. That would increase the ‘spin loft’ and thus increase the backspin. If I’m trying to hit the ball with top spin, I’ll ‘de-loft’ the paddle and swing up on the ball.

For me, I’m more of a mid-launch, high spin player. Occasionally, when I’m not quite swinging right, I become more of a low-launch, high spin player. Generally, I’m looking for a lower spin ball so I can keep the spin rate down and get a little more roll with the driver along with keeping the ball down into the wind.

I’ve found that the Srixon Z-Star and the Titleist Pro V1x work the best for me. The Z-Star is a little harder, so I prefer the Pro V1x around the green. IIRC, Titleist says that there is about a 400 rpm difference between the Pro V1x and their Pro V1 balls with the driver at 100 mph of clubhead speed. I know I generate about 3,200 rpms with the driver with a Pro V1 ball. Thus, at 110-113 mph of clubhead speed, I’m guessing I’m at the 2,600-2,800 range with the Pro V1x. And from my statistical research on Tour, that’s usually the rpm’s range of the better drivers of the ball on Tour. Yes, you can have too little spin with the driver.



golfteej said...

Hi Rich,

What are the best grips to use with an air compressor? I tried with a set of Callaway universal grips, but found that they slipped on the shaft. (I'm assuming any "tour velvet" style grip would behave similarly). I couldn't tell during swings, but it made the alignment markings on the grips rather useless.

I'm not stuck on tour velvet type grips, so any recommendation would be helpful.



Rich H. said...

The best as far of ease of putting on are probably PURE Grips. However, you may or may not like them. I find almost all grips easy to put on with an air compressor if you use it too much. I think I've only had 3 grips that actually slipped a bit, they were Golf Pride Tour wraps and they caught an air bubble.

I put a full set of 13 Lamkin Grips on for my dad. As far as the install went, took me roughly 5 minutes to do.