“Standard” golf club specs

One word that gets bantered around a lot is standards. Let’s first
take a look at the word “standard” and how it relates to golf
clubs. According to the dictionary, it is described as:“Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a
basis of comparison; an approved model.”The golf industry is not tied to a universal governing body that regulates
all of the specifications that clubs are built to. The closest thing to
that are the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient
Golf Club of St. Andrews, which does list specific rules pertaining to
equipment. Some of what is covered in the “Rules of Golf” (Appendix
II) is a maximum on volume (or size of the head), groove depth and width,
coefficient of restitution and club length. However, many of the specifications
that you may have heard of or familiar with are not regulated and the
manufacturers are free to design as they may (obviously within limits).Some of the specifications such as loft, lie and face angle vary by manufacturer to manufacturer or within the same companies offering of clubs. Loft or lie may vary in the same company’s product line because of who the
model is designed for. The loft may be stronger if the center of gravity
is further back behind the face or the lie may be more upright if it was
design for the mid or higher handicapped golfer. It is not that hard to
see 3 or 4 degrees difference in these two specifications. However, each
and every company measures these specifications nearly identical as there
are heavy duty specification gauges to help register the club by the foundry,
plus the design and QC departments of the golf club company.

Other specifications such as flex, torque and even grip size are more
generic in nature. One company idea of each of these specifications may
be completely different from another

company’s model with a similar nomenclature. The reason behind this
is each company developed their own standard internally to differentiate
certain specifications. One company’s R-flex may quite very well
be stiffer or more flexible than another company’s R-flex. This has
been well documented in the “Modern Guide to Shaft Fitting”
book.

The same could be said of grip size as well, as one company’s mid-size
may be larger or smaller than another company’s mid-size grip. The
terms oversize and jumbo do not provide exact measurements as
does degrees or inches when referring to loft or length.

Length is surely one specification that ought to have a “standard”.
In essence it does in the way that it is measured, but not when it comes
to manufacturing golf clubs. Graphite-shafted clubs are generally longer
than their steel-shafted counterparts for swingweight purposes. With the
addition of hybrid clubs, models with the same number engraved on the
sole can vary quite considerably from one manufacturer to the next as
the head weight dictate the final length.

It is possible to go to several different club fitters and get completely
different results. For example, a certified Ping clubfitter may suggest
that you use a 2° upright iron. Titleist might recommend 3° upright,
while a local independent clubfitter may recommend 1° upright. At
first a consumer may be confused, but they need to know what the so-called
standard lies of each of these models are to begin with. These very well
might end up with the same result (i.e. 64° #6-iron).

While lacking standards among golf clubs, you as a custom clubmaker,
take all of the variables out of a set when you custom fit and assemble
a set. Lengths, lofts and lies can be changed to fit the player. Custom
clubmaking eliminates the concern for standards, creating a best fit club
or clubs to the individual without the huge concern with club standards.

Hopefully you will use the word “standard” as a reference only.
Probably the better terminology ought to be average or benchmark to take
the place of standard. Use it to compare one club with another. But remember, if all clubs (or specifications) were standardized, then there would be no diversity available to golfers of all shapes, sizes, strengths and skill levels. Educate yourself or consult those in the know as to what the actual specifications are and how they relate to your game.

“The only standard there is in the golf industry is there are no standards.” Jeff Summitt

by Jeff Summitt
Hireko Technical Director
jsummitt@hirekogolf.com

4 comments

  1. Ed says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I am in the process of making a new set of clubs for a lady beginner golfer. I put all the information into your fitting suggested specifications. The result is that I should make the clubs -0.5″ off ladies standard. I would like to know where I can find standard lengths for clubs.
    Thank you,
    Ed

  2. Brent says:

    What is the hosel diameter of “The Haig” irons? I am looking to reshaft a set and want to know if I need tapered or parallel shafts.

  3. Jeff Summitt says:

    Brent:

    Are these old Walter Hagen Haig Ultra irons? If so, they will require either .355″ taper tip shafts or possibly a size that is not made anymore. This would be only if the model had the black thru bore plug. These would be @ .340″ taper.

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