The Terrible Twos Syndrome of Golf Club Fitting: Part Thirty-Eight

Now does this mean that if my swingweight value is just one point off I will technically require a slightly different golf grip size in order to make the best, most productive golf swings I possibly can?  Yes, that is exactly what these results mean.  And as noted, when the golf club’s swingweight value went down just slightly, the best golf grip size for me got a little larger in diameter/weight and vise versa.  These results, combined with results from previous tests, add some critical information toward understanding certain golf grip and clubhead specifications and the intertwined relationship(s) they have with each other with respect to one’s golf swing performance.  Now an extremely critical point to note here before going any further is that these results are not to be equated with working with any given golf grip model/size, getting a specific grip whose weight (regarding its tolerance range) is far enough away from its designed center that when installed would naturally result in a swingweight value that is one point higher or lower than it would be if a center-weighted grip of the same model/size were installed, and being led to believe that the club’s swingweight must always be readjusted to the target swingweight value or else a different grip size will be needed in order to swing one’s best.  That is a completely different situation that will be addressed in due time.  This testing deals very specifically with different core size golf grips to be selected at their center weights and nothing more.  I strongly caution you to not jump to any additional, potentially incorrect conclusions.

These results are not based on ball travel results and/or clubhead position data obtained from some launch monitor for instance that, being indirect or secondary evidence at best (often distorted evidence) toward trying to determine the quality of one’s actual swinging performance, would be absolutely worthless and irrelevant toward this particular testing.  Rather, these results are realized via a direct analysis of one’s golf swing performance, with no unnecessary intervening elements present that can easily misrepresent the results.  In the case of this and many other clubfitting tests, one’s actual golf swing as a clubfitting tool is to be considered as pure an operational machine as any launch/swing monitor and even better in many respects (like no potential calibrations or calibration errors and/or no need to rely on any imperfect golf balls for results just to name a couple of many benefits of trusting one’s actual golf swing performance to fit clubs to one’s swing).

This particular unique and exquisite “swing monitor” machine (comprising the physical and psychological elements of one’s very golf swing in the absence of any other devices) inherently contains types of extremely accurate, sensitive, and comprehensive memory and monitoring circuits that include both physical and psychological perceptions that no other extraneous device can even come close to for the purpose of analyzing one’s actual golf swing performance.  When used effectively, human circuits can be programmed with golf swing coordination details and performance quality recognition based on the current level of one’s golf swing ability, and this machine is made well for directly detecting and analyzing any golf swing changes away from one’s base swing performance as changes in golf equipment take place.  When considering all of the elements involved in golf swing performance (both physically and psychologically), the human machine overall is a far superior tool toward golf swing and/or clubfitting analysis and improvement than other machines like, but hardly limited to, swing analysis machines through video or computer devices and launch monitors that detect and display ball travel information and perhaps certain golf club position information in the course of one’s swing, but no more than that.  Information from such extraneous machines or devices is often just superficial emptiness unless and until it is correctly interpreted and capably put to use by the “main machine,” which is one’s golf swing performance as configured within one’s own human existence.  This is evidenced by the fact that data from such extraneous machines has been around for quite some time already and yet the long, poor history of the golf industry overall has persisted anyway due to the industry’s inability to reveal the foundationally simple and sound main machine golf swing and clubfitting principles prior to them being revealed right here in Waggle Weight Wisdom™.

Whether my particular golf swing might be referred to as an excellent, average, or poor swing is impertinent with respect to the results revealed here.  These test results reveal what the makeup and nature of a human swing is like and this is basically how it works for anyone when analyzing a golf swing as a whole first.  Forget about incidentals like one’s wrist angle or spine tilt at any given point in one’s address or swing, incidentals that can vary essentially indefinitely and still allow one to swing and play golf superbly if other elements (like clubfitting) are understood and applied satisfactorily.  I will explore this a little more here from various viewpoints to help fortify the understanding of the revealed relationship(s) existing between certain specification values of a golf club at its grip and head ends and how one’s natural golf swing performance is directly responsible for this relationship(s).

