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

Now it was already proven in the very first phase of testing that setting the M62 test club to a swingweight value of D3 (the median value of the range I did my best swinging at) will give me the best chance to swing that specific club well with some room to spare on either side.  There should be no need to revisit that again.  But in this second phase I am analyzing a different club specification variable.  And what is occurring now is that the M60 test golf club has the correct swingweight value for me as independently tested for previously and at least one other club specification value that is a better fit for my golf swing overall (the grip size in this instance), whereas the M62 club might only have the swingweight value set correctly for my golf swing.  When viewed in this light it should really be no great surprise that I would now swing the M62 club worse than the M60 club in a side-by-side comparison even though both have the correct swingweight value for my swing as previously independently determined.

Beware of nonsense inflicted by unknowing so-called clubfitting experts claiming that other golf club matching techniques (using MOI [Moment of Insanity] as an example here again) would not be subject to such occurrences.  It might first be stated that any two golf clubs having identical swingweight values can be swung very differently.  As just shown, this is quite true, however this is neither an indication that swingweighting itself does not work superbly nor that the given swingweight value is not correct for one.  The only way to authoritatively prove or disprove these primary concerns is to independently take each of the clubs through an exhaustive swingweight range to see if one’s best golf swings are realized through the same swingweight value range or not.  A side-by-side comparison is then a separate matter altogether to be subsequently dealt with.  It may then be purported that such swinging variances associated with swingweighting will be virtually eliminated when using MOI matching and that as long as the MOI values of any two clubs are the same there will be essentially no difference in the overall performance quality of one’s golf swing when swinging either club (naturally assumes an MOI value is fit to one).

But data accumulated to this point from MOI matching results proves such a declaration to be wholly untrue.  Traditionally (if one can say MOI golf club matching has a tradition given its relatively short lifespan since more advanced equipment has become available to measure such a specification), golfers in general at the very least prefer different MOI values for their irons and woods, with many noting unacceptable differences just within a set of irons.  This numerical evidence clearly reveals that when a chosen/fit MOI value for irons is duplicated on woods, golfers in general are swinging these clubs differently or else they would not change the MOI value for their woods.  So swinging inconsistencies that can take place with swingweighting when swingweight values are identical but other club specifications are different are also plainly proven when MOI golf club matching is involved.  Hopefully one is not fooled by such an inaccurate MOI claim.  Proponents of MOI matching oftentimes point to the length differences between irons and woods as the cause of typically different MOI value preferences for each club type, but when it comes to defending exactly why this takes place the explanation(s) makes no more logical sense than Moment of Insanity golf club matching overall does to begin with.

Implementing the above information and relating it in terms of golf grip sizing since this particular testing foundationally deals in interactions between different golf grip sizes and one’s direct golf swing performance, I can state the following.  Given the unprecedented magnitude of the fact that golf grips are the only element in direct physical contact with one when one swings and provided the testing conditions are set up properly, one should rationally take a default position of expecting a discernible difference(s) in one’s golf swing performance with independent changes in established successive grip sizes as all other golf club specification values are matched and made consistent with each other.  There can always be exceptions in the results of this default position for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is how one’s golf swing can adjust to an extent to varying club conditions (although perhaps temporarily).  But if one does not assume this default position unless and until it is solidly proven otherwise, then one’s experience in and/or understanding of general athletic performance, golf swing performance more specifically, and equipment fitting knowledge could be considered fundamentally deficient.

Lastly before continuing further, while it may not be specifically thought of at this time and may not be satisfactorily understood even if it has, I just want to briefly introduce the following point here.  The results gotten just at the start of this phase of testing provide an indication that choosing one’s swingweight value as one of the last (if not the last) club specification values in a clubfitting process (often done so because one does not capably understand the specification and thinks one understands other clubfitting specifications better) is not very conducive to a comprehensively effective clubfitting process and not advisable unless one wants to be involved with an inferior clubfitting program.  There is also other strong evidence to support this and I will certainly discuss it more in due time.

