Different Club Building Techniques 

Iron Flex Matching – The latest in performance based club building

A club building method to assemble the most consistent and best feeling golf clubs in the industry.

There have been several methods over the years to try and replicate the same feeling from club to club. It has been believed for some time that the best performing clubs are those that generally have sameness or a consistent feeling from club to club. Over the years, the various systems that were utilized to try to accomplish this were:

  • Swing Weight Matching – Is the theory of adding weight to the head area of the shaft to make all of the irons weigh the same on a Swing weight scale. Weight is usually added to the head to get them to weigh 8 grams apart. This has been the generally accepted method for the last 30 years. This along with frequency matching, are the two leading methods of building golf clubs.
  • Butt Frequency Matching –The theory of matching all of the irons based only on the butt frequency measurement. A shaft is placed into a frequency machine and a butt frequency reading is taken. The measurement is in cycles per minute or CPM’s. This measurement is then compared to the other shafts and the softest butt reading shaft is then installed into the longest iron and the stiffest butt reading shaft is installed in the wedges. The shorter club heads both weigh more and the shafts are shorter which helps compensate for putting the stiffer shaft in the shorter club. The frequency reading generally falls into a “slope” of 4 cpm’s. This means that say for the 3 iron the reading is 280. The 4 iron reading will be 284 and the 5 iron will be 288 and so on right through to the wedges. The reading will get higher as you go through the set. The industry has accepted a “slope” of 4 cpm’s although many clubmakers will vary this based on the needs of the individual golfer.
  • Flat Line Frequency Matching –The theory that all of the clubs will have the same butt frequency measurement. The shafts are tipped or not tipped and the heads are weighted in order to obtain the same frequency reading in all of the clubs. If the target for the golfer is say 290, every club in the bag will be at the frequency reading of 290. This of course makes the longer irons softer and the shorter irons not as stiff. This is usually done for the slower swingers to help make softer feeling shafts to get the ball in the air easier.
  • Moment of Inertia Matching (MOI) – The theory that any object is a measurement of its resistance to being placed in motion. It is believed that each club requires a different amount of force to swing the club (set it in motion), therefore the golfer cannot be as consistent swinging each club in the set. The golfers MOI is determined during the fitting and the set of clubs is built to match that MOI. Generally in an MOI set of clubs the lengths of the clubs are 3/8” between each other as opposed to the industry accepted .5”. This along with the proper weighting of the heads will result in an MOI built set of clubs.
  • Zone Profiling - A frequency reading is taken every few inches to obtain an overall determination of the relative stiffness of that particular shaft. This allows us to measure the shaft in detail and determine, based on the profile data that two shafts with the same profile will play and feel very much the same. This comes in very handy when replacing a particular shaft. We can get as close as possible to the performance characteristics of that original shaft by comparing that shafts profile data to others on the market.
  • Iron Flex Matching – 3 frequency readings are taken. A butt frequency reading, a mid section frequency reading and a tip section frequency reading to determine the overall playability or stiffness of the shaft. Based on this data, we then determine which shaft should be in which club head to better match our overall frequency goal for the golfer. Recently this method has been gaining a lot of popularity among the world’s elite club builders and fitters.


There are other club building methods but for the most part, these are the most generally accepted and tried and true systems that have been implemented by clubmakers and club companies over the years. It is currently believed that the first 2, although still used by many club builders and club companies, does not result in a consistent feeling club for most golfers. It has been proven over the last few years that all shafts even the same exact shaft from the same manufacturer can play different. Why is that?

Depending on the quality control of the manufacturing process, the different areas of the shaft may be altered causing the shaft to either play a little stiffer or a little softer even though they are supposed to be the exact same shaft. This is where “Zone Profiling” came into popularity. Zone Profiling takes a frequency reading every 5 or 6 inches to determine the Profile or the relative zone stiffness of that particular section of the shaft. We can then get a very good idea as to how that particular shaft will play relative to another shaft that has the same profile makeup.

Over the last several years, MOI has gained popularity and is a very effective way to match a set of clubs to the golfer. MOI is a different methodology when compared to traditional club building. As stated above, the length increments are usually 3/8” compared to the industry standard of .5” and the head weights are 7 grams apiece compared to the traditional 8 grams. It is a different way to achieve a consistent set of golf clubs but it is just not a main stream system and may never actually catch on. However, we feel this is an effective way to build golf clubs and will continue to offer this as an option in our fittings.

Iron Flex Matching is beginning to gain a strong foothold with the world’s best club builders. It utilizes the best of Zone Profiling and Frequency Matching. A frequency analysis is performed on the 3 most important sections of the shaft - the butt, the mid section and the tip. The butt section is a major determination for feel. The tip section also produces feel through the release of the shaft at impact. The mid section gives feedback in the form of having a low, mid or high kick point.