Perhaps the most profound and dramatic enlightenment that might help one remember in an enduring manner the results disclosed here and why they have not previously been revealed by the so-called professional clubfitting trade might come from the following.  Now I am quite certain that even highly-talented, tour-level players and tour winners will be learning of this head-side to grip-side clubfitting relationship and these results for the very first time upon reading this.  This is simply one indication of how poor this trade has been in certain respects for so long prior to the date of this writing.  And a question one (at any level of playing ability) might very naturally ask when first learning this may be, “Why was I never taught this by anybody else before?” or “How could I have not learned this on my own before?”  These are critical questions to be asked and answered and, quite embarrassingly for the clubfitting trade as a whole to this point, answers that are rather simple to deduce.  Recall my previous statement of how much in its infancy the golf club fitting trade still is in certain areas as of this date, with a number of so-called clubfitting educators unwisely being looked up to as being far more knowledgeable about golf club fitting in multiple areas than they really are.

This is not exactly a complex problem to logically analyze.  There are only three basic components that make up any given golf club, which are the clubhead, the shaft, and the grip.  Now in considering the clubhead first, when choosing any major club specification related to the clubhead (major being defined here as what can directly affect one’s golf swing performance like the clubhead’s weight as an example here [via swingweighting]), one actually swings at various swingweight values and the value is determined at which one performs one’s best golf swings at.  One does not choose such a specification value based on one’s static total body weight.  Well I guess that is okay with me and this should make sense to anyone whose brain cells are connected.  Next, in considering the shaft and choosing any major specification value related to this component that can directly affect one’s golf swing performance, and in isolating just the shaft’s weight as an example here, in this case one actually swings with test golf clubs having varying shaft weights and a determination is made of what shaft weight value one performs one’s best swings with.  Such a decision is not made based on a static or non-swinging mathematical figuring of what percentage of one’s body weight is muscle mass.  I guess there is just a slight chance that this might make sense too, and I have to admit I have always swung when testing out different shaft weights to see what my actual swing performance is like.  So maybe at least some of my brain cells are still connected at this point, and if that is indeed true I think I even see a very logical pattern emerging toward effective fundamental clubfitting.

Well so far so good, that is until one gets to the third component, which is the golf grip.  To this day, the primary, most recommended, and most accepted way of choosing one’s grip size, one of the most critical golf club specifications there is as the only component that is actually in physical contact with one as one swings, is to not swing at all but rather choose its size via the sole determination (by any one of several means) of the physical dimension(s) of one’s top gripping hand (left hand for a right-handed golfer).  Although various disclaimers are often supplied that there could be other grip sizing factors that might come into play, such disclaimers (when they are paid attention to at all) are totally worthless when the primary means is essentially worthless to begin with.  This “standard” protocol is nothing less than complete clubfitting ineptitude and embarrassingly followed by basically all commercial golf entities from the grip manufacturers themselves, to those that change golf grips and/or try to fit clubs, to those that produce instructional materials that teach this inept grip fitting theory and practice.  This underlying theory and practice has been developed, supported, and/or promoted (with select variations) for a very long time by individuals and/or organizations sorely unqualified in critical equipment fitting areas, greatly contributing to giving the golf club fitting trade its current reputations of being the worst in all of sports and a game that is dominated by people overall that can hardly be considered athletes in the conventional sense of the word.

Known as the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size irregardless of how one’s physical hand size is determined (from holding various test grip sizes [without swinging of course] and noting the positions of the tips of one’s top-hand middle fingers relative to the heel area adjacent to this hand’s thumb, to taking a specific dimension[s] of the same hand with a ruler or tape measure, to choosing one’s golf grip size based on the golf glove size one wears, and more), this fundamentally incompetent means of fitting golf grip size is literally totally disconnected from any part of one’s actual golf swing performance or the main machine.  As a direct result of using the grip-on-a-stick method, not only have incorrect grip sizes been routinely chosen for golfers in absolute dimensions for as long as this ultra-convenient but ultra-shallow “mail-order” method has been around and has unbelievably migrated to in-person clubfitting of supposedly professional quality, but the clubfitting trade overall has to this point never properly learned about certain very critical and yet very first-grade relationships between effective clubhead weights (swingweight values) and grip sizes with respect to the efficient functioning of one’s golf swing.

