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Subject: rec.sport.golf Golf FAQ

This article was archived around: 27 Jan 1998 19:05:54 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: sports
All FAQs posted in: rec.sport.golf
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Archive-name: sports/golf-faq Last Modified: Thu Nov 6 12:52:50 EST 1997
This is the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) list for GOLF ========================================================= FAQ for GOLF ============ This FAQ list is intended to cut down on the number of "often asked questions" that make the rounds here on rec.sport.golf and GOLF-L. This FAQ list will be posted at least once a month. If you don't understand something in the FAQ List, contact me and I'll attempt to help or else point you to someone who can. In any case, let me know how I can make the list more clear. Send your additions/modifications to: Marcelo Gallardo - marcelo@dunkin.Princeton.EDU Contents and Changes ==================== Changes and Additions are noted by an * 1. Resource Information 1. List of Contributors 2. Electronic Newsgroups and Mailing Lists 3. List of Golf Archives 2. Equipment Information 1. Types of Golf Clubs 2. Types of Golf Balls 3. Types of Irons 4. Types of Woods 5. Types of Shafts 6. Types of Grips 3. Score and Handicap Information 1. Handicap Information 2. Scoring/Handicapping Systems 4. Instructional Information 1. What is a push/pull fade/draw hook/slice 2. What causes/How do I cure a slice/hook 3. What clubs should I buy 4. Should I buy Name Brand Clubs, or CustomFit/CustomBuilt Clubs 5. How does one find/pick a Custom Clubmaker 6. How do I build my own clubs 7. USGA Course Rating Information 5. Misc 1. Etiquette Tips 2. Hitting in Regulation 3. USGA Information List of Contributors to the GOLF FAQ List ========================================= I would like to thank all the various people who have contributed to the GOLF FAQ List (both those that submitted questions as well as those who submitted answers). If I've left you out, PLEASE E-mail me! In no particular order: o Dave Tutelman o Mark Koenig o Paul Bardak o Brian Zimmerman o Paul Jones o Lothar Bittner o Steve Blessing o James F. Tims o Chester Lee Barber o Jonathan Reeve o York Davis o Jack Davis o Paul Stroud o Hal Hansen o Steve Blessing o John Campbell o Randy Schrickel o Peter Rigsbee o Mark Dowdy o Jeff Lovelace o Dana Dawson o Dave Stokes o Alan Greenspan o Martin Olivera o Chris Tanski Jr. o Iggy Konrad o Ray Owen o E. Reed Wilbur o Bertil Engelholm o Jeffrey Seymour o Bob Ray o Michael Wang o Bruce Fisher o Jack Miller o Jerry Sy o Phil Yastrow o J. Gilliard Electronic Newsgroups and Mailing Lists ======================================= Newsgroups ++++++++++ rec.sport.golf is a newsgroup which discusses ANY subject as it pertains to golf. For those people interested in the rules of golf, handicapping procedures, golf equipment, swing techniques, or you just want some information on golf courses across the globe this is the place you want to be. NEWSGROUP ETIQUETTE ------------------- Recently there has been a discussion regarding COMMERCIAL postings on rec.sport.golf. A COMMERCIAL posting is one in which you attempt to SELL or ADVERTISE a product. The readers of rec.sport.golf have decided that they DO NOT want to see such posts. To aid the readers in stopping these advertisements, a directory on dunkin.Princeton.EDU has been allocated for thise purpose. In this directory, people/companies wishing to advertise their merchandise may place an "ad". You may connect to the directory via the WWW at http://dunkin.Princeton.EDU/.golf/misc/Ads, or via anonymous ftp. Mailing Lists +++++++++++++ GOLF-L ------ GOLF-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU is a mailing list which has a gateway to the rec.sport.golf newsgroup. This means that messages sent to the GOLF-L mailing list will show up in rec.sport.golf, and messages posted to rec.sport.golf will pass through the GOLF-L mailing list. So for those of you that can't access USENET, you can still have access to all of the information posted to rec.sport.golf. In order to be placed on the GOLF-L mailing list, you will have to send a mail message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. The body of the message should contain the following command... SUBSCRIBE GOLF-L Greg Norman (use your name instead of Greg Norman) You should receive a message within a few hours from Listserv asking you to confirm your subscription. You must then follow the instructions and confirm your subscription within 48 hrs. or the command will be cancelled. After the subscription is confirmed, you will be added to the list. For help or more information regarding the GOLF-L Mailing List, send a message to ctanski@quest.arc.nasa.gov (owner of GOLF-L). ShopTalk -------- shoptalk@conch.aa.msen.com is a mailing list discussion group on topics relating to the craft of custom clubmaking and golf club repair. You can exchange clubmaking tips and questions with fellow clubmakers. To subscribe to the ShopTalk mailing list, you will need to send a mail message to majordomo@mail.msen.com. The body of the message should contain the following command... SUBSCRIBE shoptalk The SUBJECT line should be left blank. For more information regarding the ShopTalk Mailing List, send a message to jhm@ww1.msen.com (owner of ShopTalk). List of Golf Archives ===================== An archive consisting of information related to golf is being kept on dunkin.Princeton.EDU. The "articles" deal with things ranging from course information and desciptions, to club making and design, and even a few GIFs of famous courses. The files in this archive are available by ftpmail server, anonymous FTP, and WWW on dunkin.Princeton.EDU. If there is any information you would like to see placed in the archives, either drop them off via Anonymous FTP on dunkin.Princeton.EDU, or send them via mail to marcelo@dunkin.Princeton.EDU. FTPMail Server ++++++++++++++ There lives an ftpmail server that will get files from the archive and mail them to you. If you send mail to ftpmail@dunkin.Princeton.EDU, with the commands in the body of the message, you should receive the files via mail within a few days (usually the same day). FTPMail works almost like anonymous ftp, except that commands are sent via email, and the files are returned via email. ALL commands should be put in the message BODY and NOT in