I always look forward to your weekly Q&A and have been formulating a question for some time that I have been occupied with: Is swing-weight still relevant?
Throughout my golfing life, I have been fanatical about having precisely calibrated swing-weights throughout the bag. I’m beginning to second guess myself on this. I can see where, back in the day, swing-weight would have been extremely important because it would seem that timing played a more important role in the golf swing than it does today.
I have truncated your question, which goes on to talk about the different swing types today, which might make dead weight more important.
First thank you for your continued loyalty and we are pleased that we have been able to help.
As background: In 1913, the 20 year old amateur Francis Ouimet and his 10 year old caddie Eddie Lowery, won the US Open beating Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff.
As you may know swing-weight was developed based on Francis Ouimet’s set of clubs — individually hand selected hickory shafted clubs found in a barrel most of the time.
This static balance method called swing-weight balancing was developed experimentally using Ouimet’s clubs by hanging a weight of approximately 16 ounces from the butt end of every club in the set and finding a common balancing fulcrum point. This fulcrum point is 14 inches from the butt end of the club.
Swing weight is a static balance, not a dynamic balance as the name implies, and based on first moments — i.e. the method used in an old-fashion kitchen swing scale.
For this to be method to be effective, the overall weight needs to be considered, as you can make a telephone pole swing weight at D2 just like your driver.
When you consider including the overall weight or dead weight, one needs to understand that the shorter the club the heavier it is going to be, to maintain the same swing-weight throughout the set — the driver being the lightest club and the putter the heaviest.
Francis Ouimet waggled his clubs when selecting them, which would relate more to Moment Of Inertia (MOI) about the club’s rotating axis – the grip or in fact a little above the grip at a point close to his wrists. This is a dynamic method of measurement and in fact is very closely correlated to the pure original swing weight measurement – i.e. no counterbalancing.
Bruce, swing-weight still works well if we don’t mess with it but I would supplement this with MOI balancing.
Hope this gets you into the swing of things.
Many decades ago….set of McGregor MT Tourney Irons…always hit the 8 iron and 2 iron best. About 10 years ago swing-weighted them…because of the old manufacturing technology there was wide variation through the set…guess what…those two clubs stuck out a few points on the high side. Also, always hit the driver, 3-wood and 4-wood the same distance…never knew why…now I do…(speed, launch angle, spin rate etc…the 4-wood was the optimum / limit for me).