Jun 2, 2013

Picking the Right Clubs for Your Swing

A large part of perfecting your swing is practice; let’s make no bones about it. You’re not going to be scoring regular birdies until you’ve spent a good few years out on the green, swinging for all your worth. That said, none of the masters analysed in the videos below could hit half as well without the right clubs.

The wrong clubs won’t match the speed of your swing, or the required shaft flex. Instead, they’ll force you hook, slice or mishit even the simplest shots. You can work round all these problems, and learn to adapt to your clubs, but it’s far simpler to eliminate such concerns altogether by equipping yourself with clubs that provide you with the right amount of flex, and the proper choice of club head.

Your club’s flex plays probably the biggest part in determining the accuracy of your swing. Not enough flex and you’ll be wasting power, too much and you’ll have problems controlling the ball. There’s a temptation, particularly among male golfers, to pick the stiffest clubs you can manage both because pros normally use extra stiff clubs, and because nobody wants to be seen hitting plain old regulars. This is a huge mistake. Choosing the right amount of flex can be truly game changing; allowing you to hit the ball with the face of your club square on, and drastically improving the accuracy, trajectory and distance of your shot. Despite appearances, a slightly looser senior or regular flex club can open up a whole world of opportunities for the amateur golfer. The best way to find out what flex your swing is suited to is to take yourself to a pro and have them measure your swing speed, but it is relatively easy to estimate yourself.

First, you’ll need to calculate your swing speed. To do this, take a look at the clubs you’re using to hit from about 150 yards. If it’s an 8 or 9 iron your swing speed is probably right up there at about 93 mph. This is unlikely though. It’s far more likely that your hitting with either a 6 or a 7-iron, which would put your speed at around 85-90 mph, or a 5 iron, which would put your speed at around 75-80 mph. If you’re hitting with a 4 iron you're probably just hitting 60mph, and a 3 iron puts you well under.

Once you know your swing speed, you can properly select the right flex. Normally swing speed and flex directly correlate like this: People with a swing speed of less than 60 should be hitting with a ladies flex, people with a swing speed of 60-74 should use a regular or senior flex, and anybody hitting between 74 and 90 should be using a stiff flex. If your swinging at anything over 90 you should probably be using an ultra-stiff flex.

There are other things to consider besides swing speed though; if you have a very smooth swing, for instance, you might find that a softer flex allows you to hit the ball more accurately even if you have a fast swing. Conversely, anyone with a jerky swing would probably benefit from a slightly stiffer, more forgiving flex.

Once you’ve settled on a flex, the only other thing that you need to do is select the correct heads. Golf clubs with a half-cavity or blade head offer better ball control, and can help inconsistent players perfect their swing, while full-cavity clubs, which are generally used by high-handicap players, can help to get the ball in the air consistently, while robbing you of the large sweet spot offered by their half-cavity cousins.

Once you’ve selected the right flex and club heads, and equipped yourself with a pair of golf clubs that are actually suited to your play style, you should find it an awful lot easier to improve on your swing.

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