Why are Golf Clubs Different Lengths? Part II of II

For someone new to the game, they may not know that custom golf clubs come in all different golf lengths within the same set. When asked why to a fellow golfer, many may just shrug their shoulder or scratch their head and simply say, “Because that’s the way they are and have been so for a long, long time”. While tradition is an integral part of this game, there must have been a rhyme and reason why our golfing forefathers made each club a different length.

There are two different reasons for varying the length of the clubs. The first of which is the distance one hit each club. Two of the key components to distance are primarily the loft of the club, while a secondary is its length. One might reason if all the clubs were the same length, then it might be easier to replicate each shot. While that might be true, the potential length that one may hit each club would be compressed throughout the set. As a club is longer (as well as lighter), then it can be swung faster up to a limit. The increased length provides greater leverage and speed to hit the ball further if solid contact is to be made. Shorter clubs are designed not for length, but rather precision. One analogy could be made that someone that does a lot of repair around the house might have a drawer full of different length screwdrivers. Each length is used for a specific application. A short, stubby screwdriver is used when one wants to get close to their work, while a longer screwdriver might be used for more leverage it to get to a hard to reach place.

In a typical set of golf club irons (#3-9, PW and SW) the length can vary by 3.5” (see how length is measured). But this only tells part of the story. In order to hit the ball with the center of the sole touching the ground just before impact then the distance of the ball outward from your wrists will be 4.5” further away on a #3-iron than a sand wedge (SW). In addition, the height of wrist from the ground will be approximately 1.55” higher on the #3-iron than the SW. The change in length from one club to the next is small and may not be noticeable, but throughout the set it is.

The secondary reason for different lengths is to accommodate the size (or dimensions) of the golfer. While this may sound simplistic it is often not practiced by manufacturers. To understand this statement, let us look at purchasing golf shoes. Let’s say we want a Men’s Nike shoe. In one particular model it might be made in 30 different sizes if you include shoe width (medium and wide) into the fold. For a pair of ladies shoes, there may be another 17 different sizes to choose from. However, if you were to buy a set of golf clubs off of the rack, you are basically going to have two different lengths to choose from; Men’s or Ladies standard.

It becomes obvious that manufacturers know that not all people are the same size. Some of those same companies go to get lengths in producing and providing the proper instruction for fitting the correct sized shoe or even golf glove, yet only offer two options for their stock length (although many manufacturer’s can allow for customized lengths). The key difference is your foot size or hand size is fixed and your height is not. That is to say that a glove or shoe should be a tight fit and be comfortable, while a golfer’s height can be adjusted based upon how much tilt (spine angle) occurs at the waist, how far the person’s feet are apart, how much flex or bend in the knees occurs or how far away the player’s arms are away from the body (arm angle). The human body is truly amazing as it can adapt.

The reason for a two different length model by manufacturers is somewhat based on statistics, like the average height of an average male and female. The average woman’s height in the U.S. is approximately 5’ 5” (165.1cm), with about 68% between 5’ 2” and 5’ 7”. The average male is approximately 5’ 10” (177.8cm) with nearly 68% between 5’6” and 5’ 11”. Because of this limited range manufacturers can build to one specified length and fit conceivably 2/3 of the population of each gender and limit inventories. The third of the remaining golfers can be custom fit to different lengths than standard.

The difference in the club length is typically 1” shorter for women’s than men’s because of the height differential. Length may also vary in the same model from steel to graphite, with graphite-shafted irons being potentially ½” longer to create a specific swingweight. In the following example, we want to show different models in proportion. The first of which is a 5’10” (177.8cm) male (blue model) with a 38” steel-shafted #5-iron.

If the club was returned to impact with the center of the sole touching the ground and the hosel / shaft at a 60° angle from the ground line it would form a triangle, where the heel of the club would be 19.00” outward of butt end of the shaft. In addition, the butt end would be 32.91” above the ground line, which would coincide with the wrists of the golfer if the club was held at the end of grip. It is important to remember that this may not be the position of the club or golfer at address. There are a number of dynamic factors that have an influence from the starting address position to the final
angles at impact.

Now, let us use a proportionate model, but that is a 6’ 4” (193cm)
male. In order to use the same length club and bring the club into the same sole centered position, then it would look like the following diagram in green. The importance of having the center of the sole of the club is to provide the proper lie angle. We will leave this discussion for another article when the contact is made on the heel or toe of the club’s sole.

In order for the taller person to have the wrists at the same height off of the ground and the heel of the club outward from the butt of the golf shaft, then the player’s angles need to change. It could be just one, like arm angle, or in tandem such as the arm angle, spine angle and knee flex. Remember, the club did not change length; the golfer adapted to the length of the club. In this case the green model has tilted more at the waist and the arm angle is
closer to the body effectively shortening the player’s height.

