Why you are most likely playing the wrong swing weight
Swing weight is probably something that only a fraction of all golfers have ever heard of. Every player knows the difference between steel and graphite shaft. Or between stiff and regular. But if you ask a player what swing weight he has in his irons, you'll probably only get questioning looks. And yet, the swing weight is of elementary importance. If the swing weight is wrong, the right shaft length, flex and of course the club head is of no use. The swing weight has a big influence on how you can move and accelerate a club during the swing. Among other things, it determines where the club head is at the moment of impact and how it can be controlled. As you can see, these are all important points that have a great influence on performance. But why is the swing weight not right for many players?
It starts with the fact that most players still buy clubs "off the rack". Virtually all major manufacturers sell standard clubs that can be minimally configured by choosing a different shaft, grip, shaft length or lie - but none of this makes the swing weight fit you. On the contrary: by making small changes you can even make sure that the swing weight does not fit you at all.
Two short examples:
- You buy a new iron but choose a shaft that is 1 inch longer because you are quite tall. The manufacturer makes this club for you by simply adding a longer shaft. He does not adjust the swing weight by taking weight from the club head. The result: a much too heavy swing weight. Just because you are tall does not mean you need a heavier swing weight than tour pros.
- You buy a new driver and read in Golf Magazine that Tour Pros tend to play shorter driver shafts to achieve more precision. Therefore you order the driver 1 inch shorter. You also have very long fingers and therefore choose a midsize grip. The manufacturer will be happy to put this club together for you. The result: A swing weight that would be suitable for a female senior player.
These are just two examples of what can go wrong. The main problem, however, is that there is a "standard" that is of course only suitable for one specific type of player and not for any other. It is very unlikely that you belong to this standard. This would mean that you need to have certain body measurements and proportions and that you have to meet a certain ideal in terms of club head speed and swing. How likely is that? This standard from the manufacturers only helps manufacturers to bring clubs to the market in an efficient and scalable way - nothing more.
But that wouldn't be so bad if you had someone who could tell you which club is right for you. And of course if the clubs are also adjusted for you in terms of swing weight. But that is nowhere else the case. Even some Fitters and Clubmakers don't take the swing weight into account. This is one of the cases where a customer came to us for a fitting after he received a much too light swing weight: a set of clubs with 600€ fitting + 4000€ clubs. A fitting itself unfortunately does not guarantee a suitable swing weight if the clubs are built or delivered wrong. Read more about this case here.
Why sets bought together practically never fit
Then there is another problem: Most likely you have clubs from different manufacturers and in different configurations. For example, a driver of brand X, the irons of brand Y, you prefer to play the driver a little shorter in the shaft, the irons longer. The wedges again very short and so on. If your set has not been adjusted, the swing weight will not be correct across the set. It varies from club to club and can be the reason why you hit some clubs worse than others. Even if you buy a complete set of irons of the same brand, it doesn't mean anything. The manufacturing tolerances of the major manufacturers are so large that a club head can be heavier or the shaft longer than it should be. Both lead to a swing weight that is not consistent.
What we do to adjust the swing weight
To adjust the swing weight it is usually necessary to manipulate the weight in the club head. Making a club head heavier is relatively easy and can be done by changing the grip. To make the club head lighter, the shaft must be removed, the weight removed (drilled out) and the shaft remounted. Both processes are not very simple and require a lot of experience. The swing weight is a matter of individual grams, i.e. small adjustments that have a correspondingly large effect.
Not all our brands are built from 0. For example, if you buy a Miura or Vega iron from us, we will assemble the components so that the swing weight fits. Clubs of the brands Honma or Mizuno, however, come to us fully assembled. In certain cases we have to make adjustments, e.g. adding weight if a shorter shaft length is preferred. We are (to our knowledge) the only dealer of these brands who offers this service at no extra charge. We don't call ourselves ExactGolf for nothing - we only want you to receive clubs that have the right swing weight.
Swing weight on Tour
It doesn't make much sense to compare yourself with players whose level you can't reach even with 10 years of training, but many players are interested: What is the average swing weight on Tour? What is the heaviest swing weight on Tour? And these questions are not necessarily easy to answer. For the sake of simplicity, we are only talking about irons here, because there are definitely large deviations for drivers and wedges.
The swing weight of irons probably varies between D2 and D5 for 95% of Tour players. Most will be somewhere in this range. Players with high club head speed like Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson tend to be around D5-D6. Players with more average tour club head speed are around D3-D4. Then again, there are absolute exceptions that you can't comprehend as a normal player. Bryson Dechambeau, for example, does not have a uniform swing weight. That is also not possible with one-length irons. The wedges are extremely heavy, but the long irons are very light. Sergio Garcia plays with a swing weight of C-8, which is very light. On the other hand, he plays one of the heaviest shafts of all, the Modus 130, and adds some weight to the end of the shaft. The total weight is therefore incredibly heavy, but the swing weight is in the senior range.
It is not advisable to do such experiments yourself. Some tour pros are very particular and have been used to such a setup for years. It is therefore better to orientate yourself on the average swing weight or the median. And this should be around D3-D4.
How much do shaft, head and grip weight influence the swing weight?
There is no absolute answer to this and it depends, for example, on how the shaft behaves. Not every 100g shaft of identical length produces the same swing weight. Shafts themselves have different weight distributions. Therefore, shortening a shaft or changing the weight at one end or the other is relative. The following information is therefore not applicable to every setup, but gives a good estimate.
As a rule of thumb you can say that a change in the club head has the biggest influence on the swing weight with about 2g for a swing weight point. 2g is not much and can be adjusted quickly. So this adjustment is very efficient, but unfortunately mostly only possible in one direction. Unless you build with club heads like Miura's where you can remove weight.
The shaft weight itself has the least influence with about 9-10g per swing weight point. If you take the identical setup with a 110g shaft, you increase the swingweight by only one point with a 120g shaft. Always assuming the weight distribution in the shaft is identical - which it rarely is. In this respect, the shaft weight is not a reliable indicator, especially since one rarely knows the exact weight distribution.
The grip also has a great influence and is often underestimated. Here too, a difference of approx. 10g results in 1 swing weight point. A heavy 70g grip will make the swing weight 2 points lighter compared to a 50g grip. Roughly speaking.
Similarly dominant to head weight, however, is shaft length and here we come to a point that is particularly important. Because there is neither a uniform standard length, nor do most OEMs manage to cut shafts precisely. Only those who take the necessary time can ensure uniform lengths. This is often not the case in mass production. That's why you always see large variations in shaft length and thus also in swing weight. And that is the last thing you want: a set of irons with varying length and swing weight.
With the shaft, you can roughly say that half an inch makes up about 3 swing weight points. One inch longer means 6 swing weight points more. A club that is normally at D2 then ends up at D8 - in other words, considerably more than a Dustin Johnson would like to swing. Why should you do this to yourself?
The ideal driver swing weight
Most players prefer a heavier swing weight for the driver than for the irons. However, this is individual in the sense that you have to choose a swing weight with which you can accelerate the club optimally, but at the same time minimise the dispersion.
And there are different approaches to this. Some players rely on shorter shafts with 45" and make the club head heavier for a sufficiently heavy swing weight. Others rely on longer "high balance" shafts and make the club head heavier. The setup of the Tour Pros also changes very often. While tour pros often don't change their irons and iron shafts for many years, they try a new driver setup every fortnight. Always in search of a little more ball speed.
The driver swing weight on Tour is probably between D-3 and D-8, but compared to the irons, it is much more individual and there are many ways to optimise the performance.