Swingweight – The Ideal Swing Reference Point

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Clubfitting, Driver Fitting, Hybrid Fitting, Iron Fitting | 54 comments

One of the very first “technical things” a golfer learns about his equipment is the letter + number designation which describes the SWINGWEIGHT of the clubs. C8, D1, D4 are examples of the letter/number designation which have been used to label the swingweight of golf clubs.

Just what is swingweight?

First of all, it really is not a weight or a measurement of a weight. It is not a parameter like “grams”, “ounces”, or “pounds.” It is an expression that attempts to describe the ratio of the amount of weight in the bottom 2/3’s to the weight in the upper 1/3 of a golf club. Some golfers like to think of swingweight as an indication of how much they can feel the presence of the weight in the clubhead when they swing the club.

There is no question we golfers need to have our golf clubs built so that the amount of weight we feel in the clubhead is matched properly to our individual strength and our natural sense of swing tempo, timing and rhythm. If a strong golfer with a fast, forceful tempo uses golf clubs with a low swingweight, the golfer will struggle with maintaining a comfortable, repeating swing tempo and will suffer from a higher percentage of off center hits.

Conversely if a weaker golfer with a smooth, more passive swing uses clubs with too high of a swingweight, they will fight the feeling that the club(s) are too heavy and take too much effort to swing. The importance of swingweight is that we golfers need to have a point of reference for how head heavy or how head light our golf clubs feel when we swing them – so when we find the right club weight balance that feels the best to our natural swing tempo and timing, we then can know how to duplicate that same weight feel in other golf clubs we may buy.

Unfortunately swingweight doesn’t work quite that way. Let’s say you find a driver that really feels good to your natural sense of swing tempo. You find it has a swingweight of say, D3. You now assume that ALL GOLF CLUBS WITH A D3 SWINGWEIGHT ARE GOING TO MATCH WELL TO YOUR SWING TEMPO.

And sadly, that is not true. If you change the length of your driver, D3 is not going to feel the same as the D3 you liked in the driver of the different length. If you change the weight of the shaft in your driver, once again, D3 is not going to feel the same as the D3 in your driver with the other shaft. Whenever you change the length or the shaft weight in your clubs, you have to go through trial and error testing to determine what swingweight best matches your natural sense of swing tempo, timing and rhythm. This is what lead tape is for. It is also another really good reason to work with an experienced custom Clubmaker who can not only recommend the best swingweight for your swing tempo, but who can also fit you for all of the other important fitting elements in your clubs as well.

Again, to find a clubfitter near you who can find your best fitting specifications, click on the following link to our FIND A CLUBFITTER locator tool.


  1. Tom – I am brand new to golf and for budgetary purposes have not been custom fit (and did not purchase “new” clubs). I have just purchased a set of Eye 2’s that have the lighter 106g shaft. Ping says the clubs were made to C6+. My accuracy hitting the ball is all over the place (my main miss is topping the ball). I swung a new set of M2’s and immediately felt the difference (D2 s.w.). You mentioned that liking one swing weight on one club might not translate to liking that weight with another – is there a way to be fit in to a swing weight with a set of clubs or would it just be trial and error? I am very sure that I need to up the swing weight but am not sure the best approach to this as I feel like I’d be custom building the clubs and not getting clubs custom to my swing tendencies (not sure if there is a difference).

    Ping will NOT change the swing weight, they say, as they now will only adjust swing weight on their CTP-adjustable irons. I assume this is something any regular fitter could do?

    I appreciate any feedback you might have.

    • Brian
      Fitting for swingweight is very much a trial process but we like to call it more trial and EXPERIMENTATION than trial and error !! Golfers are very different in their makeup of what they feel is heavy, what they feel is light, how heavy or how light. What I perceive to be too heavy for me to swing consistently, you may feel that is just right. There is no question though that when you swing the club and something feels too light, it becomes very difficult to achieve and maintain a decent level of swing tempo consistency – you tend to always fight being too quick and you are constantly telling yourself to slow down.

      The part about recognizing that a club feels too light is one thing. What you do about it and how much heavier it needs to be to match well with your natural sense of timing and tempo can only be an experimental process because there is no such thing as a “weight feel-o-meter” tool we can use in fitting. You just have to start with the light feeling clubs and add weight to the head, a little bit at a time, hit enough shots to give you a sense of either “nope still too light” or “it’s getting better” or “nope, that definitely feels too heavy for me.”

      Now in addition to head weight, there is also the overall weight of the club, AKA the total weight. This one can be a little tricky but it also can be easier to deal with. Total weight is controlled chiefly by the weight of the shaft. Yes, grip weight and head weight are involved but not even close to as much as the shaft’s weight. In short, you can have a shaft weight difference of 20 grams and both can feel ok total weight wise as long as you spend enough time finding what headweight/swingweight works best for your sense of light vs heavy and timing and tempo.

      As far as changing the weight of your Pings, the easiest way is for you to get a roll of lead tape and to to the driving range 2-3 times over the course of 1-2 weeks and just experiment with adding little strips of lead tape in the back cavity. Does not matter where on the head you put it just where it sticks and you don’t see it when you address the ball with the club. Yes, it looks less than gorgeous but tons of players live with lead tape on their irons. I do and it doesn’t bother me in the least.