So in continuing with testing and with the M60-gripped test club swung notably better than the M62-gripped test club in a side-by-side comparison when both clubs are set to the same D3(.0) swingweight value, the M62 club is set aside and now a side-by-side swinging comparison is made between a pair of test clubs having the M60 and M58 grips installed on them (but otherwise identical in club specification values including the same D3 swingweight).  In presuming a contiguous testing session in which the M62 and M60 clubs were just compared, the M60 club becomes the first of the new pair to be swung.  Subsequently, the M58-gripped test club is not swung well at all in comparison with the M60 club.  But in keeping with the protocol already established within Waggle Weight Wisdom™ that the first club swung of any given pair may not be a dependable frame of reference due to the fact that one’s golf swing can adapt to an extent to various golf club characteristics, the M60 and M58 test clubs are subsequently switched between multiple times for direct swinging comparisons to secure more valid results.  This time, it is the first club that was swung of the pair (the M60) that continues to be swung perceptibly better than the M58 club.

Now under different testing circumstances, for instance testing these three golf clubs in the reverse order of M58, M60, and M62 (one isolated pair at a time) than that detailed, the results will also be reversed.  In that case, I would swing the M58-gripped test club superbly as the first one being swung for an unlimited amount of time until swings (often no more than a few) are made with the M60 club and I perceive what swinging that club is like.  Then seemingly instantaneously upon returning to the M58 club I will swing it in a manner that is so uncoordinated I feel I am being physically forced to swing in such a manner even though no such physical force is present.  Provided that I do not swing the M60 club again for a while or any other club that is a better overall fit to my base golf swing than the M58 club, I will soon be able to (the exact amount of time might vary considerably among individuals and/or other attendant conditions) return to swinging the M58 club well again as long as (minimally) certain base golf club specification values are fit and set correctly for my base golf swing.  And in testing in the reverse order it would be the M62 test club that is never swung well after first swinging and getting used to the M60 club in the discrete pair comprising the M60 and M62 test clubs.

As indicated earlier, I strongly recommend that a variety of golf swings be made during the testing phases laid out, including the most foundational, smallest golf strokes possible (unless one is only thinking with one’s hormones again and contemplates such strokes as being less important toward performing full golf swings and equipment fitting well).  I will even make partial swings when testing with a driver to evaluate more elementary golf swing coordination even though I might rarely play such a shot on the golf course.  While the primary purpose of doing so is simply to obtain the most comprehensive and accurate testing results (as it relates to one’s direct swinging performance and not indirect ball travel results), there can be secondary benefits of such comprehensive testing as well.  For example, in the first phase of testing for club swingweight ranges, performing such a variety of swings should help secure the fundamental knowledge at an early testing phase that swingweight is not foundationally connected to shaft flex when analyzed correctly.

If that old golfers’ tale were true, then if one’s best golf swings were made over a given swingweight range for full swings (when maximum shaft flexing occurs), one’s best swinging motions would be expected to be made over a different swingweight range for the smallest swings performed (essentially zero shaft flexing).  But this does not happen for golfers for whom swingweighting works.  A concluding (and correct) statement can be made that anyone claiming precise swingweighting is not equally if not more critically important for the smallest golf strokes one makes (still thinking with one’s hormones) is manifestly displaying one’s lack of knowledge of what the club specification is all about, interpreting it to be something of an entirely different nature than what swingweighting is meant to be.  Integrating a variety of swings in the second phase of testing comprising side-by-side comparisons of test clubs having different grip sizes on them can also add extremely valuable information to that process including developing a better and deeper overall understanding of one’s golf swing, golf grip size fitting, and whether these two elements relate to each other any differently under different swinging conditions.  Such increased knowledge might help one uncover any inconsistencies and/or errors earlier in the clubfitting process and help one be more efficient at clubfitting (and swinging).

