Rational Blog: Thoughts on Golf and the World
I spent two full days with legendary club maker Leith Anderson at his Indy Golf Lab, and Biv Wadden, founder of Wadden Golf Academy, last week. Indy Golf Lab is located in Zionsville, Indiana, just upstairs at Correct2Compete.
Leith has earned his place among the most experienced club fitters in the world by completing over 10,000 personal fittings and building over 2,000 sets of clubs by hand. He has been recognized as a Golf Digest “Top 100 Clubfitter” in both California & Indiana and he has authored hundreds of articles about custom club fitting and club making. All that experience just deepens Leith’s interest in the mysteries of custom club fitting. He loves working with every client to find their true “magic clubs.”
Biv Wadden is a Class A Teaching Professional with the PGA of America, a Level 3 SAM Putt Lab Instructor, and a Level 9 Certified Clubfitter with the Association of Golf Club Fitting Professionals (AGCP). He provides golf instruction and custom club fitting to his students in the western and northern suburbs of Chicago.
Over the two days, we matched the golf clubs of 9 players, varying in abilities from high handicappers to PGA Teaching Professionals. Eight of the players were tested on a FlightScope Launch Monitor before and after the BioMatch Fitting. All eight subjects showed an instant substantial improvement in dispersion and consistency in distance. One teaching professional showed a dispersion that was just unreal. All subjects ended up with a very consistent maximum ball flight height (apex) through the set of clubs. Some of the players only had a small increase in distance while others had a 15-yard increase in Driver Carry. As their sub-conscious minds get used to having one consistent swing for all the clubs, the test subjects will continue to improve effortlessly.
The BioMatch algorithm optimizes the weight of each club to give a coherent release pattern which results in consistent ball flight through the set of clubs. Rational Golf LLC is appointing BioMatch Fitting Centers Worldwide. Interested parties may contact [email protected] for details.
Rational Golf LLC of Florida has just signed a distributor agreement with STA International Performance Center of Shenzhen, China. STA International Performance Center will deliver the revolutionary BioMatch One-Swing Golf Club Matching system directly to its customers as well as to golfers throughout China through a network of club fitters. Through BioMatch, STA International Performance Center will provide more accuracy and distance to all its customers, and thereby improve its competitiveness. Club Fitters interested in joining the revolution can contact Frank Chen, CEO of STA International Performance Center, at [email protected]
STA International Performance Center is now trained and fully equipped to implement the patented BioMatch method to its customers. Frank Chen has visited Rational Golf in Florida on two occasions to secure the deal and to learn the BioMatch system. STA International Performance Center are stocking weights and MOIG Instruments and is now set to revolutionize the club fitting business in China.
The founder of Rational Golf LLC of Florida and inventor of the BioMatch system, Gisle Solhaug, is excited to work with STA International Performance Center as golf is booming in China. Gisle can be reached on [email protected]
Have you ever wondered what #Swingweight is, how it came about, and if it is still relevant?
Matching of golf clubs has been considered the Holy Grail of golf since the beginning of golf club manufacturing about 500 years ago. A properly matched set of clubs will provide superior consistency with regard to ball flight, direction, and distance. Golf enthusiasts have explored a few non-scientific methods over the last hundred years, most notably the Swingweight method, still used by the vast majority of golfers today. The golf industry seems to have given up on the search for a scientific method of matching golf clubs.
Robert Adams developed the first known system for matching golf clubs within a set in the 1920s (US Patent No. 1,953,916, 1934). He measured Swingweight, the upward force at the grip end of the club when balanced on a point 14 inches down the shaft on a “Lorythmic” scale using an arbitrary system of letters A to G and numbers 0 to 9, with A0 being the “lightest”, and G9 the “heaviest”. Other scales were developed, but none proved popular.
If a set of clubs having the exact same grips and identical shafts trimmed incrementally are matched by Swingweight using only the clubhead for making adjustments, then the MOI of each club will be reasonably matched. This was the original intent of the Swingweight process. When the Swingweight method was introduced, it had some credibility as all the shafts in the set of clubs at the time were made out of wood. However, today, with the more modern shafts, that have purposeful variation along their length, and the tendency to mix and match a variety of shafts within a single set, the less likely it is that a Swingweight matched set is relevant as a method of matching golf clubs.