Therefore, I believe that by offering both Iron Flex Matching and MOI, we offer the golfer the most effective and efficient means of building golf clubs. When we combine these two methods of building with the best launch monitor on the market – The Flightscope Kudu, the golfer is assured of a truly customized set of clubs to optimize their fitting specifications.

Some clubmakers are stuck in the past and simply build a swing weighted or butt frequency matched set. We are proud to discuss our fitting ideas and methods with our customers even before they come in for a fitting.

We enjoy sharing the latest in technology and club fitting methods with our customers.

Give me a call to discuss our fitting methodology or to arrange a fitting appointment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

Mike






                                                                                Let’s Get Fitted
by Mike Bednarcik
Owner - Custom Clubs of Frederick


Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com

It’s time to make the move to custom clubs. You have seen the pros shoot lower and lower scores. You have read articles touting its benefits and you have probably even heard the TV announcers talk about getting custom fit clubs. But you still have questions. What exactly happens during a fitting? Does this mean I have to buy a new set of clubs? Does a high handicapper benefit from custom clubs? These are but a few of the many questions my clients ask me before their fitting session. Let’s address the first question. What happens during a custom club fitting session?

After filling out a comprehensive player information sheet that includes set makeup, current club specifications, swing tendencies and playing goals, we move onto the first and most important fitting criteria which is club length. Swinging clubs that are either too long or too short could result in the golfer developing bad habits as well as inconsistency and accuracy problems. During this fitting phase, the golfer hits various length clubs with impact labels on the clubface to determine the longest length club they can hit for both distance and accuracy. The club that he/she hits the most consistently on the center of the clubface with the most accuracy and feel is the optimum club length for that particular golfer. The golfer is also asked for any feedback regarding weight, length and overall feel of each of the different length clubs.

Once the proper length is determined, we move onto lie angle. The second most important fitting parameter, lie angle is the point on the bottom of the clubhead that makes contact with the ground during a swing. For example, clubs that are too flat for a golfer will tend to show hitting marks more on the toe. This could result in the golfer hitting most of his/her shots to the right of the target because as the toe digs into the turf first, the clubface tends to open, pushing the shot to the right. A lie angle that is fit to the golfer is where the impact mark is directly in the center on the bottom of the clubhead. Each and every club should be checked and adjusted for proper lie angle, but the scoring clubs (6-PW) are the most important. In order to test for lie angle, I place impact labels on the bottom of the club head and have the golfer hit a few shots off a hitting board. Depending on where the impact mark is on the label will determine if the clubhead needs to be bent more upright or flat.

After lie angle is determined, shaft flex and torque are measured. Shaft flex is the relative stiffness of the shaft and its ability to bend or flex during the golf swing. It is important to note that no two shafts are alike in regard to flex. A Callaway R flex shaft is not necessarily the same as a Titleist R flex shaft and so on. Each company measures their shafts using different performance criteria and therefore you can’t assume that just because it says R on the shaft that it will perform like an R from another company.

Torque is the ability of the shaft to resist twisting. It is the combination of both flex and torque that make up the overall stiffness of the shaft. To determine shaft flex and torque, I measure the swing speed and tempo by using a machine called the Golf Achiever. This is a state of the art laser swing analyzer connected to a computer which allows me to not only measure a golfer’s swing speed but also ball speed, launch angle, club path, face angle and distance carried, just to name a few. Without some sort of measuring device it is very difficult to accurately determine swing speed and tempo, which are the cornerstones to fitting the proper shaft flex.

Tempo has a direct impact on torque. The faster a player swings from the top of the back swing to the ball, the more load or torque that is placed on the shaft. Therefore, a fast swinger will require a lower torque shaft to help square the clubface at impact. Along with the Golf Achiever to help determine flex, the golfer hits various clubs with different flex shafts, giving feedback on anything from a very flexible senior shaft all the way to an extra stiff shaft. We observe the performance of each of the different flex shafts in addition to the feedback from the golfer to further identify the proper shaft flex.

Once shaft flex and torque are determined, the last fitting procedure, if for new clubs, is to pick out the actual club head. Based on the questionnaire and the fitting results, I make a recommendation about a specific type of club head that the golfer will most benefit from. Does the golfer prefer/require a blade, a cavity backed head or maybe an offset? Does he/she prefer a thin or thick top line? Each of these types of club heads has different performance characteristics and is better suited to a specific type of golfer. The golfer test hits various component companies’ club heads comparing performance, look, and feel, and we finalize the club head best suited to him/her.

If the fitting is not for new clubs, the fitting is complete once the shaft flex and torque are determined. I then retrofit the golfer’s existing clubs. This may consist of bending the clubs for lie angle, cutting the shafts down or even replacing the existing shafts with something that is a better fit to the golfer’s current ability level.

Although there are other fitting items to consider such as swing weight, grip size, steel or graphite shafts, etc., this completes the basic fitting process. These are all great topics to learn more about and we will address them in future articles. A certified Clubmaker will insure your clubs are frequency matched, swing weighted to within one swing weight point and back them up with an unconditional warranty. Should you have a specific question please feel free to call me at 301-471-4825 or email me directly atMike@CustomClubsofFrederick.com or visit my web site at www.CustomClubsofFrederick.com.









