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Learn More About Golf

Golf is a very difficult sport full of highs and lows, but one to easily fall in love with. This page is to promote knowledge about the basics of Golf. Below are some terms, directions, standards and myths about the equipment used. 

USED GOLF CLUBS

Used golf club are golf clubs that have been previously used by golfers and they no longer wish to play with them. When golf clubs are used it does not mean they are bad golf clubs. Many times the owner of the golf club gets tired of using the same old club and wishes to play with something else. Somebody could sell a golf club for the means of trying to get a newly released golf club and they do not have the means to upgrade so people may be trying to scrape together some extra cash. Regardless of the reason, the old testament stands true, one mans trash is another mans treasure.

 

GOLF BALLS

High handicappers and players who need more distance want to go with harder, lower spin golf balls. The low spin helps prevent the ball from hooking or slicing, and gives more roll when it hits the ground. 

 

Middle handicappers need a little more feel than the distance balls provide, but too much spin will keep them from hitting fairways and greens. Most of the balls in this category will be longer than the softest ball used by tour professionals, but will have enough feel and spin that the average player can still stop the ball on greens and execute tricky touch shots.

 

Types of Golf Balls: 

Spin

Designed to spin more. Often, they are of three-piece construction. A central core (liquid in the highest spin balls) is surrounded by rubber windings, which is often covered with a thin, soft material called balata. These balls spin more, making them easier to draw or fade, and they hold the green. They also have a softer feel but won't travel as far as distance balls. Less expensive versions of these balls offer a measure of durability. 

 

Distance

Made with harder, more-durable covers and solid cores. Most are two piece. The inside of the distance ball is a firm synthetic material. The combined firmness of the cover and core allow the ball to travel longer distances and be very durable. However, these balls don't spin a great amount. Less spin means less control and stopping ability in certain cases. 

 

Myths: 

More dimples mean a higher trajectory.

Not true. The optimum number of dimples on a golf ball is between 350 and 450. Trajectory is determined by the dimple's depth--not the number.

 

Golf balls travel farther when they are warm.

Somewhat true. Colder temperatures do decrease a ball's velocity more than warm temperatures; although, the air temperature affects distance much more significantly than the temperature of the ball. 

 

PUTTERS

 

Head 

Some models include alignment lines to assist in lining up a putt. They can be as simple as a notch in the center of the top line of the putter, or as elaborate as a system of lines and arrows pointing in the direction that you'll be hitting the ball. Some people find them distracting, but these lines used in conjunction with the trademark on the ball can aid putts tremendously.

 

Most putter heads are made of stainless or carbon steel. Bronze and brass are also used, and provide a softer feel. Aluminum is also used for a soft feel and lightweight. Graphite, polymers and other plastics are used to make a putter head that is very resilient and very light. These materials generally make the head more expensive.

 

Offset 

The offset in a putter sets the hands ahead of the blade without the player having to adjust his putting position. The more offset the putter, the further your hands are ahead of the ball at impact. An offset putter can be a good fix for someone who consistently pushes putts out to the right (or to the left for left-handers). For players who forward press or keep their hands slightly ahead of the ball anyway at impact, an offset putter might cause them to pull putts. 

 

Weight 

Weight is the greatest contributor to how the putter feels in your hands. You notice it the moment you pick it up. A putter head that is too light contributes to a "handsy" putting style where the hands control the stroke, making the putter head pass through the contact zone too quickly. This usually causes putts to run long. A heavy putter head creates drag in the stroke. The putter head passes through the contact zone too slowly, causing putts to come up short.

 

In general, a mallet putter is somewhat heavier. Steel putter heads are lighter than bronze, brass, or aluminum models. Overall, it's better to err on the side of a lighter putter. A heavier putter is less consistent for you over the course of 18 holes.

 

Length 

Length should be determined by your putting stance. The more you crouch over the ball, the shorter the putter needs to be. The more you stand up, the longer the putter should be. Most putters are 34 or 35 inches long. Keep in mind that a longer putter is more difficult to control and may not impart as much feel.

 

Loft 

As much as it appears that the face of a putter is straight up and down, there is a slight degree of loft on every putter--usually about four degrees. Loft helps the ball to roll properly. On the putting stroke, the ball is actually lifted slightly at impact, skids a bit due to backspin, and then begins to roll over and toward the target.

 

Wedges

All wedges are characterized by high lofts (typically 45-60 degrees) to increase trajectory, and significant sole weighting to help you penetrate sand or grass. Most are also heavier overall. But that's where the similarities end. Each wedge type has its own characteristics, making it suited to a particular distance or lie. Wedges are typically used for shorter shots and touch shots around the green.

