Golf Club Face Angle, Finally Angled from the Proper Perspective: Part Two
But it is long overdue that somebody finally does such a full analysis correctly. So as it should properly be done from the start, first recall my earlier statement that face angle is (in theory) relevant regarding any given golf club under any given circumstance and not just wood-type golf clubs and clubheads that are typically fixated on regarding this golf club specification. With this hopefully learned well, I will begin logically analyzing face angle not from the fullest, hardest swings made with a driver, but rather from the totally opposite circumstance of the smallest, most subtle chipping strokes. This circumstance and the smaller, simpler scope of golf swing elements involved should also reasonably be the easiest for anyone to understand. So start by considering a small chip shot with a hole a mere 10 feet away from one and a golf stroke to get a golf ball to the hole that requires no more than moving the clubhead of a golf club backward perhaps about 20 inches and then forward to hit the golf ball toward the hole in a desired direction. Now for swings of this nature that are quite small, it should not be difficult for anyone to understand that it is a very natural and normal condition when first moving the relevant part(s) of one’s body backward (along with the club and clubhead that essentially become part of one’s body when swinging [if fit well to one’s swing directly]) and then forward, to want to return to the same overall position one was in when the swing was initially begun. Anything other than this simplest premise requires one to alter this simplest foundational swing on the way back and/or forward, something no one really wants to or should want to do.
With that said, it initially seems like a straightforward, elementary process to determine one’s intended line of travel to start the golf ball on, set up for one’s small chipping stroke in an address position having the clubface set exactly square to the intended target line, make that simplest of swings, and watch the golf ball start off on the desired target line. But while that sounds perfectly good in theory, there is just one small problem. When the clubface is returned to the same position during the forward swing it was started from at address and at that particular point is square to the intended target line, the golf ball, or more specifically the point of club/ball contact that determines the direction the ball will take off in, has not yet been reached. And if one’s swing continues from there in what I will term the most natural and rational manner of performing these smallest foundational swings (swings upon which one’s larger swings are based), the golf ball will then take off to the left of one’s intended target line (assumes a right-handed golfer), not very fitting.
To explore this a bit more, this day and age brings considerable information never even dreamed of few short years ago partly because of advancing technologies not limited to sensors and computer hardware and software devices to analyze data from such sensors. And there are likely sources available that can offer very explicit data as to exactly what point of club/ball contact determines what direction a golf ball’s travel will begin at. This point would feasibly vary some based upon elements like clubhead speed, how much the ball compresses and/or stays in contact with the clubface, and other elements that could potentially affect the precise point of club/ball contact that determines what direction a golf ball will initially take off in under any given circumstance. This degree of precision is far beyond the scope of this particular discussion and not needed here.
But it is quite essential to learn well here, even within a less precise and more practical context, that a prototypical golf swing delivers a clubhead that travels along an intended target line for basically only an instant. Such a prototypical swing comprises elements not limited to the physical form of the human body and the human psychological nature described above of wanting to return a determined part(s) of one’s body and/or golf club to one’s starting address position in the course of the forward swing. (This latter element can help one evaluate whether one’s swing or stroke was performed well or not so well starting on a smaller scale of swinging, a critical building block toward learning to swing efficiently on a larger scale). Anyway, before the clubhead travels along the target line it generally travels from the inside out and with an open clubface relative to the target line and after the clubhead travels along the target line it generally travels from the outside in and with a closed clubface relative to the target line, with again practically only an instant where the clubhead is traveling right along and in a square clubface condition relative to the target line. Based on this very logical and realistic analysis, one sound conclusion is that the point of club/ball contact that determines the direction the golf ball will take off at even for this tiny chipping stroke is sure not the point where the clubhead is placed at address. It is under the conditions of the smallest golf strokes and not the largest swings where the concept of golf club face angle first comes into play at its foundational level and must be comprehended best in order to put the specification to its best and most efficient use in other circumstances.