      Lead tape is the best way to do your experimentation to find the right head weight feel for your tempo and sense of heavy and lightness. You can add a small amount at a time and you can do it quickly while you hit balls. If you want that lead tape off the head after you find the right feel, a clubmaker MIGHT be able to put a tip weight into the end of the shafts or drop lead powder down the shaft and lock it in place with a cork. Might because there might already be a tip weight in the end of the shaft put there by PING when they did the final swingweighting of the clubs when they made them. If so then living with lead tape on the head is what you have to accept. Plus lead tape is going to be a lot cheaper than paying a clubmaker to do this work with tip weights or lead powder down the shaft.

      Hope this helps,

  2. Dear Mr. Wishon,
    I began playing golf with a set of 2nd hand Wilson forged irons and laminated woods back in 1964 at the age of 18. At my best I was a +2 handicap. Finally, in my late 30’s, I was convinced to move to set of Ping eye 2+ irons because they were “more forgiving” and with teenage children I rarely had the opportunity to play more than 2-3 times a month. I soon ballooned to a 12 handicap, but I missed the feel of my old forged irons, and eventually went to the Mizuno MP 57 forged irons which felt great again, although I lost some distance. Following surgical repair of a fractured right wrist complete with pins, screws, & plates, I was unable to play for about a year and a half. My surgeon said I must go with a graphite shaft to lesson impact vibration. I have since gone through 3 sets of graphite (R) shafted cast clubs & I’m sorry to say I have yet to find a set which provides the clubhead feel of my old Staff model irons. I just turned 72 and my buddies say I’m crazy for not playing the “super game improvement clubs”. I hit them much further than forged (I blame the weaker lofts), but there isn’t the pure feel of a well struck iron. Will the shock of a mishit forged club be greater than a mishit cast club even with a graphite shaft (R) ? If I replace the metal shafts in my old Mizunos with graphite can I still achieve the same club head feel? Is there a shaft you would recommend? Thank you for your patience & reply.

    • Fred:

      You can line up 100 experienced golfers and ask them all to hit different clubs and rate the impact feel and you likely would come up with 100 different variations on what they sense and perceive. Feel is such a subjective thing among golfers so it is just not possible to accurately predict any golfer’s perception when they hit different clubs. I’ve hit more different clubheads than perhaps most any other golfers because of a 32 yr career in head design and to me, a dead center hit with any of the cavity back irons I have designed feels the same as a dead center hit with any of the blade carbon steel forgings I have designed. But to others, it’s certainly not that way.

      But it is very true that an off center hit with a muscleback blade is going to create far more of a sensation of vibration of the head at impact than a cavity back. There is no question about that because lower MOI in a head always brings about more vibration in the head when a shot is hit off center. It’ll be a little less pronounced feeling with a graphite shaft in the heads than with steel, but it still will vibrate and create a significant distance loss. And when it comes to vibration dissipation, all graphite shafts react very much the same in that regard. Although in saying that, it is always true that a more flexible shaft transmits less vibration up to a golfer’s hands than will a more stiff shaft. So if you can live with a more flexible feel in your shafts, then from the standpoint of vibrations a softer flex graphite is about as good as you can do. In addition there are foam type inserts that you can put down inside a shaft to further cut down on vibrations of impact. Most people do not think of using these with a graphite shaft but they can be and it will do a little more beyond what just the graphite in the shaft itself can do to dissipate impact vibrations. Here’s a link – https://www.valuegolf.com/prosoft-vibration-dampening-shaft-inserts

      Hope this helps,

  3. Hi Tom,

    What does choking up (going lower down the grip) do to swing weight, shaft flex, and any other feel/performance of the club? Thanks!

    • KEVIN

      Technically, gripping down on a club will act as if the club is both shorter and lower in swingweight and like the grip is smaller in the hands. However, there have been many times that people have gripped down on their clubs, like it, then try to cut down their existing clubs to simulate the gripping down, and it does not work the same. To be honest with you, there were times in my career that I thought about doing some serious research both on paper and on the range with golfers to try to crack that nut to find out why gripping down is not the same as actually cutting the clubs to that length/swingweight, but I never did. So the matter as to why this happens and what is the performance difference between gripping down and physically cutting the club down is still a mystery to me – and laughingly about the only mystery of golf clubs I don’t know after this many years doing this stuff !! HA !



    • Joseph

      If you got “fit” in a retail golf store or pro shop, then you did not get fit in the sense of what real fitting is all about. Real fitting is like a tailor to a suit – one very knowledgeable expert fitter working with one golfer at a time to determine what each of the 12 key fitting specs must be for every one of the clubs in the bag. Then each club is built from scratch to have each of those determined 12 key specs in each club. Golf stores that sell big company clubs cannot possibly fit in that manner because the business model for all of the major golf companies is and shall always be to sell off the rack so they can sell the greatest volume of clubs. Sorry. For someone who has spent most of his entire career in fitting research and writing to share what I have learned, for the big golf companies to say they custom fit is completely misleading.

      Symptoms of the head weight feel being too light for a player do include off center hits and misdirection, chiefly with pulling the ball because too light of a head feel promotes swinging across the body with less control to pull or hook or both. Get some lead tape and head to the range. Put on a couple of 4″ long strips on the back of the head anywhere it will fit, hit 4-5 shots and think about your sense of feeling the head during the swing. Keep adding a little lead tape and keep hitting shots until you get to the point that you sense it is becoming a lot more effort to swing the club down to impact. Then remove a little weight and go play with the clubs for a week or two to see how the clubs feel.

