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John Renslow: Get into Golf is here to help

John Renslow

It’s human nature. When something goes wrong, or does not go as planned, we look for something (or someone) to blame. It is so ingrained in our psyche that we don’t even have to make a conscious effort. We say, “Hey, where did you put my keys?” Then we realize the keys are in our hand.

Now when it comes to the game of golf, we won’t necessarily blame it on an individual. Although I have heard folks grope for accusations like, “So and so made noise in my backswing” or “I could see her walking toward off the tee before I hit my shot”. These are categorized along with, “The dog ate my homework”.

But, for most of us, passing the buck is much more subtle. Rather than a pointed curse at your driver, we just state that we need a new one.

Of course, it can’t be us. Not only would it be an admission of guilt, but the corrective measures would require quite a bit of work. We might even have to go get a golf lesson. Perish the thought. (We’ll talk more about this later, but I continue to be amazed that folks will spend $1,000 on golf clubs and not spend $100 learning to use them more effectively).

Once again, whether you are in genuine need or are simply looking for an easy out, Get Into Golf is here to help.

With all of the amazing improvements in equipment over the last 30 years or so, there are a few things that remain from centuries ago.

Today’s topic is “gear effect”. Have you ever wondered why the face of your irons are flat, but the driver is curved? Not only does it curve from one end to the other (heel to toe), it also has an arc from top to bottom (vertical).

This curvature is also known as bulge and is designed to mitigate poor results from off center contact.

You see, when your golf ball meets the clubface, the clubhead is balanced to be hit in the middle. If this occurs as planned, all is well. However, if the ball is not in the middle of the face, the clubhead will wobble or oscillate.

Think of the face of the club as a gear and the ball as a gear. When the clubhead makes contact, it causes the ball to spin. When the ball hits off center, it makes a bad situation worse.

The bulge on the clubface helps to reduce our bad situation.

If you hit the ball closer to the end or toe of the club, the face will impart a sidespin that causes the ball to hook. To counter that, the bulge in the clubface will tend to push the ball, opposite of the spin.

This would also be true for shots hit off the heel. The ball is spinning to the right, but the bulge will push the ball to the left.

Of course, degrees of severity will challenge this compensation of gear effect. If we simply make a less than perfect golf swing, the bulge can only do so much.

I don’t want to muddy the waters. Yet, it is important to continue your education and become more knowledgeable.

Not everyone is familiar with gear effect and the bulge on a driver face. But, I am compelled to make sure that you are on the cutting edge of golf technology, even if the technology is hundreds of years old.

Or, if you’re just looking for an excuse on that next poor shot, blame it on the gear effect.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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