Distance. I am notorious for being the shortest iron hitter of 95%of all the players I meet on the course. Even thought I can generally shoot in the high 70’s to low 80’s. I am5’9” 180 and consider myself rather athletic. Is it the iron approach angle that is killing my distance? AmI not hitting down on the ball enough (and thus de-lofting the angle of attack) during the downswing??

Without seeing you play, this is a tough one to figure out. The only suggestion I can make is to go see a PGA pro that you have confidence in and find out the reason. Sorry I could not be a bigger help. P.S. For what it’s worth: ball position, angle of attack, weight shift and wrist release point (late or early) are some of the variables to consider.

I’ve been spending $’s for lessons at Golf Galaxy and am getting better at this game. I’ve only been playing for about 2 yrs. I’ve attended a seminar on club building and have read your manual totally and it’s great knowledge. But when I come to buy your products, I’m finding that I’mat a disadvantage. I’ma left handed player (because a disability). Why is this? Callaway had an open house recently and had only 1 left handed drive to try out and many right handed clubs. This is outrageous in my opinion! I need to get fitted for new clubs and it looks like knock-offs will be my only option. Any good news for lefties??

The GolfWorks has a number of clubs in left hand. Golf Galaxy stocks our most popular “Maltby” model, the KE4 in left hand. It is available in irons, hybrids, fairways and a driver.We also have left hand models in our CER line and also our DistanceMaster line. Check them out at golfworks.com. People who buy knockoffs mistakenly believe that they are getting the same playability clones as the originals at a very low price. This is far from true. In general knockoffs are made in the lowest quality factories with inconsistent tooling and no quality checks. Their faces are generally not flat, scoring lines are often illegal, the sole bounce angles are all over the place and the loft and lie angles are not in progression. There are other problems but space here does not allow me to elaborate.

I am a 20 handicap player. I like to set up with the ball forward (at instep of front foot) for every shot, including wedges. Can club fitting help me make more solid contact and avoid fat shots or pushes....or must I learn to set up with the ball further back as my club pro is suggesting?

Club fitting works best after certain swing flaws and/or setup flaws are corrected. Your golf professional is correct. Playing the ball too far forward can create a number of problems, one of which is to make it very difficult to get consistent solid ball contact. Once you get comfortable with moving the ball back to the correct setup position, you will notice that you are also hitting the ball longer.

I am a 22 handicap;most people see my swing and think I’ma single digit. So I guess I have a repeatable swing, however,my biggest flaw/frustration is that I tend to frequently hit behind the ball as much as 6 inches at times, even the driver, and mostly never hit just ball first. If I appear to have a good swing what amI doing to cause this very frustrating miss hit? Thank You. PS, when I do hit the ball solid I frequently get a sweeping draw hook. Just thought I’d throw that one in there as well.

I am not a teaching pro but having been involved in fitting and working with many golf professionals over the years, I am going to take a stab at this one. Of course I would always recommend seeing a PGA professional. Just watching someone swing can save a lot of time in fixing a problem. OK with all that said, here’s what you need to look at. First, I would check to see if you are keeping most of your weight on your right side coming into impact. This can cause the fat shot and a hooking effect from “hanging back” and not getting through the shot. You need to basically shift your weight as follows: more weight on the right foot on the backswing, weight distributed evenly at the top and weight shifting over to the left foot coming into impact. You should achieve this weight shift by a rotation of your body and not by sliding your body back and forward. Another problem is that some golfers try to hit up on the ball when in fact; you need to swing down and through the ball. If you find the bottom of your swing arc (take a few practice swings creating a slight divot) which is usually in the center of your divot, this is the area you should be placing the ball in your setup. See if this helps and let me know the outcome.

Do you think that the USGA will restrict the clubs design to force PGA players to go back to the old days?

The USGA has a long history in making equipment rule changes based on how the tour players play. Going way back, when the Haskell ball (first wound ball) came out they banned it.When the first steel shafts replaced hickory shafts, they banned them.When a tour event was won with deep waterfall type grooves in the early 1900’s, they banned these grooves. I do not think they will force PGA tour players to go back to the old days because there is too much at stake regarding the many, many millions the manufacturers pay tour players to play their equipment. The obvious goal for spending all this money is so that you will run out and buy the same club or clubs that the tour player uses. So, if the tour pro uses different equipment built to different rules, it would change the way clubs are marketed and where the money is spent. I totally support the USGA and I am also a member, but I do think that more consideration should be given to regular golfers and rule changes not be made because the absolute finest players in the world (we simply cannot and never will be able to hit the ball like they do) can shoot 20 under par and drive it 300 yards. I don’t know about you, but I am not even close to obsolescing the golf course I play on.

Do you have any comments regarding Lange Golf Clubs? The company manufactures clubs forWomen Only.

Until your comment, I nor anyone at the GolfWorks have ever heard of Lange golf clubs. I went on their website to have a look. I will definitely be ordering each of their irons to do a MPF (Maltby Playability Factor) rating to see where they stand. So, I cannot tell you much other than the only driver head sizes they have listed is for a 380cc and a 330cc driver. This would be giving up way too much playability compared to the 440cc to 460cc ladies drivers available today with much higher playability. The new driver sizes have very high moments of inertia and this really helps women quite a bit. I apologize if it was on their site and I missed it, but I could not find the standard specifications for any of their clubs. I was interested in the iron lofts, bounce angles, lie angles and standard club lengths. If you are interested in these clubs be sure and hit them for a comparison to what you are playing now. Also, hit some other manufacturer’s ladies only models for a comparison.