the headers. So for example if you wanted the clubdesn.0 article, you would send mail to ftpmail@dunkin.Princeton.EDU with a line in the body which looks like this... open dunkin.Princeton.EDU cd pub/golf/clubmaking get clubdesn.0 quit You can retrieve several files at the same time by adding the commands on separate lines like so... open dunkin.Princeton.EDU cd pub/golf get golf.faq cd pub/golf/clubmaking get clubdesn.0 get clubdesn.1 cd pub/golf/misc get course.template cd pub/golf/misc/course.info get myrtle.summary quit or for the same set of files... open dunkin.Princeton.EDU get pub/golf/golf.faq get pub/golf/clubmaking/clubdesn.0 get pub/golf/clubmaking/clubdesn.1 get pub/golf/misc/course.template get pub/golf/misc/course.info/myrtle.summary quit or for the indexes... open dunkin.Princeton.EDU get pub/golf/README get pub/golf/clubmaking/README get pub/golf/clubmaking/Clubmakers/README get pub/golf/misc/README get pub/golf/misc/Ads/README get pub/golf/misc/course.info/README quit If you need any more help, you can send a message to the mail server ( ftpmail@dunkin.Princeton.EDU) with the message of "help" (without the quotes), or send mail to marcelo@dunkin.Princeton.EDU. Anonymous FTP +++++++++++++ The golf archive is also accessible via anonymous FTP on dunkin.Princeton.EDU ( For those of you unfamiliar with anonymous ftp, here is an anonymous ftp session to help guide you. I recommend looking through the news.answers and news.announce.newusers news groups for further information. ************* % ftp dunkin.Princeton.EDU Connected to dunkin.Princeton.EDU. 220 dunkin.Princeton.EDU FTP server (Version wu-2.1b(2) Tue Jul 20 14:35:05 EDT 1993) ready. Name (dunkin.Princeton.EDU:marcelo): anonymous 331 Guest login ok, send your complete e-mail address as password. Password: marcelo@Princeton.EDU < (you will not see this on the screen) 230 Guest login ok, access restrictions apply. ftp> cd pub/golf < (top directory for GOLF archive) 250 CWD command successful. ftp> dir < (gets directory listing) 200 PORT command successful. 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for /bin/ls. total 496 drwxr-xr-x 6 1000 bin 1024 Aug 4 16:02 . drwxr-xr-x 4 bin bin 512 Jun 10 02:54 .. drwxr-xr-x 2 1000 bin 1024 Aug 4 23:27 clubmaking drwxr-xr-x 2 1000 bin 512 Aug 4 23:28 gifs -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 33951 Sep 29 03:26 golf.faq drwxr-xr-x 2 1000 bin 512 Sep 16 23:42 misc -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 202574 Aug 4 16:04 pkz204g.exe 226 Transfer complete. 507 bytes received in 0.57 seconds (0.87 Kbytes/s) ftp> cd clubmaking 250 CWD command successful. ftp> dir 200 PORT command successful. 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for /bin/ls. total 176 drwxr-xr-x 2 1000 bin 1024 Aug 4 23:27 . drwxr-xr-x 6 1000 bin 1024 Aug 4 16:02 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 1021 Jul 16 01:37 cast.forged.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 3355 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.0.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 5912 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.1.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 11287 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.2.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 8177 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.3.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 5579 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.4.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 13144 Jun 10 03:07 clubdesn.5.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 1956 Jun 10 03:07 clubmake.start.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 5727 Jun 10 03:07 clubmake.tips.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 2344 Jun 10 03:07 clubmake.tips.addendum.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 1224 Jun 10 03:07 golf.assoc.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 5021 Jun 10 03:07 golf.comp.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 781 Jun 10 03:07 golf.paint.tip.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 898 Jun 10 03:07 grip.tips.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 1140 Jun 10 03:07 grphite.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 3764 Jul 16 01:38 ladies.clubs.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 1399 Jun 10 03:07 more.grip.tips.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 608 Jun 10 03:07 swgwght.cht.Z -rw-r--r-- 1 1000 bin 6339 Jun 10 03:13 swingwht.tar.Z 226 Transfer complete. 1446 bytes received in 0.68 seconds (2.1 Kbytes/s) ftp> bin < (set FTP into binary transfer mode) 200 Type set to I. ftp> get clubdesn.0.Z < (requests clubdesn.0.Z to be sent to you) 200 PORT command successful. 150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for clubdesn.0.Z (3355 bytes). 226 Transfer complete. local: clubdesn.0.Z remote: clubdesn.0.Z 3355 bytes received in 0.7 seconds (4.7 Kbytes/s) ftp> quit < (self explanatory) 221 Goodbye. ************* For more information on how to use anonymous FTP, please send mail to marcelo@dunkin.Princeton.EDU. WWW +++ For those of you that have a WWW client, the archives are available via WWW on dunkin.Princeton.EDU. General Golf Club Information ============================= What is a WOOD/IRON? ++++++++++++++++++++ The WOOD Historically the "wood" was made of wood (hence the name), but they now come in a variety materials. They are also generally "bigger", in terms of size, than other clubs. "Woods" are typically long distance clubs meant to be used when distance is more important than accuracy. A driver is usually a '1' wood with somewhere between 8 and 12 degrees of loft (0 degrees of loft would be perpendicular to the ground). The IRON Irons were originally made using "iron", but are now genarally made from steel. "Irons" are smaller than "woods", and are considered to be "finesse" clubs, meant to be used when accuracy is needed rather than distance. What does the number on the club mean? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For the most part, the number "represents" the loft of a club. The lower the number, the lower the loft and the longer the club. The lower loft and longer club will result in greater distance with a loss of accuracy. This also equates to lower numbered clubs being more difficult to hit. What makes a "set" of clubs? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A "set" of golf clubs is restricted to no more than 14 clubs. What constitutes this "set" depends on your preferences. In general, a "set" will include the following clubs: Irons: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW Woods: 1, 3, 5 and a putter This is not to say you have to carry all of these clubs. For example, a beginner may carry a Driver (1 wood) or 3 wood, a 3, 5, 7, and 9 iron, as well as a putter. Types of Golf Balls =================== Balata vs Surlyn ++++++++++++++++ Balata and Surlyn are ball-covering materials. But there are typically other differences between balata and surlyn balls besides the cover. Balata ++++++ A balata covered ball is typically a three-piece ball: a core wound with rubber and covered with balata. There has been a lot of discussion as to what "balata" is. Let's just say that balata is a soft substance which leads to cuts and nicks. This "softness" is said to offer "better playability" which is to say that the golfer can "shape" his/her shot (fade/draw), and get more "action" (backspin) on the greens. Surlyn ++++++ A surlyn covered ball is typically a two-piece ball: a solid core with the surlyn cover. Surlyn is a man made "uncuttable" substance which is designed to eliminate the cuts and nicks. The drawbacks of the harder ball are that it is more difficult to "shape" his/her shot (fade/draw), and get "action" (backspin) on the greens. Quick Comparison ++++++++++++++++ ** Balata ** 1. Softer cover o Better spin o scuffs and cuts easily 2. "Works" the ball better because of spin (Draw, fade, backspin) 3. Usually three-piece ball (Liquid-filled core, wound rubber, and cover) 4. Usually more expensive: o Higher first cost o Shorter life ** Surlyn ** 1. Harder cover o Not as much spin o resists scuffs and cuts 2. More distance 3. Usually two-piece ball (Solid core and cover) 4. Usually less expensive: o Lower first cost o Longer life Compression ++++++++++++ Compression of a golf ball is designed to match the "feel" of the ball to the golfer's preference. Typical compression ratings are between 80 and 100, with most players using a 90 compression ball as a compromise. Many above average golfers tend to agree that hitting a 100 compression ball feels like "hitting a rock". Contrary to golfing myth, there is no correlation between compression and distance. Notes +++++ Now what you really want to know: Determining the type of ball you should use, as well as the compression is purely preference. Some people find that a surlyn covered ball is quite playable, while others feel they need the "action" a balata ball gives. I generally play whatever ball I find while searching for the ball I lost, but then again I'm not on the PGA tour. Types of Irons ============== Investment Cast +++++++++++++++ A "positive" or master model of the clubhead is made, usually made of aluminum, which contains all engraved markings, scoring lines, and even the hosel hole. Wax is injected into the master, which yields a positive "wax" clubhead. The clubhead is then dipped into ceramic several times to produce the negative mold. The wax is then melted, and stainless steel poured into the ceramic mold. When the ceramic casting is removed, you have the clubhead ready to be painted. Forged ++++++ Forging a club is very similar to what the village blacksmith used to do. Dies are "sunk" or cut, by milling the desired impression, and forging is accomplished with a "drop hammer". The manufacturer is then presented with a raw forging, which is a close approximation of the clubhead desired. The clubhead must then be finished by milling, grinding and drilling. Muscleback ++++++++++ A Muscleback iron, also known as a "blade", has generally been associated as a "forged" iron. While the manufacturing process isn't really important, the design of the clubhead is. The muscleback iron distributes the weight evenly throughout the entire head, producing a small "sweet spot" in the center of the head. This is to say that a shot hit in the center of the face will produce a longer, straighter flight trajectory. Shots which aren't hit pure (off-center) will produce a shorter, unpredictable flight trajectory. Cavity Back +++++++++++ A cavity back iron, also known as perimeter weighted, has generally been associated as an investment cast iron. Again while the manufacturing process isn't really important, the design of the clubhead is. The cavity back iron distributes the weight around the perimeter of the head, producing a large "sweet spot". This makes the off-center shots more forgiving, flying longer and straighter, than an off-center shot with a muscleback iron. Quick Comparison ++++++++++++++++ ** Investment cast ** o Usually a Cavity back o Peripheral weighting, if cavity back o More forgiving, due to cavity back o Stainless steel ** Forged ** o Usually a Blade or Muscleback o Central weighting, if a blade or muscleback o Better "feel", due to muscleback design o Carbon steel & chrome Notes +++++ Now what you really want to know: When investment cast heads were first introduced, several companies claimed that the "feel" of the head was lost. These same companies also claimed it was more difficult to "work" the ball with the cast heads. Keep in mind that most golfers tend to believe that a muscleback iron (usually forged) produces more "feel" than the cavity back models (usually investment casted). They also say that it is easier to "shape" the shot using the blades over the perimeter weighted clubs. Before making a decision, you should try a few muscleback and cavity back irons and see for yourself. For more information please refer to Dave Tutelman's "Designing golf clubs" articles. Types of Woods ============== Wood ++++ There are basically two types of wood used, persimmon and maple. o Solid heads are usually persimmon. o Laminated ("plywood") heads are usually maple. Persimmon heads are made by using a sophisticated turning machine. The process is much like making a duplicate key for a lock. The second, and most commonly used, wood is laminated maple. Generally, 1/16-inch veneers of maple are laminated together much like a sheet of plywood. Then the veneers are heated and pressurized, and finally turned like the persimmon heads. While many golfers indicate that they have a more solid feel at impact with persimmon heads, studies show no support of this. Other golfers prefer the laminated maple, reasoning that they last longer. Metal +++++ Investment cast metal