                                                                          Spring Club Primer
                                                             Are Your Clubs Ready for Spring?

by Mike Bednarcik
Owner -Custom Clubs of Frederick


Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association 

As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com

After this long, cold winter, I’m sure you’re probably not physically ready to start playing golf – and how about your clubs? Are they in the best shape possible? If not, what can you do to get them ready for the upcoming golf season?

Perhaps the most important and often most overlooked is getting your clubs evaluated for the proper loft and lie. Golf clubs can easily work their way out of alignment (loft and lie) by simply hitting balls on the range or off hardpan, hitting a tree root, rocks, or just during normal play. And, most name brand clubs bought over the counter are never evaluated and measured for loft and lie specifications. It is always a good idea to insure your clubs are set to these manufacturer specifications by having them checked at least once a year.

If the lie of a club is off by as little as 1 degree, this could mean that your shot direction could be off by 3-4 yards. You may not notice this in your long irons, but being off 3-4 yards in your wedge could mean the difference between being in a bunker or being on the green.

Loft is equally important. There is only a 3-4 degree loft difference between clubs as you progress through the set. If you had a 6 iron that was a bit weak and a 7 iron that was a little strong, you could, in effect, not notice any difference in distance between the two clubs. Think about that for a moment. Do you have two clubs in your bag that you may hit about the same distance? You should see about an 8-10 yard gap between each club. A simple loft check and alteration will cure such distance gaps.

How about your shafts? Are their dent marks in your steel shafts or unusual wear marks or fraying on your graphite shafts? Both of these conditions could lead to premature shaft failure. It is better to correct these conditions now then to have it happen on the golf course or driving range and potentially injure someone.

Do your hear a rattle in your shafts or clubheads? This could be caused by loose weights or epoxy could have broken loose. Although this doesn’t affect play-ability it could be a distraction.

Check your ferrules as well. These are the plastic trim pieces where the shaft enters the clubhead. If there is a separation between the ferrule and head it could mean that the ferrule is loose and can be epoxied back into place. On the other hand, the ferrule could be in place and it could be the head that is actually sliding off. Although this is unusual, it pays to at least have them looked at and corrected if necessary.

Check your grips for unusual wear. Are there indentations caused by your thumb or forefinger? Are they slick or hard to hold onto? Do you remember the last time you changed them? If not, you are probably in need of new grips. While you’re at it, have your Clubmaker check your grip size. You may be surprised at what a different size grip could mean to the feel of the golf club.

What about set make up? What type of clubs are you carrying? Do you ever hit your 3 or 4 irons? If not, take a look at the new hybrid clubs. These new clubhead designs are much more forgiving and a lot easier to get airborne. Do you consistently hit a fade (slice)? Perhaps a driver with a closed or offset face will help straighten your drives. These designs will help you return the clubface in a more square position at impact and could result in straighter drives.

If you are a serious golfer, you should have a frequency analysis done on your clubs. This high tech specification check compares each of your clubs to one another to see if they match. Each club is placed on a frequency machine and oscillated. The number of times the shaft oscillates is stated in cpms or “cycles per minute.” Throughout the set, there should be an equal number of cpms between each club. If a club shows a higher or lower cpm than the others, that club could play noticeable different than the rest. The numbers are then plotted on graph paper to show a visual image of how the shafts compare to one another.

What does this mean to your game? Well, if your clubs are not frequency matched, they may not perform in the same manner. A club that is not in line with the others can easily be corrected by changing the shaft to insure it matches the rest of the set. Having your clubs frequency matched will ensure that they will feel and play as consistently as possible.

Whether it is the loft, lie, shaft, or grip, it is wise to have a Clubmaker perform an equipment check-up at least once a year to ensure that you have equipment with the correct specifications to match your individual playing characteristics. The best players in the world are constantly evaluating their clubs. Doing it on a regular basis will help you do the same.

Questions? You can contact Mike through his website at www.CustomClubsofFrederick.com or by phone at 301-471-4825. Mike is a Certified Class A Clubmaker through the Professional Clubmakers Society








                                                          What Kind of Car Wash Do You Want?

by 
Mike Bednarcik
Owner -Custom Clubs of Frederick

Professional Clubfitter - Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals
Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

More and more golf club companies are starting to emphasize custom clubfitting as an option to their typical marketing to golfers to buy their clubs in standard form, bought off the shelf.

Custom fitting is very definitely for average golfers and not just for single digit handicap players. When done properly, custom fitting can reduce and offset some of your swing errors. In addition, proper custom fitting makes it easier to take swing coaching advice and make the changes in the swing to hit the ball better.

If you are thinking about custom fitting for your next driver or set of clubs, there are a few things you need to know to ensure you really do end up with properly custom fit clubs that will improve your game. A colleague of mine in the golf business put this in the right way when he said that custom clubfitting can be much like having your car washed.

