Is The Problem Your Swing Or Your Shaft?

There’s an old saying among golfers; great players can hit anything. It speaks to the belief that highly skilled golfers ought to be able to pick up any golf club and hit great shots with it. It’s time we debunked this myth because it continues to cause problems for golfers of all abilities.

TPT Head of Performance Jon Sinclair regularly hears a version of this story from the golfers he coaches — even the tour pros that train with him in his facility outside Dallas, Texas. Many times, a tour player has scheduled a fitting with Sinclair during the course of the season — let’s say it’s a driver fitting — with the expectation that they will need some time to “get used to” the new club before they use it on tour.

“I tell them if you have to get used to it, it’s not the right club,” Sinclair says. “If a club is not better before the end of the fitting, we’re not going to use it.”

Your “Trouble” Club

Every golfer has a least-favorite club in their bag. It’s quite common for golfers to believe that their trouble with a particular club has something to do with their swing. Some golfers even think their inability to hit a certain club is “in their head.” Today’s highly sophisticated club fitting tools often prove that these beliefs are unfounded.

The most frustrating club in many golfers’ bags is a 3 wood. And while it is one of the more challenging clubs to hit, it’s often something about the club that is causing the problems.

Let’s use the example of a golfer who is always topping his 3 wood. Having this golfer hit shots with his 3 wood on a launch monitor may reveal that his angle of attack is 5 degrees up, which is causing him to hit the ball off the bottom of the clubface and “top” his shots. But before making a mechanical change, Sinclair advises golfers to think about the bigger picture.

Oftentimes, golfers are making mechanical changes to their swing in an attempt to counteract a poorly fit club. So if this golfer is only hitting these poor shots with one club, wouldn’t it make sense that it’s the fault of the club and not the fault of the golfer?

“Golfers who are taking lessons from me have to have fitted equipment,” Sinclair says. “We can’t run into a situation where the player is doing what they’re supposed to do from a mechanical standpoint, but the club is failing them. It’s a recipe for bad habits.”

In the case of a golfer topping his 3 wood, the club may have a shaft that is too stiff, a loft that is too low, or a combination of the two. Any of these factors would cause a golfer to attempt to “help the ball up into the air,” explaining the attack angle of 5 degrees up that is causing top shots.

Changing the club can immediately solve the issue. With a softer shaft or more loft, a golfer can make an appropriate 3 wood swing and get the results he wants.

Is It The Swing Or The Shaft?

Problems due to ill-fit golf clubs are not always as extreme as topped shots. They can create more subtle problems for golfers, such as the inability to consistently contact the ball on the center of the clubface — especially if it’s a shaft issue.

So how do you know if it’s your swing or your shaft? Think of it this way. You’d never buy a pair of shoes that didn’t feel good the first time you tried them. You wouldn’t care if they were your usual size and made by your favorite brand. You’d keep trying different shoes until you found a pair that felt good on your feet the first time you tried them.

The same is true of your golf clubs. If there’s a club in your bag that is giving you problems, it’s not up to you to “get used to it.” Because doing so could actually create problems for all the other clubs in your bag.

Do you have a trouble club in your bag? Schedule a fitting with a TPT Authorized Fitter near you to learn why.


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