Customizing the Clubs

Here's where the rubber meets the road (or the driver meets the ball, so to speak). It was hard to decide how to organize this section, because customizing is really the mapping between two domains:
  • The characteristics of the golfer for whom the clubs are built, and
  • The characteristics of the clubs.
Should the chapter be broken down by properties of clubs, or of the golfers that will use them? I finally decided that since I was trying to represent a two-dimensional (at least) mapping, I'd need a two-dimensional organization. So we begin with a table, where the columns are parts of the club and the rows are traits of the golfer. If there is a customizing effect worth talking about at the intersection, it is noted; for instance:
  • For the trait "Swing Plane"
  • You can adjust in the "Clubhead" using "Lie angle", or
  • You can adjust in the "Shaft" using "Length".
Within a cell, I have tried to keep the characteristics in order of decreasing effect. For instance, the "Clubhead's" effect on "Trajectory" is most pronounced by varying "Loft", then "CG", and least by "Offset". After the table, the rest of the section is organized so that you can find the effects noted in the table. So scan the table, check out the traits of the golfer for whom you're building the clubs, and go to the club features to read how to choose components to match the clubs to the golfer.

 One important caveat about using this table:

 Don't try to cure FAULTS through choice of equipment. That should be handled with lessons and practice. Rather, match the club to the characteristics of the player's game and frame. Examples:

  • DON'T try to cure a slice with a small grip, unless you're sure the grip was too big to begin with.
  • DON'T get a closed-face driver to cure a slice.
  • DO match the flex of the shaft to the speed of the golfer's swing.
  • DO choose the length based on the golfer's hand height and swing plane.
  • It's OK to make the club more "forgiving" for a beginner, or for someone who doesn't play enough to maintain a really consistent hit.
In short, build the club for the game to which the player can reasonably aspire in the short term... say, before it's time to buy the next set.
Factors For Customizing
The Golfer Clubhead Shaft Grip
Clubhead speed (distance)
[ see note 1 ]
Loft Flex
Hand height
[ see note 1 ]
Lie angle Length
Hand size Diameter
Trajectory (low/high) Loft
Kick point
Direction (slice/hook) Face angle
Swing plane (upright/flat) Lie angle Length
Swing arc (sweep/downward) Sole camber
Sole bounce
Swing precision (repeatable?)
[ see note 2 ]
Cavity Back
Sole camber
Sole width
Special problems:
- Back pain Flex
- Hand, arm pain Material Diameter
Note 1 - See also the section on swingweight, which is a composite of all the parts of the club.
Note 2 - This refers to a beginner's club or a "game improvement" club, vs the club of someone with a perfectly grooved swing.

Last modified Dec 7, 1998