There is yet another possible situation within this second phase of testing that I must bring up that leads to something I did horribly wrong for quite a long time, something that I want to make sure you do not do incorrectly.  This situation will not come into play if always limiting oneself to two adjacent clubs for one’s testing but can if more than two test clubs are set up and any are skipped in the course of one’s testing.  I have explored the three test clubs used here starting from either end and working toward the other end in sequenced pairs of testing the M62, M60, and M58 test clubs in that order and alternately the M58, M60, and M62 test clubs in that order.  But what if I were to start my testing using the pair of clubs that were at the opposite ends of all constructed test clubs, in other words the M62 and M58 clubs?  Knowing from the work already done that the M60 club is the best out of the three test clubs with respect to my best grip size, swinging the M62 and M58 clubs side by side will be swinging clubs having grip sizes on them that are one size too small and one size too large for me respectively.  Making sure that any physical and psychological perceptions from swinging the M60 test club if done so recently have departed (perhaps doing this particular comparison at the start of a different day), these two clubs at the opposite ends of test golf grip sizes can also be directly compared against each other.

In performing this highly specific and controlled test, I routinely swing both the M62 and M58 clubs quite well side by side with no clear discrimination as to which club I might prefer or eliminate over the other with respect to the quality of my swinging performance.  Now make no mistake, there are definitely discernible differences between swinging the two clubs.  For instance and something that I will further elaborate on later, my hands naturally and perceptibly settle into a stronger gripping position (turned a little more to the right or clockwise) on the club with the smaller grip size (M62) and into a weaker gripping position (turned a little more to the left or counterclockwise) on the club with the larger grip size (M58).  And these different hand positions indeed commonly result in subsequent changes including but hardly limited to slight differences in address and/or golf ball (or simulated ball) positions before swings are even begun, slightly different swing paths taken along my backswings, and/or slight differences in the positions of the clubs at the top of my backswings that are discernible.  But these are variations that could be considered within a perfectly normal and acceptable range and variations that would occur naturally anyhow during play with the different length clubs usually used and the different terrains played from as just a couple of examples.

Such performing variations could be compared to throwing a baseball overhand one time and more sidearm the next time as any given situation might call for or the difference(s) required in swinging to hit a baseball that is higher up toward one’s shoulders or lower down toward one’s knees as any given pitched baseball might require of a hitter.  These are routine playing conditions in which one is expected to be able to regularly adjust to and perform well without any appreciable breakdown in the underlying coordination and effectiveness of one’s performance.  In fact, since athletically speaking it is inherently much easier to hit a stationary object (as opposed to a moving object) where one wants the object to go, it can be rationally stated that golfers should be able to maintain a well-performed golf swing over a wider range of conditions than if swing performance were taking place when a moving object were in play.  This rationale is regularly shown to be true when analyzing some of the golf swings belonging to some of the best golfers of the past and present and noting the widened variety in swing styles relative to their successful counterparts in activities that would traditionally be considered more athletic in nature.  Thus, despite certain differentiations noted in my swings in directly comparing the M62 and M58 test golf clubs, the swinging of both clubs still remains very well coordinated and performed.  I do not encounter any of the awkward swinging I experience in other situations where I perceive that I am performing my golf swing like a circus clown doing a contortion act for the sole purpose of trying to make people laugh, where such swings are so out of sync it is easily recognizable that neither my maximum capable swing speed nor control of the club(head) is being achieved.

