BOUGHT IN OR QUESTIONING?
A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from a friend about a conversation he had with his pro. He explained that his pro took one look at his new golf clubs and gave him quite a hard time about the fact he was using X flex shafts. I fitted and made his clubs and it’s easy for me to explain why he has the clubs he has but what I really want to drill into is that reaction from the pro and how it reflects a major issue within the game of golf and how this issue really stifles golf’s development and evolution.
Sadly golfers have fallen into the trap of becoming judgmental. It’s an individual game so a basic human trap is to become judgmental about other golfers, either to make yourself feel better about your own game (more confident) or, in the case of a PGA Professional, to sustain your belief system which you use to create your reality around the things you teach and promote. To be judgmental in any walk of life is a trap to be avoided and I believe in our lives as golfers we are presented with a huge test in terms of not avoiding that trap.
I have a theory that within golf there are two basic personality types and those are:
Bought in participators:
These people want to be in the golf gang and the industry of golf is structured around them – their outlook is cultivated by just about every single piece of information and media around the game. Nearly everyone new to the game starts this way and many stay there, they accept the accepted wisdom. They read the golf magazines; they buy the latest driver on the basis of performance. When they play they dress up like the guys on TV because they want to be a part of the golf gang. If you like, they are part of the golfing matrix and they are loving it, they are not questioning any of the accepted wisdom and if the guys on TV are doing it then it has to be right. These golfers have been failed by golf’s media and governing bodies because they have allowed the only information out there to be essentially advertising from corporations looking to make profit and nothing else. The mob will react angrily when anyone or anything questions this belief system.
These people have basically come out the other side. They’ve consumed so much of the fodder that they have become slightly distrustful and are beginning to question and search for some real tangible facts that make sense and work for them. Important to note that these golfers can be some of the most judgmental! But they will in the most part have moved back to the essence of the game, they would rather strip away the crap and get on with the game. They don’t have the time to sift through all the false information to get to the good stuff so they have disengaged for the most part. Some of these people might be prone to watching the sky sports coverage on mute while listening to prog rock, and they much prefer Peter Allis to Mark Roe!
Now back to my friend’s shafts…
It’s such a good example of how bad things can get when the only information presented is advertising and how the games experts will protect their belief system pretty aggressively in order to avoid alternatives. Shafts are fitted all over the world based on speed and in the worst cases based on someone’s playing standard. This is flat out wrong. There is nothing right about it but before we get into that there is another issue. There is no guide for how the letter on the shaft relates to what the shaft actually is! One company could put a so-called R flex shaft in their club and it could be the same as another company’s S. Oh, and sorry but it gets worse, shaft flex is kind of irrelevant in relation to a shafts profile. A shafts bend profile, or EI curve, is how the shaft flexes through the different zones (butt, mid, tip). There is lots of information on this subject in previous blogs. The industry needs to dumb down so the message of speed is easy to put out in an advert as is shaft flex as the only factor in a shaft even though their way of defining those flexes means nothing! So crazy!
Golfers use the shaft of the club to create leverage to maximize PRESSURE and speed at impact. They all do this in a way which is unique to them so to use speed (either ball speed or club head speed) is irrelevant because what you are measuring is after the shaft has done its job. The only way to fit shafts is by measuring load. How much load a golfer puts on the shaft (how much they bend it) and where and when. Why would speed or standard of player relate to the shaft of a club? When you think about it, it’s crazy but it’s accepted and not questioned! The right shaft fitted through measuring load will provide the correct interaction between you and the club and will not only optimize distance and trajectory but will provide better ball striking through the correct dynamic interaction with the club.
Luckily I think it would take riot police with dogs to wrestle my mates new clubs off him regardless of what his bought in participator pro says.
There are loads more on the technical explanations in previous blogs and those coming.