In further analyzing this, with one or more isolated exceptions the rules of golf generally prohibit the moving of a golf ball, even if inadvertently, when one is addressing the ball and preparing to make a golf stroke without incurring a penalty. And while I cannot say it has happened to me often, I have had experiences where depending on exactly how the ball was resting on top of what kind of grass and other attendant conditions, the golf ball moved into a different location on me when barely touching the top of the grass perhaps even six inches behind the ball. Now most cases are not nearly that extreme and in some instances one might actually encounter momentary physical contact between the clubface and ball during address and the ball may still not move to the point of coming to rest in a different location. Nevertheless, one must be very prudent regarding the movement of a golf ball during address if one does not want to be penalized. (I confess that I have never been the greatest when it comes to knowing the rules well and I am not certain about any consequences regarding the latter scenario, but it should be obvious that any such contact runs a higher risk of the ball changing locations on one than if no such contact is made). But even where the clubface and ball are in extremely close proximity to one another at address, one is still resting the clubhead markedly behind the point that will determine the direction the golf ball will take off in.
So there are essentially only two options here. One is to set the clubface slightly open at address starting with the smallest, most subtle golf strokes one makes such as this 10-foot chip being analyzed. Or, one can set the clubface square but will then need to manipulate one’s stroke even on this very small scale of swinging on the way back (only 20 inches as an example here) and/or on the way forward so that the clubface is returned to a notably different position then it was set at during address in order to subsequently experience the golf ball taking off along one’s intended target line. And if one starts to manipulate one’s golf swing away from the most natural and intuitive manner of learning an efficient golf swing from the ground up even on this small, rudimental scale of swinging (recalling that the smallest scale of swinging is what every larger golf swing or stroke is foundationally rooted in), then I cannot even begin to speculate or imagine what one might begin trying to do to any of one’s golf swing movements and/or positions (I also include any address movements and/or positions here) as one gets into performing bigger swings that start to integrate more moving body parts.
For additional reference here, a closer clubface to golf ball distance during address, the distance figured along a line that is basically parallel to the ground, might be realized by hovering the clubhead notably above the ground and even the ball. With this theory, the two might even be mated at the point (if known) where the golf ball’s initial direction of travel will be decided so one might address the ball with a clubface that is square to one’s intended target line if desired. While this could be attempted, among other elements part of the golf ball might be obstructed from one’s view by the clubhead depending on how far this concept is pursued. Now clubhead hovering is actually done in practice to some extent. But it is not typically practiced for the reasoning above. Instead it might be done for the purpose of avoiding contact between the clubhead and ball and/or the surrounding area where a penalty may otherwise result if the golf ball moves during one’s address.
Such hovering might indeed result in the sole of the clubhead being completely above the golf ball, though one would typically never obstruct any of the golf ball from one’s vision with the clubhead as suggested in the theory stated above. And under certain conditions, frequently but not limited to when the clubhead cannot be placed anywhere close behind the golf ball without risking golf ball movement during address, such a hovering strategy might be utilized effectively to help one play one’s best golf overall. However, this is not a “standard” condition that is best for foundationally analyzing face angle. Originating one’s swing with the clubhead hovering over the ground a notable amount can also bring one or more undesirable complications or complexities into the foundational analysis, so perhaps this particular element can be evaluated more later. But unless specifically noted otherwise, this element will not be further evaluated here. Note that this is not the same concept as that of hovering the clubhead just slightly above the ground before beginning one’s swing for a different principle reason(s) or purpose(s), such as not wanting to snag the ground with the clubhead as one begins one’s backswing or feeling that one can begin one’s swing more smoothly. These are different concepts that may be examined later.
Trying to predict and/or recommend how much clubfaces will and/or should typically be opened during address is difficult at best because this attribute can not only vary rather widely from golfer to golfer due to innumerable individual physical and psychological characteristics, but it can also vary considerably for the same golfer depending upon the comprehensive conditions of any given stroke played. It is an attribute really best learned and developed by just getting out there and doing it. For example and as I implied above, the comprehensive golf ball lie conditions for any given golf stroke might permit a very close proximity between clubface and golf ball at address or alternately might require a considerably greater distance between the two in order to assure no golf ball movement during address. And whether one attempts to refer to it as instinctive or learned behavior, at some point it becomes rather intuitive to open the clubface progressively more as the clubhead is placed farther behind the ball as deemed prudent during address before one’s swing is begun. Where one might address the ball within one’s stance and multiple other factors can also contribute to opening clubfaces to widely varying degrees even for the same golfer. This assumes one is attempting to achieve a straight ball travel result. (For one not ordinarily opening clubfaces at address that may have learned to address a golf ball differently and swing accordingly as one of untold examples and who is okay with the details of the way one is performing, such a technique[s] need not be treated as being deficient and it is perfectly acceptable to continue using such a technique[s]).