Another glaring flaw in the Swingweight system is that it does not take the properties of the golfer into consideration. It is an easy way for club manufacturers of matching golf clubs as they can produce standard clubs that will, supposedly, fit any golfer. There is, of course, no such thing as an off-the-shelf set of clubs that are fitted or matched to every golfer.
When Robert Adams was matching his set of golf clubs by waggling the golf clubs in a horizontal plane, he was attempting to measure the moment of inertia of the club around the center of the grip. The moment of inertia around the center of the grip is henceforth referred to as MOIG. One can imagine how difficult it would be to adjust all 13 clubs until they all felt like having the same MOIG. There were no instruments available for measuring the moment of inertia of golf clubs at the time. Robert Adams made an instrument that would provide an indication of whether all the clubs in a set of golf clubs would have similar MOIG. He found that all his balanced clubs would have similar upward force at the end of the grip when balanced over a fulcrum 14 inches from the grip end. As an instrument for measuring the MOIG is now available from Rational Golf LLC of Florida, it would be irrational to continue to use the approximate method of Swingweight. Matching by MOIG would be a step in the right direction for matching golf clubs; however, there are further complications to overcome. The mass of the clubs and the properties of the golfer´s body also plays a role.
The Swingweight Scale is meant as a tool for adjusting the clubhead weight of golf clubs for all the clubs in the set to have the same feeling, heft or MOIG. However, most club fitters misuse the scale today. Most club makers today believe that the Swingweight of a club will be reduced by adding weight to the grip end of the club. This is due to a flaw in the Swingweight instrument. As weight is added to the grip end, the device will show a lower Swingweight. However, the feeling of heft when waggling the club has not changed. By adding 50 grams of weight to the butt end of a typical 7-iron of Swingweight D2, the new Swingweight becomes C1. However, the heft or moment of inertia around the center of the grip has not changed. Thereby the intended property of the club as described by the Swingweight system has not changed. However, the measured Swingweight has changed considerably.
It seems that the industry, in general, pays less attention to Swingweight these days. The Swingweight of every club sold is specified, but it is not unusual to see a set consisting of clubs of various Swingweights. In general, every new development in golf club technology brings the golf club further away from the original clubs used for developing the Swingweight method.
The Swingweight method is an attempt to make all the clubs feel the same. There is, however, no reason to believe that a set of clubs that all feel the same would be superior. The ball really could not care less for what the golfer feels. To make all the clubs in a set feel the same, all the clubs would have to have identical MOIG, Mass, and center of gravity. If we are only considering how a club feels when swung, we may ignore the center of gravity as its role is insignificant. A better approach is to make a set of clubs in such a way that the golfer can apply the same consistent swing for all the clubs in the set.
If you still believe Swingweight is a good way of matching golf clubs, consider this:
1. The fact that Swingweight is not measured in a mathematical number system should be a dead giveaway that it is not a physical property. It is measured in a combination of a letter and a number. For example, C3 and D2. How much is C3 + D2? Or C3 divided by D2? Definitely not a physical property. Robert Adams, the inventor of the Swingweight scale, states in the patent document that “swing weight in itself is a rather indefinite quality”.
2. The Swingweight measuring scale does not have a zero. All physical properties have zero value in the absence of the property. For example, if you have 0 Kg of chocolate, you have no chocolate. Zero Kelvin means that there is no temperature, etc.
3. Physical properties can be related to any object. For example, temperature and mass can be determined for any known object or substance. It would, however, be difficult and meaningless to attempt to determine the Swingweight of a car, bus, or a pencil. Swingweight is not a physical property.
4. The Swingweight is related to the center of gravity of the golf club. However, the center of gravity of a golf club does not enter the equations describing the motion of a golf club being swung. It is only relevant when the golf club is static. Newton’s second law of circular motion states: Torque = Moment of Inertia x Angular Acceleration.
