Throughout this week I have been concentrating on two things. First off was to try out a large range of drivers on FlightScope to see exactly how different flexes, weights, kick points, etc reacted to my current swing. My second goal was to decide whether I was going to stick with my new Vokeys or revert to my trusted older SM4 Vokes.
I don’t want to keep talking gear, as that’s been one of the main subjects for a while, but it is a large part of my winter focus so it’s hard to not at least mention it. I’ll try to keep it short; here’s what I found:
With the drivers I was pretty surprised to see just how different the swing path, angle of attack and swing speeds were between shafts and head manufactures. I made ten swings with each different setup I could get (four different driver heads and a few shafts with each) to see how the averages changed with the club. Unfortunately I was only able to demo two new TaylorMades (the R15 and the Aero something or other) and compare those with my 913 Titleist and a KZG custom head. Riverside had just sent their older demo clubs back to Titleist, Callaway, Nike, Ping, etc so I will not be able to compare those brands of new drivers for a couple more weeks until the 2015 equipment gets in stock. For the meantime, though, it was pretty interesting.
I found that with the R15 my swing averaged 1 degree up on the ball and faster than 106mph. That’s compared to 2 degrees down on the ball and about 103mph with my gamer Titleist. I wasn’t trying for speed, but was just making nice normal swings with each club to get some consistent feedback, but found it interesting that the same length shaft and basically the same swing weight between those two sticks created fairly different results, especially in the angle of attack. I’m not sure yet what it means, but it has opened my eyes a bit more about testing out wide variety of gear along the way. One club is not in any ways “better” than the other, especially amongst top tier lines at the big manufacturers (who all deal with established coefficient of restitution limits), but one combo may fit my particular swing better.
The KZG was permanently put on a shorter shaft of 43″ as it is not an adjustable head. What I found with that is that my club path was by far the most consistent, but I was averaging just over 100mph with the swings and my fastest swing of 102 was unfortunately balanced with a few around 98. I swing my 3-wood faster and the ball goes about as far, so even though I have a great club path and strike the ball pretty well with it, the shorter shaft is limiting to me in potential distance, something I cannot afford to lose being currently a bit on the shorter side off the tee.
I am very excited to continue this exploration and can’t wait for the rest of the heads to arrive at Riverside. I have heard great things about the new 915 driver and will definitely post my findings as soon as I have a chance to compare it with the rest.
The next step of the week was to decide which wedges to stick with. My original SM4 wedges are the 50, 54 and 58 degree with 8, 11, and 14 degrees of bounce respectively. They are also standard lie and have stiff flex S200 shafts. The new wedges are the SM5 with the same lofts and bounces, but with different (bigger soled) grinds, X100 shafts and are 3 degrees flat. I like the new ones a ton with the whole and half swing, but cannot seem to chip with them worth a darn. I have stuck more short chip swings in the ground over the past month than I care to remember, something I never did in the past.
I wasn’t sure if it was adjusting to the new wedges or the new bounces and lie. So, I took out the old ones for a couple of rounds this week and what I found was that I missed the feel with the half and full swings on the new wedges and after a month away from these old ones my chipping wasn’t much better than with the new ones. What I realized was just that I need to adjust how I have the wedge interact with the grass for short shots and that the new ones will actually make me a better short game played in the long run as they are forcing me to really consider each shot that I make and to not just have one go-to short shot. They may not be the answer a year or two from now, but in the time being they are teaching me and that is worth keeping them in the bag.
That was the gist of the week, work on short game and tee shots and get my bag ready for the ensuing tourney season. It was a good week in that respect as I learned a ton about both gear and, in particular, how I interact with it while on the course.
The end of the week was kind of a bummer as I tweaked my psoas muscle at the end of Friday’s round somehow and later that night it continued to ache/bother my walking and swinging so I decided to take Saturday and Sunday off in order to rest it. I’ve had a similar strain in the past and I tried to play through it and it ended up lasting weeks, so this time I decided to pay attention to my body and take a weekend off instead of potentially inflaming the issue. After those two days I went out to Riverside on Monday and hit balls for a couple of hours and was feeling much better. I think by tomorrow or Wednesday it should be back to 100 percent.
On a side note I am starting a new yoga routine to help mobility, stability, strength and prevent these minor injuries from occurring. Much more on that soon.
Here’s to a great week!