Golf Clubs and Golf Technology

Mike's Questions about Driving Distance
Mike Stachura asked me two questions about driving distance. He wanted to know (1) how many yards of driving distance you get for every mile per hour of clubhead speed, and (2) how many extra yards of driving distance could an average golfer pick up without increasing clubhead speed. Here's my shot at the answers.

Driver Head Weight and Club Length
We take a look at how headweight affects driving distance. In particular, we examine how much of an advantage we can get from a maximum-legal-length driver. The answer is: probably less than you've been led to believe by advocates, but enough to be worth the effort. The extra distance comes with a price, which you may or may not be willing to pay.

Single-Length Irons
Here is my latest (2016) take on single-length iron sets. I restructured the article, starting with the prinicples of single-length clubs and finishing with a separate page of simulation studies of products on the market. Included is a discussion of the yardage gaps for a set of irons, a crucial consideration for both single-lenth and conventional irons.

Placement of Center of Gravity for Best Spin and Launch Angle
The work I have done analyzing vertical gear effect tells the golfer where to hit the ball on the clubface for maximum distance. But it doesn't tell the club designer where to place the Center of Gravity (CG) of the clubhead, to make it as easy as possible for the golfer to hit the ball on a favorable clubface spot. This article addresses that question, as well as how CG location figures into custom fitting the driver.

Early Experience with MOI Matching
In the first half of 1995, I was experimenting with MOI matched clubs. This was based on math and physics I did in 1994 suggesting this would be a better way to match clubs than swingweight. I posted my experiences to rec.sport.golf, the golfing interest newsgroup on the Internet. Here is an anthology of those postings.

More Recent MOI-Matching Experience
It took thirteen years and several tries, but I think I now know what sort of MOI-matched clubs I need. Here is the what and why of a set that fits me better than my earlier attempts at playing MOI-matched irons.

MOI Matching -- But Which Axis?
Let's challenge the usual assumption that MOI matching should be done using the butt of the club as the axis for moment of inertia. Here are the likely axes one might use, why the butt of the club is the one we do use, and a formula so you can transform the axis if you want to try a different approach.

Golf Technology Forecast - 2008
In 2008, motivated by a forecast made by Tom Wishon at the fifth World Scientific Congress of Golf, I prepared a five-year technology forecast. I decided to use as a ground rule Tom's conclusion that much of the progress would be in the area of custom club fitting. Here is my cut at it.

Technology Forecasting
This article is a companion to a technology forecast I made in 2008. Technology forecasting itself is a "vocational skill", which involves being able to apply some well-understood principles. Here are some of the ways a professional forecaster looks at things.

Thoughts on Putter Anchoring
The hottest topic in golf equipment right now (March 2013) is the proposed ban on anchoring the putter -- essentially a ban on long putters. I haven't done any detailed studies on this, but obviously have some opinions on whether it makes a difference. I feel it does give an advantage, and here are the reasons for that opinion.

Suppliers for Clubmaking Components
I am frequently asked who I buy from -- or who I'd recommend -- for clubmaking components and supplies. Here is an annotated list of suppliers I have dealt with, so I don't have to compose the answer every time.

Flex-face Irons Can Be More Forgiving than Rigid-face Irons
Unlike drivers, irons are not about maximum distance, but rather reliable, predictable distance. I felt that high-COR irons worked against this principle because the COR falls off away from the center, adding to the losses from an off-center impact. Tom Wishon proved me wrong. Here's the real story.

Why hosel coning is important
A casual round at an executive course turned into a demonstration of why it is important to ream a "cone" at the top of your hosel if you are building clubs with graphite shafts. Here's why it's important.

The Great Square Groove Controversy
In the late 1980s and early '90s, it was widely -- and incorrectly -- believed that square grooves were illegal. Here's how that rumor came about, and what really happened.

Hardness and Distance, or A Myth is Not As Good As A Mile
This was inspired by a debate about whether a super-hard clubface material will give more distance. It was first written before spring-face drivers and coefficient of restitution was an issue, but it gives some hints that a hard face is not the way to get more distance; a face that flexes is.

Centripetal Matching
In July of 2005, a discussion started on the FGI forum about matching sets of golf clubs based on the centripetal force trying to pull the clubs out of the golfers' hands. They had the analysis and measurement all wrong, so I wrote this article on how it really works -- and found out that it really doesn't. I don't think this article will ever be a classic, but it's a good study in how to see whether a proposal for improving golf club design has any merit.