Wednesday, February 1, 2006
40 Things You Need To Know About Your Equipment
27. Check Your Breaks
We’ve all suffered complete gear malfunction where the club breaks right in your hands. Not only does this situation present a major inconvenience, it’s also very dangerous. So, it’s always a good idea to give all of your clubs the once-over and look for the telltale signs of potential breakage. First, examine your graphite shafts. Look for abrasions at the point where the shafts rest against your bag or for any fraying near the hosel. Such damage indicates that the shaft is weakening. On your steel shafts, feel for bends. Run your fingers from the grip to the hosel, paying attention to any suspect dips in the shaft. If you find any, replace the shaft immediately. Next, check the ferrules. A loose ferrule requires an easy fix (as mentioned before). If the ferrule is angled to any degree away from the shaft, however, it’s an indication of a bend where the shaft enters the head, which is quite common if you practice on mats at your local range. Again, replace the shaft immediately.
28. Putt With The Lines
A trip down the putter aisle at your local golf shop will provide you with a dizzying array of materials, shapes, sizes, inserts, shaft bends and other performance features. And while all of these options must be investigated thoroughly, don’t forget about a putter’s natural lines. Some flatsticks are inherently easier to align because of their shape, which usually includes a lot of natural lines both perpendicular and parallel to the target line. One of the reasons the PING Anser shape has been copied so extensively is that it’s a cinch to align with its rectangular base. While curved mallets and old-school blades may be a bit more aesthetically pleasing, nothing should ever stand in the way of your ability to properly align the face.
Also, it’s a good idea to inspect an oft-forgotten putter design element: the hosel. Knowing the difference between one hosel design and another can be of value when choosing a new putter (certain types of configurations tend to work for different types of strokes) and also can provide some insight into your stroke.
Plumber-Neck: The plumber-neck is characterized by a horizontal bend just below where the end of the shaft and the hosel meet. This design, which generally provides a medium amount of offset, does a great job of keeping the hands ahead of the putterhead through impact. This tends to make the putter more forgiving and easier to use, which is the reason it’s so popular.
Flare-Tip: The flare-tip is typically a “shaft-over” hosel, meaning the shaft covers the top of the hosel where the two connect. Putters with flare-tip hosels generally have less offset and are more blade-like in their design. These putters tend to be quite a bit toe-down in their weighting scheme and usually work best for golfers who like to rotate the blade open and shut through the stroke.
No Hosel: Face-balanced putters often have no hosel, but instead, an S-bend shaft that goes directly into the putterhead. These putters are designed specifically for golfers who want to take the club straight back and straight through in a piston-like motion.
If you typically like to rotate the clubhead during your stroke, these types of putters probably won’t work as well for you.
Slant-Neck: These hosels often are plumber-necks that bend back from the shaft line. Usually, this type of putter is used to create a more substantial amount of offset, which promotes more of an upward strike into the golf ball.
29. Pack Right
While you’ll never forget the golfing necessities of clubs, balls, gloves and shoes, every golf bag should contain the following items to ensure you’re prepared for whatever the day throws at you: tees, ball markers, pencils, divot tool, sunscreen, lip balm, water and some cash (you’ll never know when you’ll need to tip, and you should never be sans dough when it comes time to settling a Nassau).
30. Hang Your Gloves Out To Dry
How many times have you reached into your bag for your golf glove only to find a bundled wad of hardened leather? Blame yourself, as it’s your sweat that causes the glove to harden as it dries. Also, expect built-up dirt to make the leather slick (the opposite of what you want). Extend glove life by adding your leather golf gloves to your clothes pile in the washer. Use a soft detergent and the cold wash cycle. This is a great way to remove dirt and oil buildup. Hang-dry to prevent shrinkage.
31. Go The Distance
Not every golfer has the means to be custom-fit, and certainly most players’ sets consist of irons, wedges and woods bought off the rack at different times. These realities typically add up to length discrepancies throughout the bag. Ideally, there should be half-inch increments between all of your irons, from the 2-iron all the way down to the lob wedge, as well as between each of your fairway woods. Now, before you get your ruler out, simply line up your clubs against the wall and visually check for any noticeable length gaps. You might be surprised to find a wedge or two longer than your 7-iron. Consult a professional if any gaps exist. Otherwise, you’ll suffer distance control problems on the course.
32. Give Counterbalancing A Go
So much of playing well has to do with proper feel. While it has regained in popularity, counterbalancing (the act of adding weight to the grip area to offset clubhead weight) isn’t anything new. Nicklaus reportedly counterbalanced all his clubs by using lead tape beneath his grip. Today, companies like Balance Certified (www.balance-certified.com) provide alternatives to lead tape for a more precise measurement. Whether counterbalancing actually increases performance is a hotly contested subject, it nevertheless produces a dramatically different feel and is certainly worth a try.
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