      Hope this helps a little,

  5. Hi Tom,

    Would using a lightweight grip (25 grams compared to 52 grams) to increase swing weight due to shortening a driver cause swing issues due to losing 27 grams of total weight (290 grams compared to 317 grams)? Thanks!

    • KEVIN

      It depends entirely on the golfer and his personal preference for the head weight feel of a driver vs his tempo and swing timing. There is no one set answer to that because golfers can be so different in terms of what weight feel elements trigger better swing timing vs trigger poor swing timing. Some players love to feel a heavy head feel because it helps them time their swing better. Others do not. But I will say that it is more rare for a player to have an adverse reaction to what you talk about with a lower total weight coupled with heavier head feel than the other way around to increase total weight while dropping head feel. Most golfers react far more to changes in the head weight than to changes in the total weight in clubs, at least until the total weight change is far more than 27 grams. dunno if this helped you any, but these are the facts about a change to a light grip. It’s no sure thing for its results because of differences in golfer weight feel preferences. You might just want to try to slide a 52 gram grip back on to see if that on its own brings the performance back. If it does, then you have a pretty good indication that either the heavier head weight messed things up or the slightly lighter total weight did.

  6. HI Tom,
    I recently reshafted some irons with DGSL S300 (soft-stepped). Shafts went from about 128g to 105g. They go pretty well but sometimes the clubheads feel quite heavy and I get a sensation of the heads turning over. When I loose-fitted the shafts and grips, the SW was around C9 so I had to add about 8g of tip weights to produce a D3 SW. Is it possible for the tip weights to create an effect where the heel slows and the toe travels faster? Or is the 8g of tip weight not normally enough to cause such an effect? Can too heavy a SW cause a tendency to hook, all other things being equal?

    • JOHN:

      No possible way that 8g of weight in the heel side of a clubhead can change any of the rotational parameters of the club on the downswing through impact. it is far too small of a mass to have any effect on that. It only has the effect of increasing head weight feel as you are noticing and a VERY slight effect on moving the CG about 1/16″ to 5/64″ toward the heel side of the face centerline. Too heavy of a swingweight usually shows up either as just plain more work/fatigue after many shots, or it can sometimes cause the golfer to struggle with rotating the face back to impact and thus causing a push, not a hook. If you feel the clubs are head heavy but you pull or hook the ball, then this can be the shaft weight being light for your tempo, the lies being too upright for your swing.

  7. Hi Tom,
    Good to know that somebody knows this stuff properly. I am currently playing irons with DGSL S300, soft-stepped. At 63 I am ready to move into the same shaft in R300. I do like this shaft. Current irons are set at D3 which sometimes feel a bit head-heavy and I sometimes turn the head over and hook it. I know it’s not the flex as my 6-iron swing speed is only around 83mph. I carry my 7-iron about 155yds.
    What SW would you suggest for the move to DGSL in R300? I know this is a case of trial and error but do you think D1 could be a good place to start?

    • Johnno:

      In all honesty, if the measurement of your 6 iron speed of 83mph is accurate, that is enough speed to be able to play the S3 in this shaft. Only if you were 83mph and very smooth and passive with your tempo would that speed perhaps not be matched up well to the S3 flex. At the sa me time, a 155yd carry with a 7 iron is still enough for the S3. But a lot of this decision has to rest in your FEEL preferences, acquired from many years of hitting shots and reacting to what you sense, see and feel. First indication that a shaft is too stiff is when the feeling of impact with the shaft that is one flex softer is noted by you as being markedly more solid feeling at impact. When the S begins to feel a little less solid or boardy, that is your best indicator. Head weight/swingweight wise, what you want to do if you do decide to go with the R3 is to start with your 5, 6 or 7 iron only – re shaft ONE iron only to start. Build it to be D0 and get some lead tape. Head to the range, get warmed up with your other irons and then start hitting shots with the one re shafted iron. hit 3-4 shots, add a strip of lead tape that is 4″ long anywhere on the back of the head. Hit 3-4 more shots and start noting the sensation of head weight feel during the swing and especially at the start of the downswing. What you want to do is hit shots, add weight, hit shots add weight, until you get to the point that you definitely sense that the headweight feel is beginning to be too heavy, more work to swing through impact than you wish. Then back off a strip or two of the lead tape and play with this one iron for at least 2 other ball striking sessions to get a better sense over time for the head weight feel. From that you’ll know and you can measure the swingweight once you feel good about the test club to have your baseline for building the others.

      Hope this helps,

  8. I’m learning a lot that’s thanks you your blogs Tom, I recently hit a friends bladed irons. I couldn’t believe how light they were compared to mine (TM mc/mb forged). This got me thinking about my MOI matching attempt by increasing swingweights as the clubs got shorter. I changed the lengths gaps to 3/8″ and made 0.6 swing weight steps with SW increasing towards the shorter irons. It didn’t feel right as my pw was D4 and because of the already sizeable heads on the TM mb short irons were too heavy. So I do see now that overall weight is more critical and then work the swing weight to suit. Would that be a better approach Tom?

