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January, 2005

The Purpose of Grooves

Jan. 3, 2005     By     Comments (3)

GroovesMany people think that grooves exist to impart backspin. This is not true. In tests with Iron Byron, ungrooved irons imparted 98% as much backspin as grooved versions of the same model iron. The main purpose of grooves is to collect dirt, grass, and water, thus increasing ball/steel contact. Think of car tires: in dry weather, racers go with "slicks" and in slightly wet weather, they must use tread. Tread isn't used to "grab" the pavement, but to channel water away so rubber/cement contact can be maximized. Some deformation of the ball occurs at impact, allowing the grooves to "grab" parts of the ball, and this grabbing accounts for the 2% differential seen in the smooth vs. grooved club test.

Keeping your grooves clean is important in maintaining consistent ball/steel contact, which in turn leads to consistent distance, height, and backspin from your irons. Today's tip is more science lesson, but the tip is this: keep your grooves clean. Wipe them with a soft towel, clean the grooves with a sharp end of a tee or a groove cleaner, and keep your clubs dry. If your grooves are already filled with water, they won't do much good.

With "dirty" balls, ungrooved clubs in the Iron Byron test imparted as little as 60% as much spin. Why doesn't your driver have grooves? Because the ball should be relatively clean when you're teeing it up.

Photo Credit: © Unknown.

Hybridized Chipping

Jan. 2, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Titleist 503.HLike most of the rest of the golf world, you've added a "rescue," "hybrid," or "ironwood" to your bag. You use it out of the rough and off the tee, and it works well for you. Guess what? You're still under-utilizing the club.

As Todd Hamilton showed us at last year's British Open, the hybrid club is also an effective tool around the greens. You may not get as much use out of it as Hamilton did around the links-style Open course, but from greenside rough and fringes, hybrid clubs possess a number of traits that will help you get the ball closer to the hole.

To play a chip with a hybrid, stand the club up on its toe a little and take a putting grip. Play the shot very much like a putt, with very little wrist action. The hybrid will glide through any grass quite easily, ensuring solid contact.

The next time you find yourself around the green, do as Hamilton does: put that hybrid to work!

Balance Those Balls!

Jan. 1, 2005     By     Comments (0)

Check-GoThis lengthy article at Golf Club Review talks about the value of a spin-balanced golf ball.

A player with a poor stroke may never realize much benefit from the use of balanced balls on the green, but a good putter should be able to reduce his handicap by close to a stroke with careful and sustained use of balance-oriented balls. If he is also adept at using the alignment lines on the ball to aim his putts, he may save substantially more than a stroke a round.

Further reading reveals that Golf Club Review found disparities in long irons, short irons, and driver shots as well. Turns out that balancing a ball is important for more than putting!

You can read more about the Check-Go system here or purchase one from or other retailers.

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