Many lady golfers will use graphite-shafted irons more so than men will to help decrease weight for feel and to increase their swing speed for greater distance. As mentioned before, ladies golf clubs are typically 1” shorter than men’s, but graphite shaft clubs tend to be ½” longer to obtain a normal swingweight or heft to the club. The next diagram will illustrate a proportionate model (in pink) that stands 5’ 5” (165.1cm) and uses a 37.5” #5-iron. Again, the center of the sole contacts the ground to form the triangle where the heel of the club would be 18.75” outward of butt end of the shaft and the butt end would be 32.48” above the ground line.

In order to be in this final position at impact, the model must have a more upright pine angle and the arms are reaching outward and more upward relative to the other two models. Even though the pink and green models represent an 11” difference in physical height, it shows how they can use a club that is only ½” different in its length.

In some cases, the standard length of a ladies or men’s club may not be in a position that feels comfortable and put’s that person in an athletic posture to be able to return the clubhead with a positive impact location (both on the center of the face and center of the sole). For instance, the person could be very tall or short compared to the average person, disproportionate arm length, overweight or possibly a well-endowed woman. In those cases, we need different length golf clubs. What length is best for you? Unfortunately, there is no magic formula and may require some experimentation on the player’s part or go through a thorough fitting.

How is the Length of a Golf Club Measured? Part I of II

You are at the range and drop a ball on the ground (or place it on a tee). You grab a custom golf club randomly out of your golf bag and then try to hit the ball with club. It could be any club. Plus it simply doesn’t matter if the golf club is 32” or 48” since you only intent is to hit the back of the ball with the front of the face. The first in a sequence of things you do is set the clubhead behind the ball and then stand far enough away from the ball that your arms feel comfortable, and then you alter your hand height. This is all a subconscious response. The most amazing thing is you don’t ask what length is the club. Length itself is very important as it helps control the distance you hit the ball as well as develop consistency is the length is fitted correctly.

But before we can address those issues, we first need to know how is golf club length measured in the first place? While one would think that measuring the length of the club would be simple and universal, you might be surprised it is not. So let us explain several of the methods you may encounter.

The method most used involves placing the club in the playing position with the center of the sole touching the ground. This is how we measure our clubs at Hireko. A 48” golf club rule is placed along the backside of the club with the tip of the rule touching the ground by the club’s heel. The final length is measured at the edge of the grip cap (and not the very top). This method is used in all cases except putters that the shaft is not located at the heel.

In this method, it is critical that the lie of the club be positioned correctly. If the club is placed with the toe raised higher off of the ground than the heel, then the measurement will less than measured with the center of the sole touching the ground. Conversely, if the heel is raise higher off the ground than the toe, then the measured length will be increased. Those not careful in positioning the club correctly can easily
be off +/- 1/8” or even more.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has a method outlined in the Rules of Golf. The USGA uses an apparatus that has a piece of angle iron as a stop that forms at a 60 angle from the horizontal. Why 60°? Probably because this was the mid-way point of lies from years back when the driver was 56° and the wedges 64°, plus 60° is good even number. In addition, they measure to the very end of the grip cap and not the edge. This difference amounts to approximately 1/8” in the addition of the grip cap. The USGA does have a limit of 48” for any club, besides the putter, which has no length limits. However, they exclude putters using this measuring technique. For a detailed explanation, go to the following link: http://www.usga.org/equipment/protocols/clublength_r1_1.pdf

Yet another method is from the Long Drivers of America (LDA). They measure club by placing the shaft flat against the wall with the toe of the driver positioned on the ground. This will result in a much longer length than the other two methods mentioned before. Depending upon the lie of the driver can also contribute to the final length. The LDA has a 50” length limit for sanctioned long drive competitions.

Regardless of the method one uses, the key is consistency. This is why there are jigs or fixtures for measuring club length. A prime example would be a product that Hireko offers that is produced by Mitchell Golf. The Clublength Ruler Soleplate works in conjunction with a 48” aluminum ruler and can be laid flat on a table or workbench. There is a roll pin that the bottom of the club’s sole rests against. This is a rather inexpensive item that can speed up and accurately measure club length on a consistent basis.

For putters, length can be measured a number of ways because of the position of the hosel and/or golf shaft in relationship to the heel. As mentioned before, the length on heel-shafted putters can be measured the same way as an iron or wood. Let’s look at two other options. In Option A, this represents a non-offset center-shafted putter like a Titleist Bullseye. Measuring length is not referenced by the heel, rather the shaft axis so the 48” rule is placed alongside of the putter’s shaft at the point it intersects the ground up to the edge of the grip cap.

In Option B, this represents an offset putter. Because the shaft is ahead of the face of the putter, the ruler is not placed in-line with the shaft, rather along the back side of the shaft like an iron would be measured. The difference being that the ruler would touch the ground somewhere other than behind the heel of the club.

