How to select a driver

driverWith today’s technology, selecting the proper driver for your game has become extremely complex.  There are so many different choices already and the industry leaders are always looking for new ways to improve and market new products. These new products come out once (even twice a year) and of course add to the confusion.

To help make the search for a new driver easier, here are some helpful tips:

1) see a custom club-fitter

A real savvy and educated golfer might be ale to make sense of the choices on his/her own but it is becoming more and more difficult.  I’ve been playing this game for 30 years and I still like some help when I go looking for a new driver. Custom club-fitters are aware of the latest trends and of the new advances in technology. Your time and money spent with a qualified club-fitter will pay for itself in your choice of club and in your game.

2) understand the different components of the club and how each affects the performance of the club.

You are looking for a driver that optimizes the flight of your ball. The flight of your ball can be analyzed according to the following characteristics: initial launch angle, spin rate (which influences ball while in flight) and angle of descent. Of course, we are assuming a straight hit here.

- CLUBHEAD: the clubhead is what hits the ball. It is going to influence the initial launch of the ball through its loft and the spin of the ball by its composition and design. First determine what your general tendencies are in terms of launch angle and spin. If you have a hard time gettng the ball to launch, look to a higher lofted driver (10.5 degrees or even more). Look for a clubhead that will help you get optimal launch angle and spin rate.

- SHAFT: shaft technology has evolved tremendously over the past 10-15 years and there are up to 100 different shafts from which to choose. The advances in technology have helped make golf easier to play but it has made the process of choosing the best shaft rather complex. This makes the role of the club-fitter even more important.

To understand shaft technology we must understand the bending of the shaft during a swing. The way a shaft bends ultimately determines if it is suitable for you.

Shaft Flex – the flex of a shaft is considered to be its overall resistance to a weight at the end of the shaft. The traditional way of determing flex results in categorizing shafts into regular, stiff and extra stiff. The extra stiff shaft bends less than the regular. Other “degrees of flex” like “ladies” and “senior” have been introduced. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard to calibrate the stiffness of shafts. The regular flex of one manufacturer will not be the same as that of another manufacturer.

Kick point – the kick point of a shaft indicates where in a shaft the majority of the bend occurs during a swing. Shafts are designed to “kick” at three main parts of the shaft: low, mid or high. A “low kick point” shaft will bend near the head of a club and will have a tendency to hit the ball higher with more spin. A “high kick point” shaft will kick near the grip and will tend to lower ball flight and produce less spin.

-GRIP: the most important thing to know about the grip is that the size of the grip will influence how you hold it (how you grip it) and the way your hands will act during the swing. A thick grip, for example, will slow down the rotation of the hands and could prevent you from releasing the club completely. Bsically make sure that the grip is the right size.

Another element ot grip is the feel of the club in your hands. There are many different kinds of grips and they all have a slightly different feel to them. Find one that you like.

3) Looks matter

One of the final criteria for choosing a driver is how the club looks to you. This is particularly important for people that have played for some time. Over time our eyes become used to seeing a certain shape while looking down at a club. Having a club that is appealing to your eyes helps make you comfortable and can even help your confidence with it.

How to Choose A Putter

How to Choose a Putter

how to choose a putter

Na Yeon Choi of Korea on the 18th green at Oakmont at the USGA Women's Open in 2010.

Deciding how to choose a putter has become more and more complex over the past 20 years. The main reason for this is the incredible amount of different putters out there and the fact that certain “styles of putting” have now become mainstream.

Here are some tips that will help you figure how to choose a putter that is best for you

5 Step Guide: How to Choose a Putter

 

1) Choosing a putting style/technique. Spend some time with a qualified golf professional to help you understand the different styles of putting and to help you identify how to choose a putter that will work best for you. The main “styles” to choose from are:

a) conventional
b) long putter
c) belly putter

 

By identifying the style that best fits your game, you eliminate 2/3 of putters from which to choose.

