Golf, Part 36: Pros and Cons of Fixing Your Swing Via Teaching Vs. Clubfitting

How the golfer can identify swing error cause possibilities. Where the golfer can find qualified help for errant shots. How golf instruction & golf equipment interact.

The subtlety between clubfitting and teaching as the means toward better golf is controversial. Both must be included in better golf. The “experts” say that 80% plus of the golfers play with equipment that does not fit them. A clubfitter who does not understand & use a launch monitor to determine fitting factors is guessing & A teacher who is not truly qualified & dedicated passes on little improvement. In either case the customer is drawing one card to a straight. Here is how the qualified can help.

SLICING OR PUSHING

Clubfitting––A golfer might obtain relief by trying a more flexible shaft or checking for a lie angle that is too flat or a Clubhead weight too heavy, a grip too large, a club that has been back-weighted. The face angle of woods should also be checked.

Teaching––In general, slicing occurs when the clubface is brought back to the ball in an open condition. This can be produced by pre-swing fundamental errors, shoulder misalignment, hand positioning, and ball location but in the main it is due to a poor path during the attack phase of the swing. A poor path usually occurs because of misconceptions like hit down on the ball, hit the back of the ball, keep the lead arm straight, swing the lead arm, uncock the wrists, or hit the ball down the line which result in an over the top move. A push is more solidly struck and occurs when the shoulders and arms combine to go in that direction. We must remember that compensations are endless and the golfer has his own sub-conscious preferences.

HOOKING OR PULLING

Clubfitter––Trying a stiffer shaft, a lie angle check, and a check for grips being too small is usually done. An increase in club or swing weight is also an option. And, the face angle of the woods should be checked.

Teaching––The same perimeters as above generally apply. The way the golfer compensates is up to him, as has been said. There is no value in curing an effect with compensations.

ALL TOPPED SHOTS

Clubfitting––Not a factor.

Teaching––Again, the same checklist applies, in particularly a change of spine angle: however and invariably, the faster the arms and hands move independently of the body’s rotation the higher their return arc is.

ALL FAT SHOTS

Clubfitting––Not a factor.

Teaching––The same checklist applies, in particularly a trailing shoulder that dips vertically because of a lack of Core rotation and/or a manual uncocking of the lead wrist and a manual flattening of the trailing wrist. You can’t attempt to hit down on it any better than that.

WEDGES

Clubfitting––A check of fitting measurements with special emphasis upon the bounce of the wedge.

Teaching––Basic motion correctness.

PUTTERS

Clubfitting––The same considerations should go into fitting a putter as goes into other clubs: Length, weight lie angle, etc. Grips are sometimes installed incorrectly at the factory. It is the reason some complain of pulled or pushed putts––the clubhead lines up that way. The club must fit the golfer in the sense that the club head lays on the ground correctly for that individual.

Teaching––The fault in most putting strokes is that the golfer tends to quit at the ball. Said another way, the golfer does not allow the heel and toe of the putter head to come up the forward side of its arc. The vertical path the clubface must take results in less sidespin. That moment of ball and clubface togetherness: the face moving somewhat VERTICALLY UP through the ball in order for top tumble to result. The clubhead must travel vertically during the impact interval to accomplish this. Additionally, the golfer should be tutored in reading greens and gaining a feel for distances.

LACK OF DISTANCE

Clubfitting––Initial check of a shaft that does not fit the player––too stiff or too weak. The center of gravity should be checked to verify that it has not been affected by back-weighting. Other points of concern may be the length of the club, the size of the grip, head make-up (too much or too little loft); lie angle (too upright or too flat); club weight (too much or too little). In the case of woods, the face angle may be too open or too closed: also the size of the head and its face progression must be considered.

Teaching––Initial check for premature throwaway & the lack of power lag usually due to changes in spine angle during the swing due to poor Athletic Readiness; ball location; poor hand positioning, gripping tightness; rotating too fast or too slow; an arms only swing whereby the hands move too fast or quit at the ball.

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