So in momentarily setting aside that one may not immediately know what one’s typical or ideal face angle value might be for any given golf club under any given circumstances or know how to best go about fitting this golf club specification (I will go over some of this directly below), the most critical finding by far to take away and retain from this analysis is in the correct and complete understanding of the true fundamentals of face angle from the ground up. This understanding will help one more easily dismiss yet more incorrect and/or incomplete clubfitting theory and practice knowledge regularly strewn about by the clubfitting industry. There are still uncounted golf swing instructors and clubfitters (and perhaps entire organizations) trying to perpetuate the idea that one’s clubface angle at address should be placed square to one’s intended target line and that if not done there is a “flaw” somewhere in one’s address, swing, and/or equipment. This is categorically incorrect, all such entities should be dismissed as having deficient knowledge regarding at least one of the elements involved, and these entities should be avoided by one wanting to improve one’s golf game.
The fact is that if one addresses a golf ball with a clubface (any clubface from any club) that is square to one’s intended target line (again assumes a straight ball travel is desired), then one will have to make one or more swing adjustments, typically rather troublesome adjustments, on the way back and/or forward in order to get the ball to take off on one’s desired target line. This experience commences with the smallest golf strokes made and I virtually guarantee that any such adjustments will find their way into one’s larger swings. Holding clubfaces slightly open is an essential element toward developing a well-formed and efficient golf swing from the ground up. I am not talking here about the concept that essentially only applies to humungous, full-swing drives where face angle is (incorrectly) considered a fundamental means to adjust ball travel results of flawed golf swing motions (and/or adjust ball travel results due to one or more other club specifications potentially being improperly fit as another example). I am talking here about applying face angle as a fundamental means to help the efficiency of one’s direct golf swing performance for all golf clubs and not a questionable means of altering ball travel results for just select clubs.
This is not really rocket science to figure out and should come fairly easily unless one’s brains are being basically consumed by one’s hormones and one is essentially blind to all else except the maximum distance one is able to hit a golf ball (ironically one’s maximum possible distance will generally never be accomplished while in such a frame of mind). I mean getting one’s mind onto one’s actual golf swing performances for just a little while (and on the smallest, simplest swings at that without further complication) is truly all that is needed to experience the basal causes and effects of golf club face angle face on one’s golf swing performance on one’s smallest, simplest golf strokes first, knowledge to then be built upon from there. But the clubfitting industry and golfers are what they are at the present time. (Admittedly, observing ball travel results is an integral part of gaining this experience, but with one’s direct golf swing performance ultimately isolated and analyzed independently of such ball travel results).
Anyway, there is no real optical illusion concerning face angle perception at address, and this and other explanations from the past given by others regarding why face angles have been traditionally made slightly open more often than not on wood-type clubs where the specification comes into play more (especially explanations based exclusively upon ball travel results as is typically the case) generally all fall apart at some point and do not hold up when various logics are applied. But when this specification is finally comprehended properly and fully, all of the elements involved fall nicely into place and cannot really be contradicted. I have always known as far back as I can recall (but only since I have been able to call my golf swing reasonably developed) that I hold my clubfaces slightly open at address for every single (straight) shot played. This includes golf strokes from irons to wedges for my fullest swings to my smallest chips and even to all of my putting strokes, with longer wood-type clubs to be contemplated (with respect to face angle) in light of the information and experience gained with these other golf clubs and swings. As I have distinctly noted earlier, face angle might come into play for any given club depending on the comprehensive circumstances, one example being even putters with larger clubheads. Recalling that the larger the sole area of a club the more any face angle of the clubhead can potentially come into play, the face angle of such a putter might potentially be very influential, it might face in a very poor direction when its clubhead is grounded because of poor design, construction, or other reason(s), and this might be difficult to overcome when putting. Here is an instance of face angle conceivably wreaking havoc with one’s putting.
I concede that in my earlier days I did not fully comprehend why I opened the clubfaces slightly like that. But with continued experience I eventually learned why, and with that knowledge one becomes more at peace with oneself so to speak as to what is really going on and why. Thus, it does not potentially creep into one’s mind that there might be some flaw in one’s swing and one is trying to somehow compensate for that flaw by opening clubfaces a bit at address. Still, I admit that on occasion I will still fall back into a faulty frame of mind if not careful where I will hit a good golf shot and afterward conclude that I did everything right at least on that particular swing, sometimes momentarily thinking that I must have addressed the ball with a nice, square clubface even though I have really known better than that for a long time now.