 

One important characteristic is bounce angle. As the name implies, this feature enables the club head to "bounce" out of the sand or rough without digging in. If you look at the sole of a sand wedge, for instance, you'll notice that the trailing edge hangs below the leading edge. Bounce is the angle formed by the leading edge and the ground. This tiny angle (maximum 16 degrees) doesn't sound like much, but it's what makes it worthwhile for you to carry a good sand wedge in your bag. Without bounce, you may just stay in that bunker forever. And in general, less experienced players should use a club with more bounce in soft or fluffy lies. 

 

Wedges are the focus of a lot of experimentation in materials and face inserts. Clubheads are often made of softer materials, such as copper or beryllium alloy, to increase feel and touch around the green. Some are intended to rust over time, giving a unique appearance. One major development has been the introduction of the "gap" wedge. As manufacturers decreased the loft of the typical pitching wedge to increase its distance, they created a "gap" between it and the next longest club, the sand wedge. 

Wedge lofts can get very confusing since there are so many to choose from, and since we can only carry 14 clubs in the bag (only supposed to, anyway). As a general rule, you should space your lofts out to cover the most area. For example, many players will carry 3 wedges in addition to their pitching wedge a gap wedge for fairway shots (50 to 54 degrees), a sand wedge (55-58 degrees), and a lob wedge (58-64 degrees). The spacing is dependent on your game, so have an idea of what yardages you are trying to cover before you start looking into wedges. 4 to 5 degrees of spacing between clubs is usually optimal. 

 

Pitching Wedge 

This club has typically 45-49 degrees of loft and is used for longer approach shots (about 110 yards for men, 90 yards for women). Because it's most often hit from the grass, it has minimal bounce (2-5 degrees).

 

Gap Wedge 

This club has typically 49-54 degrees of loft and is used for shots of about 100 yards for men, or about 95 yards for women. Bounce is typically 5-12 degrees. But don't pick a gap wedge at random. Choose a loft that divides the "gap" evenly between your pitching and sand wedges. For instance, if you have a 48-degree PW and a 56-degree SW, buy a gap wedge with 52 degrees. 

 

Sand Wedge 

This club has typically 54-56 degrees of loft and is used for shots of about 90 yards maximum for men, or about 80 yards for women. It has the most bounce (10-16 degrees). Sand wedges have more sole width (the distance between the leading and trailing edge).

 

Lob Wedge 

This club has 57 or more degrees of loft and is used for shots of about 65 yards maximum for men, or 60 yards for women. These clubs are for "touch" shots around the green that need to get into the air quickly and land softly. Bounce is minimal (0-10 degrees), because in these situations there is generally very little room under the ball, and a tiny error can make the club bounce off the ground and cause a skulled shot. One reason many players like this club is because it allows a full, unimpeded swing to cover a short distance, rather than making you rely on an abbreviated swing. The ball flies short and high.

 

IRONS

 

Lie Angle 

The lie of the club refers to the angle the club head sits when on the ground and more importantly as it comes to strike the ball. Too "flat" a lie places the heel of the club in the air, while too upright a lie angle causes the toe to be in the air at address. 

 

The correct lie angle rewards the player with a straight shot from a square hit. If the lie angle is too upright, the heel will dig too deeply and the ball will start left of your target. If the lie angle is too flat, the toe will dig in, causing the ball to start right of your target. A tall golfer for example will tend to stand with the club in a more upright position so the angle of the head should be moved more upright to compensate. Similarly, a short golfer will stand with the club at a lower angle and so the angle should be adjusted to a lower or flatter lie. The best way to check lie angle is by studying your divots. If the divot is deeper on the side nearer to you, then the heel is digging and the lie is too upright. If the divot is deeper on the side away from you, then the toe is digging and the lie is too flat. 

 

Club Length 

Club length is vital to assuming the proper posture at address and ensures you stay in balance and swing on-plane. Clubs that are too short force you to bend over too far and place too much weight over the toes; results include a reverse weight shift and steep, weak swings. 

 

Clubs that are too long force you to stand too upright with too much weight on the heels; the club often is swung too flat and laid off at the top. Golf irons change through the set in inch increments, this means 2 inch longer clubs have a difference of 4 irons. Take care not to over estimate regarding the length your clubs should be. A longer golf club will hit further given the same swing speed - so length can be a good thing. However, since the swing arc is longer, it often is also harder to keep under control - so length can be a bad thing. All things being equal, most golfers will opt for longer length to the sacrifice of greater control. Standard height for a male golfer is 5ft 10" if you are 2" either side of this then a standard length set will be fine. 

 

The standard length of a steel shafted Driver for a man is 43 inches. Graphite shafted drivers are manufactured 1 inch longer than steel shafted clubs because graphite shafts weigh less than steel shafts allowing us to produce a longer club with the same swing weight. 