5. The Swingweight is measured around a balance point 14“ down the shaft. 14” is not a physical constant such as, for example, π (3.1416...). The selection of the balance point is random. If for example a balance point of 12” or 16” had been chosen instead, golf clubs would have been different, still completely wrong, but different. At one point in time, the golf community found that 12” worked better than 14” and the Swingweight scale was changed accordingly. Later it was changed back to 14”. Quoting, Robert Adams, the inventor of Swingweight “I have found in actual practice that satisfactory results are realized if the fixed point be located a distance of fourteen inches from the grip end”. He further explains “the preferred distance is approximately fourteen inches for golf clubs, although the distance may be varied somewhat from this preferred value.”
6. During one period the golf community would match the irons to one Swingweight and the Woods to a different Swingweight.
7. It does not make sense that the Swingweight is increased if one installs a lighter grip. Similarly, by adding weight to the grip end of a club the Swingweight becomes “lighter”. Adding a pound to the grip, and your Swingweight would become “superlight”.
8. Club fitters will normally advocate a high Swingweight to large, strong persons and a lower Swingweight to smaller and weaker persons. One way of increasing Swingweight is to install a lighter grip, thereby lowering the overall weight of the club.
It does not make sense that a smaller, weaker person should swing a heavier club than a large, strong person. Still, the clubs of skinny young girls are fitted with heavy grips. Then they are told to come back when they are stronger, and the club fitter will change to lighter grips.
9. There is no logical explanation for why a set of clubs that happens to have the same upward force at the grip end, when balanced on a fulcrum 14 inches from the grip end, should perform better than any other set of clubs.
10. It is commonly believed in the golf community that Swingweight was designed purely for golf clubs. According to the Swingweight patent (US patent no. 1,953,916) which is available for anyone to look up online, the Swingweight concept was designed for sports equipment in general. The patent document mentions sports like tennis and baseball.
It is absurd that today’s “high-tech” club heads, shafts and grips are assembled and matched by an obsolete method, creating a set of mismatched clubs. It is causing golfers to learn a different swing for every club. As each club needs to be steered differently, at a subconscious level, consistency and dispersion will suffer.
Congratulations on your second FedEx Cup Rory!
What few people know is that the Hammerhead technology TaylorMade use in his driver was provided by Rational Golf LLC.
Hammerhead is a way of conserving energy normally used to bend the shaft for propelling the ball. This increases the Smash Factor without violating the COR regulations.
TaylorMade has no ownership in this invention and the technology is available to Golf Club Manufacturers through Rational Golf.
Gregory Solhaug of Norway and IMG Golf Academy in Bradenton, Florida, just won his first AJGA tournament. The UHY / Celadon Championship hosted by Marina Alex was played at The Saint Andrew´s Golf Course in New York. The 16-year-old entered the final round T5, yet fired a 4-under-par 67 to erase a five-stroke deficit. Solhaug finished even-par-213, one stroke ahead of the field to win.
Gregory is one of several players from the IMG Academy that is taking advantage of the BioMatch one-swing golf club matching system available on www.rational-golf.com. BioMatch is a scientific way of matching your clubs so that you will have one consistent swing for all your clubs, resulting in better dispersion and score. Gregory was the only person playing with a matched set of clubs in this tournament.
Angelina Lei Ye just won the 2019 U.S. Girls´ Junior at Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Angelina beat Jillian Bourdage in the 36-hole match play final by birdying the 35th hole and winning one up.
Angelina is one of several players from the IMG Academy that is taking advantage of the BioMatch one-swing golf club matching system available on www.rational-golf.com. She is a very talented and hard-working young lady that is starting as a Freshman at Stanford University this fall. It will be very interesting to watch her progress as a College player.
Angelina is the second player from China to win a USGA Championship. “This tournament is the ultimate achievement of junior golf, so yeah, it's been a perfect ending,” said Ye, this was her final junior competition. With the victory, Angelina earned an exemption into the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.
EuroPro Tour player Harry Gillespie just had his clubs matched by Steve Low of Designer Golf UK. It will be interesting to follow his progress now that his clubs are matched according to our BioMatch method. Harry´s first tournament is The Shire on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour starting April 30. Thereafter he will play the EuroPro Tour through the 2019 season. Designer Golf UK is the Distributor of BioMatch in Europe.