Now with that proper base knowledge hopefully learned well about golf club face angle, now I will proceed forward to swinging with some wood-type golf clubs where this club specification commonly has more of an impact. With this foundational knowledge better known now, the perspective of fitting face angle regarding these wood-type clubs can be quite different than in the past. Now a perspective of face angle that has previously been poorly known and yet is still extremely fundamental has now been revealed such that the specification can actually be fit based on one’s direct, underlying golf swing performance instead of superficial ball travel results. Next I will briefly relate the fitting of face angle to one’s golf swing as a simpler pre-swing process first (an in-swing process is described further below). This process comprises process determining a target line, having one aim down that target line in one’s natural or learned manner of movement and/or positioning at the time of the clubfitting using a test club, and determining one’s face angle position at address relative to the target line. No golf balls are struck and doing so may detract from what needs to be done, as again this process focuses strictly on fitting face angle to one’s direct, existing swing (through one’s existing pre-swing movement and/or positioning). A golf ball or simulated golf ball for aiming reference may be utilized as desired.
There can potentially be multiple ways of determining one’s face angle value. One low-tech way is to temporarily hover the clubhead above the ground the face angle position one desires at address, then to hold that face angle position as precisely as possible while lowering the clubhead to the ground. If the face angle closes more on grounding it from one’s desired address position, then a more open clubface angle is needed and vice versa. Testing is done until, when grounded in its natural resting position, the face angle of the club matches the face angle desired when being hovered just above the ground. A golf club with the fitted face angle for one can then be produced. Face angle values of wood-type clubs are generally measured on special gauges constructed just for this purpose. In an environment that may be more technically outfitted, a single hovering of a test club by one might be all that is needed, with available hardware and/or software devices perhaps being able to quickly determine one’s desired clubface angle position at address relative to the intended target line, with a club then formed for one with the measured face angle value. These are just a couple of quick examples to briefly outline the process and other potentialities presumably exist. (Hovering the clubhead helps to avoid certain potentially undesirable effects when the clubhead sole and ground interact with each other while at the same time one is trying to accurately set a desired club face angle position at address). Fitting one’s face angle in this manner allows one to address a golf ball with the clubface at a desired angle to the intended target line without troublesome manipulation, with the sole of the clubhead ideally flat on the ground, and also with a desired golf ball position within one’s stance (see further below), all of which contribute to allowing one to make one’s best possible golf swing.
I note here that overall I still consider this entry to be somewhat “introductory” in nature, initially revealing some basic principles not revealed previously. To that end, there will be many finer details not displayed at this time just so I can get through certain primary material. One such detail is that face angle is an element that can interact with other golf club specifications. As such, even when hovering a clubhead above the ground and when otherwise going through one’s pre-swing routine normally, the face angle that one holds the club at could be influenced by other elements including the club’s swingweight value, grip size, lie, and more. As I have noted previously regarding other club specifications, one’s desired face angle value during a comprehensive clubfitting process might have to be reevaluated multiple times to see if one’s desired value changes at all after other club specifications have been fit. The specific order that club specifications are fit in can be a very important factor in this regard. I will also briefly bring up the pre-swing period here again, clearly noting this time that there are golf club specifications and/or specification values that can profoundly affect one’s direct golf swing performance from start to finish and yet can only be measured during one’s pre-swing period, simply because that is the only time such measurements exist. This should not be very hard to comprehend. One’s desired golf club face angle at address is one such value (but not the only one). In such cases, clubfitting to one’s direct swing performance rationally also includes clubfitting to one direct pre-swing performance (movement[s] and/or position[s]).
Having gone over this, I will next consider the potential problem(s) one can experience regarding one’s direct golf swing performance if a clubface angle is not proper for one’s swing. In this instance I will focus mostly on a clubface angle that is too closed for one. Just for a starting frame of reference, I will say that one has been fit for a face angle on a wood-type club of two degrees open based upon one’s current address position (through which one’s entire subsequent golf swing can be affected). Two degrees open is a fairly common figure that has been thrown out in the past regarding the design and construction of many wood-type clubheads. Since I am not providing any pictures, illustrations, or the like in this free version of Waggle Weight Wisdom™, endeavor to visualize the following. Now let me say that the only wood-type club available for one at the moment has a face angle value of two degrees closed. In order for one to still get into one’s desired address position with this club, it will require one to open up the clubface at address such that the back portion of the clubhead will basically be in contact with the ground (so the clubhead as a whole cannot be lowered any further) while the bottom front or leading edge of the clubhead will now be raised off the ground. The amount of this effect is markedly based on how closed the club’s face angle is relative to one’s preferred address positioning (the more closed the higher off the ground the club’s leading edge will be when one sets one’s preferred face angle at address). The length of the clubhead from front to back is also a factor (the longer the clubhead the higher off the ground the leading edge will be for an equal value of clubhead face angle).