On one hand, if your car needs a bath, you can pull out the hose and just spray water on it to wash off the obvious surface dirt. You can also fill a bucket with suds and scrub the dirt off the surface with a sponge. Or, you can pull out all the stops and scrub, detail and wax it. All three examples could be called a car wash.

Custom fitting in the golf industry today is much the same. There is fitting, and there is professional custom clubfitting. Examples of a fitting include “6 questions on a web site”, 15 minutes hitting a few balls with a swing computer, or 3 measurements and a response from a golf sales person to the effect of, “I know what you need.”

On the other hand, professional custom clubfitting is going to involve a pretty fair amount of your time, often more than one trip to have your swing analyzed in detail so that ALL the possible specifications that make up a set of golf clubs can be pinpointed and selected to match with your strength, size, athletic ability, and especially, the way YOU and only YOU swing. Professional custom clubfitting really is like the scrub, wax and detail car wash I mentioned before. The other types of fitting are not going to get you really matched well to your clubs to really result in the level of improvement that a real custom fitting can and will do. In other words, which “car wash” do YOU want for your money.To find more about professional custom clubfitting, please come to my shop and ask me for a little more information. If you do, you’ll be happy you did and your club buying money will be well spent.






                                                     The Three Key Specifications of Driver Fitting
                                                            (and a few more that will help as well!) 

by
Mike Bednarcik
Custom Clubs of Frederick

Professional Clubfitter - Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals
Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

What golfer doesn’t dream of owning that “magic driver” which enables them to hit the ball longer and straighter?

Tip number one; the very best driver for every golfer is never selected by its brand or model name or model number. It is chosen by its fitting specifications and how those individual factors are matched to the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and most of all, to their swing characteristics.

Driver Length
I’m going to be blunt. The standard driver lengths of 45.5 to 46.5 inches offered by the standard made golf club companies are too long and are preventing at least 75% of all golfers from achieving their maximum potential for distance and accuracy. For men with an average to fast tempo with an outside/in swing path, 44” is the maximum length; women, 42.5” to 43” should be the limit. There’s a very good reason the average driver length on the US PGA Tour from 2004-2009 has been 44.5” and not 45.5” to 46.5”

Driver Loft
Driver loft must be matched to the golfer’s swing speed and their angle of attack into the ball. The slower the swing speed and the more downward the angle of attack, the higher the loft of the driver has to be for maximum distance. While each golfer has to be individually analyzed to know which loft brings the most distance.

Driver Face Angle
Few drivers sold off the shelf offer options in the face angle to reduce the golfer’s tendency to slice or hook the ball. There is no better way to reduce a slice than to fit the golfer with a more closed face angle in the driver/fairway woods. For more severe slices, the golfer can be fit with a driver head with both a closed faceand an offset hosel design. The rule of thumb for face angle change? At a carry distance of 200 yards, each one degree more closed the face angle is than the golfer’s current face angle represents a reduction in the slice of about 4 to 5 yards.

And a Couple More for Covering Your Golfers’ Driver Fitting Needs . . .

Total Weight and Swingweight
The stronger the golfer physically and the more aggressively they swing, the heavier the total weight and swingweight will need to be. The opposite is true for the weaker and much less aggressive swinging player. Matching the “weights” of the driver to the golfer’s swing strength and aggressiveness is critical for swing tempo consistency and the highest incidence of on-center impacts.

Shaft
Here’s the facts about the shaft. While the weight, the overall flex and the stiffness bend profile of the shaft has to be fit properly to all golfers, the shaft flex and bend profile are more important for golfers with a late release of the wrist-cock angle in the downswing than for golfers with an earlier release. Don’t worry; we’ll dig deeper into shaft fitting on its own in a successive column.






                                                                         

                                                                    A Game Improvement Q & A
by
Mike Bednarcik
Owner - Custom Clubs of Frederick


Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com

Has the High-tech era passed you by? Are your clubs more than 5-10 years old? If that’s the case, it might be time to take a look at some new clubs – or at least look at updating or upgrading what you currently have. Today’s models are longer, lighter, larger and more forgiving then even clubs from 5 years ago. There are more options with the new Hybrid clubs. If you answer yes to a few of the following questions then it might just be time to go club – or club upgrade – shopping.

1. Are you the shortest hitter in your foursome?

If so, take a look at your driver. Today’s drivers are longer and lighter and offer more potential for greater distances. The shafts are lighter which allow the clubs to be made longer. With longer and lighter shafts there is a potential for greater club head speed and therefore longer tee shots.

Over 60% of all drivers today are made from some sort of Titanium. Titanium is a very strong yet lightweight material that allows the club head to be made larger and more forgiving on off center hits. Larger clubheads increase the “sweet spot” by twisting less on off center hits. A club that twists less when hit on the toe or heel means the club has a high MOI or moment of inertia. This is a good thing. Less twisting results in straighter shots on off center hits. We can all use this.