While these methods have been used to measure golf club, it does not necessary illustrate the length we are most concerned with, which is the distance from the golfer’s wrists to the ball. After all, the end of the golf grip correlated with your wrists unless you choke down (or grip down lower) on the grip. More importantly the target is the ball, which should be position in the center of the face. Perhaps a more accurate reading of the length of the club should be like the following diagram. This would take into account all the other methods and simplify length measuring.

One way to understand how this would help determine the proper length is to look at the Odyssey hockey putter Adam Sandler used in the movie Happy Gilmore. Because the blade length was so long, he would have to stand much further away from the ball at address. Thus the effective length of the putter was much longer than had it been a normal putter at the same length measured in the conventional manner. In addition, this would also change the plane the lie reading of the club is measured as well.

No manufacturer measures custom golf clubs in this manner, perhaps out of traditional or that the length is being measured in the plane that the lie is referenced from the shaft / hosel, but may be a plausible method of measuring length someday in the future.

Understanding Golf Club Bounce Angle

What is Golf Club Bounce? Technical Director Jeff Summitt Explains

Bounce angle is a term generally associated with wedges, but any golf club can have a bounce angle. Besides the golf shaft, bounce angle may be the next most misunderstood concept of a golf club design. Part of this lies in the definition. I have seen many places where the writer defines the bounce as:(Old definition) The measurement of the number of degrees from where the club rests on the ground and the club’s leading edge.While the definition above may have been true in the past, it is technically not correct anymore. Before I explain why, let us lead you gradually in this discussion by examining the anatomy of the sole.

First, there are four factors that go hand-in-hand in understanding this design parameter of a golf club; sole radius (if at all), sole width, leading edge height and contact point on the sole.If you look at a barrel of old irons, there will be two things you will notice about the sole of a golf club: they were very narrow and they were flat (or almost). Going through my collection of clubs, even game improvement irons as late as the end of the 1990s exhibited relatively narrow soles (0.75” wide or less) and very little radius compared to custom golf clubs offered today. Take one of these clubs and place it on a table with the shaft being perpendicular to the ground. A toe view of the club should look something like the following diagram.

Looking at the anatomy of the sole, there are a couple important terms to know. The outermost dimensions of the sole are the leading edge (positioned at the bottom of the face) and the trailing edge (positioned along the back edge of the head). The distance between the leading and trailing edges is the sole width. Note that the trailing edge of the sole may be tapered, so the sole width may vary along its’ length. Most manufacturers will reference the center point of the sole for this dimension. It is also important to realize that few irons are perfectly flat on the sole although it may look that way. In addition, head manufacturers will normally grind or radius the leading or trailing edge so that it is not a sharp point.

The next term to mention is the contact point or where the sole makes contact with the ground line when the hosel or shaft is perpendicular to the ground. In the diagram above, the contact point is in the center of the sole meaning that both the leading and trailing edges of the sole are parallel to the ground. If the sole were perfectly flat, then the contact point would be the entire sole width.

What happens when the contact point is not in the center of the sole? To start out the understanding of bounce let us use our example where the sole is perfectly flat, contact on the sole is not in the center and yet the hosel is perpendicular to the ground. In this case, there are only two possible positions that the sole can rest on; the leading and trailing edge of the sole.

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In the case where the contact point is on the leading edge, then the trailing edge with rest above the ground line. The sole angle relative to the ground line forms the bounce angle. In our example, a 0.75” wide sole has the trailing edge measuring 0.052” above the ground line, which creates a 4° sole angle pointed toward the ground. When this condition occurs, it is referred to as a negative bounce angle or also referred to as a “digger” sole. A digger sole does just that as it has a tendency to dig into the ground, which could be considered a negative design characteristic for any club designed to hit off of the ground.

Conversely, if the contact point is on the trailing edge, then the leading edge with rest above the ground line again forming a sole angle relative to the ground line. The bounce angle with a 0.75” wide sole with the leading edge measuring 0.052” above the ground line creates a 4° sole angle pointed upward from the ground. When this condition occurs, it is referred to as a positive bounce angle.

Why would a golf manufacturer design a golf club with bounce in the first place? It is important to understand at impact that the club may not return with the hosel perpendicular to the ball or that the golfer starts out with the club positioned as the manufacturer measures the loft of the club, but perhaps with a forward press. Whenever the ball is positioned on the ground, it may be necessary for the golfer to hit “down” on the ball in order to make solid contact and achieve getting the ball airborne and with increased back spin. For a further explanation why it is important to hit down on the ball, please reference the Angle of Attack article. To account for the downward angle of attack, manufacture’s needed to create some bounce into their designs in order to avoid the club from burying into the ground conditions.

Here is an example of the same flat-soled iron with a 4° bounce angle with the shaft parallel to the ground and next to it, the same club at impact with a 4° angle of attack. By creating the bounce leaving the leading edge above the ground at address, avoided the club from digging into the ground at impact. As the angle of attack matched the bounce angle, the contact point of the sole on the ground is in the center of the sole. If the angle of attack had been any less than 3°, then the trailing edge would have made contact with the ground, thus the ball would make contact on the face closer to the leading edge of the face. However, if the golfer struck the ball with an angle of attack greater than 5°, then the leading edge would have made contact with the ground first.