    • SEAN
      In trying to do a form of MOI matching by using the 3/8″ increment with 0.6 swingweight point progressive increase, you have to first focus on finding what is the swingweight of your longest iron because every other iron goes up in swingweight from there. You need to find what swingweight with that longest iron is heavy enough that you definitely can feel the presence of the head during the swing, but not too light so you can’t feel the head during the swing. From there you can go up in the 0.5 to 0.6 swingweight increments. I always spoke about a half a swingweight progression because an 0.6 progression is unrealistic to achieve due to lack of measurement precision with most swingweight scales. If you do that and you have the longest iron at that perfect head weight feel but the wedges are too heavy, then more than likely you would be advised to just manually swingweight each iron, one at a time, the same way you did the longest iron. hit shots and find that headweight feel on your own that you sense is not too head heavy and definitely not too head light. And live with that for the swingweight progression of all irons in the set.


  9. hi tom, thank you for shaing your wealth of experience and knowledge. i recently tipped a stiff driver shaft and is playing around the 43.7 mark, i have experimented and added lead tape to the club head, the tape is distributed evenly to bring the club to a d3 swingweight it feels perfect producing consistent control and much better distance results than before. now that i have found the optimal swingweight for me, i would like to tidy things up by removing the tape and add the weight elsewhere i.e. where you can’t see it.. so my question is this: does the weight have to be on the club head or does using tungsten powder in the shaft have the same effect? thanks – andrew

    • ANDREW
      It depends on how much weight was added to get the club up to the proper level of headweight feel for your swing tempo and timing. Adding weight down the shaft puts all the weight on the very heel side of the head. That has the effect to shift the center of gravity slightly toward the heel side of the head. The more weight in the heel area of the head, the more the CG moves in that direction off the center of the face. And the more the CG moves off the center of the face, the less solid the head can start to feel when you hit the shot on center. But normally it takes quite a lot of weight piled in the shaft to do this. Our rule of thumb from all our years of work is to not worry about weight added in the shaft or in the heel side of the head if the weight added is not more than 10 grams. But I would rather see weight in the shaft be a solid tip weight and not powder down the shaft. Since almost all drivers are made with graphite shafts, and since all graphite shafts have an ID core diameter that is pretty small, this means lead powder extends farther up the shaft. Not to mention something has to be jammed down the shaft to keep the powder down there from moving up and down the shaft. Corks are tough to find at that small of a diameter to use in graphite shafts.

      Bottom line, if you can live with the lead tape on the outside of the head, leave it and forget about it and enjoy the feel and performance of the driver. It’s not worth the work to put it in the shaft.

  10. Hello Tom

    I know this is an older article and all that but I just wanted to thank you for your great work, I just purchased a swing weight scale and have started to work on adjusted my set to my needs and with your help and knowledge it was easy, I am amazed at the difference my cut down to 44.5 inch G30 Driver works now with the lead tape added, it is fantastic !! Now I am working on the entire set one club at a time !!

    • Thanks Wayne, we’re very pleased that we could be of assistance in your work with fine tuning the swing feel and length of your clubs.


  11. Hi Tom, I need your expert advice since i read a lot of blog from everywhere. I used to grip down on my Driver like two inches, i always have a good contact hit it on the sweet spot most of the time like hitting fairways 90% most of the time… Then I decided to have a butt cut on the shaft ( from 45″ to 44″) which on the first few hits i cannot find the right tempo until lately after a couple of hitting more on the driving range i finally dialled in and i think i hit it a little more further that i used to be. My concern is they said i lost like 6 swingspeed to my driver. Do I need to put it back to it’s original swingweight, or will I hit more furhter bringing it back to D2 or should i keep my swingweight to C9? Right now my configuration is 44″ Diamana 70g with Lamkin crossline regular grip. Thanks in advance

    • KEITH

      Anytime you shorten the length of an existing club, you have to head to the driving range with a roll of lead tape to hit test the club as you add a little weight at a time. What you are trying to do is to get to the point that you can feel the head weight presence during the swing enough that it is not too light and it is not too heavy feeling to you. This can sometimes be done in one hit session on the range, sometimes you need to come back a 2nd day to see if the weight addition you did on day one still provides the right swing feel for the feeling of the head during the swing.

      It is not quite as simple as just saying to add weight to put the swingweight back where it was before the length cut. For some golfers that works fine, for others not. So in the end it is always best to do the weight addition on a trial and experimentation basis. But for most golfers, it is not good at all to ignore adding weight back to the head after a length cut. For most players, doing that results in getting too quick with the tempo because they can;t feel the presence of the head during the swing from which to achieve their best swing tempo, timing, rhythm.

      Hope this helps,

    • Hi Tom , thank you very much for your response and for having to cross upon your blogs rather than reading and listening every piece of advice from people or even golf store staff trying to be “knowledgeable” but instead of making good it makes things even worst. Anyway your really right, that at the end of the day every golfer is different from one another, it’s realllly how you feel it that gives you the best swing tempo, timing, rhythm.