But the well-performed swings made with the M62 and M58 test clubs side by side can give one an erroneous indication that one will be able to consistently swing one’s best throughout a wider range of golf grip sizes, so I will analyze this a bit more here so one might better understand this potentially misleading result.  Part of what led me to a past error in judgment was the eventual realization that I could swing quite well not just at one single swingweight value but over a range of values.  (This was not always the case for me and I was surely an inexperienced golfer at one time, not only believing in error that I should only be able to swing well at one single swingweight value with no consideration whatsoever for any tolerances, but also erroneously believing that my ideal swingweight value should be scientifically tied to the weight of a club’s golf shaft).  When learning that such a swingweight range existed and it turned out to be three consecutive values, I somehow developed the notion that a similar “system” (and perhaps a system developed through the cooperation of various entities within the golf industry) was developed that extended to grip sizing and that I should be able to perform my golf swing equally well over three consecutive core sizes of the same model golf grip.  I was wrong.

Although many if not most grip models did not come in as wide a variety of sizes as the Victory model from Golf Pride that I am in principle basing this testing on, I have noted previously that the Victory model came in at least five different sizes, and that fact also contributed to my mistaken belief that I should have been able to swing well with three consecutive grip sizes on my golf clubs in side-by-side comparisons.  I was so convinced of this at one time that I chose my grip size in the following manner.  I actually gripped four clubs, one each with an M62, M60, M58, and M56 core size grip on it (meticulously choosing grips at their designed weights as previously gone over), otherwise setting the clubs up identically to each other at what I determined to be my best club specifications.  I then proceeded to swing only the outermost grip diameter clubs as a pair first, or the M62 club versus the M56 club, with the M56 (the largest grip size of the group) routinely being swung worse than the M62, thereby eliminating the M56 core size grip from the equation.

Still working from the perimeters and working my way inward, the M62 versus M58 pair was next to compare, and consistent with the results already described above for this pair, both were swung very well side by side against each other.  And being as convinced as I was at that time that I should be able to swing three consecutive core size grips well, I did not even attempt to swing the M60 club, simply “assuming” that I would swing that club neither any better nor any worse than the M62 and M58 clubs.  That was a grave error in thinking on my part that could have been easily corrected had I just actually swung the readily-available M60 club and then gone back to either of the other two.  Then I would not have swung either as well in side-by-side comparisons with the M60.  So convinced I was right that I did not even test what was so conveniently right in front of my nose, yet still seeking additional confirming proof, I would routinely mix and match different core size golf grips on my playing set of clubs.  And then I could not understand why I did not swing as well and as consistently on the course as I commonly did at the range (my wife tried to correct me, but I would not listen).  I paid a heavy price for that self-inflicted and long-standing past error (with respect to potentially being able to earn a living playing the game).

The overall logic I used was not abnormally faulty, but I did fail to see that two test golf clubs having grip sizes apparently so equidistant on opposite sides from an ideal center size could be swung equally well and essentially the same, yet neither swung as well as the center size, because I routinely never actually swung the test club having the center grip size during testing.  It might be hard to relate to this initially because in comparison one does not experience such effects when more commonly testing a single golf club through a range of swingweight values.  Nevertheless, when testing through a range of swingweight values I have always tested every single determined value in a logical order at least once, even if feeling quite confident beforehand of what the result might be at any given value.  And failing to follow this simple protocol when I tested various golf grip sizes in the past was an extremely elementary and critical mistake to make.

Testing that takes place at various tolerance range values of elements recorded in Waggle Weight Wisdom™ is critical for proper learning and will continue to be an integral part of this and potentially other clubfitting sequences.  To hopefully avoid errors like the one just described, each element including any tolerance range should ideally be evaluated independently on its own merits and without any preconceptions.  Some elements may have like tolerance ranges yet one’s golf swing may be affected quite differently through those ranges depending upon the particular elements.  Other (even seemingly similar) elements might have substantially different and/or differently formatted tolerance ranges.  Inevitably the only certain way to determine any effects on one’s golf swing performance is to actually swing at various values within each element’s tolerance range (integrating multiple clubs to test with as appropriate) and note what if anything happens to one’s golf swing performance.  And actually testing all values determined to be tested (even if a particular result is anticipated at any given value) is a crucial part of correctly learning both what is best and what the “acceptable swing performance operating range” of any given element is.