Luckily manufacturers have done away with flat soles as the margin for error is small. The modern iron looks more like the following diagram and as you can see has a sole radius from front to back with no well defined trailing and leading edges to reference. Sole radius accounts for variable angles of attack with minimal contact of the sole on the ground

Producing a radius on the sole, the clubs could conceivably make contact with the ground line at several different positions not possible with a flat sole. Examine the next diagram in regards to the sole radius and the contact point. With a flat soled club, contact made with the center of the sole touching created no bounce as the leading and trailing edges would be level with one another. Therefore on a radius soled club, 0° bounce occurs when the contact point is made in the center of the sole when the shaft is hosel is perpendicular to the ground. A positive bounce angle occurs when the leading edge is higher than the trailing edge. For this to occur with the shaft perpendicular to the ground, then the sole contact must be made rearward from the center of the sole. A negative sole angle occurs when the trailing edge is higher than the leading edge. Again, with the shaft perpendicular to the ground, the contact point on the must be forward of the center of the sole.

However, this is the very reason why the original definition does not apply anymore. For example, the contact point could be located in the very center of the sole. By the old definition, it was the angle created by the contact point and leading edge. When the sole was flat, this was true, but not with a radius sole. Look at the following diagram to see the reason why. As mentioned before, if the contact point is in the center of the sole on a club with a radius, then there is 0° bounce therefore this drawing doesn’t accurately depict what sole bounce really is.

(Correct definition) The measurement of the number of degrees between the clubs’s leading and trailing edges in relationship to the ground line when the club is in the square position and with the hosel perpendicular to the ground.

This leads us to the next part of the discussion to understand how bounce is made / measured on a club with a radius sole. In order to produce a radius, there first needs to be a circle. For example, let’s say the circle on the right has a diameter of 4” so the radius of the circle is half of that or 2”. The radius of the sole can only be as wide as the sole itself. Scaling to the diagram, the sole radius will be 1.25” (as indicated by the solid red line), which is extremely wide, but selected to better illustrate the basic idea.

Look at the two pie-shaped segments within the circle. At the base, each is one-half the width of the sole. Where they connect would be the contact point on the ground line which would be in the center of sole. Due to the radius of the arc, only one point along the circle can make contact with our ground line, therefore the outermost positions of the pie shaped pieces along the circumference of the circle will be higher than the ground line. These are labeled “leading edge” and “trailing edge”, which the red line depicting the “sole width” which is parallel to the ground line. Using our example with a 2” radius and a 1.25” wide sole width, the leading edge will be 0.1” above the ground line, yet the bounce is 0°.

A flat soled club with a 1.25” wide sole and 0° bounce, the leading and trailing edges would be on the ground. It is important to understand effect of sole width on the distance from the leading edge to the ground line. There is a faint dotted orange line above and parallel to the red line. If the sole width was 2”, then the leading trailing edges would be 0.268” above the ground. Contrarily, the shorter the sole width, the leading edge would not be as high given the same sole radius. The importance of this statement will come later.

Now that we have established the sole radius and sole width, the next thing is to select the degrees of bounce to create the leading edge height and contact point on the sole. To help understand this part, let’s take the two pie-shaped pieces and the solid red line out of the circle. In the diagram below it looks like we now have four tiny ships. The one on the furthest left is our original model from the diagram above. The second model is the same segment of the circle, but rotated 4° counterclockwise from the center of the circle so that leading edge is higher than the trailing edge. The dimension to the right of each segment is the dimension from the leading edge to the ground line. This would be considered positive bounce because the contact point is now located rearward of the center of the sole. Again, it is not the contact point that determines the bounce it is the difference between leading and trailing edges in relationship to the ground line.

The third model in the diagram shows when the segment of the circle is rotated 4° clockwise from the center of the circle so that trailing edge is higher than the leading edge. This creates a negative sole angle, but due to the radius, the leading edge is above the ground line (0.052”). The last model represents what happens more on a sand wedge where the bounce is much higher than typically the rest of the set (in this case 12°). The contact point is much closer to the trailing edge, which also raises the leading edge higher off of the ground. A situation where the leading edge is too high can lead to shots that can be bladed in certain situations.

As mentioned earlier, the narrower the sole, the less height the leading edge is above the ground line. By narrowing the sole from 1.25” to 0.781” (closer to a normal sole width), the leading edge lowers substantially with the same 2” sole radius. The model on the far right illustrates just how bounce itself does not tell the whole story. There is a term called effective bounce, which is the bounce measurement, along with the leading edge height and sole width. Even though the fourth model in the two diagrams have 12° bounce, the leading edge height is a little over 0.1” difference. While this may not seem that great, it can make a big difference in the playability from a tight lie versus a fluffy lie, with the former being better for tighter lies or firmer terrain.

