May 5 /09
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Wow, my golf course finally opened last week on May 1; the latest opening ever. Looks like global warming, which is causing the average temperature of the Earth to increase, is also causing extremes in local areas as well. I wonder what kind of summer is in store. Anyhow, it's nice to finally be out on the links again. Welcome to the rest of you that have had late starts.
Click on any of the following Newsletter topics or just scroll down the page:
Golf Ball Choice -- Simple, isn't it?
More Backspin with the Wedge -- How?
How Slope Affects Pitch Shots
Elevation and Distance
Golf Ball Choice -- Simple?
I picked up my May Golf Digest issue to find some great information about golf ball choice The only problem was there was so information, it was a little overwhelming. Lots of graphs and numbers but hard to decipher which golf ball to play. And, I'm a numbers guy with an extensive background in physics and mathematics.
So, I thought I'd decipher all of the data to provide you with some great recommendations about which balls to play.
I premise my recommendations on five basic facts about scoring:
1. The majority of golf shots are from 100 yards and in (this includes putting).
2. All golfers sink more putts when they are closer to the hole.
3. To get close to the hole, the golfer must be able to impart significant backspin on the ball.
4. The type of golf ball (especially the cover) greatly influences how much backspin a golfer can impart.
5. Regardless of the type of golf ball (inner construction and cover), there is not a significant difference in distance off the tee. Read my Longest Golf Ball Report.
There have been many different tests of golf balls in recent years due to the availability of golf ball launch monitors. Golf Digest used this technology to measure launch angle and initial backspin of golf balls hit under similar conditions.
Ideally for a drive, a golfer wants a launch angle of about 12 degrees and backspin rate of about 2600 rpm (actual values depend on your clubhead speed). Golf Digest hit 28 different balls with the same club and a clubhead speed of 96 mph (a little faster than average golfer). They found the launch angles varied in total by only 1 degree. Backspin values varied by only 400 rpm. Both of these variances produce very minor differences in distance.
However, when they tested the same golf balls with a Wedge, they found significant differences in launch angle and backspin. The launch angles varied from about 27 to 39 degrees and backspins varied from about 4200 rpm to 7500 rpm. The balls with greatest backspin had the lowest launch angle. These balls all have urethane covers that are much softer and stick to the clubface longer during impact. The result is more backspin and lower launch.
And, the urethane cover balls are the "premium balls" on the market, some of them with "premium prices." Here are the balls which had the highest backspin rates in order from highest to lowest:
Bridgestone B330-S, Srixon Z-Star, Titleist Pro V1, Titleist Pro V1X, Srixon Z-Star X, TaylorMade TP-Black, Taylormade TP-Red, Bridgestone B330, Nike ONE Tour, Callaway Tour I, Taylormade Burner TP, Nike ONE Tour D, Callaway Tour IX, Bridgestone E5+, Bridgestone B330-RX, Callaway HX Hote Bite.
The balls in blue font above are premium balls (+$40 per dozen). The balls in black font are medium priced balls ($22-$35 per dozen).
Some lower priced balls (<$22 per dozen) that get medium backspin are:
Titleist NXT Tour, Pinnacle Plantinum Feel, Titleist DT Roll, Titleist DT Carry, Taylor Made Burner.
So, there are lots of great golf balls out there that you can play and get lots of backspin. I'd really encourage you to play a premium golf ball whenever possible. You'll find you'll save more shots with your short game.
Answer my new poll question about confidence in club selection!
I have used my computer golf ball projectile model to predict the effect of many variables on golf shots. The purpose has been to provide golfers with the tools to make better club selection choices on the golf course. More confidence in club choice equates to improved commitment, improved confidence and better golf shots; all resulting in lower scores.
Go ahead, choose your weapon against uncertainty and poor golf shots. All golfers can benefit from these golf tips, regardless of handicap.
You can look at all of my products here: Order Golf Tips & Accessories
More Backspin with the Wedge -- How?
Are you always impressed how the pros can get so much backspin on their shots, especially with their wedges? So am I. Even though you probably don't have the proper swing technique to enable you to get as much backspin, there are some things you can change to increase the amount of backspin you currently have. And, as discussed above, the more backspin you can generate, the quicker you can stop the ball and the closer you can get the ball for lower scores.
To maximize the amount of backspin on your wedge shots, do the following:
1. Play a premium high spin golf ball.
2. Play wth a wedge that has square grooves or U-grooves (amateurs can do so until 2024; pros have until 2010). Plus, the larger the width and depth of the grooves (thus larger volume), the less water will get between the club and ball (when conditions are wet).
3. Play the ball back in your stance, a 2-4 inches back of center. This will promote a descendng blow (hitting the golf ball first before the club starts digging into the turf. For an image, click here.
4. Keep the clubface clean and dry. Grass and moisture will reduce friction between the clubface and ball resulting in less backspin. That's why you get less backspin when hitting from the rough.
Dave Pelz has done a lot of research on the short game. A lot of his research results are in his book.
here to order Dave's Pelz's Short Game Bible, OR get it at your local bookstore. BUT, whatever you do, GET IT !! Your game will love you for it.