heads have gained popularity, mainly because of the added control of peripheral weighting (which was not a true design goal, but a product of the casting process to achieve proper weight). The stainless steel heads are cast hollow to restrict excessive weight, and usually filled with polyurethane to muffle impact noise. Metal "wood" heads have also been noted as adding distance to center and off-center shots. Graphite ++++++++ The same material that is used for shafts is also used to make graphite heads. There are two subtle variances in manufacturing techniques. In one case, the graphite prepreg is mixed with an ABS plastic, and is injection molded into a head. In the second version the prepreg is given an epoxy base and the mixture is compression molded. Graphite heads are manufactured with the same weight as the wood and metal heads, but are generally much larger than conventional heads. This increases the size of the "Sweet spot". No tests yet have proven graphite heads to be more forgiving or longer than other materials. Oversized +++++++++ The general consensus is that "oversized" heads, generally made of stainless steel or graphite, create a larger "sweet spot". This produces a longer and straighter flight trajectory on off-center hits. When using stainless steel, the walls of the head must be made thinner to keep the overall weight "normal" (191-205 grams for a 1 wood). This has caused some metal "wood" faces to "crush" or dent. For this reason, some manufacturers are bringing "Mid-sized" metal woods to market, which allows the "sweet spot" to stay large, yet keeps the walls of the head thick to prevent denting. Metal with Composite Face +++++++++++++++++++++++++ In conjunction with "oversized" clubheads, manufacturers are starting to use "face inserts" (normally plastic, graphite or lightweight metals). This allows them to produced the larger sized heads without worrying about the face crushing or denting. This also allows them to keep the overall weight of the head down. Face inserts, in metal "woods", is a fairly new design, and tests regarding their playability and forgiveness have not been published. Notes +++++ Now what you really want to know: The type of "wood" you should use can only be determined by what "feels right". While metal and graphite heads can offer forgiveness on off-center shots, some argue that you lose the feel you receive from true "wood" heads. Like the irons, you should try several before buying. Types of Shafts =============== I found this to be the most difficult FAQ to answer. The shaft is the most complex piece of a golf club, and probably the most important. With varying degrees of flex, flex locations, weight, length, materials, torque, etc., an article devoted entirely to the shaft is needed, but not available. I'll do my best to answer some of the questions regarding them. Steel +++++ Steel shafts are generally made from carbon steel or occasionally from stainless steel. For the most part, the manufacturing process between the two are similar. A steel strip is rolled into a tube, and is drawn over a mandrel until the diameter and wall thickness are reduced to their exact specifications. At this point the step pattern is formed on the shaft. Then the walls are made thinner at the grip and thicker at the tip to give the shaft its flex characteristics. Then it is hardened, tempered, straightened and stress relieved. The final step is to polish and chrome plate the shaft. One of the best features of the steel shaft is the ability to have the same "feel" throughout the entire set. This means that the stiffness in the 3 iron will will be the same as the 9 iron. Other features are its durability and price. Graphite ++++++++ Graphite shafts are made from a graphite tape. The tape, which has an epoxy binder, is wrapped around a steel mandrel. The wrapped shaft is then temperature cured and the mandrel removed. The raw shaft is then sanded and cut to proper length, at which point it receives a clear or colored paint coating. Its most talked about feature is its light weight. It also helps dampen the vibration caused by clubhead impact with the ground. A few of the drawbacks are the "feel" of the shaft (some people complain that a stiff graphite shaft does not feel like a stiff steel shaft), the stiffness may not be consistent throughout a set, and its price tag. A new manufacturing process called "filament winding" can produce a set with more consistency, but at a higher price. Titanium ++++++++ I have very little information regarding the titanium shaft and its manufacturing process. Among some of its features are its weight (lighter than steel), and its vibration dampening. Some complaints are that the shafts are too stiff, and it carries a big price. Stiffness +++++++++ The stiffness, flex, or deflection of a shaft defines the bending characteristics of the tube, when a load is applied to the shaft. The most common shaft flexes are designated as X (extra-stiff), S (stiff), R (regular), A (man's flexible), or L (ladies'). For people with high swing speeds, it's desirable to have a stiffer shaft to keep the club head from lagging behind. For people with slower swing speeds, the more flexible shafts offer an extra "kick" at the bottom of the downswing to help propel the ball. Frequency +++++++++ Some shafts are rated for "frequency", an alternative way to express stiffness.The "frequency" indicates how how fast a "standard" club would vibrate if made with that shaft. The stiffer the shaft, the faster it will vibrate. A rough guide to translate between frequency and traditional stiffness ratings is: FREQUENCY STIFFNESS cycles Grade per minute ---------- --------- <240 L 245 A 255 R 265 S >270 X Torque ++++++ Generally torque is a rating applied to a graphite shaft. It specifies the "twisting" characteristics of the shaft. The normal torque rating of a steel shaft for woods is about 2.5 degrees, and 1.7 for the irons. The general range of torque ratings found on graphite shafts are from 3.5 to 5.5 degrees, although it is possible to get shafts with lower or higher ratings. The higher the torque rating, the more the shaft twists for a given twisting force. The torque rating also seems to be tied to the stiffness of a shaft. The lower the torque rating, the stiffer the shaft. Kickpoints ++++++++++ The kickpoint, bendpoint, or flexpoint defines where the shaft will bend. It affects the trajectory of the shot; the higher the kickpoint, the