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  1. Television golf analyst and professional player Bobby Clampett recently wrote an article on club fitting...more specifically what he feels are the 2 big problems with club fitting. He made some comments that I felt were spot-on, and he made some comments that I would consider "interesting". The issues he addresses are 1) club fitting for players who have a chronic fade/slice, and 2) too much emphasis being placed on fitting irons for maximum distance. In the first section he talks about meeting players during a pro/am or when he works with students giving lessons: The clubs recommended to them were “anti-slice” clubs. All the grips were small (standard size), and the woods (especially the drivers) were upright with the sliding weights put in the heel. The irons were “jacked-upright” as much as 8 degrees. All of these adjustments were made for the purpose of building in the ability to hit hooks. If the lie of the club is upright, more “hook” is built into the club through the principle that “loft is hook.” Additionally, the more the available “loft” of the club, the more the upright angle increases hook. So a set of clubs built 8 degrees upright has a very different directional profile with the 4-iron than with the wedge. Without correction, a wedge that is 8 degrees upright will really go left, while the 4-iron won’t have as much correction. I've condensed this a little, but so far everything makes sense...except maybe the part about irons being 8* upright! That's pretty extreme. I don't know any club techs or club builders who would attempt to bend irons that much. I've done 6 degrees which is 2 degrees more than I'm comfortable with, but it was only one club which started out flat, so it wasn't ridiculously upright when I was done. Anyway, it's hard to imagine anyone needing clubs so upright. Bobby then goes on to say: The uprightness of the club significantly reduces the sweet-spot, making the club less forgiving by increasing the chance that the ball will be struck lower in the face (which has a worse effect on long irons than short irons). Gear effect has now been proven to exist even in irons, and low-in-the-clubface hits will cause a gear effect fade, magnified with lower lofted clubs, even if the face and path are square. Some club manufacturers have built game-improvement irons with bigger sweet-spots (with lower CG’s and higher MOI’s). When club fitters make the lie angle “off-square,” this improvement immediately is canceled and, in most cases, completely nullifying any benefit the game-improvement design can provide. Ok...I've been in the golf business for over 18 years, most of those as a full time club builder, a fitter and as an equipment technician, and I've never heard anything relating to an upright lie angle reducing the sweet-spot by increasing the chance the ball will be struck lower on the face! Now I will say that if a player's clubs are adjusted to a very upright lie angle not to fit the person's swing, but in an attempt to correct a slice, this can cause several issues. The last part is equally confusing. It seems he is saying if the lie angle on a set of game improvement irons is adjusted, it eliminates any benefit that those types of clubs offer. What? The part of the article I applaud him for is his opinion that there is too much focus on making irons go further. He says: I don’t mean to be too blunt here, but who cares how far you hit an 8-iron! The only two clubs in the bag that should be designed for distance are your driver and your 3-wood. All the other clubs should be set for proper gapping and designed to improve consistency and proximity to the hole. Learning to hit the ball flag high is one of the key separators between top PGA Tour Players and those a notch or two below. It’s also a key element in lowering scores. So, greater distance with my irons actually makes my game worse and it does the same with my students, too, because accuracy and ability to get the ball consistently closer to the hole is negatively impacted. Proximity to the hole is more important in the irons than distance. Amen to that. Thoughts?
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