In no way, shape or form can the quick grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size ever be considered fitting grip size to one’s golf swing simply because one never swings or even performs any part of a swing in the course of this grip fitting method.  Instead, it oppositely comprises fitting one’s golf swing to the grip size chosen, wherein the grip size chosen is typically based on the physical dimension(s) of one’s top gripping hand.  Thus, it amounts to fitting one’s swing to the physical dimension(s) of one’s top gripping hand.  And yet no one can understand why the clubfitting trade is the worst in all of sports.

I cannot even begin to speculate about whether the people that have taught this stuff in the past really believed upon publishing it that it was the proper way to fit one’s golf grip size to one’s golf swing.  I can pick out any given so-called clubfitting instructor and find certain passages within that individual’s work that seem to be geared toward finding the best clubfit for golfers at any cost (even if by superficial ball travel results and not actual golf swing performance) and yet other passages that seem to be geared toward taking the quickest shortcut toward the most clubfitter profit at the expense of the best clubfit for Mr. Gullible Golfer (who for example may not even know that there are different golf grip sizes in the first place let alone how profoundly those different sizes can affect one’s golfing performance).  So-called professional clubfitters continuing to use the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size should consider themselves to be extremely lucky that they get any clubfitting business and support at all and only do because golfers as a whole just do not know any better and can be taken advantage of so much.  By all rights they should really have no current clubfitting customers at all due to the use of such a stupid clubfitting method that can be so disastrous toward genuinely improving golfer performance.  But golfers will eventually learn if the game remains around long enough.

In specifically addressing all of the Mr. Gullible Golfers directly here for a moment, bear in mind that I certainly firmly held that title myself for a rather long time and not just when I was a rank beginner at golf.  Humorously and even fondly now (though not then) remembering certain things like the way I held onto a golf club at one time, the way I swung, and having a slice so bad the ball was virtually headed back at me before it hit the ground, I can understand and even sympathize with (up to a point) golfers that might actually prefer being fit using as many “static” process as possible because they may perhaps be embarrassed or afraid to swing in front of someone else.  (I am not addressing clubfitters here, who often have completely different motives for implementing static clubfitting processes).  First, perhaps it would be helpful (or perhaps not) to know that such a fear commonly never completely vanishes from one’s mind at any playing level.  But having said that, there are reasons why this sort of thing should not really be as much of an issue in golf (focusing principally on engaging in golf club fitting processes here) as it might potentially be in other activities.  I cannot say it was ever a remarkable issue of concern for me personally no matter how little confidence I might have had in my golf swing at any given time.

First, there have been many funny-looking golf swings (far more diverse than in many other activities and I have previously explained why this is) throughout golfing history that belonged to some of the best players that have ever played the game, and this fact should make one’s golf swing not as bothersome to oneself no matter what state it is in.  There is also the fact that little if any physical danger is generally around even for the most unskilled of golfers during clubfitting compared with the fitting of equipment in many other activities where the term “athletic” might be more appropriately applied and where a lack of keen alertness for even very brief time periods may potentially result in physical harm to oneself.  Understandably, such circumstances would be more difficult for one compared with the swinging and fitting of golf clubs.  An acceptable excuse is harder to come by for not swinging whenever possible during clubfitting.

Know in the end that if any such trepidations toward performing one’s golf swing when clubfitting cannot be overcome, there is an enormous risk of obtaining a horrible clubfit for any given golf club specification fit in a static manner.  (Perhaps I should define the word “static” more distinctly at this time if not done previously as it specifically pertains to golf club fitting as meaning any movement or position that is irrelative to one’s actual golfing performance.  As such, analyzing one’s pre-swing activity even before swinging begins is considered part of a dynamic and not static clubfitting process, and temporarily halting one’s movement in the course of actual golf performance activity for the purpose of better noting a given golfer or golf club position as examples is also considered part of a dynamic clubfitting process, unlike the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size, which is completely unrelated to and disconnected from anything that takes place in the course of actual golfer performance and to that end static).  Given a complete lack of any association between dynamic and many static clubfitting processes, concluding that any given golf club specification value fit through any given static clubfitting process can be linked as being even close to what would be determined in an actual dynamic situation is nothing but pure speculation.