lower the trajectory. The effect in trajectory is small but measurable. For someone that generally hits the ball with a high shot trajectory, a High kickpoint is desirable in a shaft. For someone with a low shot trajectory, a Low kickpoint helps get the ball airborne and on a higher flight path. The kickpoint also affects the "feel" of the shaft. A golfer who can feel the difference finds the high bend point makes the shaft feel like "one piece", while with the low bend point, the shaft feels as though the tip whips the clubhead through the ball. Notes +++++ Now what you really want to know: The type of shaft a person should use is one of the most often asked questions. It is also one of the most unanswered questions. Choosing the material, flex, and kickpoint of a shaft will depend entirely on what "feels" right when you swing the club. Someone with a high swing speed may choose a steel shaft with a flex rating of X and a low kickpoint, while someone with the same swing speed may choose a graphite shaft with a flex rating of R and a high kickpoint. The general consensus is see your local Pro and see what he/she recommends. Make your decision from there. For more information please refer to Dave Tutelman's "Designing golf clubs" articles. Types of Grips ============== Rubber +++++++ Rubber grips are made by adding granulated cork, as well as other materials in the liquid rubber. The "cork" serves to displace the rubber, and is the reason many grips are called "composition" grips. It also makes the overall weight of the grip lighter. The rubber/cork blend is checked to assure the proper viscosity, and is then molded in a high pressure molding machine. After molding, the grips are sanded and painted. Some of the features of rubber grips are: easy installation, "reminder ribs" for hand placement, and they are less expensive. Leather +++++++ Most of the "stars" over forty use leather, while the younger players use various rubber molded grips. The reason has very little to do with the quality or playability of the grip, but simply a difference in what each generation has been accustomed to. One of the features of leather grips (generally made of cowhide or calfskin) is that they have a nice soft, pliable, tacky feel. A few of the drawbacks are its difficulty to install, and its price. Cord/Half-Cord ++++++++++++++ Most of the more popular rubber models come in an optional "cord" grip, in which strands of fabric thread are embedded in the rubber grip. This makes for a better non-slip contact with hand or glove, especially when wet with rain or sweat. However, it does wear out gloves faster than non-cord grips. (Hands, too. :-) Many of the "cord" models also come as "half-cord", in which the top of the grip (where your thumbs are) are smooth rubber and the bottom (where your fingers wrap around the club) are cord. Quick Comparison ++++++++++++++++ ** Rubber Grips ** o Slip-on design o Easy to install o Less expensive o Rough when corded ** Leather Grips ** o Usually wrapped spiral design o Harder to install o More expensive o Natural soft, tacky feel Oversized/Undersized ++++++++++++++++++++ Grips come in a standard size, but can be padded to a larger diameter with tape on the shaft under the grip. It is also possible to get larger and smaller diameter grips. A few of the pros and cons: ** Oversized ** o For larger hands o Minimize arthritis pain o Decreases hand action, promoting a slice ** Undersized ** o For smaller hands (most women) o Increases hand action, promoting a hook Notes +++++ Now what you really want to know: The type of grips a person uses will be based on "feel". Some people like the natural soft feel of the leather grips, while others refuse to use anything but corded composite grips. Try going to a local golf shop and seeing which grips "feel" right - and you can afford. Scoring/Handicapping Systems ============================ Most of the following information was taken from articles posted to rec.sport.golf with permission from the authors. Handicap Information ==================== A handicap is only an Official USGA Handicap Index if you get it from a golf club which follows the USGA Handicap System. The good news is that becoming a member of a golf club doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Many public courses host golf clubs with modest membership fees. Club membership often entitles you to a few extra benefits - such as reduced green fees, preferred starting times, as well as a chance to play in club sponsored tournaments and meet new people. At the other end of the scale are private clubs which can cost thousands of dollars per year and may have long waiting lists. Can't find a reasonably-priced golf club to join, or you don't want to feel tied to one golf course? Then consider joining, or forming, a golf club that doesn't have its own course. The USGA doesn't require a club to have a course, and the minimum membership is just 10 golfers who have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with one another. Some clubs call themselves traveling clubs and host regular outings at different courses throughout the year. Check with the USGA for specific information on forming a "Golf Club". More information regarding the USGA Handicap System can be found at http://www.usga.org/handicap/index.html, or you can contact the USGA directly. ** Handicapping Systems ** ========================== Quick Reference Allowance (QRA) +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The USGA has developed a simple, but relatively effective estimator of a player's ability called "QRA" for "Quick Reference Allowance." QRA is not a substitute for the USGA Handicap System, but can produce fairly equitable results and is the best system for handicapping the otherwise "un-handicapped." To create a player's QRA, the tournament committee simply asks each un-handicapped player to submit his three best scores made on a regulation course (with par of 68 or more) in the last 12 months. Combine these scores with any previous scores that the player has made in a tournament in the past two years. The player's QRA is the second best score minus 70 for men or 73 for women. Modified Peoria System ++++++++++++++++++++++ The next best alternative, according to USGA studies, is to use a hole score selection system, often called the "Peoria system." Under this system, a player learns his handicap after the round is completed. By this method, the committee