In addition, sole radius plays a factor in how the leading edge can be up off of the ground. Let’s use the same 0.781” sole width as above, but increase the radius to 1.5” (remember the smaller the circle the more radius occurs). Incorporating a greater radius on the sole allows the leading edge to be higher off of the ground. Look at the difference between first two models in the two diagrams as both of these have 0° bounce. Where the difference really shows up is when the sole is rotated clockwise, the same as if the head was de-lofted due to a descending angle of attack, the leading edge is not as low to the ground and less likely to dig in. This is one of the reasons why normally you find more bounce on narrower soled clubs as often the sole has more radius than a wider sole model.

A prime example of this (although it does not exist in any head that I am aware of) is if the radius was very small (0.625” radius) and the width was extremely narrow (0.5” wide). Even if the club had 30° bounce, the leading edge would only be 0.25” above the ground line! Below is a quick guide to factors and how they affect leading edge height:

More radius (think of a smaller circle) = The higher the leading edge will be off from the ground
Wider sole with the same radius = The higher the leading edge will be off from the ground
Greater degree of bounce = The higher the leading edge will be off from the ground
Ascending angle of attack = The higher the leading edge will be off from the ground
Less radius (think of a larger circle) = The lower the leading edge will be off from the ground
Narrower sole with the same radius = The lower the leading edge will be off from the ground
Lesser degree of bounce = The lower the leading edge will be off from the ground
Descending angle of attack = The lower the leading edge will be off from the ground

To better illustrate the effect of sole width and radius on the bounce angle, examine the following chart. The chart represents two different width soles (0.781” and 1.25”) and three different sole radii (flat, 3” and 1.5”). Note: the leading edge has not been ground off in these cases leaving a sharp distinctive point of reference. In addition, these are not necessarily recommendations or fitting examples, rather more for the purpose of explaining their relationships.

The most common sand wedge bounce is 12° on a medium width sole (0.781”). Looking at the Leading Edge Height from the Ground Line chart, we can see that the distance to the leading edge would be 0.163”. The same leading edge height occurs with the flat sole and the one with the 1.5” radius. Remember we said before that the club may not end up in the exact same position? Let’s say a golfer was to use each of the clubs and had a 5° angle of attack. When the club returns to impact, now the leading edge has been lowered by the golfer. The underlined values at the 7° bounce (12° bounce minus the 5° angle of attack) show the new leading edge height. The head with the greater radius has the leading edge height higher than the other two heads with the same sole width (0.096” vs. 0.110”).

Leading Edge Height from the Ground Line
Sole Radius Flat 3″ 1.5″ Flat 3″ 1.5″
Sole Width 0.781″ 0.781″ 0.781″ 1.25″ 1.25″ 1.25″
Bounce in. in. in. in. in. in.
0 0.000 0.026 0.052 0.000 0.066 0.136
1 0.014 0.033 0.059 0.022 0.077 0.147
2 0.027 0.041 0.066 0.044 0.089 0.159
3 0.041 0.050 0.074 0.065 0.102 0.171
4 0.055 0.060 0.083 0.087 0.116 0.183
5 0.068 0.071 0.091 0.109 0.131 0.196
6 0.082 0.083 0.101 0.131 0.147 0.209
7 0.095 0.096 0.110 0.153 0.164 0.222
8 0.109 0.109 0.120 0.175 0.181 0.236
9 0.123 0.123 0.131 0.196 0.199 0.251
10 0.136 0.136 0.142 0.218 0.219 0.265
11 0.150 0.149 0.153 0.240 0.239 0.280
12 0.164 0.163 0.165 0.262 0.260 0.296
13 0.177 0.176 0.177 0.284 0.281 0.311
14 0.191 0.189 0.189 0.305 0.302 0.328
15 0.204 0.203 0.202 0.327 0.324 0.344
16 0.218 0.216 0.215 0.349 0.345 0.361

You might have noticed that most wide sole cavity back wedges do not have the same amount of bounce as a narrower blade-style model. To have the same effective bounce, less measured bounce is needed and here is the reason why. Let’s say we have a 1.25” wide sole wedge with a 3” radius. This will effective make the leading edge 1.81” above the ground. The same golfer with the 5° angle of attack will now return the club at impact with a leading edge height of 0.102” or the equivalent of the narrower sole clubs with greater bounce.

In an extreme example of where there is a very wide sole (1.25”) and has a high sole radius (1.5”) the manufacturer may select a bounce for the sand wedge may appear low on paper, for example 4°. This still leaves the leading edge height 0.183” above the ground. Even if the golfer returned the club with a 5° angle of attack, then effectively it has a negative 1° bounce. But due to the high radius sole, the leading edge will still be approximately 0.125” above the ground.

