Are You Using the Classiest Golf Clubs?

Having established that there is no such thing as a perfect golf swing or two identical swings ever being performed by the same individual even over an entire lifetime based on the highest level of perfection (too high for any human to really comprehend), I will now likewise take a brief look at equipment used to perform with.  While doing so, I will also divide equipment usage into three different classes, my reasoning for which will become clear in a moment.

Class 1 of equipment used in any given activity shall comprise that made with the intent of being unalterable, not customizable, and theoretically unchanged from one piece to the next.  Everybody involved has no choice but to use the same equipment specification(s).  Examples of this type include baseballs, basketballs, and footballs.  Multiple pieces of this equipment are often used for various reasons during a competition (particularly in professionally played games) and many pieces may regularly need to be replaced, as is typical during a baseball game, but each one is designed to be identical and not adjustable for potentially enhancing any individual’s skills.  Another aspect of Class 1 equipment is that all participants can/must perform their skills over and over again with the same (theoretically) piece of equipment.

Just like a golf swing, however, from a godlike perspective there is no such thing as a perfectly made piece of equipment and no two like pieces will ever be truly identical no matter how hard we try.  While not necessarily noticeable from a human perspective, this is still an excellent reference point from which to analyze other topics.  In the case of baseballs, finished weights (to whatever godlike increment you wish to choose), finished diameters, stitches that are not absolutely perfect here or there, differences in part(s) of the coverings used that may slightly change the surface textures of the balls, and one can just go on and on.  For inflatable-type balls, air pressure to the nearest one-millionth of a pound is probably still nowhere near godlike.  Some types of equipment will innately be easier to make than others.  Perhaps you might want to investigate how your favorite equipment is made (if some or all of the procedure is not kept secret).  If you cannot discover any material, process, or combination thereof that you know cannot possibly be identical twice from a godlike perspective, then I am afraid you are missing an element of truth that might ultimately prevent you from being the best you can be.

Class 2 of equipment utilization is similar to Class 1 except that the equipment used is “customizable” to an individual’s needs.  Items of this nature can include baseball bats, bowling balls, and tennis rackets.  Just a couple of the multitude of specifications that might be customized are the handle or grip size and the total weight and/or balance of the equipment.  While customized equipment is ideally supposed to be a better fit and closer to perfection for a performer (and it often is), most everyone that has ever used custom equipment can also testify that he has had a horrible experience on at least one occasion.  Custom equipment can oftentimes be further away from perfection.  One minor reason is that more “hand working” is often required and it is just a fact of life that machines can often produce better results than humans.  A far greater reason, however, is that the fitter of the equipment is not sufficiently qualified, putting the performer’s equipment in a state that is worse than non-customized equipment of the same kind.  These circumstances can result in both better and much more frustrating experiences than when performing with Class 1 equipment.  Class 2 use shares a concept with Class 1 in that the same equipment is generally used over and over again in the course of performing.  Thus, even with an imperfect human action plus an imperfect piece of equipment (a bat with a handle made just slightly too large for example), consecutive repetitions are usually performed with the same equipment, and each consecutive attempt allows the performer to become more acclimated to any nuances of the individual piece and make potential adjustments to try and make the next performance “a little closer to perfect.”

A golf club can be considered to be in Class 2 of equipment use, provided one is talking about using one individual golf club only.  Do not get too far ahead by thinking in terms of a “matched set” just yet.  Perhaps you have discovered at some point that swinging the same golf club repeatedly at the driving range often results in eventually swinging and/or hitting the ball better, but that this is not really quite the same game as playing golf when actually getting on the course.  Consequently, a Class 3 of equipment usage needs to be devised, whereby whether customized or not, a new element is introduced, which is that of routinely having to change equipment for successive performances.  The challenge in equipment design and fitting can increase with a higher class number.  While I am quite sure there are other activities that fall within Class 3 of equipment usage characteristics, golf is the only one I can readily think of as I write this.

It is this very unique property of golf club usage that is directly related to the prescribed overlapping or interlocking of hands when taking a golf grip.  Such a gripping style is absolutely not related to the falsely perpetuated statement that a golf swing is “more difficult” to perform than other activities.  If a golf swing were “harder,” then a golf ball would be made “bigger” than in other activities rather than smaller, and whoever believes that hitting something that sits still is inherently more difficult than hitting something that is moving has an obvious case of Golfer’s Brain.  Next time I will begin to meld some of these golf swing and equipment facets together to see what can be expected to happen en route to further deciphering why a golf club should be gripped the way that it should.