How Slope Affects Pitch Shots
I was at the
beach the other day with my kids and took along Dave
Pelz's "Short Game Bible". I can't say
more good thinkgs about this book and the great knowledge
has added to the game. I'd really recommend you get
your own copy. You can order it from Amazon using
the following link. Yes, I get something for the
purchase; I think about 70 cents, so that's not the
reason for the recommendation. Or, get it at your
local book store or library.
here to order Dave's Book.
In his book,
Dave does an excellent job of describing the effects
of different scenarios on the ball's ability to stop
quickly. As in my two previous newsletters, I emphasized
the importance of playing a high spin ball; one with
a soft cover. In some scenarios, however, even a
high spin ball won't enable you to get the ball close.
Look at the
diagrams below. They can be applied to pitch shots
(30-80 yards) as well as to full length shots. In
the first and second diagrams, you can see the effects
of playing to a green higher and lower in elevation
to you and
your ball. When the ball lands on a higher green,
the ball will land with a more shallow angle and
therefore not stop as quickly. When playing to a
green lower, the ball will land with a steeper angle
and stop much more quickly. It's crucial that the
golfer take this into account in order to judge getting
the ball close to the hole.
In the third
diagram, the golfer is hitting from a downhill lie
and and uphill lie. From a downhill lie, the ball
will have a lower trajectory and thus not stop as
quickly. To play a downhill lie, one plays the ball
farther back in the stance which decreases the effective
loft of the club, making the trajectory even lower.
From an uphill like, the ball will have a higher
angle of attack and thus stop more quickly than normal.
if you're playing a high spin ball (click
some examples), you'll be more able to stop the ball
in situations like those described above. Play a
hard ball, however, and you'll have a tough time
stopping the ball in all circumstances. If you were
faced with hitting from below in the 2nd diagram
or hitting from a downhill lie in the 3rd diagram,
it might not be realistic to get the ball close.
That's part of your golf management. Expect to hit
it past the pin and hopefully make the putt coming
back, as opposed to trying to get it close and making
a double or triple bogey.
If your goal
is in fact to shoot lower scores, focus on improving
your short game because that's where over half your
shots occur. To improve your short game, use a soft,
high spin ball. They cost a little more, but they're
well worth it.
Elevation Changes & Club Selection
If you watched the 2009 Masters,
you might recall
how great Kenny Perry's
was with his irons.
It was very impressive
given that many of
the iron shots at
Augusta are uphill
or downhill. Guessing
with club selection
can be very damaging
to a player's ability
to play the shot;
doubt and uncertainty
make it very difficult
to commit to, and
execute a golf shot.
As I've cited in previous newsletters,
the majority of golfers
come up short on
their shots the majority
of the time. Hitting
uphill or downhill
makes it even more
difficult to club
to and execute the
shot. Uphill and
downhill par 3s tend
to have higher scoring
averages for this
A major reason why golfers tend to
play their own golf
course better than
others is familiarity
with what clubs to
hit. They are able
to have more confidence
in the clubs they
select because of
past rounds, are
able to commit to
the club they select
and therefore execute
better swings more
The science of golf ball trajectories is now
As I have done with
my computer model,
its easy to determine
the effect of each
club's range when
playing up to a green
or down to a green.
All one needs to
do is estimate the
adjust your club
selection and fire.
In my report on compensating
for elevation changes,
I explain a very
easy way of estimating
by just using the
flagstick as a reference.
Try this simple experiment over your next 10
† Keep track
of how often you
hit the correct
club on each hole.
Record as well
whether you landed
short or long due
to a clubbing error
or just mishitting
† Then compare your statistics between holes that are level and holes
which involve an elevation change on your approach shot.
† I think you'll find that on holes which have elevation changes,
you'll mis- club more and mis-hit more shots.
† The consequences of mis-clubbing to your score are large.
Recall that my emphasis is enabling
yourself to make
better club selections
for all your shots.
Having good understanding
of your shot pattern
plays a key role
in where to aim and
what club to select.
My premise is that all golfers can shoot lower
scores without physically
improving ball striking
or their short game
(not that I'm advocating
not working on those
skills), by making
better club choices.
Trying to find answers on my website? Here's how.
1. Go to my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. There's a link to it on my pages from the left hand menu near the top of the page, just below the Search icon. It's called "FAQs." You then click on the graphic icon and you'll be taken to my database page. For your convenience, here it is:
I've answered hundreds of questions over the past 6 years and have created a fairly large database. You can search it out. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, submit a question and I'll answer it.
2. On all of my web pages, there is a search feature in the top left section, right underneath my LOGO. Just place your search keywords in the search box, select "This Site" below it, and then press "Search." What will come up is a Google search of the pages on my site with relevance. You can also search the entire internet by selecting "Web" instead.
Go to my main page now: Home or just check the top left menu of this page.
3. Also, directly under the Google Search area, you'll find a pop down menu called "Your Topic." Select the topic of interest and press "Go."
I would suggest you bookmark my main page and/or your specific areas of interest so that you can find them easily in the future. On each page at the very top, there is a link you can click on:
"Click here to add this page to your favourites"
Hope you find all you're looking for.
You can learn more from NEW Titleist Pro-V1 by clicking HERE.
A list of resources that have been used to produce
this newsletter can be found on my web site here.
Hope I provided some useful ways for you to
become better prepared for you best golf season
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