You might even see long irons with negative bounce as part of their specifications. Once considered that the head was inaccurately manufactured if the bounce was negative is no longer true. Often times the #1, 2 and even 3-irons are used off of a tee. Thus any time the ball is off the ground, then an upward or ascending angle of attack occurs which will add both loft and bounce to the club at impact. Even if clubs with negative bounce are hit of the ground with a level swing, the modern sole radius will prevent the chance of a “fat” shot as the leading edge will be above the ground line.

Most manufacturers do not provide bounce specifications other than for the wedges, perhaps for good reason as it can be quite confusing to the customer. Even if they did, sole radius and sole width specifications will not be included. So it is really up to the manufacturer to understand these relationships when designing a particular model to make it playable.

Very few times you see the exact same head, but in different bounce option from a fitting situation. The only time multiple bounce options are available occurs with only a few name brand manufacturers who will sell enough to make it a worthwhile investment in tooling. The two leaders in the wedge category (Cleveland and Titleist) offer some high bounce and even low bounce options for the different conditions and the golfer’s angle of attack. Otherwise it will require a skilled clubmaker to grind the sole or alter the loft to customize the effective bounce.

By reading this article, hopefully you have gained a better understanding and comprehension of what exactly the bounce angles mean and how the manufacturers derive at their final product. Bounce can be more complicated than this when you factor in any maladjusted lie angle, if the face is opened or closed or if the sole was produced with multiple radii or intricate grinds or bevels on the sole. However, the basics regarding sole width, leading edge height and contact point on the sole still apply.

Jeff Summitt, Technical Director has been part of the design, research and development of custom golf clubs and golf components for over 26 years.

Hireko Golf Launches New Power Play System Q2 Driver With Exceptional Distance, Forgiveness and Performance

CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, October 16, 2007 - Hireko Golf announced today the launch of it’s newest technological creation, the Power Play System Q2 Driver. The System Q2 is a uniquely balanced, square shaped, 460cc all-titanium driver with dual adjustable weight ports for many custom clubmaking options.

“Hireko has designed a driver that combines the best of both worlds,” states VP of Marketing Rob Altomonte. “Our designers unified a square shape profile with adjustable weight ports that delivers greater ball speed, deeper drives and the ultimate in shot trajectory customization.”

The large footprint at address coupled with additional material in the rear corners formed by the square shape, combine to produce superb perimeter weighting. The synergy of the extra weights strategically positioned via adjustable weight screws plus the beta titanium face equal maximum weight savings and superior performance. All this adds up to a high moment of inertia driver designed to hit the ball straighter over the entire face.

The Power Play System Q2 Driver is equipped with a 3g screw in the toe and a 10g screw in the heel ports. Additional screws (4, 6, 8, 10 and 12g) are available to provide 36 different weight combinations from 193g up to 211g.

The Hireko Power Play System Q2 Drivers are available in right hand 10.5 and 12 degree models and left hand 10.5 degrees. Golfers can custom build a Q2 Driver online starting at $91.59 each or purchase the component clubhead for $55.95 each at www.hirekogolf.com
or by calling 800-367-8912.

For over 26 years, Hireko Golf has served the golf industry through its direct mail, website and retail channels. Hireko and Hireko’s technical expertise has produced over a dozen nationally recognized publications and the Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index remains the dominant testing and development concept in shaft technology. Our brands include Acer, Hireko, Oxygen, Dynacraft, Pal Joey, iBella, Synchron, Power Play and Karma. Hireko specializes in manufacturing and designing custom golf clubs. For more information visit www.hirekogolf.com.

SOURCE: Hireko Trading Company, Inc.

Contact: Rob Altomonte, 614-209-7405

Slices, Hooks and Other Golf Related Terms Explained

Have you ever wondered why you slice or hook the ball? Understanding why the ball goes a certain direction can allow you a better understanding of not only the swing, but also the equipment that you should use. This article is not designed to teach you the proper swing, rather illustrate why the ball goes where it does and explain several different terms that you might hear from fellow golfers or your local teaching professional.type of stancesOne of the fundamentals of the swing is the stance or how you are aligned to the ball relative to the target line. There are three different stances and each one can influence the swing path and ultimately the direction of the ball. The first is the easiest to understand and it is called a square stance or where the feet and hips are parallel to your target. A square stance will encourage a square impact. An open stance is where the front foot is dropped back away from the target line so the feet and hips are open to the target line. This type of stance encourages a swing path that comes from the outside to in. Finally, a closed stance is where the back foot is dropped back slightly away from the target line so the feet and hips are closed from the target line. The difference in terminology between a square and open stance is often misleading, so examine the diagram to gain a better image between the two stances. For left handed golfers, it would be a mirror image.type of stancesStance is important from initial part of the golf swing – the set up. The stance can encourage a specific type swing path but a golfer can manipulate the swing path with how the upper body twists in relationship to the hips. This game is hard enough without trying to understand all the sequences from the takeaway to impact. A good friend of mine summed up hitting the ball the best as he said “Simply hit the back of the ball with the front of the face”. Well it is slightly more complicated than that, but not far off. A straight shot occurs because the golfer hit the very back of the ball with the clubface square to the target. This is also described as a square path.An outside/in swing path occurs when the golfer hits the outside half of the ball. Granted it is not that far off from the back of the ball in most cases, but since the ball is round, impact is made maybe a dimple or two to the outer side of the equator of the ball. A severe outside/in path may be 6 or 8 degrees. As a point of reference go look at a clock. The target line for a RH golfer is a line drawn from the 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock position (or 15 and 45 minute marks). If a golfer struck the back side of the ball, they would have made contact with the 15 minute mark. If contact was made at the 14 minute mark, this would represent the same angle into the ball as a 6° outside/in swing path.