secretly selects a par-3 hole, a par-5 hole and four par-4 holes from an 18-hole course. The par-4s should be representative in length and difficulty with two chosen from the front nine and two from the back nine. A modified Peoria handicap is calculated by adding the player's strokes over par on the six selected holes, and multiplying by 2.8. This will equal the player's allowance to be deducted from his gross score. The maximum hole score for allowance purposes is three over par on par-3s and 4s and four over par on par-5s. Callaway System +++++++++++++++ The Callaway System is a so-called "one-round" system or "worst-holes" system that compresses the spread of gross scores when converted to net scores. It is not a reliable handicap system and produces a result such that the player with the lowest gross score almost always becomes the low net score winner. Most players with higher gross scores are given net scores within a few strokes of the winner so that most players can feel competitive. By the Callaway System, a player's allowance is determined after each round by deducting from his gross score for 18 holes the scores of the worst individual holes during the first 16 holes. The table below shows the number of "worst hole" scores he may deduct and the adjustment to be made, based on his gross score. SCORE DEDUCT -- -- 70 71 72 scratch - no adjustment 73 74 75 -- -- 1/2 worst hole and adjustment 76 77 78 79 80 1 worst hole and adjustment 81 82 83 84 85 1 1/2 worst holes and adjustment 86 87 88 89 90 2 worst holes and adjustment 91 92 93 94 95 2 1/2 worst holes and adjustment 96 97 98 99 100 3 worst holes and adjustment 101 102 103 104 105 3 1/2 worst holes and adjustment 106 107 108 109 110 4 worst holes and adjustment 111 112 113 114 115 4 1/2 worst holes and adjustment 116 117 118 119 120 5 worst holes and adjustment 121 122 123 124 125 5 1/2 worst holes and adjustment 126 127 128 129 130 6 worst holes and adjustment Maximum Handicap - 50 ADJUSTMENT -2 -1 0 +1 +2 Add or Deduct to Handicap NOTES: 1. No hole may be scored at more than twice its par. 2. Half strokes count as whole. Scheid System +++++++++++++ The Scheid System is an alternative "worst-score" system, that has two advantages over the Callaway method: 1. It allows for a wider range of scores (up to 151) 2. It gives players who normally cannot compete for low gross score an opportunity to win. ** Scoring Systems ** ===================== Stroke Play +++++++++++ (also called Medal Play) Low gross -- no adjustment for handicap Low net -- subtract your handicap, low score wins Match Play ++++++++++ Two players play head to head. Total strokes are not important. The winner is based on who wins the most holes. The match is over when one player is ahead by more holes than the number of holes remaining. Stableford ++++++++++ Points are allocated based on the net score of each hole. Handicaps are allocated based on the index of each hole. You deduct the allocated handicap per hole from the score on the hole and the points are allocated against the equivalent net score for the hole. The exact points which are allocated seem to vary. Best-Ball +++++++++ This refers to a team event which may comprise 2, 3 or 4 players. Each player will have his/her stroke allowance and the lowest net score would be recorded at each hole. The total for the complete round would be the teams best-ball score. Scramble ++++++++ Normally a team of 4. Each player tees off at each hole and then the team selects the ball which is in the best position and ALL play from that spot. This repeats for all shots until the hole is finished. Foursomes +++++++++ This is where 2 players play one ball hitting alternative shots. One player will tee off at all the odd numbered holes and the other at the even numbered holes, no matter who was the last player to play on the previous hole. Par +++ Similar to stableford as far as the allocated shots are concerned but you either win, halve or lose the hole (+ 0 -). Its a little tougher, as anything worse than a net par is a loss. At the end you add up your wins against your losses. Chapman +++++++ (2 man teams) Each player hits a tee shot. They then each play a second shot using their partner's ball. At this point, they select the best ball and the player who did not hit it plays, alternating shots until the ball is holed (only the first two shots are hit by both players). Pinehurst +++++++++ (2 man teams) Pinehurst is similar to the Chapman format, except that each player hits a drive, and the best drive is then chosen and players alternate in from there.Unlike the Chapman, players do not BOTH hit second shots from their partners drives. Hero-Bum ++++++++ (4 man teams) The best and worst scores are counted (net or gross). What is a push/pull fade/draw hook/slice? ========================================= Push ++++ A ball whose flight path is straight, with negligible sidespin, that ends up right of the target. The incidence angle of the clubface is x degrees to the right of the target , and where the PATH of the clubface is also x degrees to the right of the target (inside to outside path). Pull ++++ The opposite of push: A ball whose flight path is straight that ends up left of the target. The incidence angle of the clubface is x degrees to the left of the target, and where the PATH of the clubface is also x degrees to the left of the target (outside to inside path). Fade ++++ A straight shot with some sidespin, such that there is slight but noticible left to right travel by the ball at the end of its flight. The key words are slight sidespin. Since the forward energy force must be much greater than that of the sidespin, such that as the ball slows down at the end of its flight, using up the forward direction energy, the sidespin takes over and gives the ball its left to right 'fading action'. The club face is generally open a few degrees at impact, but the club path is straight along the intended path (directly at the target). Slice +++++ A curving shot from left to right whereby severe sidespin has been imparted to the ball such that this spin is of a great enough rate to govern its direction in a more Left to Right mode than straight. The clubface is open several degrees relative to the club path. Draw ++++ The opposite type of shot than a fade. A straight shot with a minimum of sidespin, such that there is slight but noticible right to left travel by the golf ball. at the end of its flight. The key phrase