Understanding Swingweight Specs

Hello Mr. Thomas & Valerie,

You two are a little bright spot in my life each week or so when I receive your golf / putting info and instruction.  You are a world of information – so, let me ask of your knowledge again.
I recently bought a new fairway wood – and noticed that it felt heavier.  I checked the specs on-line and found it to be a “D-3.”  My previous club was a “D-2.”
What does this mean – other than the new club is heavier?  If my swings with both clubs are at the same swing speed – does the shot with the heavier club go further?
I realize that wedges are usually heavier than regular irons…..what is the basic reason for this?
Thanks so much!   You are the man!
Jerry, NC

Jerry,

We are pleased to be able to bring a little brightness into your life each week and hope it is helping your game.

You need to know that swingweight is a static balance system based on the amount of weight you need to hang from the butt end of a club, to balance it about a 14-inch fulcrum — just about four inches below the grip.

Your fairway wood probably weighs in total about 340-grams. If I set this up on a swingweight scale and it reads about D2, then I place a glove on the grip where the left hand would be – which is equivalent to wearing a glove when  gripping the club – the swing-weight drops to C7 or five points lower. The glove only weighs 20 grams.

The point I am trying to make is that swingweight is not a good way to balance a set of clubs as it depends on counter balancing by adding extra weight to the head and/or to the grip and also depends on the shaft weight. Moment of Inertia along with frequency matching is very much better.

When swingweight was introduced in 1920, it was based on finding a balance point (fulcrum) that the set of Francis Ouimet’s clubs balanced about, given the same amount of weight hung from the butt of each club in the set. A 14-inch fulcrum was selected.

Fortunately, the system assumed that a standard shaft, and grip weight were used, and the only other variables to maintain the balance were club length and head weight. As a result, as clubs get shorter the heads weigh more and the overall weight of the club gets heavier. For example, your wedge weighs about 465 grams compared to your new fairway wood which is about 340 grams.

Jerry, I hope this gives you an idea of how swingweight works and how it was developed.

I am not sure that you or any other golfer is able to detect the difference of one swing-weight point — i.e. from a D2 to a D3 –so you must be feeling the difference of some other property and this may be the overall weight or even shaft stiffness, which makes a difference to feel. As far as hitting the ball farther is concerned, I can assure you that one swing-weight point does not make any difference at all but confidence will.

Enjoy your new club. As we all know most new things work better.

Frank & Valerie  

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