Further information will follow (some but not all connected with other static clubfitting processes) that will uncover other very major inadequacies within the clubfitting trade as a whole at even very basic levels that will leave no doubt whatsoever as to why this has been a chronically underperforming industry essentially since its commercial inception.  Reemphasizing one of these generalized inadequacies, if one is getting custom fit for golf clubs for what amounts to a “status symbol” (and there are many golfers that fit into this category), then static clubfitting processes will achieve this goal nicely and conveniently.  But if serious clubfitting and game improvement is one’s goal, there is ultimately no other alternative (one most serious would demand it) but to engage in real swing performance (and generally a whole lot of it) in order to obtain one’s best fit for any given golf club specification.  Any apprehension of doing so is approving inferior clubfitting results with respect to one’s developed golf swing performance ability at the time of the clubfitting.

One certainly does not believe in and does not respect one’s golf swing ability in the least and will not fundamentally be able to get the most out of one’s golf swing talent by using static clubfitting processes not limited to the grip-on-a-stick golf grip fitting method.  No entity bearing the WaggleWeight® or Waggle Weight Wisdom™ name would ever teach or implement such clubfitting procedures that are so very poor on a most primary level, so look for these names in association with clubfitters, clubfitting schools, educational materials concerning clubfitting and also golf swing performance (and other products), golf swing teachers, and more.  This is the only way to guarantee that such an entity has been versed in and applies the theories and practices developed and/or corrected by the WaggleWeight® Company.  Dealing with entities bearing either of these trademarked names is as one example the only way to ensure receiving the most sound fundamental clubfitting services and securely avoid long-used and horribly inept clubfitting practices hardly limited to the grip-on-a-stick method for fitting one’s golf grip size.  And there is no better time to consider specifically avoiding other names associated with clubfitting entities as one example, as certain of these names and the protocols associated with them are directly or indirectly responsible for this trade in general being at an all-time low in recent years regarding its reputation and ability to fit golf clubs to golfers suitably even on a very elementary level.  Among other items, when the initial “excitement” of launch monitors dissipates more over time, and separately it becomes more widely stated, “What were those people thinking?” with respect to those that made available and/or supported Moment of Insanity golf club matching again, solid fundamental clubfitting must still be performed.

With respect to what rate one’s golf grip size might change in relation to a given rate of swingweight value change in order to perform the best one can, this is a specific element that I have never really researched.  But it certainly cannot be automatically considered to be a consistent one-to-one relationship as it appeared to be during the testing done here, as this testing and the results obtained were extremely limited in scope.  In other words, one cannot simply conclude from this very limited testing that if one’s swingweight value were intentionally set four points lower than the middle value where one’s best swinging occurred then one would play best with a grip size that is four sizes larger.

A major issue is that once one moves out of the swingweight range where one makes one’s best swings, all swing performances made might be so poorly coordinated that it may become harder to perceive whether any given swing is any different from any other given swing, and if this can be perceived which is the better or worse swing (from a pure golf swing perspective).  In such instances, one has little choice but to then assume that one’s best (or at least better) swinging is occurring with the club (of any given tested pair) where the best ball travel results are achieved (an assumption prone to being inaccurate).  And when that must be done, all kinds of other golf club elements then come into play with respect to the tested clubs aside from just the grip size differences (assuming that testing for grip size is being tried) not limited to shaft flex and weight, club length, lie, and face angle if applicable.  So depending on the values of the other club specifications now added in (still presumed consistent among the test clubs), one’s best golf grip size at a swingweight value that is four points lower than one’s best swingweight value could vary considerably.