My favourite excuse! It’s number one use has to be when your playing and who has buddy forked over a bunch of dough on a new club to fix his slice/shanks/yips, only to slice/shanks/yip on the first hole. Funny thing is, there are some situations where “blaming the clubs” is the right thing to do. No, not to make a joke, or save your ego… but because legitimately the clubs are not made for you. Here’s the most common situations you can use to “blame the clubs”.
Likely the most easily overlooked part of the club is the grip. Ironically, this is also your only contact point, and therefore extremely important. Even when it comes to clubs, fitting grips are rarely considered – everyone just assumes all grips are created equal (tackiness excluded). This couldn’t be further from the truth.
While most clubs are usually sold with standard sized grips, people aren’t unfortunately all born with standard sized hands. If your hands are smaller or larger than ‘normal’, you shouldn’t be using normal grips. If your grips are too small for your hands (or hands are too big for your grips), you won’t be able to close your hands securely on the grip, and during your swing the club can move around effecting impact. If your grips are too large/hands too small the grip can actually restrict movement between your hands and wrists that can lead to a loss of power and distance.
How can you check? Your middle and ring fingers should barely touch your palm, if this isn’t the case… your grips aren’t for you, and their blame-worthy for all your mistakes.
Ego plays the biggest role when it comes to shaft stiffness. Women aside… shaft types can be emasculating. There’s x-stiff, stiff, regular, then senior and womens. Only recently have shaft manufacturers begun to offer different worded shaft names so guys can actually get the shafts they need, versus the ones they think they need. 9 times out of 10, amateur golfers have the wrong flex in their shafts and most often the shaft is too stiff for their swing speeds and swing type.
Another common area of ego is between graphite and steel shafts. Graphite & carbon fibre shafts aren’t just for seniors and women. Nowadays these shafts can be made much stiffer than steel ever could be. Steel shafts are not for everyone either. Do your research, find out your swing speed – your average, actually your speed – not your all-time (when I was 20) top swing speed, and get a shaft to fit.
Also take into account your swing type. Swings with a quicker transition from the top, may need a different shaft than those who are slower and smooth.
3) Club Type
Okay, club manufacturers make clubs for specific types of golfers. This is why you see cavity back clubs, blades and game-improvement irons. You should play clubs made for your game. Blades for example are for highly-skilled golfers with consistent reliable swings, who are willing to trade on consistency in order to gain flexibility and feel. Blades are not designed with MOI in mind, they are designed to be able to work the ball as needed. They are for a very small portion of the golf market – which for the most part, won’t be you.
Game-improvement irons are designed to keep the ball in play no matter what. Their focus is on keeping the ball straight(ish) no matter how inconsistent your swing is. They have high MOI, and often are offset which makes working the ball purposefully very difficult. They are designed to help golfers who struggle to keep the ball in the short stuff.
In-between, you’ll find cavity back or blade-like clubs with a little heft to them. These are designed for the majority of average golfers – they have the benefits of both. If you’re playing the wrong clubs, you can blame them – but really its your ego at fault.
The last two parts focus on things that every club fitter should take into account when fitting you for a set of clubs – loft and lie. The problem though, is a club fitter is fitting you for your swing that day and not your swing for everyday. So, if you’re having an off-day when you’re getting fit, your clubs are going to cause you some issues.
Lie, specifically refers to how the club sits on the ground at address. Usually, if your clubs are properly fit the club will rest level on the ground. If your clubs lie on the toe or on the heel, your lie needs some adjusting.
Just a tip: that if your clubs sit slightly on the heel at address, this is just fine. When you come into impact your club usually will bow upright, which will level the sole at impact.
If you’re super tall, or super short… or basically just not the “normal” height, the length of your shafts can have an impact on your swing.
Another often overlooked part of length is that longer or shorter shafts will perform differently. Shorter shafts will be slightly stiffer, longer shafts, slightly whippier. So when fitting shafts for length, this is just another aspect of your club that could be wreaking havoc in your game. Players will often adjust their swing to fit their clubs – this is often the source of their swing faults. They try and fix the wrong problem.
Get fitted mid-season, and make sure that you’re swing hasn’t been effected by you training on clubs that weren’t made for you. If you’re playing clubs that are too long, you’ll stand too upright, and your swing will be too flat, often resulting in hooks. If your playing clubs that are too short, you’ll appear hunched over, and your swing will rend to be upright, usually resulting in a slice… and even shanks.
So there you have it. 5 legit reasons to blame your clubs. The problem is, once you have determined that your clubs are to blame you can now actually do something about it. And when you finally do have properly fit clubs, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself when things go sour. So, the question comes down to this – do you want to actually improve your game? Or do you want an excuse to save your ego?