Now if able to tee up a golf ball and the tee’s height can be adjusted to one’s preference, then this issue might be overcome to some degree (yet at the most inopportune times one might not be able to overcome this issue). But when a golf ball is sitting on the ground (so this is generally a more prominent issue regarding fairway woods), this is a different matter altogether. And it becomes more and more of an issue as the lie becomes tighter to the ground (for example the ball sitting on plain dirt as opposed to sitting on lush grass almost like it is teed up). When having to address a golf ball in such circumstances with the leading edge of the clubhead raised off the ground and one cannot get that part of the clubhead any closer to the ground due to its face angle attribute, this sets up a condition that considerably increases the chances of one topping the ball and not even getting it off the ground. (This is because even the lowest part of the clubface at address is now raised higher relative to the ball’s resting position, and as already represented one will from the memory of one’s address position most naturally [meaning without interjecting any swing alterations] try to return the clubface to that starting position). And it is only normal for one to take a step(s) to lessen the chances of this happening.
One of the most common adjustments to make under such circumstances is to move the ball further back in one’s stance during address than one would otherwise like. (There is no need to try to consciously remember and put this adjustment into practice, as over time with playing experience this action essentially becomes automatic [after one experiences a sufficient number of topped shots under the circumstances]). But while this adjustment can generally help lessen the chances of outright topping the golf ball when a club having too closed of a face angle for one is used, it also generally results in one’s forward swing into the golf ball being at a steeper angle (sometimes referred to as one’s angle of descent) compared with if one did not have to make such an adjustment in ball position and could address the ball in a more preferable position further forward in one’s stance. And among other drawbacks, this steeper swing angle notably increases the chances of hitting the ball fat (alternately termed heavy), which is getting some club contact with the ground before the golf ball, typically resulting in a notable loss of distance.
Now given opposing circumstances such as face angle values that are equally too closed versus too open for one, all involved causes and effects cannot simply be assumed to be exact opposites in every regard. While these two circumstances are opposites in a very broad sense, certain underlying details can be very different. To illustrate, while a face angle too closed for one can influence one (essentially unconsciously) to move the ball further backward in one’s stance, a face angle too open for one might indeed induce one to move the ball further forward in one’s stance. In the case of too much open, however, the club’s leading edge will still fundamentally remain at ground level and not be raised off the ground when one adjusts the club’s face angle to one’s desired address position, so one will generally not alter one’s ball position for that reason. But if one struggles to get and maintain one’s desired face angle position at address with a club having a face angle too much open for one (a very realistic scenario) and the clubface remains too far open despite one’s effort(s), this could influence one to move the ball further forward in one’s stance (which could in turn increase one’s chances of topping the ball). This is just one sample of how face angle values that are too closed and too open for one (even by equal amounts) can indeed generally be considered opposites on the whole, yet certain causes and/or effects within each specific circumstance can be very different, this a result of the general natures of a human body and golf swing (which can be exhaustively detailed but not right here and now).
Now in addition to or in place of face angle fitting based upon one’s pre-swing period as outlined above, one might opt for doing some real swinging and choose face angle based upon one’s actual direct swing performance. To that end, I will start out by saying that if one is hitting real golf balls during this process, one must have an extremely good focus and discipline to ignore the ball travel results and concentrate just on one’s direct swing performance, otherwise it would be fitting to ball travel results and not one’s golf swing. Fitting directly to one’s golf swing performance will help assure that one is able to get the maximum clubhead speed and control out of the golf swing one currently has, and if ball travel results are not as good as they could be at this point, chances are that one or more other club specification values are not a good fit for one, which can be corrected at some other point of clubfitting. And to that end, the hitting of golf balls is not even a necessity. One could, as just one alternative, simply focus at some conspicuous point on the ground as though a golf ball is present there, and as long as one’s mind does not wander from that particular point while swinging one will generally be fine.