How about your irons? An easy fix to add a few yards to your current set is to have the lofts adjusted 1-2 degrees stronger. One degree usually will lead to an increase of 3-4 yards. If you go more than 2 degrees strong, you may adversely affect the performance of the club by creating a negative bounce condition, which will result in hitting more shots fatter. This we don’t want. A qualified clubfitter will be able to mesure and adjust your clubs to get the most out of them.

2. Do you always hit the ball to the right or left?

If so, the next time you’re on the range, take a look at where most of your shots go and the flight pattern. With your irons, if you feel as though you are hitting the ball solid yet your shot consistently goes a little right or left of the target (especially with the short irons), it could be that your lie angles are incorrect. If your irons are too upright for your swing, you will tend to


pull the ball. If your irons are too flat, you will have the tendency to push the ball. If you think this is a problem you should have your lie angle tested and then have the irons measured and adjusted if necessary.

How about your driver? If you tend to slice or hook a majority of your shots then the club’s face angle may not match your swing. If you slice (like most of us), your clubface is probably open at impact. A more closed clubface (1-2 degrees closed) will help square your face at impact and improve your accuracy. The converse is also true. If you always hook the ball, then you should look at a clubface angle with a more open face.

3. Are you uncomfortable at address? Do you have to hunch over or stand too upright?

If so, either the lie angle or length of your clubs may be incorrect for you. A club’s length is an important element in how a player stands at address. Any unnatural posture or set up at address usually results in inconsistent swings and poor results. A club that is too long may lead to hitting behind the ball a lot (fat shots). If the clubs are too short you may be topping the ball.

Another important element is making sure the lie angle is correct. If the lie angle of the club is too upright, a player may have to raise his/her hands at address. This may feel very awkward or unnatural and usually leads to inconsistent swings or at best a bad or negative feeling to start the swing off with. It is very unlikely for that player to deliver the club at impact in that same position. If the club is too flat, the player’s hands will be too low, again a difficult position to match at impact. Therefore, if you feel as though you have to unnaturally adjust your hands at address to make your club look or feel “right”, chances are your clubs have either a length and/or lie that are not matched to your swing.

4. Do you hit the ball unusually high or low?

Watch the height and trajectory of your tee shots and compare them with your playing partners. If there is a big difference either high or low, the loft of your driver may need to be changed. If you hit the ball too high, the ball will balloon up in the air, reach its peak early and drop to the ground with little or no roll, usually at the cost of distance. If you hit the ball too low, the ball will not generate enough lift (backspin) and therefore the ball will reach its apex early as well and drop to the ground. This tee shot will, however, roll a lot but you are still not getting the most out of your drives. A driver with a low loft creates a lot of sidespin (slice-spin), which is the precursor to a slice. In order to maximize your driver distance you need to create more backspin to counteract the sidespin.

If you have trouble hitting your driver, do you hit your 3 wood well? If so, it is most likely due to the fact that is has more loft (usually 13-15 degrees), which is creating more backspin and less sidespin. This increases the likelihood of hitting the ball straight. By going to a driver with more loft you will add more backspin to your tee shots which will help straighten them out.

By utilizing a launch monitor like the Golf Achiever, we can determine the optimum launch angle for your swing and recommend the appropriate loft, length and shaft flex. Come in for a fitting on my launch monitor to determine what driver loft will work best for you.









                                                 Selecting the Shaft so You Don’t “Get the Shaft”

by
Mike Bednarcik
Custom Clubs of Frederick

Professional Clubfitter - Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals
Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

Here’s a little fact of life the golf industry never talks about. There are no established standards within the golf equipment industry for shaft flex.

The R flex from one company may have the same stiffness as the S flex from another company, or the A flex from yet some other company. The result is a lot of golfers walk away from their club buying experience without the right fit for the shafts in their new clubs.

Accurate shaft fitting has to consist of four important steps:

  • Measure the driver and middle-iron swing speeds of the golfer. The golfer’s swing speed measurements must then be compared not to letter codes for flexes, but to a technically accurate list of swing speed ratings of many different shafts.


  • Fit the weight of the shaft to the physical strength and aggressiveness of the golfer’s downswing move at the ball. Strong golfer + aggressive downswing + fast downswing tempo = heaver shaft weight (>85g woods, >115g irons). Less strong golfer + more passive downswing force and smooth tempo = very light shaft weight (<65g woods, <65-75g irons). In between these extremes for the golfer strength and downswing tempo = medium shaft weight (70-80g woods, 75-85g irons).


  • Adjust the swing speed rating of the shaft to the intensity of the golfer’s downswing transition move. Very aggressive start to the downswing = choosing a shaft with a swing speed rating slightly higher than the golfer’s swing speed measurement. Very smooth and easy start to the downswing = a shaft with a swing speed rating slightly lower than the golfer’s swing speed.