An inside/out swing path is where impact is made on the inside half of the ball. In our clock example, a 6° inside/out path would be the equivalent of making impact at the 16 minute mark. You can see how it becomes easier to hit the inside of the ball with a closed stance just the same as being able to hit the outside half of the ball with an open stance.

type of stances
However the other half of the equation on where ball might go had to do with the face of the club at impact. This is not to be confused with the face angle of the head, but the position of the face of the club relative to the target line. This takes into account the rotation of the wrists, the clubhead around the shaft axis, the bending of the shaft, etc. Ultimately it is how the golfer brings the club back to the ball at impact and it may not necessarily the same as it started out at address.

The face angle of the club at impact can either be square to the target, open (pointed right of the target for a right-handed golfer) or closed (pointed left of the target for a right-handed golfer). For left handed golfers, the opposite will occur at impact.

type of stances
There are swing analysis tools that are used by club fitters that can accurately measure the exact face angle at impact along with how many degrees inside/out or outside/in the swing path is on any given swing. Because the clubface is traveling so fast, it is impossible to tell how many degrees the face may be open or closed or if any in the case that a square impact was made without such devices. However, it might be possible to know by understanding ball flight patterns in the chart below.

The direction is initially dictated by the face angle at impact but any side spin is controlled by the path of the swing. A square path results in no side spin. An inside/out path creates a draw spin, while an outside/in path creates a slice spin. Probably the best image can be found if you ever played ping pong and watched how the ball curved when cutting across the ball at different angles. Another important consideration is the harder the ball is hit at the same given loft the more side spin will result. Also, the greater the difference between the swing path and the target line, the greater the spin rate will be as well.

As a recap, there are three swing paths that the club face can come into the ball, plus there are three different face angles the club can be at impact relative to the target line. This combines to form 9 different ball flight pattern possibilities that can occur at impact.

Ball Flight Patterns
Diagram Swing Path Face Angle Probable Ball Flight Pattern Description 1 Description 2
A Square Square Straight with no side spin Straight  
B Square Open Start right with slice spin Push – Slice  
C Square Closed Start left with hook spin Pull – Hook  
D Outside/In Square Start left with no spin Pull  
E Outside/In Open Start a little left or right, slice spin* Fade Pull-slice or Push-slice
F Outside/In Closed Start left with hook spin Pull – Hook Severe is a duck hook
G Inside/Out Square Start right with no side spin Push  
H Inside/Out Open Start right with slice spin Push – Slice Severe is a banana slice
I Inside/Out Closed Start a little right or left, hook spin* Draw Push-hook or Pull-hook
*Depends upon number of degrees the face may be open or closed, plus how many degrees the club is either coming inside/out or outside/in.A pull-slice starts out left of the target and curves back to the right where a push-slice starts right and curves right. A push-hook starts right and curves back to the left, while a pull-hook starts left and continues curving left. All of these are assuming a right handed golfer.

Let’s look at a diagram of each of the 9 different possibilities individually to understand what can occur on a center shot. Each of the different scenarios are based on a 100 mph swing speeds and the approximate position of the ball is where the ball lands on the fly without any roll. All the numbers on the grid represent yards and the green shaded area is the width of an average fairway (32 yards wide).

Let’s start out with the easiest one and that is the straight shot. Regardless of the speed of the golfer, the ball will land on this same line. However this is a clinic approach as it is nearly impossibly to hit the ball with a perfectly square face and a path that is perfectly square as well. By limiting the face angle and path to factions of a degree from perfectly square, the result can still be considered a straight shot as the direction left or right of the target and any side spin will be minimal.

Top View Straight Shot

Diagram B shows examples of a Push-Slice where the path may be square, but the face is open at impact. This starts the ball to the right (RH golfer) with slice spin. Even where the face is only 2° open, it is enough to miss an average fairway width right for a golfer with approximately 90 mph or more.

Top View Push Slice Golf Club

Diagram C is the opposite of the push-slice just discussed called the Pull-Hook. The hook spin comes from the outside/in path which results the ball going to the left (RH golfer). Again, as little margin as 2° can result into a missed fairway.