      I tried adding putting weights (vice versa) from factory swingweight set which is D2 and little by little deducting weights until I finally dialled in the best feel I can. For now, I am very happy with the swingweight that I have ( after cutting the shaft )i can still add up to 2g. with the same feel on it. anything higher that that I felt it heavy and stiff and it slows down my swing tempo. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the advice. 😉

      Keith S:)

  12. Tom

    I came across your 12 myths and was really impressed with it. I have recently been fitted for a set of Callaway XR OS irons with an Recoil 760 F2 shaft. I am short and stocky (overweight) and my average swing speed with a 8 iron on trackman is around 70mph (range is between 68 – 75 ). The fitter said he felt I needed to move to graphite as it is lighter and I will get a better flight. I previously played Ping I3 OS with a stiff shaft. I’ve got the new clubs and I cannot feel the club head. They do not feel the same as the one I was fitted with. I went a professional club fitter who said they were were weighing C6 in swing weight. This appears to be the standard set up for women. I am 55yrs old and strong although as I mentioned slow swing speed. Does it sound right that C6 is approopriate. The recommended swing weight for graphite shafts on the Callaway OS irons is D0. My old clubs were D2 but as I said were stiff shafts and I have had them for 15 years and I have got older and larger so although they still go straight I did not get much elevation with them hence my desire to change.

    I would very much appreciate your thoughts as although my swing speed might increase with graphite shafts and lighter clubs I cannot feel where the club head is?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards

    • ROBERT:

      It sounds very much that the original clubmaker who installed the graphite shafts into the Ping irons was not very experienced and did not know that he would need to add weight to the clubhead to bring the swingweight up high enough to allow you to feel the clubhead when you swing the clubs. Anytime that any golf club undergoes a change from a heavy shaft to a light shaft, the swingweight automatically drops at a rate of 1 swingweight point for each 7 to 8 grams that the graphite shaft is lighter than the previous shaft.

      To make the PING irons work better for you, most certainly you need to increase the head weight, which will increase the swingweight and allow you to feel the presence of the head during the swing. This is a basic premise in clubfitting – the swingweight or what we call the head weight feel has to be fit and matched to the golfer’s combination of strength + swing tempo + his own personal preference for what he perceives from experience to be too light vs too heavy. When the headweight feel is too light, the golfer will struggle to maintain proper swing tempo and timing, and more typically a higher number of off center hits and off line shots will result. You need more head weight for sure for these irons to work for you.


  13. Tom, After wasting $900 on a useless set of irons, Jamie F in Delray Beach gave me your “12 Myths” pamphlet to read and I will never, ever, buy another golf club in one of those big box stores again. My golf buddies used to laugh at my 12 degree driver…not any more!! Jamie made me [each of] a Wishon driver and 3W and I LOVE them. Hybrids are on the way! Thanks so much for educating all of us as to what really matters. Hit ’em long and straight! JJ

    • JJ

      Very glad to hear that you found Jamie to work with for your fitting needs. He’s a real professional, really knows the craft and the knowledge and is a real credit to the profession of custom clubmaking and fitting. It’s a LOT of fun for me to be able to hear from you and know that you are enjoying this great game a little more thanks to having taken the leap of faith to work with a clubmaker like Jamie. Thanks much !!


  14. Dear Tom,
    My tempo has always been quick, yet I am not strong and long. My 7 iron goes for about 155 yards and driver goes for about 240 yards.

    The funny thing is, I prefer woods with much higher swing weight than irons: driver, 310g, SW D3.5; 4 wood, 338g, SW D5; hybrid, 372g, SW D5; irons, NSpro 950, SW D2; wedge, DG s200, SW D4. My fairway wood and hybrid have swing weight even higher than wedges.

    I don’t think this set up comply with the MOI fitting at all, and the pro I know told me this cannot be appropriate. But it just feels right.

    The only theory I have is that I am relatively weak and therefore prefer lighter shaft and total weight for woods. But the quick tempo of mine request heavier swing weight to stabilize my swing especially for lighter weighted woods.

    Does my setup make sense to you?

    Many thanks for comment on my long time doubt!

    • Stan
      Absolutely what you describe for your weight feel preferences is very normal and correct for you. The golfer’s swing tempo/force is the most important factor to determine what the weight feel of the clubs should be. And it is very true that no matter the golfer’s clubhead speed, if their tempo is quick and fast, they usually will do better with swingweights tht are higher than normal. You’re doing the right thing because you have arrived on this decision for a higher swingweight by experimenting to see what feels the best to you and your swing tempo.


  15. Tom,
    Very helpful as always. I just received a set of Ping i25s, was fit into s300, 1/4″ short. Was between s300 and x100 soft, but I’m not getting any younger so I errred on side of softer. (7i SS 87, fast tempo, late release).

    I’m losing a lot of distance – 7 iron is 150 vs 160- and 4 iron is 175 vs used to hit 5 iron 180-185 (so almost a two club loss on long irons). Good news is I am striking it well, but so short. I checked the swing weight of the Ping and they are C8. My Mizuno JPX800 Pro with x100ss are D5. Can this be causing the distance loss? What’s my best bet to at least find middle ground? Ping said they can get them to D0 or D1 but not higher. Am I stuck with tungsten rubber stickers? I’ve read they are non-conforming.