  • Choose the shaft’s Bend Profile Design to match the golfer’s unhinging of the wrist-cock angle on the downswing, also called the release. The bend profile of a shaft is how its stiffness can be distributed over the length of the shaft. For golfers with a late release, shafts with a tip firm bend profile (the tip end is the smaller end of the shaft) are a better fit. Golfers who release the wrist cock angle early in the downswing need shafts with more flexibility in the tip design. In between with the release means a tip medium bend profile.


One last point to guide your shaft fitting; the later the wrist cock release and more aggressive the downswing, the more the shaft becomes a vital component of performance in the club. The earlier the release and less aggressive the swing tempo, the weight of the shaft becomes far more important for the golfer than the stiffness design for shot performance. The only way for all golfers to find the best shaft for their swing is through professional custom clubfitting.







                                                                              Putter Fitting? – Why Not!

by
Mike Bednarcik - Your Golf Equipment Professional
Owner - Custom Clubs of Frederick


Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com

If a player shoots a 72 on a par 72 golf course, most likely 50% of that players score (2 putts per hole x 18 holes = 36 putts) is from putting. Many times golfers look to buy the latest drivers or irons to help their game. But why not start your search with the club you use the most – the putter.

You’re probably like most golfers who simply go to a pro shop or large discount golf chain and take a few putts with the hottest new advertised putter or one that the last winner on the PGA tour used. Well, that is not always the best thing to do.

One of the quickest ways to improve your scoring is to examine your putting, not only your technique, but your equipment as well. When a golfer comes into my shop for a putter fitting, we go over the five basic parameters of putter fitting:


· length of the putter
· lie of the putter 
· swing weight 
· loft of the head, and 
· head design

Putter length is perhaps the most important fitting parameter. Through testing, it has been determined that length accounts for 50% of your distance control and 50% of your directional control. Having the correct length promotes a comfortable posture and helps to make sure that your eyes are over the ball.

I use a mirror with a ball placed on it and an adjustable putter with a sliding shaft that can accommodate anything from a 30” putter to a belly putter. The player steps up to the mirror with the ball on it and slides the adjustable putter until he gets into a proper putting position. Once in the proper position, I tighten the sliding shaft and read the correct length that the putter will be cut to. I then have the player hit a few putts at that length with impact labels on the face of the putter to determine exactly where the ball is contacting the face.

Lie angle is the second most important putter fitting parameter. If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you know how important it is to have the correct lie on your irons. The same holds true for the putter. In putting, the lie angle accounts for 95% of the putts directional control and 5% of the putts distance control. On a typical 22-foot putt, if the putter’s lie angle is four degrees up, the ball will be pulled 1 3/16” to the left. That is enough to miss the hole completely.

To determine the correct lie angle, I have the player get into their putting stance in front of a special lie angle board with lines on it. I observe the player from the front to see if the putter’s lie angle matches the lines on the board. If the shaft is above or below the line, I need to bend the putter to make sure the putter has the correct lie.

Loft accounts for 90% of the putts distance control and 10% of the putts directional control. In putting, there are three ways to contact the ball at impact. One is to de-loft the putter with a forward press. The second is to increase the loft by having the hands behind the ball at impact. The third is perfectly vertical or straight up/down. To test for the correct loft, I again have the player take their putting stance with a lined board between their legs. If the shaft is ahead or behind the line, I need to adjust the loft of the putter to compensate. It has been shown through testing that a putter should have four degrees of loft to obtain the most consistent roll. Therefore if a player de-lofts or increases their loft, I need to adjust the putter to obtain that 4-degree optimum loft.

The next putter fitting parameter is head weight. Head weight accounts for 85% of a putts distance control and only 15% of a putts directional control. To measure a putter’s swing weight, the club is placed on a 14” fulcrum scale and the measurement is taken. The range should be between C4 and D6 or for better results the swing weight should be between C6 and D4. If the putter is too light, the player will not have a good feel for the distance and therefore consistency will suffer. If the putter is not heavy enough we need to add weight (either by lead tape or lead powder) to get as close to this range or to the correct feel for the player as possible.

The last fitting parameter is head design. Head design accounts for 50% of the putts directional control and 50% of the putts distance control. A typical 18 handicapper misses the center of the putter face by 1 1/2'” on a typical 22-foot putt. Research shows that if you miss the “sweet spot” by 3/10” you will miss a 22-foot putt.

Pros seldom miss the center of the putter but amateurs do. This is why most of us would benefit from a more forgiving putter head style or a putter with a very high moment of inertia (MOI). MOI is the measurement of the objects resistance to twisting. The higher the MOI, the less likely the head is to twist on a putt struck on the toe or heel. With a low MOI putter, not only do we lose the power on and off center hit but with the head twisting, the direction of the putt also suffers.

There is no doubt that a high MOI putter will result in better distance control and directly contribute to a golfer’s ability to putt more consistently. Every one of us can benefit from playing a putter with a high MOI. Come in and get fitted.

