A Brief Introduction to the Weighting Game for Golf Clubs

Scottie68 asks a question that can be at least partly replied to as follows. Plainly stated, you will not find a “best” thread regarding a topic that relates swingweight, total weight, and even grip weight to each other because there simply is none, particularly within the realm of the Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf and other similar website forums. (No one with half a brain would ever contribute any original and protectable content to such sites due to the terms of posting they publish, and they are mostly populated with “experts” who commonly have very limited, incorrect, and/or incomplete knowledge, largely just repeating what they have heard from other clueless people. You mostly get what you pay for on such sites, and it is reader beware to be sure).

With that said, you will not find a best thread largely, though not entirely, because even after being around for nearing 100 years now, the golf club specification of swingweight generally remains extremely poorly comprehended by virtually the entire golf industry. In fact, the clubfitting trade, which “theoretically” should understand such a golf club specification the best, actually seems to understand it the worst, which is conspicuously demonstrated every minute of every day on the noted forum and other similar outlets. This is continuously validated and validated yet again in that all of the responses to your inquiry as of the time I posted this particular entry are pretty worthless in their content. They are simply not able to explain something that they do not understand themselves.

Stated most simply first, golf club swingweighting, and swingweighting alone, is THE golf club specification and invention that is responsible for allowing golfers to swing consistently well with individual golf clubs that can otherwise vary in their total weights, lengths, shaft flexes, grip sizes, and more. Remember this well as a base to start from. But unfortunately, a couple of potential complications need to be immediately introduced. The first is that it only consistently works under a maximum span of conditions for those golfers who match up well with the specification’s current 14-inch fulcrum dimension. And while many golfers do, many golfers do not. (Somebody sufficiently qualified can tell you whether traditional swingweighting should work well for you or not and what to do if it does not). For those golfers who do not match up well, a specification like the total weight of a club can potentially become increasingly important and a specification like swingweight less important than for golfers for whom swingweighting works well.

Second, and while I would not really consider this to be an “art form” of clubfitting but rather a lack of scientific understanding of the specification, there are countless people that still fit swingweight in substantially different manners and using different criterions. These include (but are not limited to) the club/ball impact location on the clubface, the feel of the flex of the shaft on the downswing, or ball travel results. Each of these various priorities can result in a substantially different swingweight value being chosen for a golfer. And how you fit swingweight also includes when you fit swingweight as part of a clubfitting process, as this element could also potentially and significantly alter a chosen swingweight value. Until the clubfitting industry as a whole understands the technicalities of swingweighting better than it currently does and is able to align itself better regarding how the specification is to be applied and fit to golfers, each of these processes would have to be dissected individually regarding its merits (or lack thereof). And I will not get into any of that here. But I will make a couple of additional statements regarding how things can work when everything is in place properly regarding golf club swingweighting.

For those golfers for whom swingweighting works well, club total weights are quite secondary and almost dismissible. This is because the swingweight value is principally what dictates whether such golfers will swing with well-coordinated and well-timed motions, or with uncoordinated and contorted motions like they have never swung a golf club before in their lives. So if a proper swingweight value is chosen, ideally along with a proper fit of one or more other critical club specification values, golf club total weight differences can become practically unnoticeable (within reason) and comparatively or relatively irrelevant. Traditionally, only the swingweight value would be specified when a club is ordered and not a total weight. The total weight of any given golf club is mainly a byproduct of one’s choices of other essential golf club components and/or specification values such as (aside from a swingweight value) club length, grip size and style, shaft model, and so forth.

Attempting to also specify a total weight of a club is somewhat contraindicated in nature because swingweight is a derivative of club total weight, and in plain fact a club’s precise total weight is one parameter that is expressly needed in order to calculate a golf club’s swingweight value. So for those who outright state or imply that the swingweight of a golf club is not a form of real weight (frequently coming across as a type of sales pitch to try to convince someone that [preposterous] MOI club matching is better as a golf club matching concept), you can officially add these so-called clubfitting and/or swing experts to the glut of people who are actually clueless pretenders regarding the specification and its technicalities. This in part (there are other contributory and legitimate reasons as well) keeps the commercial clubfitting industry currently looking like a circus based on many clownish posters and their terribly inaccurate content commonly saturating forum sites. Attempting to specify a golf club’s total weight in addition to its swingweight value can also create unnecessary complexities and/or force a sacrifice(s) to be made in one or more other preferences of the club’s components and/or specification values.

You could potentially specify a club total weight value instead of swingweight if desired. But in general, do not overestimate the importance of golf club total weight, especially if certain other club specifications are fit properly. Barring any unconventional procedures like a significant amount of club/grip backweighting for instance, the range of club total weights from the lightest to the heaviest within a set is relatively small and not something that by itself should cause any swing performance issues or any changes in the essential quality of one’s swinging. This has been solidly proven among millions and millions of golfers for nearing 100 years now. It does seem to be true that numerous posters on the noted forum site have somewhat recently begun babbling about the total weight of a golf club being one of the most important club specifications there is. (This frequently begins with a comment by just one uninformed individual and then spreads like wildfire on such forums when others blindly tag along like clubfitting groupies and repeat the comment). The total weight of a golf club could potentially be a concern for people who are deficient in understanding one or more clubfitting fundamentals properly and/or do not match up well swingweighting’s 14-inch fulcrum location as examples, but not as a predominant rule.

The traditional manner of specifying a swingweight value, specifying any number of other critical golf club components and/or specification values, and yet not specifying a total weight value for a golf club, remains basically unchanged from decades ago (and at least as of today is still the most valid procedure). I do acknowledge, however, that technology advancements concerning items like lightweight shafts have necessitated the development of deeper understandings of certain related elements that were not widely applied decades ago but are needed more today. This includes but is not limited to effective grip size fitting (which in part includes the weight of the grip and which was part of your inquiry). In multiple entries and from different perspectives to date, I have already addressed certain crucial elements of competent grip size fitting, one of the most critically important golf club specifications there is toward consistently swinging and playing golf decently.

The finer details do become a bit more complex than this. For instance, even for golfers for whom swingweighting works well, one golf club can indeed be swung very well and another very poorly when both are at the same swingweight value and swung side by side. But this is not a valid indicator that swingweighting is not working effectively and exactly as intended. (The base process for determining whether or not traditional swingweighting works well for a golfer is performed in a very different manner). Rather, such a result is merely one element of a competently structured and comprehensive clubfitting process that requires further implementation and that people with insufficient experience just do not properly comprehend (apparently well above the clubfitting knowledge level of most so-called golf forum experts). But these details concerning sound foundational clubfitting are best left for another entry. Good luck.