is slight sidespin. Since the forward energy force must be much greater than that of the sidespin, such that as the ball slows down at the end of its flight, using up the forward direction energy, the sidespin takes over and gives the ball its right to left 'drawing action'. The club face is generally closed a few degrees at impact, but the club path is straight along the intended path (directly at the target). Hook ++++ The opposite of a slice. The clubface is closed more than a few degrees relative to the club path. Hope this helps. For more info, see: "The Search For The Perfect Swing" by Alistair Cochran and John Stobbs. What causes / How do I cure a slice/hook? ========================================= What causes it? +++++++++++++++ For the most part, a hook or a slice is caused by the clubface being opened or closed upon contact. Most people also tend to agree that an inside-to-out swing plane causes a hook, and an outside-to-in swing plane causes a slice. o = ball x = clubhead path x x o x o x x x o x x x HOOK STRAIGHT SLICE ---- -------- ----- How do I cure it? +++++++++++++++++ There are many swing faults that can cause the clubface angle and the club path to lead you to a hook or a slice. Because it's very difficult to tell which particular fault(s) causes your hook or slice, it's best to see your local Golf Professional for an assessment and lesson/. For those of you that just can't or wont see a Professional, here are a few swing faults that can promote a hook or a slice: SLICE HOOK ----- ---- Outside-in path Inside-out path Incomplete hand release Too much/early hand release "Coming over the top" "Casting" from the top Collapsed left wrist Bowed left wrist Swing too upright Swing to flat Not enough legs Too much/early legs Ball too far back in stance Ball to far forward in stance What clubs should I buy? ======================== Well, you could start by sitting down and reading through this document. By honestly judging your abilities, you may be able to decide if you need peripherally weighted or muscleback clubs. For more information regarding the characteristics of clubs, download the Club Design notes from dunkin.Princeton.EDU. The notes are primarily intended for clubmakers, but the information contained in the notes can make you a much smarter shopper. The next logical step is deciding on how much money you want to or are willing to spend for new clubs. Keep this number in mind when your shopping for new clubs, if you don't you could wind up spending much more than you planned on. Once you have an idea of what type of clubs you want and how much you plan on spending, go down to your local golf shop or club and try to hit a few clubs. If your allowed, try to play a round or two with demo sets. By actually using the clubs in a "golf round" situation, you may be able to decide if the clubs look, feel, and play the way you would like them to. If you feel uncomfortable with the clubs don't buy them - just because your golfing buddy swears by XYZ, doesn't mean you should too. If after doing the above, you still can't decide for yourself, go see a local professional or clubmaker and ask for some help. Either should be more than willing to help you make a well informed decision. Should I buy Name Brand Clubs, or CustomFit/CustomBuilt Clubs? ============================================================== That is a choice left up to the reader. Keep in mind these factors when making a decision: 1. CustomFit/CustomBuilt clubs are just that. They are built according to current swing characteristics. Name Brand clubs are built based on an "average" golfer. 2. CustomFit/CustomBuilt clubs are generally less expensive than Name Brand clubs. 3. CustomFit/CustomBuilt clubs may have less of a resale value than Name Brand clubs. The most compelling reason to buy CustomFit/CustomBuilt clubs is the fact that they are built for you. Although price may be a consideration, don't make it top priority. If it is you may not have enough confidence in your clubs, which could result in more harm than good. You should also note that most Name Brand club manufacturers will make up a set to your custom specifications. You could order a set of Titleist DCI's, for instance, with a nonstandard length and lie angle. The "customization" will usually involve an increase in the purchase price, and well as add several weeks to delivery. How does one find/pick a Custom Clubmaker? ========================================== There are several ways to find a Custom Clubmaker. Keep in mind that you will want to shop around, and possibly talk to several clubmakers. There are a number of referral services that can help. The PCS, Professional Clubmakers Society, can be reached at 1-800-548-6094 in the USA and Canada. Their recommendations indicate whether the clubmaker is qualified as a Class A Clubmaker (based on competence certification administered by the PCS). You can also call up the major component vendors (GolfSmith, GolfWorks, Dynacraft) and ask for a referral. They generally keep a list of clubmakers, and should be more than happy to give you names, numbers, and possibly even references. You could also ask your local Pro, or a Golf shop. Generally both the Pro and Golf shops, will send out clubs repairs to a local clubmaker or repair shop. If this is the case, they shouldn't have a problem giving you a the name or telephone number. You may be able to get a few names and numbers by talking to other golfers you meet at a range or course. This is also a good way to see what kind of work the clubmaker will do, and how satisfied some of his/her customers are. There is also a directory on dunkin.Princeton.EDU that contains a listing of Custom Club Builders. This list is available via the Web at http://dunkin.Princeton.EDU/.golf/clubmaking/Clubmakers/, or via anonymous ftp. Clubmakers that wish to have themselves added to the list can contact Marcelo Gallardo at marcelo@dunkin.Princeton.EDU. Remember that the reason you want to buy CustomFit/CustomBuilt clubs is the fact that they are built for you. This should give some pointers in "picking" out a clubbuilder. One of the first things you should do when talking to a Custom Clubmaker is to inquire about his/her knowledge. If the "clubmaker" is just that (a clubmaker), he/she will not do a very good job fitting clubs for your game. Don't be afraid to ask questions like how long they've been custom building clubs. Did they have any formal