Keep your questions coming. I will try to answer each one of them either through my monthly articles on www.GolfinAmigos.com or individually.









                                                      Seven Technology Factors to Improve Your Game

By Mike Bednarcik 
Custom Clubs of Frederick


As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com
4 Time Maryland Clubmaker of the Year

We are all looking for that little extra something that is going to make this wonderful game a little bit more forgiving. Here are a few suggestions:

Technology Factor #1 – Shorter Driver Length and More Loft

Today’s drivers that are sold “off the rack” are made in lofts from 8-11 degrees, and in lengths of 45” to 45 1/2”. However, only 10% of all golfers have the required swing mechanics and athletic ability to warrant playing such equipment. If you swing over the top or have an inconsistent tempo, and your wrist to floor measurement is less than 40”, then a 45” driver is probably too long for you. If you’re swing speed is less than 95 mph and you are using a driver with a loft of 9-11 degrees, then you are probably not maximizing your distance off the tee. If you hit a 3 wood better and more consistent than a driver, you can definitely take advantage of higher lofted drivers.

Technology Factor #2 – Closed Wood Face Angle

Wood face angle is the BEST equipment correction device for driver accuracy. Face angle is the direction the face points when the head is placed in playing position or soled.

It is a design factor that helps correct minor swing path faults or the inability of the golfer to square the clubface at impact. How many golfers do you think have that problem? Most golfers with driver problems either push or slice the ball off the tee. Yet, when you purchase “off the rack” drivers you have very little opportunity to alter the face angle. They just don’t offer that as an option. Most drivers will only have a closed face angle of 1 degree. A face angle with a 2-4 degree closed face angle will cut down a slice from 5-15 yards.

Technology Factor #3 – Set Make-Up

Today’s 7 iron has the same loft as a 5 iron of 15 years ago. Ever wonder why it is so difficult to hit today’s 3 and 4 irons? With today’s stronger lofted long irons, many golfers are going to higher lofted woods or hybrids. Which one is best for you? That depends. If you are currently having success with higher lofted woods, then staying with woods makes perfect sense. However, if you are not consistent with the fairway woods, then the shorter lengths of the “hybrid” clubs may make you more consistent. Each option has its pros and cons. The lower and deeper center of gravity of the wood heads will tend to hit the ball higher and are easier to hit. But the shorter lengths of the hybrids should be easier to hit on center and with more control. Either way it is probably time to get rid of your 3 and 4 irons and take a serious look at higher lofted fairway woods or hybrids.

Technology Factor #4 – Use the Most Flexible Shaft You Can Control.

By using a more flexible shaft, you will probably hit the ball a little higher, the shot will feel a little bit more solid, and the face might close a little more at impact. These are all things that will allow you to score better. By using a stiffer shaft you will probably hit the ball a little lower and with less distance, and the impact will be slightly harsher while the clubface may remain slightly open. Therefore, consider dropping down a flex and you might just be rewarded with a tighter shot dispersion and lower scores.

Technology Factor #5 – Use Cavity Backed Irons

Cavity backed irons truly are more forgiving on off center hits. You have probably heard this before, but take a cavity-backed iron and muscle-backed iron to the course and take a 10 shots with each and plot the results (when the greens keeper is not around). Plotting these shots will show you which type of iron performs best for you. I’m sure you will see better results with the cavity-backed iron.

Technology Factor #6 – Go With a Wider Sole on the Sand Wedge

If you tend to leave the ball in the sand from digging too deep under the ball, look for a sand wedge with a much wider (thicker) sole than on your current sand wedge. Also, if you tend to have a very steep downward swing plane, look for a wide sole angle and more bounce to get out of the sand more consistently. Sole angle will allow the club head to create lift as it travels through the sand to get the ball out. Bounce allows the leading edge of the head to glide through the sand because the trailing edge is actually lower than the leading edge. Having a wider sole angel and more bounce together creates favorable conditions to get out of the sand consistently.

Technology Factor #7 – Add weight to your Putter – In the Grip

More golfers are starting to notice a more consistent stroke with a heavier putter. But not just by adding weight to the head. I’m talking about counterbalancing your putter by adding weight to the grip end. I will be talking more about this in future articles, but many of my customers are noticing huge performance gains by adding weight to the butt end of the putter. The method is called “Balance-Certified Golf” and Custom Clubs of Frederick is one of only a few shops in the area that can perform this service. Give me a call.







                                                                   Are You Having Iron Distance Control Problems?

By Mike Bednarcik
Custom Clubs of Frederick


4 Time Maryland Clubmaker of the Year
As published on www.GolfinAmigos.com

Do you know how far you hit each of your irons? Do you know the loft and lie angles of your irons? Do you typically hit two clubs about the same distance? Are your clubs the same specifications as when you first bought them? Wow, way too many questions.