Anyway, in always using one’s limb-only performance as the base of reference of one’s best swinging capability against which all other swings are to be compared, various golf club face angle values can be tried. Any differences between swinging with those values and one’s base golf swing performance(s) can be noted, and decisions made from there as to how one wants to proceed. Differences may sometimes be subtle and require that one know one’s base golf swing performance really well (through swing feel for instance) in order to succeed well (and/or an external device[s] capable of precisely measuring and/or comparing such performances might be used). In referencing the circumstances already presented as an example, if one moves one’s ball position further back in one’s stance at address due to having a golf club in hand with a face angle that is too closed for one, it is not unreasonable for one knowing one’s base swing sufficiently well to be able to note the steeper swing angle being made into the ball’s position and that the performance is not as good as one’s base golf swing performance that has a notably shallower angle of descent. But one’s overall swing coordination may still be okay under both circumstances and the difference might not be as dramatic as when testing different swingweight values, where major differences can often be noted in one’s direct golf swing performance coordination. (Needless to repeat, all other golf club specification values and characteristics beyond the variances in face angle values need to match each other [The Terrible Twos] as exactly as possible or the testing will be invalid and ineffectual.
As another example, I have depicted that unsuitable face angles can influence one to grip clubs with a weaker (generally for a face angle that is too much open for one) or stronger (too closed) overall hand positioning that would otherwise not be taken by one given the specific grip size. Differences in one’s golf swing performance(s) under such conditions can often be readily observed when compared against one’s base golf swing performance. Now regardless of whether fitting golf club face angle to one’s direct swing performance through the pre-swing or swinging processes outlined here, the results (at least in theory) should be the same. If both are done and the results are not the same, then there is a good chance that one or more other club specification values are incorrect for one’s swing and some evaluating and improving might have to done regarding one’s clubfitting protocols. But if such results for face angle fitting continue to be different from each other no matter what is attempted, then a decision will have to be made regarding which process is to be utilized. But either process at least fits face angle to one’s base golf swing performance. And because fitting face angle directly to one’s golf swing performance gets to the heart of how well one is actually swinging (and is capable of swinging) at such a foundational beginning that it first influences how well one contacts a golf ball, it stands to reason that fitting golf club face angle based on one’s actual swing performance should rationally be most critical. By adhering to this protocol it is not simply taken for granted that one will hit the ball one’s best the way it is when face angle is fit through ball travel results (where realizing one’s best ball contact is apparently assigned to the fitting of one or more other golf club specifications).
The very limited number of examples presented here can be considered prototypical and in line with human nature in general, a human golf swing, and the theories and practices of golf swing performance and golf club fitting as developed to date (however varied and conflicting as they can oftentimes be). On an individual level, however, these are only a few of countless possibilities of actions and reactions, where causes and effects could be considerably different for any given individual than that which has been presented here. What cannot be disputed, though, is that another side of golf club face angle previously undisclosed has now been exposed (whereas this club specification has essentially only been half understood in the past). It has been disclosed how face angle can be analyzed, comprehended, and fit directly to one’s all-important golf swing performance instead of indirectly to one’s ball travel results in a simpleton and incompetent manner. As I have related many times already, largely because of its indirect nature in which many, many elements are added that regularly make inferred results extremely unreliable, ball travel results are very superficial, can be exceptionally deceiving, and are altogether remarkably poor indications of the quality of one’s direct golf swing performance. But by eliminating all of the additional elements associated with using indirect ball travel results (attempted to be used as a “derivative” indicator of how one is swinging) and simply looking at one’s golf swing performance directly through competent means, one attains direct information regarding what is going on with one’s swing without needing to depend on indirect and inferred information that is commonly incorrect and/or deceiving.
Now face angle can still be fit from a ball travel perspective if desired as it fundamentally has been in the past. But in light of this additional information disclosed within Waggle Weight Wisdom™ that exposes a whole other side that needs to be understood in order to come to a correct and complete understanding of the specification, maybe (or maybe not) one might begin to realize how shortsighted the superficial fitting of face angle based on ball travel results can be. Again, perhaps stated a little diversely here, the overall history of fitting golf club face angle using a simpleton process based upon ball travel results is largely founded on a simpleton (or hormonal) viewpoint of wanting to hit one’s driver as far and as straight as possible with little to no concern for anything else. Now attitudes among individuals run the gamut from really caring about nothing else except hitting a golf ball as far as possible in front of others to truly caring deeply about the causes and effects of golf swing and clubfitting performance but having insufficient knowledge via their own personal experience plus what others have taught them (the teachings of others being especially deficient to this point with regard to the elements being explained here). So all told, the understanding and application of face angle fitting within the clubfitting industry (including golfers here) has to date been of the simpleton variety.
