Friday, January 25, 2013

Fitting Steve Stricker

A few weeks ago somebody asked the question of ‘how would you fit Steve Stricker?’ over on the Wishon golf forum ( While proper clubfitting takes trial and error and making adjustments to the equipment and is not always a precise art from, I thought I would give it a shot.

Currently, here are the shafts that Stricker uses:

Driver: UST Mamiya ProForce V2 86 gram shaft

3-wood: UST Mamiya ProForce V2 95 gram shaft

Hybrid: UST Mamiya ProForce V2 104 gram shaft

Irons: KBS Tour C-Taper (stiff) However, let’s look at Stricker’s swing:

When looking at shaft fitting, we generally try to look at few things:

1. Shaft Weight
2. Bend Profile – Tip Section
3. Bend Profile – Butt Section
4. Hand/Wrist/Finger Strength

I won’t worry about shaft length because we don’t know much in the way of Stricker’s body dimensions. But as far as the swing goes, we generally want to look at:

A. Clubhead Speed
B. The Startdown (transition)
C. When they release the #2 Power Accumulator (lead wrist uncocking) in the downswing.


The startdown is generally a little harder to define as to whether the golfer has what I call a ‘hard’, ‘soft’ or ‘average’ stardown. Generally, I like to look at the ‘soft’ startdowns, first. Generally, the softer startdowns are more of a float loading action where the golfer adds more wristcock in the transition. Lucas Glover is a good example of a ‘float load.’

Converserly, a very hard startdown has more of a ‘cranking down’ motion like a Jamie Sadlowski.

I would consider Sadlowski’s to be the hardest of transitions because he has cocked his wrists at the top of the swing and much as he can and retains that wristcock well into the downswing. Now, Stricker’s swing…

Stricker is obviously not a ‘float loader.’ He does not add extra wrist cock in transition. However, unlike Sadlowski he does not have a lot of wristcock at the top of the swing. He’s not casting the club, but he’s not lagging it much either.

The general concept is that harder transitions require the butt section to be a little stiffer. If you’re a float loader and you go with a very stiff butt section to the shaft, it will feel like those shafts you feel you ‘can’t get around on’ or ‘can’t release the club.’ Although part of this is dependent upon hand strength and clubhead speed. Two players with the same type of transition, but one with much stronger hands and generates much more clubhead speed will likely need a stiffer butt section to the shaft.


The release of the #2 power accumulator has a lot to do with how the golfer generates their clubhead speed. The later the #2 PA is released, the more last second acceleration they have in their swing. When looking at Stricker’s swing

He has a fairly early #2 PA release for a PGA Tour pro. The earlier the release, the shafts should generally be lighter. And the tip section should be softer. This will get the launch a little higher and increase the spin rate a little, which is needed when there is less acceleration.


Here’s a look at Stricker’s radar metrics from 2012:

Clubhead Speed: 112.2 mph
Launch Angle: 10.89°
Spin Rate: 2,455 rpm

These are pretty solid numbers. And looking at his rankings in carry distance, clubhead speed, max height and hang time…they are all in line with each other.

With that, it’s safe to say that Mr. Stricker is fit fairly well to begin with. The only potential problem, is that the shafts he is carry are quite heavy. Each of the shafts are heavy with what I would label as S+ butt sections with X-Stiff Tip Sections. Stricker also uses an 8.5° lofted driver and still gets a good amount of height on the ball despite a fairly average clubhead speed.

My thinking is that Stricker hits up on the ball with his driver and generally has a shallower attack angle. Thus, he needs a shaft that is more tip stiff than the average golfer who releases the #2 Power Accumulator as early as he does.

However, the potential issue is that his current shafts are a bit too heavy for him and that *might* cause him to lose some clubhead speed. Probably 1-2 mph worth. That does not sound like much, but all of the metrics since they started tracking clubhead speed on Tour in 2008 indicate differently.

I looked up comparable shafts on Wishon Golf’s Shaft Bend Profile software. I found many similar shafts in bend profile to shafts that Stricker currently uses. But, I could only find 2 shafts that had similar profiles and were much lighter:

Wishon Golf S2S Black Stiff Flex (65 grams)
Wishon Golf S2S Stepless Steel Shafts (115 grams)

These shafts are a little softer in the tip section than Stricker’s current shafts. This could theoretically help him improve some performance.

But the problem is that it is difficult to argue against the way Stricker’s current clubs perform. With the lighter shafts, he would have to add more weight to the clubheads in order to get his total club MOI where he would need it. And while MOI matching is a revolutionary process, we still have to remember that the distribution of the weight of the main components of the club (grip, shaft and clubhead) are important in the producing the optimal clubfitting for the golfer.

For instance, my irons are fitted at a MOI of 2,725 kg/cm^2.

I can hit any iron much better at 2,725 kg/cm^2. But, I hit it best with a 50 gram grip, a 110-118 gram shaft, and a moderately heavier clubhead. A heavier shaft with a lighter clubhead does not function as well for me. Or a super light shaft with an extra heavy clubhead.

For Stricker, with the fairly hard transition and earlier than average release, he could very well hit it best with a 50 gram grip, heavy shafts, and average clubhead weight.

These are just the many factors one has to consider with clubfitting optimization. And one cannot just go with what should work in theory. But, there is always the possibility that even Tour players are not quite optimized with clubfitting. However, I think Stricker is either optimized with his fitting or darn close to it.


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