training. How many happy/unhappy customers have they had. These are just a few questions to help you get to know your clubmaker. One of the first things the clubmaker should do, even before discussing what it is that you want, is to assess your skills. This can be done by taking a trip to a range, so the clubmaker can analyze you swing. Taking a look at your current set, and noting any problems you may have with them, would probably be an indication of a knowledgable clubmaker as well. A good clubmaker should tell you what characteristics your swing calls for. Examples of this are shaft flex, torque, and kickpoint; head characteristics such as weight and COG location. With this is mind he/she will most probably have a few "demo clubs" for you to try. don't be afraid to say you don't like any of the clubs you try, it's the clubmakers job to fit you with clubs that you will be happy with. As with anything else in life. If you talk to a clubmaker and don't feel totally confortable with him/her, don't buy a set of clubs from him/her. How do I build my own clubs? ============================ Start off by ordering some catalogs from some of the component vendors (an annotated list is available in the Component Suppliers List). While you are waiting for the catalogs to arrive, get some of the articles regarding club design and assembly ( Club Design Articles, Look-a-like List, Clone FAQ) which are available in the archives as well. You'll probably want to start off slowly. Start by building yourself a putter. This will give you a chance to build a club, without having to have too much concern regarding shaft length and flex. If you're happy with you putter, move on to an iron. This will give you a chance to try different shaft lengths and flexes to see which suits you best. Once you feel comfortable, you may want to try your hand at an entire set of irons, or possibly a wood. Don't forget to let us know how your clubs turn out! USGA Course Rating Information ============================== The following information is a brief explanation. For more detailed information, please review the USGA Handicap Manual available from the USGA. YARDAGE Rating ++++++++++++++ "Yardage Rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty based on yardage only. It is the score a scratch player on his game is expected to make when playing a course of average difficulty. USGA COURSE Rating ++++++++++++++++++ "Course Rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch players. Course Rating is expressed in strokes and decimal fractions of a stroke, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch player. Courses are rated by authorized golf associations, not by individual clubs. USGA SLOPE Rating +++++++++++++++++ "Slope Rating" reflects the relative playing difficulty of a course for players with handicaps above scratch, whereas Course Rating is based solely on difficulty for the scratch player. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest is 155. The average Slope Rating for men and women is 113. Etiquette Tips ============== ** Proper Etiquette ** ++++++++++++++++++++++ o Do not leave your ball in the hole when you make a putt/chip. Golfers are a superstitious lot and many think that their ball will not fit in the hole if there is already another one in there. o If you putt/chip your ball near the hole and do not plan to putt out, mark your ball with a coin or ball-marker. Aside from being a distraction, other players will incur a 2 stroke penalty if they play a putt from the green and their ball hits yours. o As much as it may interest you, do not stand directly behind another player's intended target line. This is a violation of the rules if the player is your partner and otherwise distracting because the player can usually see you out of the corner of his/her eye. o When playing for the first time with someone, be conservative at first about complimenting or critiquing a shot. Follow the lead of his friends, pay attention to his comments, and wait until you have a good understanding of what is a good and bad shot for a particular player. Don't assume that everyone's standards are the same as yours. o Invite faster groups to play through. ** Slow Play ** +++++++++++++++ o Be ready to play when it is your turn. Proceed to your ball as soon as it is safe and begin preparing for your shot. On the green, survey the contours and grain while other players are putting if you can do so without being distracting. o Do not write your scores on the scorecard until you reach the next tee. o When playing from a cart, drop one player off at his/her ball with several clubs and, if it is safe, drive the cart to the second players ball. This way, the two players sharing the cart can both prepare for their shots at the same time. o If you take a cart and you are not allowed to leave the cart path, drive the cart until it is roughly even with your ball and take several clubs (maybe the one you think you will need and one above and one below) with you to your ball. If you really have no idea what club you will need, pull your bag off the cart and take the whole thing with you to your ball. ** MOST IMPORTANT ** ++++++++++++++++++++ o If attending a pro tournament, never say "You're the man!" after a drive. If you do, and are publicly identified as such, your rec.sport.golf privileges will be revoked for a period of not less than 2 years per incident. Hitting in Regulation ===================== Fairways ++++++++ Hitting a fairway is exactly that, your ball comes to rest off the tee (except par 3's) in the fairway cut of grass. Greens ++++++ Hitting a green in regulation means that your ball will be on the putting surface in 1 shot on a par 3, 2 shots (or less) on a par 4 and 3 shots (or less) on a par 5.Just subtracting 2 putts from the par gives you the "Regulation" number of strokes to reach the green. USGA Information ================ Joining the USGA, a non-profit organization, costs $25 per year (may be tax deductible). You get a current rule book, nine issues of Golf Journal, with special issues for the US and Senior Open, as well as their catalog of golf goodies and a bag tag. The money helps support the USGA which sponsors various amateur tournaments, administers the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment tests, does turf research and much more. Visit the USGA's WWW Site: http://www.usga.org/ Write: USGA P.O. Box 708 Far Hills, NJ 07931-0708 or Call 1 (800) 345-GOLF