At this point it is important for you to understand that there are two major trends in putting technique: 1) the putter travels essentially straight back and straight through (Jack Nicklaus) 2) the putter follows an arc back and through (Ben Crenshaw/Tiger Woods)

Depending on the putting style you choose, you will be either putting straight back and through (long putter), putting on an arc (belly putter) or will need to choose between one or the other (conventional). As you can imagine, it is the conventional style that demands more reflection as you will be making more choices along the way.

For those who have decided to go with the conventional putting style you will have an extra step in deciding how to choose a putter. In essence, you will need to decide if you wish to putt straight back and straight through or if you wish to putt on an arc, as the balance of the putter (due to its design) will facilitate one technique or the other. You should take time to experiment with each method. Your decision on how to choose a putter should ultimately be based on a combination of which style appeals to you intellectually and the results of your trials. Of course, the advice of your golf professional could prove to be invaluable at this point.

2) Choosing a putter design based on aim. Your golf professional should have also given you some solid tips regarding proper setup position. One of the main ingredients to proper setup is the position of the eyes relative to the ball. The position of your eyes directly influences your ability to aim the putter face.
Aiming the putter face is one of the more complex components in deciding how to choose a putter. Indeed, the design of the club head and that of the hosel (the part of the club that connects the shaft to the club head) of the club influences your aim. Without proper aim, your putting stroke will always contain compensations. I have never found a real adequate explanation for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say that once you have chosen a style of putting, you should try putters with different hosels and head designs to find one that you aim the best.

To do this, you will need the help of someone else. Have a friend (or a professional) stand along the target line while you aim at a target. He will be able to tell you if your aim is accurate or not. Qualified club fitters often have a laser to make sure that your aim is perfect.

3) Choosing putter length. Finding the proper putter length is important as the length of the putter will influence your setup and the overall balance of the putter. For the long putter and the belly putter, the length of the putter is simply determined by your height.

For those choosing to putt conventional, a qualified golf professional will be of great help in understanding proper putter length.

Ultimately, putter length is determined by your setup position.
Here are a couple of tips on putter length for those of you doing this on your own:
a) you should have enough bend at the waist so as to allow your arms to swing freely
b) a good setup position will have your arms slightly bent at the elbows
c) your forearms should be lined up with the shaft of the putter
d) you should have about an inch of the shaft extended past your grip


4) Looks and feel matter.
 Once you have chosen a putter style based on the principles of aim , you will need to find one that feels and looks right to you. This is where trying different putters comes into play.

You should have narrowed your choices down quite a bit at this time. You are now ready to go to a golf shop and try out all the putters that fulfill the requirements based on your chosen style, setup position and aim. Feel and looks are different for everyone, much like choosing a nice suit or dress. As you try different putters, you will naturally find some that you like and others that you don’t like. Trust your initial reaction to each putter.

5) Price. Of course, you will always have to make the final decision regarding price. No one can make this for you. The cost of golf clubs most often reflect time and money spent on research and development and the time spent on the craftsmanship of the club. Clubs that are less expensive are often mass produced following a mold. The good news with modern clubs is that the mass produced clubs are the result of many years of technological development led by research and development that been dissimulated and shared. This means that even though the higher priced club usually reflects better quality, you can still trust a less expensive option when deciding how to choose a putter.

 

THIS POST: HOW TO CHOOSE A PUTTER

True Linkwear golf shoes improved my game

True Linkwear Golf shoes

True Linkwear Golf shoes

I’ve worn a lot of golf shoes in my life – Adidas, Foot Joys, Nikes along with other brands but nothing is as comfortable as the True linkwear golf shoes. Usually after a round of golf, I would complain, cuss and scream about the aches and pains on my feet from wearing these other shoes.  Now after walking the course most mornings with my True Linkwear, I find myself stunned by my own silence – no complaints, no cussing, just comfort.  These shoes are amazingly comfortable and light – not to mention waterproof. I feel like I can walk 36 holes a day without a problem.

So in addition to the comfort of the True Linkwear shoes my game has improved. I have better balance. I find myself being stable and balanced at the address. I don’t slip through the swing and often maintain a nice finish. I’m hitting more fairways and find a lot more confidence on the greens. The truth is, practice and working with my golf teacher has really been the catalyst for my improved game, but I have to give some credit to the shoes.