From greater forgiveness packed into classic-looking irons to new materials aimed at breaking performance barriers, here are 6 ways new gear can help your game in 2018
From greater forgiveness packed into classic-looking irons to new materials aimed at breaking performance barriers, here are 6 ways new gear can help your game in 2018.
1 Ball Speed
Ever since golf’s ruling bodies imposed a limit on clubface COR (the trampoline-like effect from the face) in 2003, the game’s leading manufacturers have been looking for ways to offer golfers more distance. A recent study by the R&A and USGA revealed that players competing on the major men’s Tours are now hitting the ball approximately six yards further on average than they were in 2003. Of course, there are many contributing factors here but there is no doubt that equipment manufacturers have been able to find extra ball speed through the innovation of their products. In our experience, amateur golfers, particularly those who haven’t been fitted for a few years, notice significant distance gains when they test the latest equipment. More aerodynamic club heads with bigger sweetspots, improvements in club fitting and better shafts all play a huge role. For most amateurs, this means that now more than ever you are better placed to tap into your own power potential.
2 New Materials
Golf’s leading club manufacturers invest heavily in research and development each year. One of the most important areas is the search for new materials. When you consider the vastly different requirements of your equipment from distance and forgiveness to spin and feel, new materials have huge potential within golf equipment. From urethane microspheres in irons to graphene in golf balls, the latest golf equipment features a range of interesting and exciting new materials.
In recent years the biggest area of improvement within golf club design relates to your ball speed on off-centre hits. In the past, players would notice significant drop-offs in distance when they didn’t hit the middle of the clubface. The difference between their longest and shortest shot with the same club could be vast. The drive towards offering better consistency of distance has been one of the biggest demands placed on those within the R&D departments of the leading manufacturers. If you have not invested in new clubs for a while you should notice the strides that have been made to effectively increase the size of sweetspots. Those approach shots that previously finished in the bunker short of the green are now clawing their way on, turning a bogey into a par. Drives that previously wouldn’t have carried the fairway bunker are now consistently landing over the sand. Of course, amateurs stand to gain even more from these developments than the professionals. Bigger sweetspots mean more forgiveness and that can only be a good thing!
Every golf swing is different. From your physical build to the way in which you deliver the club at impact, your technique is like your fingerprint – completely individual to you. Golf’s leading manufacturers understand this and that’s why there are so many options available to players of all abilities. Customising your gear is one of the best ways to improve your performance. Our advice would be to approach a club fitting with an open mind. Of course, it is important to do your research but allow your fitter to experiment with different heads, shafts and other variables (there are a host to choose from in the wedge and putter categories). A good fitting is like solving a tricky puzzle, get it right and your equipment will almost certainly improve your performance.
Branden Grace: 2018 What’s In the Bag?
One of the areas that golf’s leading manufacturers have improved drastically in recent years is the aesthetics of their clubs. No golfer, regardless of their handicap, wants to invest in clubs that look ugly, clunky or uninspiring. That’s why number five on our list of 6 ways new gear can help your game is aesthetics. In the long game, we have seen trends towards greater forgiveness in clubheads that look more traditional. In the short game, we have seen smarter wedge designs and striking putter aesthetics. The putter category is particularly interesting. In the past, players with a straighter stroke would lean towards mallet style designs where as more arcing strokes favoured classic designs. This is not necessarily the case today as golfers with different strokes are being given a greater variety of options to choose from. Testing a range of styles within this category is the best way to find a putter that suits your eye and your stroke.
6 Wedge Options
As we have already mentioned, better customisation of equipment can have a huge impact on performance. Nowhere is this more applicable than in the short game. Today’s wedges come in a host of different set ups. Every golfer should consider going through the process to find the perfect lofts, bounce angles, finishes and grinds for their game. These are your scoring clubs and a good wedge game can inject confidence into all areas of your golf. Our advice would be not to do this on your own. With the guiding hand of an expert club fitter you stand a much better chance of finding the right combination. In particular, the right grinds can really help the club get through the turf and sand in the best way for your technique. In our testing, this had a huge impact on feel and ultimately on the quality of your short game ball-striking.
If you are thinking of buying new golf equipment in 2018, as this 6 ways new gear can help your game article shows, the good news is that there are plenty of exciting options to spend your money on. Whichever sector of the market is catching your eye, make sure you go through the process of getting custom fit with an expert. That way your investment is likely to make a positive and lasting impact on your game.