Top View Pull Hook Golf Club

Diagram D starts the scenario in which the path comes from the outside/in. With a square face, the result is a Pull, basically a straight shot just going in the wrong direction. Because the path is face is square, no side spin is incurred to further influence the ball flight. Up to 4° outside/in may still keep the ball in the fairway for most golfers.

Top View Pull Golf Club

Diagram E represents a Fade ball flight. A fade occurs when the path is outside/in, but the face angle is open. For a RH golfer a fade will be a situation where the ball goes from left to right. In some cases a fade is good and end up at the intended target and in other cases can completely miss a fairway or green depending upon how many degrees outside/in the path is in relationship to how open the face and the payer’s clubhead speed. For more skilled golfers, they intentionally fade the ball to “work” it around a particular hazard or shape the shot to a specific position on the green. The caption below the diagram shows three different scenarios and underscored the difference in the different types of fades: pull-slice or a push-slice.

Top View Fade Golf Club

Diagram F illustrates a Pull-Hook where that path is outside/in and with a closed face. When severe, this is commonly called a “duck hook”. Rarely will a pull-hook stay in a normal sized fairway or on a green except for those with very slow swing speeds.

Top View Pull Hook Golf Club

Diagram G is the first to illustrate the different scenarios when an inside/out swing path is present. In this case the face is square resulting into a Push. Again, this is a straight shot just going in the wrong direction. Because the path is face is square, no side spin is incurred to further influence the ball flight. Up to 4° outside/in may still keep the ball in the fairway for most golfers.

Top View Push Golf Club

Diagram H is a Push-Slice or where the face is open at impact causing the push. In addition the inside/out path creates slice spin making the ball go further to the right (RH golfer). This is the opposite of the pull-hook, but the result is the same; the ball rarely remains in the fairway or on the green. The difference between this and a fade is the path, although both are hit with open faces. In both cases if the face severely open can result into the ball going to the adjacent fairway or beyond. But in the fade, the golfer aims further left by opening the stance and hitting the outside of the ball.

Top View Push Slice Golf Club

The last illustration is a Draw. Diagram I shows this occurs when the path is inside/out and the face is closed. For a RH golfer, the ball starts right and curves back left. Where the ball lands is the relationship between how many degrees inside/out the path plus the number of degrees the face is closed along with the swing speed and loft. When the swing speed is reduce or the loft increase (as in the case with higher lofted irons), the curvature is reduced. For more skilled golfers, they intentionally draw the ball or “work” it around a particular hazard or shape the shot to a specific position on the green. The caption below the diagram shows three different scenarios and underscored the difference in the different types of draws: push-hook or a pull-hook.

Top View Draw Golf Club

These are the 9 different situations that can occur on center shots with the three swing path and face angle possibilities each. Be aware that ball flight can be more complex than this when you factor in the further possibilities of hitting out toward the toe or heel or high or low on the clubface. But we will leave that for another article. But hopefully you get a better understanding or appreciation on why your ball goes the way it does.

Jeff Summitt has been clubfitting custom golf clubs for over 20 years. Call him toll-free on the Hireko technical support line at 800-942-5872.

Golf Club Maintenance Quiz

Golf club maintenance is an often overlooked yet important part of the game. Take this quiz and learn that you may not know everything about cleaning and preserving your sticks! For example:

“Putting baby oil or Vaseline on the face of a carbon steel wedge or putter will prevent it from rusting.”


Golf Club Equipment Trends 2008

Power Play System Q2 DriverIn recent years, equipment trends have followed a two year cycle before the next one started. Beginning in 2001, we saw the emergence of gigantic titanium driver heads as it was the inaugural year for a 400cc driver and continued developing toward the current 460cc volume (and beyond) by year’s end. While the buzzword in 2003 was certainly the term high C.O.R. (Coefficient of Restitution), the undercut cavity in irons quietly … continued

Golf Club Maintenance Quiz

Test Your Golf Club Maintenance Skills!
1. Irons and wedges with clean grooves will produce more spin than if they are caked full of mud, dirt or grass.


2. To clean your clubheads from build up of dirt in the grooves allow them to soak in a bucket or tub of soapy water.
3. To clean your grips, allow them to soak in a bucket or tub of soapy water.
4. Stainless steel clubs and chrome plated shafts can and will rust.
5. Grips should be replaced when they are worn, cracked or slippery.
6. A loose ferrule with require the shaft to be removed from the head in order to repair.
7. It is alright to store your clubs in the trunk of your car as the extreme heat or cold will not affect performance.
8. Real golfers will only use head covers for drivers and fairway woods only.
9. Putting baby oil or Vaseline on the face of a carbon steel wedge or putter will prevent it from rusting.
10. Spraying a sticky substance on a grip to make it tackier is against the Rules of Golf.