Currently, face angle ball flight fitting is not typically viewed as a process with an intent to help one swing one’s best (with all of one’s clubs) regardless of golf ball travel results (ball travel results that in the hands of a truly capable clubfitter can be addressed through other means while maintaining or still further improving one’s direct swing performance). Instead it is typically viewed as more of a method (and even then only for isolated clubs) to compensate for an alleged swing flaw(s), often bolstered by the common (but wrong) perception that one has such a swing flaw(s) if anything other than a square face angle is fit to one. But using the face angle golf club specification in a manner to “fix” ball travel results for only select clubs can, not surprisingly, have widespread undesirable effects on one’s play when subsequently using other clubs.
To illustrate, I proceed under a common premise that one who regularly slices a golf ball would have closed face angles recommended for one’s wood-type clubs (as the face angle specification is most influential with these club types) to compensate for one’s so-called swing flaw(s). Implementing such closed face angles might indeed help one’s ball travel results with those specific clubs. However, and in accordance with the principles already revealed, the more closed look of such clubfaces, the stronger hand positions often taken on such clubs due to such face angles, club leading edges due to such face angles that can influence altering ball positioning within one’s stance at address when using such clubs, and feasibly more, could easily produce habit-forming effects that linger for an uncertain period of time. Such effects (that would otherwise not be present if not for the use of the woods having the closed face angles) could easily come into play when using other clubs, even if those other clubs have no influential face angles connected with them. This could be devastating both in the short term, where one might address and/or swing other clubs including irons and all the way down to putters poorer during any given round due to the effect(s) of the closed face angles on the woods (with cumulative effects on one’s game that might be far worse overall even if ball travel results are straightened out some with the woods), and in the long term, where one’s address positions, swinging performances, and/or ball travel results (that may relate to all of one’s clubs due to the effects described) might well impede one’s comprehensive golfing progress.
However, fitting face angle directly to one’s base golf swing performance as outlined is a totally different process fundamentally, with very different priorities regularly leading to very different results, results that in essence eliminate the potential negative effects in the short and long terms that can occur throughout one’s golf game if using face angle fitting as a concept for altering ball travel results for just certain golf clubs like one’s wood-type clubs. I again point out how very shortsighted and ignorant it is to enact such a concept (commonly done as a compensatory measure for one or more perceived golf swing flaws) and to not even be aware of, consider, and/or care about the potential adverse effects that can take hold in every other part of one’s golf game as a result (plausibly all the way down to one’s putting) even if one’s wood-type club ball travel results are better.
I will finish up for now with a few additional notes of reference. First, fitting face angle through ball travel results can also be utilized as a means of, instead of or in addition to commonly being utilized to compensate for one’s perceived swing flaw(s), compensating for a clubfitting flaw(s), and I assure you that this is very often the case, even if everyone involved might be convinced that the face angle fitting is to aid in compensating for one’s swing flaw(s). Resultantly, face angle fitting by ball travel results can help cover up any number of other incompetent clubfitting procedures that remain so commonplace today. But thankfully golf club face angle fitting cannot fundamentally be used for that purpose (whether intentionally or unintentionally) when the club specification is fit right to one’s golf swing performance.
I will also note that the dynamics of a club while in maximum motion can be complex, and even for an otherwise well-fit golf club the clubhead can indeed be somewhat ahead of or lagging behind its address position when swung, resultantly closing or opening its clubface such that ball travel results could ultimately be affected compared with no such dynamics otherwise taking place. In ignoring other golf club specifications for now that are involved in such club dynamics and just focusing on the topic at hand of face angle, one might contemplate whether any adjustment(s) should be made regarding fitting face angle relative to this potential circumstance. Well with respect to fitting the specification directly to one’s golf swing performance, the answer is a resounding no, for it should be clearly seen by now that the club’s face angle value at address is the element that really determines whether one will foundationally make one’s best possible golf swing or not. So once determined properly and assuming one’s direct golf swing performance is one’s highest priority, the club’s face angle value at address should not be adjusted no matter what is shown to occur regarding the club’s dynamics and clubface during one’s forward golf swing.
