It appears to be common practice amongst club golfers to play with golf clubs caked in mud! A dirty club often means that the grooves on the club-face are filled in, and have no effect on the ball at impact. The point of the grooves is to create backspin as the ball runs up the face of the club at impact, which will keep the ball straight. Without this ‘grip’ the ball is more likely to fly with side-spin on it in the form of a slice or a hook. With short irons in particular it is this action which is responsible for stopping the ball quickly on a receptive green. Many amateurs aspire to being able to make their ball spin back to the pin just like they see on television – it is not easy, but you will certainly never achieve it with mud in the grooves!
See ‘Cavity-backs’ above. This describes the way that club manufacturers have changed the weight placing around a golf club to increase tolerance to the non-centre strike. With a blade almost all the weight is centred in the middle of the club meaning that if the toe or heel is struck the club must twist. This leads to spin on the ball and therefore poor direction as well as a lack of distance. By taking weight from the centre and placing it around the perimeter of the club, any off centre strikes will still have weight positioned behind them, meaning less deflection and so straighter, longer shots. This is the key to making golf easier for golfers of all abilities.
Many clubs today incorporate flow systems, which are intended to place weight in each club where it will be most useful. In the short irons weight will be placed towards the heel/centre giving these irons greater stability for more accurate shotmaking. With these irons the player is more likely to strike the ball out of the middle of the club and therefore behind the area of most weight. As the irons become longer the weight placement moves towards the toe of the club. The idea is that as the club becomes longer it is more likely that shots will be hit off the toe. Moving the weight this way will therefore limit deflection of the clubface at impact and thus keep long iron shots straighter.
Low Centre of Gravity (LCG)
Almost all good quality clubs made for the higher handicap golfer today incorporate a LCG. This may be externally visible in the form of heavy metal bars on the sole or bottom back of the club (usually made from brass, copper or tungsten), or can be internal. An LCG is intended to make it easier to get the ball airborne by placing this weight as low as possible. Although LCG is largely responsible for the high trajectories players tend to get these days – it increases the launch angle of the ball considerably – there is no doubt that this concept makes the game easier, particularly with longer irons.
Offset / Onset
Offset is typically described as the distance from the front edge of the hosel to the leading edge of the face.
Many of the more forgiving clubs these days will feature an offset as it will increase the launch angle of the ball and make it easier to hit. Offsets also tend to reduce slice spin on the ball, which is the most common characteristic of the higher handicap. It is normal practice to have progressive offset where the longer irons have the most, reducing gradually, the shorter the iron.
Onset is used for wedges so that the ball may be pinched out of tight lies more easily, promoting more shot-making and backspin.