 

Loft 

The loft of the club refers to the amount of angle on the club face. The greater the angle the higher the ball will fly, for example, a standard 3 iron will have a 20 degree angle which will fly the ball in a low penetrating trajectory. A standard pitching wedge has a 47 degree angle and this will fly the ball at a very high trajectory. As a rule of thumb, more loft is better than too little because extra loft creates additional backspin, which, in turn, reduces sidespin. (This is more important to woods than irons because you usually have a wider choice of wood lofts.) 

 

Shaft Flex 

Shaft flex is based primarily on swing speed and tempo. The proper shaft for a player's clubhead speed results in the clubhead rotating correctly so it is square to the target at impact. If the shaft is too stiff, the clubhead will lag behind (reducing loft), causing the ball to fly lower than the preferred trajectory and to the right. It also may cause the player to swing too hard in an effort to "feel" the club release through impact. If the shaft is too soft for a player's swing, the clubhead will overtake the shaft at impact, causing high shots that go to the left. 

Shafts are available in different flexes. Starting at ladies flex which is the most flexible and moving up to Senior mens, Regular men's, Stiff men's and Xtra stiff. 

In order to choose the correct shaft flex the player needs to have a good understand of their typical flight pattern. Watch the ball and determine initial direction i.e. whether if flies straight at the target or to the right of the target or to the left. 

Once you have determined this, watch to see if the ball is moving in the air, if so, the shot that spins to the right is a slice and the shot that spins to the left is a hook (left hand golfers please reverse). Now you know what type of shot you need to correct, the selection process gets easier. 

 

Shaft selection - Golden rules: In most cases if you slice the ball you need more flex in the shaft. 

In most cases if you hook the ball you need a firmer flex. 

 

A sliced golf shot is caused by the club face striking the ball in an open position, if you find it difficult to rotate your hands to get the club face in a square position at impact, select a flexible shaft to do the job for you. The more flex in the shaft the quicker it will react on the down swing. If the shaft is reacting too much this will close the clubface and cause you to hook your golf shots. 

Golfers who hook their shots are striking the ball with a closed clubface so they will need a shaft that is slower to react on the down swing i.e. a firmer shaft. 

 

Shaft Material 

Golf shafts are usually made from either steel or graphite. Graphite weighs less than steel and absorbs more vibration at impact, it is also typically more expensive. The player who prefers the feel of a lighter club should strongly consider graphite. Better players frequently choose steel for its crisper feel and consistency. 

 

Strongly consider using graphite shafts in your woods if: 

You are a woman.

You are a senior. 

You are a baby boomer.

You have joint problems.

You want to play a longer driver.

You have pretty good swing speed tempo and are younger.

You are an average player who wants to play better.

 

Strongly consider using graphite shafts in your irons if: 

You are a woman.

You are a senior.

You are a baby boomer.

You have joint problems.

You love having graphite shafts in your woods? 

You have a slower swing and want to add distance.

 

So, what is the logic of our advice? Well, graphite shafts reduce the weight of your club (it is actually quite remarkable to feel the weight difference in an entire set of clubs made with steel versus graphite shafts) - this is good for all players, but especially women and seniors. Graphite shafts weigh from 50 grams to 85 grams, while steel shafts generally start at 120 grams. Graphite shafts reduce the shock at impact - this is good for women, seniors, aging baby boomers and those of us with joint problems. Graphite shafts allow for longer clubs - this is good for distance (but maybe not quite so good for control). Graphite shafts have greater construction alternatives so that they can be designed to affect the flight of the ball to a greater degree than steel shafts. 

 

Blade vs. Cavity Back 

A blade iron offers a smaller hitting surface and a thin top-line (portion of the clubhead viewed at address). It also has more mass behind the middle of the clubhead, sometimes called a "muscle-back," that gives a very soft feeling when hit properly. In contrast, a cavity-back or perimeter-weighted club has more weight around the outside edges of the clubhead to produce a larger sweetspot. The easiest-hitting irons of all generally have a large cavity-back, thick top-line, and oversize clubface. 

 

Hosel Offset 

This is measured from the leading edge of the hosel (where the shaft enters the clubhead) to the farthest front portion of the clubface. Why is it important? A club with offset contacts the ball later than a club without offset. This helps "square" the clubface at impact and reduces the tendency to slice (ball going right for right-handed golfers).

 

Satin finish vs. polish or chrome 

This is merely a cosmetic question. A satin finish can be very attractive, but in general has a duller appearance than polished or chrome-finish clubheads. 

 

Sole 

This is the very bottom part of the clubhead. If you look closely at the sole of your club, you'll notice it has a slight curvature from toe to heel and from leading edge to trailing edge. This "camber" or "radius sole" makes it easier to hit consistent shots. Sole width is another factor. A narrower sole works better from fairway and tight lie conditions while a wider sole is better for plush lies.

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