If fitting the specification according to ball travel results, then the answer is yes. I mean the very definition of ball travel results fitting is just that. So if the clubface is closing or opening during one’s forward to a point where such club dynamics would alter the ball’s travel results compared with if such dynamics were not present, then an adjustment(s) in golf club face angle based upon ball travel results should be made to compensate for such a closing or opening clubface during one’s forward swing. The club’s face angle during one’s address becomes essentially irrelevant. Now the dynamic closing or opening of a clubface in the course of one’s forward swing such that ball travel results are affected is not necessarily and is not set forth here as an example of notably incompetent clubfitting. Nevertheless, this example could help lead one to a better comprehension of what I just related above, which is that fitting face angle by ball travel results can in a true light end up being nothing more than a compensation for any number of other clubfitting processes done incompetently and have nothing even remotely to do with fitting the specification to one’s golf swing (whether realized or not). And what happens when incompetent clubfitting processes are utilized on clubs where face angle cannot be utilized to compensate for such incompetent clubfitting processes?
And as a last point of reference and for simplicity at the outset as many of these elements are being introduced for the first time here, it is assumed for now that when swinging full, the shaft of any given club (and thus its clubhead) essentially returns to the same position during one’s forward swing that it is set at during address (just as it essentially does when analyzing the smallest golf strokes). Any more complex deviations from this can be taken up later as appropriate.
In briefly summing up this topic here, I would seriously urge one to search out and look through all of what one can locate regarding golf club face angle that has been published prior to this two-part series. What can basically be noted is an entire industry that for the entire history of golf to this point has essential stated, “Duh, we shall simply fit golf club face angle for clubs in which the specification is available based on one’s golf ball travel results.” Now whether this industry on the whole (and particularly the clubfitting trade) actually does not fundamentally know any better than this (Mr. Credulous Clubfitters) or whether it does and is simply trying to take advantage of Mr. Gullible Golfers (not hard to do) as much as possible does not really matter that much, as either scenario is terribly sad at this specific time.
I mean I am not referring here to a widespread unawareness that deals with the fullest and hardest of golf swings that involve the most movement, the most moving body parts, and the most swing coordination and where golf club dynamics like the bending and twisting of shafts as two quick examples are also at their maximum complexities. That would be one thing. I am referring here to the simplest and smallest of golf strokes that involve the least amount of movement, the least number of moving body parts, and the least amount of swing coordination along with the simplest of golf club dynamics as well where shafts have essentially no bending or twisting during analysis. Yet even under these simplest of circumstances (reasonably needing to be thoroughly and properly understood first if more complex circumstances that involve the same elements are to be subsequently thoroughly and properly understood), the clubfitting industry has apparently drawn a complete blank to date regarding revealing or actually even being aware of some of the most rudimentary knowledge concerning golf club face angle.
This situation will continue until the existence and content of Waggle Weight Wisdom™ become far more widely known and acknowledged for its corrections, completions, and other insights respecting the topics covered to date and which will continue. And to that end I would again ask one to please consider spreading word of its existence through any and all means possible to golfers, those within the golf industry including but not limited to clubfitters or potential clubfitters desiring to be expertly skilled in the profession and potentially endorsed by the WaggleWeight® Company, and other influential individuals and organizations thought of. A wider publicizing of this material that presents shrewd insight not available anywhere else regarding numerous golf topics can more quickly help some segments of this industry in general and on an individual basis can be invaluable to those wishing to succeed in various capacities concerning golf if desired. If the content within entries such as this one, when specifically compared against all past publications regarding the golf club specification of face angle, is not enough to persuade one to help try to further spread word of this recent 02-07-2013 press release, then perhaps the next topic might. That will contain still other extremely basic and yet critical information that golfers and the clubfitting industry need very urgently to grow and that, to the best of my knowledge, has never even been touched on to date and remains poorly comprehended.
Beyond this specific column, please remember to look for and settle for nothing less than the WaggleWeight® or Waggle Weight Wisdom™ name for the best in golf products and services not limited to golf swing and clubfitting instructional matter, clubfitting products and services, and even golf swing instruction. I would finally for today ask one to please notify the WaggleWeight® Company if any material produced by the company in whole or in part, including but not limited to the Waggle Weight Wisdom™ column, is utilized without proper authorization. The golf industry (and in particular the clubfitting trade) is currently in enough trouble and with a poor reputation to overcome largely due to its past performance record, and one would hopefully want to make sure this repute does not get even worse by permitting copyrighted work to be used without proper consent.