Although it might feel like a walk in the park, playing golf still requires physical exertion, and with physical exertion comes the possibility of injury. As a club-fitter myself, I’ve witnessed firsthand what poorly fit clubs or poorly selected components can do to a golf swing, and I’m here to offer examples of how making a few small changes can really help your game (and your health).
Lighter graphite iron shafts
Graphite shafts offer an ideal combination of vibration and weight reduction — a combination that just isn’t possible with steel. Although there are a select number of steel shafts in the sub-80 gram weight range, graphite can be as light as 40 grams in softer flexes, and this weight reduction can take a lot of stress off the body during the swing.
Extra club weight forces the body into an unnatural position in the backswing and follow-through, which can put a huge amount of stress on the lower back.
Two examples of golfers that likely used clubs that were too heavy as juniors are Lexi Thompson and Paula Creamer — both of whom have a distinct stretched follow-through after impact that was ingrained by heavy clubs pulling them through the ball.
This is why proper club fitting for junior golfers is so important for long-term success and health.
Just like with graphite shafts, softer grips help reduce vibration into the hands, wrists, and elbows and can make playing and practicing more fun and less taxing — especially for individuals with hand ailments or arthritis. If you are using steel shafts but are looking for a way to reduce vibration, softer grips are a great place to start.
Using a longer putter can put you into a more upright and comfortable posture, which not only helps on the course but also allows you to practice longer without putting stress on your back. Now, if you want the best of both worlds, one option is to go with a longer putter (35”+) and use a longer grip that doesn’t taper. This allows you to set up where you want on the putter for length and have the grip feel the same.
Even when using the lightest possible carry bag, having to turn and bend over to pick it up can cause injury and stress to the back and shoulders. Using a push cart still offers the experience of walking the course but without having to bend over 40-70 times to pick up your bag.
Golf is a game you can play for a lifetime, and making sure your gear is built right for you can allow you to enjoy it for as long as you want.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.
Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.