    • RON

      The first and most critical point to check in any investigation of why one iron set hits the ball shorter for any golfer is to check the loft angles of the heads in both sets. This of course is much easier said than done because it requires both specialized equipment to do that accurately coupled with proper training to know how to fixture the heads to measure their lofts. There are no standards in golf for any specs on clubs including loft. Add to that the fact that all clubheads have a +/- tolerance for every spec in their manufacture, and it can be very easy for there to be loft differences between iron sets which account for distance differences. While it is slightly possible the 1/4″ shorter length of the i25 set could be contributing to this, for most golfers a drop of 1/4″ is insignificant to distance. Clubhead speed with same number irons in both sets is another place to look to see if there is something about the i25’s that could be bringing about a lower clubhead speed than with the other set – the swingweight difference could be a part of any clubhead speed difference. For this you need to be tested on a good, reliable launch monitor such as a TrackMan or FlightScope or GC2.


  16. Hi Tom,

    I a 45 years old recreational golfer, driver speed 102, and I struggle with an early release (I can only hold it to 8 o’clock) I have been taking lessons for the past 6 months to correct the issue with little improvement. I have been fit a few years ago with custom clubs, my 6i is 37.50″, 66.0″ lie, 29.0 degree loft, + .128 offset, 2 swing weight. Cobra 2300 I/m, Cobra TT dynamic F115 Stiff, 1/32 oversize grip.

    I am obsessed with correcting my problem and it occurred to me that maybe my swing weight is too heavy and I am not strong enough to hold my lag. Do you feel changing swing weight could help my lag/release? Thank you.


    • FRANK:

      First off, a release at 8 o’clock is not really an early release. Early release is more like 10 to 9 oclock so you are midway to ever so slightly later than midway for your release if you do begin that release at the 8 o’clock point. From the research I have done in this area, I can’t tell you the definitive “this is the way it is for all golfers” information on this, but I can tell you that it is possible for golfers who are trying to hold the release later in the downswing to get a little remedial assistance when using much higher swingweights in the clubs. The reason is because more weight on the end of the shaft creates its own resistance to the flipping motion of the right hand to release the wrist cock angle earlier.

      However, one other thing I have learned in all my fitting research is that the human body has an innate ability to adjust to certain changes in golf clubs – not all, but some changes. one of these is weight. It’s not uncommon for a golfer to move into a substantially heavier club and in the first week of hitting shots, the club does feel more heavy than what the golfer had. But by the 4th week it doesn’t stand out as feeling as much heavier as it did initially. So this means if a golfer does increase headweight substantially to try to help him have more head weight resistance to flipping the club too early, he really needs to focus on consciously trying to hold that release longer as much as possible in the first two weeks of use of the much more head heavy club so he has the chance to re groove the release from his efforts before the body begins to adjust to that heavier headweight.

      So what I would advise would be to take one club of at least 5 iron length or longer, crank up the headweight by at least 25 grams with gobs of lead tape on the head, and then go out and practice trying to hold that wrist cock angle a little longer with this substantially heavier headweight. And see if you can get a later release change before the body adjusts and gains the ability back to let the right hand flip the club too early.


  17. Hi again Tom-
    So- if I understand you, I could switch from my PX 6.0 (120g) w a swing weight of D2 to the DG S300 SL (106g) and up my swing weight to a D4 and have an overall lighter club with the stronger swing weight. If so, I’m thinking that just might be the ticket.

    Thanks again for your time,
    Randy S.

    • Yes for sure, but do realize that a difference of only 14g in the shaft weight would end up being only a 10g drop int he total weight once you added the extra weight to the head to get the swingweight up to D4. 10g is a very slight change in the total weight that not many golfers can detect as being lighter feeling during the swing. However, the move to the D4 swt with the lighter shaft should lower the balance point on the club so you should sense that there is a greater headweight feel during the swing. And if that matches to your sense of preferred feel, then you are well ahead in consistency potential.


  18. Hi Tom- I’ve got a question for you. Let me give you a little background. I’ve got a quick swing speed (driver- 105, 92 for my 6 iron) and a fast tempo. I’ve currently using irons rated at D2. I don’t have a good feeling for the head location during my swing. Do you think it would be beneficial to go a D3 or possibly D4. I don’t want to go overboard cuz I’m not getting any younger (I’m 56). Thanks for your time, I appreciate your input and look forward to hearing from you.

    • RANDY

      Based on the lengths of the clubs being good for you, most definitely when you can’t really find or feel the clubhead during the swing, especially from the transition though the downswing, that is a definite indicator that the headweight is not high enough to match to your natural sense of timing, tempo, rhythm. But increasing the swingweight by only 1 point is not typically enough to deliver an improvement in head weight feel for better timing. A 2 pt increase is considered the starting point. So get the lead tape, head to the range and with one mid iron and one short iron, start adding tape and hitting shots. Add tape, hit 4-5 shots, think about the head feel and your tempo and timing. Add more, hit 4-5 shots and see if you can get to a point where you sense that the headweight is starting to just feel a little TOO much for your timing and tempo. Then back some of the tape off and hit a few more shots. Then wait 2-3 days and get back out to the range AND ON THE COURSE and see if the first day’s experimentation still feels like there is enough weight out there but not too much. Then measure the swingweight of the two irons and use that as a guide for the others.