Yesterday I saw a Callaway promotional piece on how their computers simulate club designs and materials that are not even physically possible, in order to determine playability and other factors. Is this the kind of test you perform? Do you believe such tests are relevant?

Almost everything that the golf companies put out is for marketing purposes and to make you believe they have the best golf clubs (or best R&D departments). Callaway is certainly one of the few companies that are quite sophisticated in their design approach and in R&D. I really cannot tell you how accurate or functional this computer simulation program is because I am not aware of it, but I am always suspect any computer programs written for the purpose of promoting a companies’ products or development methods. To determine the basic playability characteristics of golf clubs (Maltby Playability Factor), I actually measure all their mass and dimensional properties to get the real numbers. The real numbers I use are the actual weight of the head, its loft angle, the moment of inertia and the center of gravity in all three planes. This measurement process takes some very sophisticated equipment to perform. These real numbers are then put into a formula derived from testing golf clubs over a long period of time and the resultant answer is a number which classifies the head into one of 6 different playability categories. I can also use the formula (MPF) to put in hypothetical numbers of an initial iron design to help me determine the specifications I will need to reach a certain playability level.

I would like to know if you have ever tried the following two tests with an Iron Byron machine: 1. with all other things being equal does a club with a stiff shaft hit the ball farther than one with a regular shaft even at slow swing speeds? 2. How much longer and straighter will a new $2,500 set of Callaway’s or TaylorMade’s hit the ball than a stylistically similar $200 set fromK-Mart?

The first question is easy, the Last question is interesting. First, the shaft stiffness and the swing speed will create a different launch angle with all else being equal.Whichever shaft that creates a launch angle which is more ideal (with a given loft angle) regarding ball carry will be the winner. The results of trying all the different types and flexibilities of shafts available would yield no significant distance difference data to confirm anything other than hitting straightness (shot dispersion). Almost every time the stiffer shaft will hit the ball straighter than a more flexible shaft. Distance will always vary. Now for your second question; as everyone out there has probably already guessed, I have measured and tested numerous clones and copies of the major OEM’s clubs. I have even found some clones with a higher Maltby Playability Factor than the original designs (although most are not as high). The big problem in comparing the two types of clubs is overall quality and consistency. There is a reason why the clones are so cheap. They are simply made in factories that produce on a cost basis only and the quality level is focused mostly on being cosmetically appealing and recognizable to a well known OEM brand. Specifications and playability are not a priority because this type customer is not looking for quality but rather a very low price. I have never found a clone type club that I would play simply because I want my clubs built as close to perfectly incremental as possible; such as, I want the faces flat on my irons and the bounce angles on the soles to match, to name only a few. I have made over 30 trips to Taiwan and China beginning way back in 1972 and I have seen it all; the good, the bad and the ugly. Now with all that said, and getting somewhat off my soapbox, is it worth a $2300 difference (your numbers, not mine) in one top quality set to another lower quality set manufactured and assembled using comparable materials? No, in dollars.... yes, if you want to play with better golf clubs. You are paying quite a bit of money to the OEM’s that support the tour players. Some companies spend anywhere from 25 to 50 million dollars so you will run out onMonday and 113 buy their Sunday winning product. Obviously we do this so we can play exactly like the pros? Do you know, we must actually believe this is true because the OEM’s would not spend all that money on tour endorsements if it didn’t work. The marketing part is all a great big consumer game and it exists in every product area. Just look at the automobile manufacturers. So, basically we buy what we can afford that gets the job done (although there are better low cost alternative choices than clones). Some of us hope that someday we can afford to trade up as part of our game plan to play with better equipment and play better golf. Trading up to play better certainly does not mean that you need to spend $2500 (remember, your numbers, not mine) for the absolute best in playability and quality, but you should stick with the reputable, high quality golf club manufacturers. Do your homework and get the best price/value/playability relationship for your dollar possible. So, Jack, I told you this last question would be interesting because I obviously have an opinion on the subject.

I’ve shared comments previously expressing the success of building the LTech (Logic Lady) clubs for women golfers.When I read your statement: “be sure that if you are playing a hybrid that it has a special designed hybrid shaft preferably or a fairway metal shaft”. Iron shafts in hybrid clubs tend to cancel out the playability advantages of the design as do shafts with excessively stiff tip areas.” This caused me to wonder if you would suggest putting an LTech wood shaft (.335) with a shim in the .370" LTech Hybrid? (How about in the DistanceMaster Pro Steel hybrid?)

You have discovered one of our fitting secrets. One of the tips we share with the students that come through our fitting schools is this exact procedure you are asking about.We recommend that each club fitter keep a supply of brass adapter shims (GolfWorks part number SHIM) to do this. The catalog doesn’t specifically mention a shim from .370" down to .335", but both the .400" down to .335" and the .350" down to .335" works OK.We make the bores .370" because there are very few hybrid shafts that are .335". I actually like the feel of .335" shafts in most hybrids because they generally have a little more torque and feel more like fairway metals than irons. In the future we will probably be carrying more .335" tip hybrid shafts. Remember, it is very easy to put a smaller shaft tip in a club than a bigger shaft tip.