First, if you haven’t done so, measure the distances for each of your irons and woods and write them down on a small index card, have it laminated and keep it in your bag for easy reference. Write down the shortest, longest and average of each of the clubs in your bag. This is very important, as well as a time saver, when you play new courses. It is also comforting to know what your shortest shot with any club is in case you have to carry a trap or hazard. You can do this on a driving range, golf course or better yet on a dependable launch monitor.

I have a machine called the distance caddy which accurately measures these gaps. I have my clients take 10 shots with the 3 wood and then 10 shots with the highest lofted club in the bag.

We then divide by the total number of clubs the client carries (excluding the driver and putter) to come up with a “gap” between each club. We call this gapping a set of clubs. Problems become obvious when we see similar distances between two or more clubs. We then perform an evaluation on those trouble clubs to determine if the lofts are similar.

If you have two irons that always seem to go about the same distance or you do not have consistent distance gaps (typically 10 yards or so) between each of your irons, then you might have 2 iron lofts that are too close to each other.

A typical set of irons will have 3 degrees of loft between the long irons (3, 4, 5 and maybe 6) and 4 degrees of loft between the shorter irons (7, 8, 9, PW, AW and SW).

Most high quality manufacturing companies have tolerances which allow for a +/- of 1 degree on loft off of specifications.

Let’s say, according to the manufacturer, your 6 iron loft was supposed to be 31 degrees and the 5 iron was supposed to be 28 degrees. If we allow for the tolerances of +/- 1 degree and assume the 6 iron is at the low end and is actually 30 degrees while the 5 iron is at the upper end at 29 degrees. What potential problems might you have with only 1 degree of loft separating these two clubs? Of course the distance gap between the 5 and 6 iron will be very small if any.

How often do you think this occurs with clubs bought “off the rack”? In over 8 years of evaluating clubs, it is very rare that I don’t find at least 2-3 noticeable irregularities between a set of irons during a specification evaluation for just loft and lie. I’m not even going to mention swingweight and frequency. That is for another article. How can we begin to be consistent if our clubs are not even the most consistent they can be.

Another problem, even if your clubs were checked for loft and lie is hitting off of hard services like those on most driving ranges. If you hit off of mats that are on top of concrete or another very hard service, chances are either the loft and or lie angle of your clubs has been altered. The constant pounding on these types of services or even “hard pan” on the golf course can cause clubs to go out of specification.

But I’m playing cast clubs? Yes, this happens very easily with forged clubs as compared to cast clubs but none-the-less all clubs can go out of specification with repeated use on hard services, not to mention the stress on the graphite shafts. Bring your clubs to a qualified clubmaker once a year for a specification evaluation and checkup.

If you have article ideas or specific questions, please forward them to me or go to the Amigos forum and post them in the new “Golf Club Lounge”. Stay warm!



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                                                                     The Key Specifications of Hybrid Club Fitting

                                            More Headcovers in the Bag Does Indicate a Smarter Golfer

by
Mike Bednarcik
Custom Clubs of Frederick

Professional Clubfitter - Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals
Certified Class A Clubmaker – The Professional Clubmakers Society
Advanced Professional Clubmaker – The Golf Clubmakers Association

Not long ago I was asked my opinion of what have been the most significant advances in golf club technology over the past century. Such a list has to include improvements such as steel shafts replacing hickory, perimeter weighted irons and metal woods replacing blades and wooden heads, titanium driver heads with their higher COR, and graphite shafts to lighten the total weight of golf clubs, just to name a few.

I also believe the latest entry on such a list should include hybrid clubs, but only if the hybrids are correctly fit to golfers for the purpose of truly taking their place as a part of each golfer’s iron set, rather than to simply be n alternative to a fairway wood or a club which still leaves distances on the course for which the golfer has no easy to hit club.

What do I mean?

The golf industry’s practice of ever decreasing the loft of irons over the past thirty years has gotten to the point that the vast majority of golfers do not possess the ability to hit the 3-, 4- and even the 5-iron consistently enough to even merit having the clubs in their bag.

This condition of “shrinking loft disease” in the irons most certainly is what has opened the door to allow hybrid clubs to step in to offer a truly positive solution for golfers who find the modern #3, 4 and 5 irons more difficult to hit consistently well. Unfortunately, because hybrid clubs sold off the shelf run the gauntlet in terms of lengths and lofts, simply buying hybrid clubs off the shelf will not bring about the best possible results for all golfers. Some hybrids are built the same length as fairway woods. Most are made to lengths in between those of the longer irons and fairway woods, while few are offered in the same lengths as the low loft conventional irons that need to be replaced.

The most effective way to custom fit every golfer for hybrid clubs is to start by fitting the golfer for hybrids with the same length and the same loft as the irons the golfer finds difficult to hit consistently well. Most golfers will find it very helpful to replace the 5-iron with a hybrid as well. By custom fitting the hybrids to the same length and loft as the irons being replaced, not only will the golfer have a club for each shot distance they may encounter, they will also have clubs that truly will eliminate the problems caused by “shrinking loft disease” in the irons.




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