      Do also remember that if you are a little worried about going too heavy at your age, most definitely you can switch to a graphite shaft to drop the TOTAL WEIGHT and then you can put more weight on the head to get that headweight feel up there for your tempo – but still have the total weight lighter from the graphite shaft weight. No question it is possible to make a head heavy feel with a lighter total weight and not have the light total weight cause you to be too quick. I made that switch in my own irons 2 yrs ago. I’m 64 now, still have an 82mph iron speed, but my 115g steel iron shafted irons were just starting to feel a little too heavy halfway through a bucket of balls. So I switched to an 85g graphite iron shaft but then increased the swingweight over what it was with the steel shafts. Result is the total weight is lower by 24g but the headweight feel is plenty for my own stronger transition move.

  19. My 4 iron was a little inconsistant as I lost the odd shot right (mainly on a tight par 3 with trouble right). My club fitter reckoned the heel was catching the ground and closing the face. He then flatened the lie to 59degrees and suggested I make it the same length as my 5 iron which i hit well.

    The problem has got worse so I swapped out the shaft and put my 3 iron shaft in to make it more flexible (hoping for a draw). The swingweight is D0 now and same length as my 5 iron (38.25″).I am 5’7″ and agressive swinger, would going higher in swingweight work my middle irons work great their all D2.5.

    • Sean
      Please understand that without actually being there to see you hit your 5 iron vs this 4 iron makes it difficult to really know what the reason for the inconsistency with the 4 iron is from. As such I can only make educated guesses about this based on my experience in fitting research. First thing I would do is to accurately check the specs of the 5 iron, especially for the swing weight and the total weight and lie angle. Then from knowing this, I would set up the 4 iron so it was in the proper sequence of these three specs and then watch from there what happens over 3-4 different ball striking sessions with the two different irons.

      If the inconsistency with the 4 iron continues, then this tends to indicate that something about that little bit more length of the 4 iron when combined with your specific swing characteristics means that the length and the lower loft of the 4 iron is just taking you over the edge with regard to you being able to make the same swing consistency with that 4 iron as you have with the 5. Which then would indicate a suggestion to think about creating a 4 hybrid club with the proper synched specs up from the 5 iron and seeing then if the change in the center of gravity location with the difference in face progression of the 4 hyb vs 4 iron would be able to help.

      Sorry I can;t offer more, but I will hope this helps.

    • I am the same height 5’7, this may sound wild but this all may just be ball position and set up issue… if the 4 iron is within the specs of you set, it’s just a little on the longer side if you are 5’7″, you can try to move the ball up in you stance more than you normally would, and stand with a tall posture, taller than normal, this is key because when you make your swing, it is impossible to come up out of your spine angle because you are preset in a tall posture, so when you make your strike, you should be hitting down on the ball as a true iron shot, and the club face has a little more time to square up and straighten out your shot…also, only swing about 85% on these shots until you get it working..I also put 3 extra wraps of tape under my right hand on my 4 iron to get a little more feel..oh no the secrets out! good luck…

    • I have since figured out the issue. I bought my own loft lie machine golfworks. Turns out I was going the wrong way with the lie angle so now my 4 iron is 62.5deg instead of 59deg (no wonder I was losing the ball right). Also I used 3/8″ increments on my club lengths so the 4 iron is shorter than standard.

  20. Hi Tom,

    I have recently built a set of clubs to what I feel are perfect for me, however listening to comments about swing weights from other professionals I work with, I am now questioning if I have indeed made a wrong decision.

    My 6-iron swing speed is usually 90-92mph and I play with Project X 6.0 shafts, I have weighted my clubs to D3.5 and was wondering in your opinion, is this too heavy for my style, would I be better suited to a more standard D2 set up throughout?

    Kindest regards


    • Lee
      The worst thing a golfer can do is to let doubt creep into his mind from comments from others WHEN THERE WAS NO DOUBT IN YOUR MIND BEFORE. You said in your comment that the feel of the clubs are perfect for you. If you have felt the clubs feel good and if they perform well, and if you have not had any complaints or problems with them, then leave them alone and quit listening to what others have to say about what weighting you should use. They are not you. They do not have YOUR sense of feel. They cannot possibly know what feels good to YOU. And if it helps, for many players with a high swing speed such as you have, using higher swingweight clubs most certainly is VERY NORMAL. The purpose of swingweight is to find a head WEIGHT FEEL so that when you swing the clubs, you feel the head enough so that your tempo, timing and swing rhythm can be consistent and repeatable. If you like the headweight feel of these clubs and you are not having problems with your tempo or timing, then they are fine.


  21. I find that with a higher swingweight, my tempo improves tremendously. I used to have my irons around D0 to D1, and when I had them moved to D5, I noticed a tremendous “calming” of tempo. Same with the driver…originally it was C9, moved to D1.5, and now it is all the way up to D4.5. I am naturally a very tense golfer, with a quick tempo. I have a tendency to push the shaft with my thumb on the downswing and lose lag and distance if the clubs feel too light in swingweight, and even overall weight. With higher swingweights across all clubs, this affect is minimized without any sacrifice in swingspeed at all. Center strikes are also improved. It’s amazing how light clubs really throw me off. Does this make sense with more tense/faster tempo golfers? i.e. they usually benefit from heavier clubs and more swingweight?

    • Matt
      Good for you that you have discovered part of the relationship between club weighting and the golfer’s inherent or learned sense of timing, rhythm and feel for golf clubs. we’ve been teaching this relationship for years in our books and articles from our research and there is no question whatsoever that when club weighting is properly matched to each golfers own unique sense of feel, consistency and swing repeatibility does improve. But unfortunately, since the mainstream of the golf equipment industry continues to pursue a business model of selling standard made clubs off the rack so they can achieve the highest volume of sales, that means many golfers are never going to understand how their clubs could be fit much better to them and their own unique combination of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. But we’re pleased to hear that you discovered this relationship on your own and worked it out to the point of improvement in your game.


