Club-fitting series: Know your clubs
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Columbia, S.C. - Here’s a 21st-century concept: Whatever your favorite golf club may be, however complicated the specs may be, make sure you have it duplicated.
This is one of the specialities of Doc Griffin Golf in Columbia, S.C., and it makes sense with today’s hectic lifestyles.
If your nearest and dearest club is lost, stolen or damaged, you have a replacement. Furthermore, while obtaining a duplicate club, you also are given a list of its exact specifications.
Knowing for sure what you are swinging can help in the purchase of other clubs. Knowledge about your golf clubs can be a powerful tool in playing the game as expertly as possible.
Doc Griffin Golf (www.docgriffingolf.com) is one of those intimate golf spots where a golfer is likely to receive a golf philosophy lecture as well as practical advice on clubs.
Lynn Griffin, known as Doc, has lots of opinions on lots of subjects to go along with lots of knowledge about golf clubs. Griffin can talk endlessly about golf and golf equipment.
“I don’t think there’s another person on earth who has more knowledge or passion for golf clubs than Doc,” says teaching professional Don Trahan (www.swingsurgeon.com), father of touring pro D.J. Trahan. “We’ve reached the point in golf where understanding clubs is absolutely crucial to playing your best. There is no question about it.”
Griffin loves to analyze clubs and make duplicates for golfers. In many cases a golfer tries somebody else’s club, likes it and wants an exact match.
“If you try a club and like it, your chances of buying an exact duplicate are slim,” Griffin said. “There are too many little variations that can make a big difference in the overall club. I can duplicate any club because I precisely match every component.”
Griffin is a meticulous craftsman. The lack of industry-wide standards in golf can create havoc for clubmakers, and Griffin is constantly trying to make sense of it. Golf shafts are a particular passion.
“You have to know the profile and complete makeup of a shaft,” he said. “A 90-gram stiff shaft and a 130-gram stiff shaft are totally different. I have seen shafts rated as a senior flex that actually have a stiffer profile than some stiff shafts. Golfers have to be careful.”
More Griffin insights:
• Most golfers need clubs that are more upright. Why? Because today’s shafts tend to be lighter with softer tips. Combine that with bigger clubheads, and the toe-down effect is magnified on the downswing. Upright clubs compensate for this extra clubhead droop.
• Offset irons are the most-forgiving clubs in golf. “In my opinion,” he said, “the No. 1 clubhead feature that makes a club forgiving or not forgiving is the amount of offset. It’s not the cavity back, and it’s not the big head.
“Offset is what allows a golfer to get his hands back to square, so he can hit straighter shots.”
• What Griffin won’t build: “I don’t build many lob wedges. I try to talk most golfers out of a 60-degree wedge. It is an extremely difficult club to use. I build a lot of sand and gap wedges, but I try to stay away from lob wedges.
“Nine golfers out of 10, I won’t build them a 3-wood, either. They can’t get it in the air. Most golfers will hit a 5-wood better and longer. If somebody wants a 3-wood to hit off the tee, I’ll build it. That’s the exception.
“Long irons are the same as the 3-wood. Most golfers don’t have the clubhead speed to warrant having long irons in the bag. Let’s be honest about it.”
The more we know about our clubs, the more we can play the game with confidence. That’s the Griffin philosophy. If you have a few hours, he’ll tell you all about it.