Bradenton Country Club has reopened after being closed for restoration Since April 15. The iconic Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin CBE and Brian Lake, Director of Golf and PGA Professional led the upgrade project. The renovation includes some raised fairways to prevent flooding, improved playability and ease of maintenance while returning the course to its brilliant Donald Ross design.
As part of the upgrade, Bradenton Country club is now offering its golfers a sophisticated way of returning their golf clubs to past glory as well. An ultrasonic golf club cleaning machine provided by Rational Golf LLC of Bradenton restores the clubs. Golf clubs are cleaned by millions of imploding gas bubbles removing dirt at a microscopic level, giving your clubs that new feel.
Bradenton Country Club has its own club fitting studio operated by Brian Lake. Brian is trained in the revolutionary BioMatch method of matching golf clubs. The BioMatch algorithm creates a model of the golfer swinging each of his or her clubs and thereby determines the optimum weight of each club. The target weight is achieved by adding a specific proprietary weight inside the shaft at the grip end of each club. The method provides significantly better accuracy to golfers at all levels. BioMatch offers an effortless improvement to any golfer’s game. The process applies to any set of clubs, old or new. You can learn more about the technology at www.rational-golf.com.
If you want to be among the first to play the refurbished course, you may want to join the Manatee Chamber of Commerce annual golf tournament on Friday, December 7. See more information online at manateechamber.com/golf.
Gregory Solhaug, a 15-year-old student at the IMG Golf Academy in Bradenton won the Florida Junior Tour (FJT) organized by the Florida State Golf Association (FSGA) at Wyndemere Country Club in Naples this weekend. He shot a total of 4 under par after two days of tournament and won by 5 shots. Tiago Barni (on the left) finished in second place. Rounding out the top three was Leo Goosen (on the right).
Gregory is one of several players at the IMG Golf Academy that is taking advantage of the BioMatch one-swing golf club matching system. Gregory was the only player in the 45 strong field that has his clubs matched. The BioMatch system is available to all at www.rational-golf.com.
Bryson DeChambeau won the 2018 Dell Technologies Championship by two strokes over Justin Rose. Thereby winning two times in a row. DeChambeau is the only player in the field using a set of matched clubs. He will also be the only player in the Ryder cup playing a set of clubs scientifically matched. Anything we can learn from that?
The first thing one should conclude is that it makes sense to play with clubs that are matched so that you can apply the same consistent swing to all your clubs. This can never be achieved with a set of clubs matched by Swingweight. Every golfer needs to understand that Swingweight serves no purpose. It is now being used in a way that the inventor never intended. Every player on the PGA Tour, except Bryson DeChambeau, is suffering from it.
There are disadvantages, as well as advantages, of having all the clubs the same length. When all your clubs have the same mass, moment of inertia, and length you can apply the same consistent swing to all your clubs. Being able to use the same swing for all your clubs is a huge advantage. However, your "shorter" clubs will be less accurate, and your "longer" clubs will have a lower than optimal ball flight as compared to a standard set of club. BioMatch gives you the best of both worlds. You keep your standard length clubs while still being able to apply the same swing to all your clubs. And I mean all your clubs, not just your irons, as is the case with the single length irons.
The current success of single length irons proves that there is a need for matching of golf clubs. BioMatch fills this need without the golfer having to buy new clubs, and it does so for all the clubs in the bag.
BioMatch gives you deadly accuracy with every club in the bag. BioMatch is easily applied to your existing clubs by installing the recommended size of weight to the grip end of your clubs. The patented BioMatch application builds a model of your body swinging each of your clubs. Thereby, determining the optimum weight to be added to each of your clubs for your body, hands, and clubhead to be synchronized at impact. Your game will improve, effortlessly, once you have installed the weights.
Bryson DeChambeau's single length irons are all matched. The BioMatch method of matching golf clubs determines the optimum mass of each club in the set. The optimum mass is a function of club length, club moment of inertia, and lie angle as well as the properties of the golfer. As all these variables are identical for all of Bryson DeChambeau's irons, the BioMatch method will yield the same optimum weight for all his irons. As all his irons do have the same weight, they are matched according to the BioMatch method.
See www.rational-golf.com for details.