  22. Hey Tom, Great stuff from you on this…I found through this testing process that my driver, my 5 wood, my 3 & 4 hybrids all play better at around C9 or D1, D2…i believe this is because most of the time with these clubs, the angle of attack should pretty much be somewhere between 0 degrees, to +2 to +4 degrees with driver, more closer to 1 to 2 degrees with the hybrids & woods, so the lighter swingweight of the clubs play fine…but when you move to irons, where you hit the ground and take divots and cut through grass, and dirt, a heavier swingweight plays as a heavy duty tool for slicing and punching balls on their way…my irons play at around D4 or D5..and i have a 60 degree wedge that plays at D7…i go from driver as lightest fastest club to lob wedge the heavy duty close up club for pure touch & feel around the greens where it counts!…

    • BOB:
      Interesting that from your experiences you report with your own headweight feel in your clubs, you have in essence somewhat tripped across a weighting that is somewhat similar to how MOI matching of clubs will work. Progressive increase of the swingweight is a form of weighting related to what MOI matching is. As clubs get shorter, that progressive decrease in length means that keeping the same swingweight does not allow them to offer back the same type of swing feel for your tempo and timing. But progressively increasing the swingweight does allow that to happen more closely so your timing and overall consistency and repeatability is enhanced. Good stuff and best wishes to you in this great game!


  23. Should all my clubs be D1?


      The swingweight of each golfer’s clubs must be matched to each golfer’s individual characteristics of downswing tempo, downswing aggressiveness and any pre determined preference for a specific amount of weight feel in the head that the golfer has developed based on previous experience with different clubs. WHen the swingweight is properly fit and chosen for each golfer, the result is that the golfer has a far better chance of achieving their highest level of swing tempo consistency and swing repeatability. But because of differences among golfers in their downswing tempo, downswing aggressiveness and any pre determined preference for a specific amount of weight feel in the head, what becomes the ideal swingweight for one golfer is not going to be the ideal swingweight for another golfer.

      Swingweight is NOT an absolute measurement of weight, as grams or ounces are. It is an expression of the ratio of weight in the head end of a golf club to the weight in the grip end of the club, based on the length, the shaft weight, the grip weight and the head weight of each club. So that means a swingweight of say, D1 in one club will not have the same exact headweight feel as D1 in another club unless the length, shaft weigh, head weight and grip weight in both clubs are exactly the same.

      What that all means is that each golfer should either experiment on their own with lead tape on the clubhead to see if they can find the swingweight that offers them the best, most comfortable feel for their individual swing characteristics. Or, the golfer should find a good clubfitter with whom to work and let the clubfitter guide them in the selection and determination of what would be the best swingweight to fit their swing.


  24. Tom, Had a club maker construct me a set of clubs that feel a little light for my swing.
    I have been using these clubs for 2 years now & just can’t get used to the swing weight.
    The builder claims I need leasons & he built them to try to increase my ball speed.
    It hasn’t happened. Can any builder really be trusted to get me in the right heads & shafts to give me what I need, not want?


    • Louis

      If after playing the clubs several times have noted that they need more weight in the head to allow them to not feel too light to you and your swing tempo, then they should have weight added to get to that point. You are within your rights as a customer to talk to the clubmaker again and tell him that it is the norm in custom clubmaking for the clubmaker to do the final adjustments to get the clubs to where they are what you want and what you NEED. If he refuses, then I will ask you to do two things:

      1. Send US the clubs and we will bring the weight of the heads up to the point you want them to be. If that ends up being the resolution, let us know by email at contact@wishongolf.com and we’ll let you know our address to send the clubs. If you do have to end up sending us the clubs, we will want to know as much as possible about how much weight to add. To find that out here is what I would suggest, if the clubmaker refuses to help. Get some lead tape. You might try first to ask the pro at your course if he has some and if so, to give you about a 12″ long strip. Most lead tape for golf clubs comes on a half inch wide roll, so you would be asking him to tear off a strip that is 12″ long. Start adding the lead tape anywhere you want on one of the clubs that feels too light to you. Start by adding one 4″ strip. Hit 5-6 balls and see what you think of the feel. If still too light, add another 4″ strip and hit more balls. When you get the one club to the point the weight feels better, leave the lead tape on the head when you box up the clubs to send to us. We’ll do the measurements on that club and know from it, what to do to the other clubs to get them to be the same swing feel.

      2. If the clubmaker refuses to do the alterations to your clubs to make them right, tell us the name of this clubmaker. I will want to know who it is.

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention so that we can do all we can to help.


  25. I switched out my iron shafts to Aerotech 80 grams. Ping irons 3-9 come in stock at a D 1 swing weight. With these new shafts they were in the C8 to C9 range. I added lead tape to the center cavity back and got them back to D1. All feels good. At C8 I could not feel the club head and got faster on the downswing.

  26. Hey Tom, wanted to say hello & I’m happy the company is still going strong. I’ve been busy but will be back to club fitting very soon!

    • THANK YOU Phillip! Best wishes to you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *