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Can Swing Weight Affect Performance? – Golf Myths Unplugged


What Is Swing Weight?

Every player has a favorite club in their bag.  You hit lots of good shots with it, and something about it just feels right.  A big part of that is swing weight.

Have you ever picked up a new club and immediately known that it wouldn’t work?  Again, swing weight.

So, whether you’re aware of it or not, you have a preferred swing weight.  The question we set out to answer is, does swing weight actually impact performance, or is it simply a personal preference like the color of your grips?


Swing Weight Defined

In simple terms, swing weight is how heavy the club head feels when you swing it.  More technically, it’s how much the club tips towards the club head when you balance the club on a fulcrum.

Swing weight is measured on a swing weight scale and is referenced with an alphanumeric code.  Swing weights range from A0 at the lightest to G10 at the heaviest, with most men’s clubs coming in around D0-D2 and women’s clubs weighing C5-C7.  The difference between two swing weights, D0 and D1 for example, is approximately two grams of weight in the club head.


The Myths

Myth #1 – Swing weight affects club and ball speed

Myth #2 – Swing weight affects launch and spin

Myth #3 – Swing weight affects distance

Myth #4 – Swing weight affects accuracy

Myth #5 – Swing weight affects the way you swing the club

Myth #6 – Golfers can only sense large changes in swing weight

Myth #7 – Stronger players need heavier swing weights

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How We Tested

We brought together six golfers with handicaps ranging from scratch to the low teens for this test.  Using the same six-iron, each player hit five shots at each of four different swing weights – D0, D3, D6, D9.  All the shots were recorded on Trackman.

All testing was done at and with the help of Club Champion.

The Results


In past tests, like our shaft weight study, we’ve shown mixed results for the theory of “lighter is faster.”  In the case of swing weight, however, there is a clearer relationship between weight and speed.  5 of our 6 testers saw their median club speed drop when moving from a swing weight of D0 (light) to D9 (heavy).  The six testers lost an average of 2.75 MPH – a very significant amount of club head speed, especially with an iron.  In the most extreme case, a tester lost nearly 5 MPH.

Interestingly, the relationship between swing weight and ball speed was not as clear.  5 of 6 testers lost ball speed when going from D0 to D9, an average loss of 2.2 MPH, however, two players posted their highest ball speeds at swing weights above D0 – one at D6 and one ad D9.

How is this possible?  Smash factor.  Smash factor measures how efficiently energy is transferred from the club to the ball, and 4 of 6 testers posted their highest smash factor with the heaviest club.  Simply put, heavier heads create more ball speed given the same swing speed which is why you see so many manufacturers making their club heads heavier.


While the differences weren’t as dramatic as they were with speed, swing weight did have an impact on each player’s launch and spin conditions.  With one exception, changing swing weight added or subtracted 2 degrees or less from a player’s launch angle, and spin changed within a range of a few hundred RPM.

The correlation between swing weight and higher or lower launch and spin appears to be entirely personal.  Three testers had their highest launch at D0, but the other three launched highest at D6 or D9.  Similarly, four testers had their lowest spin at D9, but the other two produced the most spin at D9.


Did you ever think that hitting your irons at least a club longer was just a matter of adding some lead tape?  It’s true.  As they worked through the range of swing weights, our testers saw their median distance change a minimum of 7 yards and a maximum of 39 yards!

Sadly, we’re about to disappoint anyone who was looking for a simple rule to use to gain these yards.  Half of our testers produced their longest shots with the lightest swing weight, but two were longest at D6 and the biggest gainer was longest at D9.  Just as with launch and spin, every player has their own swing weight that will produce maximum distance.


At this point, no one should be surprised that swing weight had a large impact on accuracy.  When looking at median accuracy, our testers’ shots moved as much as 18 yards from left to right as they worked through the different swing weights.  We had testers go from painting flag sticks at one swing weight to missing the target by 15 yards at another.

Looking at accuracy produced the most muddled picture of what swing weight is best.  One player was most accurate at D0, two were best at D3, another two were best at D6, and one produced his most accurate shots at D9.


Given the huge changes in speed, distance, and accuracy, you would be right to expect that changes in swing weight changed our testers’ club path, face to path relationship, and angle of attack.

4 of 6 testers swung the club more left with higher swing weights, two swung more right.  Most of the changes were significant – approximately two degrees – and one was an amazing eight degrees!

Predictably, face to path changes followed the same pattern: four were more right (fades and slices), two were more left (draws and hooks).  Again, all of the changes were noticeable, and a couple were extreme.

The results for angle of attack were mixed.  You might expect that the heavier head would lead to steeper, more negative angles of attack, but only two players showed that trend.  The other players had somewhat erratic patterns, but three of them registered their shallowest AoA with the D9 club.

Nick Sherburne, Club Champion’s Founder and Master Builder and Fitter, explained this result by saying that the body often responds to the heavier head by pulling up harder, resulting in the shallow AoA.


This myth was busted very early in our testing.  Though the change from D0 to D3 only represents six grams of added head weight, each of our testers found it immediately noticeable.  Not only did they comment on the change in feel without prompting, but the data shows that their swings knew the difference, too.

If you look at the data, you can see that any given change, whether it was from D0 to D3 or D6 to D9, can make a huge impact on the way the club performed.


Whether you measure strength in terms of club speed or the ability to pick up heavy things, this myth is busted.  Our fastest swinger hit the lightest club the farthest and hit a relatively light club the most accurately.  Similarly, our strongest tester had his swing go to pieces with heavier swing weights.

Just as with every other element that we’ve tested to date, swing weight is a personal thing that can’t be fit with simple rules of thumb.

The Takeaway

So what should you do with all this information?  I’d suggest making the relatively small investment in a swing weight scale and a roll of lead tape.  Find the swing weight of your favorite club and see if you can dial in the rest of your set to match.  You might also consider doing some experimenting: see what happens when you bump up the swing weight of your clubs a few points or drop the swing weight a bit by adding weight to the butt of the club.

This also gives you one more factor to consider when being fit.  Make sure your fitter is aware of, or helps you find, your preferred swing weight so that one club doesn’t outperform another simply based on having the correct swing weight for you.

The Data

Swing Weight Myth Data

Matt Saternus
Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)
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  1. good

  2. Great article, cleared a lot of things up for me.

  3. Love this article, thank you. I realize this took a lot of work is there any chance of getting a similar report on a driver?

    • Matt Saternus


      We have so many new ideas that we want to cover that it’s hard to promise a return to this one. That said, we’ll certainly put it on the list.



  4. Matt,
    Srixon has the Z 355 irons out. They have made the head heavier than most but, counterbalanced the shaft so, you are swinging a sledge hammer but, it feels like a feather. Is this hype or does it really work. I’m waiting to get a chance to try them at the local PGA Superstore but, haven’t gotten there yet.

  5. This is a super interesting article. Awesome job! Quick question: did you happen to record the swingweight of each tester’s current set of clubs? I think some of the variation in results (i.e. lack of clearly pronounced trends) may be due to the variation in each tester’s individual definition of a “normal” swingweight. In particular, lower handicap golfers are going to be very sensitive to changes in swingweight, as they’ve likely clocked a lot more hours at a specific swingweight. Higher handicaps may be less sensitive to minor fluctuations. You could have controlled for this variance to some extent by (1) only including testers with a handicap in a a set range (i.e. all would then have a comparable sensitivity to changes in swingweight) and (2) only including testers that currently play a specific swingweight–say, D1, which is pretty typical off-the-shelf swingweight these days. By not controlling for what “normal” represents to each tester, and how great an impact a deviation from “normal” might represent to each tester, it’s difficult to determine if there’s a common pattern RE: tester performance in terms of +/- swingweight points (relative to “normal” swingweight). Maybe it is totally subjective, but doing a more controlled study would remove all doubt. Anyway, just a few thoughts to consider.

  6. John Dailey

    I read this article and it made me think. I’m 5 10 and have hit standard or plus length clubs all my golfing career. I recently cut 1 1/4 inches off my standard length iron set as an experiment because I started choking down on the club for a more consistent ball strike. In doing so, the swing weight decreased from the D1 range down to B7. I’ve added lead weight on the shaft and back of some of the irons to bring the weight to C2 but the club feel became “clunky”. After cutting the clubs I noticed a distance or gain although i made all the clubs the same swing weight of C2. My initial theory was that if i had each club at the same swing weight, the yardage gaps should be consistent. However, that was not the case. I’ve since added a little weight to the PW, GW, SW, and LW and decreased the weight on the 5 and 6 irons. The 7, 8, and 9 I haven’t changed. Can you provide a rationale as to 1. why the longer irons at a lighter weight have a longer carry distance than at a heaver weight and vice versa with the short irons and 2. should there not be a single ideal swing weight for all clubs? I would think that if your ideal swing weight was say C2, that if every club weighed C2 it would function at the optimal level.
    Thank you for your insight

    • Matt Saternus


      Thanks for your questions.

      Swing weights getting heavier in the shorter clubs and longer in the lighter clubs is very typical. With the longer clubs, a heavier head can be hard to swing fast and it can also make the shaft behave differently. That’s why many people drop a point or two in their long irons.

      As to a single ideal swing weight, it will depend. Some players do like the same weight throughout. Others prefer an ascending (or descending) weight as I just described.

      Your experiment sheds some light on why a high level club builder is so important. There are so many factors in how a club feels and performs – not just weight, but the placement thereof. Moving weight changes feel and shaft dynamics. The list goes on and on.

      I hope that helps.



      • Kika Omura

        Aloha, I am 55 years old (9 handicap) and just replaced steel shafts with lighter (85g) graphite in my 1990’s forged blades.

        Head weights range from 282g (PW) down to 238g (3 iron).
        Tip trims ranged from 4″ (PW = 35″ total) down to 0.5″ (3 iron = 38.5″ total) based on frequency measurements (e.g. 294 for PW down to 287 for 3 iron).
        Flowed all shafts with laser as well.
        Grips are standard size and 54g.
        The “natural” swing weight of the PW is C7 and thus I added 2g-6g to the rest of the irons’ tips to increase/match their swing weight to C7.

        Sidebar: I also adjusted loft as my 3 iron was 23 degrees and I bent it down to 21 degrees. I did similar adjustments for all the other irons. This made me think that my irons were either made in the 80’s or just changed over 30 years of (ab)use? I will check the lie angles and make adjustments (if necessary) to my standard “0.”

        Will tinker with lead tape to find “my ideal” swing weight and modify other set of identical heads on my back up / travel irons.


  7. Larry Pollock

    If you are careful with your swing, I.e. – don’t force it, more weight can create more lag which can easily lead to head speed increase as you approach impact – swing easy, hit hard. Old adage.

  8. Any thought on the correlation of swing weight to the swing tempo of a golfer? I’m much better with a 7 iron at D2 then D0. I can’t feel the D0 club enough with my swing tempo

    • Matt Saternus


      When you say tempo, are you referring to the proportion of time between back swing and down swing or the overall time the swing takes? In either case, it was not something that we measured in this test, so I could only guess. I think the conventional wisdom would be that “quicker” swings would not handle high swing weights as well.



      • Jeff Shilling

        Matt, I think you have this backwards, though it is a generality and everyone has a preference based on a lot of factors.
        Tom Wishon states that heaver shafts and higher swingweights help quick tempo players.


  9. In 2003 I was 52, I retired and moved to golf paradise in Florida. At my home course, the 13th. hole is a 202 yard par 3 and I then used a 3 iron. After a while I went to a 3 wood which was too much. I then bought a Callaway 4 wood for the hole. I worked for awhile. To make a long story short, at 67 years old, I am now at a choked-up driver.

    I have been to two club making schools and attend to my own clubs. I was fitted by Titleist for my current AP1’s and Volley wedges. I wonder if going to a lighter shaft (80 grams vs. 130 grams) would return some distance.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Matt Saternus


      All else equal, yes, a lighter shaft should increase your club head speed, though it’s hard to know by how much. The problem is that all else is rarely equal. When you drop 50 grams in the shaft, it’s going to feel very different. That may help, but it may hurt. At a minimum, I would think there will be an adjustment period.



  10. Is not an important factor the overall strength of the golfer? It seems as I have aged (now 54) I tend to like a c5-6 sw vs D-0. This is especially true in my driver. I have been fiddling w/ a sw scale and like what I have determined. It’s amazing how just 2-3 grams makes a huge feel change in the club. Very interested to see how more weight affects the smash factor.

    • Matt Saternus


      It would be interesting to find out if strength and/or swing speed would correlate to swing weight preferences. I’d be similarly curious to find out if there’s a correlation between a players skill and their sensitivity to swing weight changes.
      As always, we answer one question and create five more. :)



      • Curious about this one too!

      • Paul Danese

        Wow… ran across this 4 years later and still wondering. Safe to say a D1 in strong 6-2” 185 guy vs my 5-2 108lb girlfriend makes for a good conclusion Strength huge factor. Translation tempo overall speed.

  11. I would have been very curious to see the swingweight of each players current 6iron noted beside their results.

    I would also have been curious to see notes on each players transition, e.g. smooth, fast, etc. as well as how they load a shaft during their swing e.g. hold onto lag, tend to release early, etc.

    I have a very fast transition and hold onto lag and I have noticed that D5-D6 is ideal when swinging a standard weight 120gram shaft (waggle & full swing), but if I’m swinging a light 90 gram shaft D2 feels about right during a waggle… even if I tend to overload the lighter ones and they start feeling a bit whippy during a full swing.

  12. Hi Matt,

    I am a low handicap player that uses stiff, graphite shafts on my irons. When I switch to any steel shaft club, I lose a significant amount of distance on all my irons. Do you think the distance drop is due to a heavier shaft, or do you think it is due a heavier clubhead? My irons are old and the company is out of business (vulcan golf). What irons would you recommend that have light clubheads?


    • Matt Saternus


      I would guess that the distance loss is due to both the heavier shaft and the heavier swing weight.
      Any club builder (and some OEM custom departments) can build your clubs to the exact specs that you want, so there’s no need to pick an iron based on it having a lower weight. I’d suggest contacting Club Champion or True Spec Golf to figure out your specs and dial in a set of irons.



  13. Cutting an inch off a shaft changes the swing weight. I’m assuming choking down an inch on a club changes the swing weight even more since now the inch at the end of a club acts as the club being back-weighted, which also lowers swing weight. Is this correct?

  14. Matt,
    Great data! Player 5’s Data is the real gold distilled. Same swing speed more distance with higher SW.


  15. Hello Matt

    First of all, grat article! I have a question, i have the new Callaway Sub Zero with Tour Ad Tp-7 (tour issue) and Swing Weigth give me C5. I cut the saft to 43,5”. My club speed is 113mph. What do you think, better if i turn to D ? Thank You so much!

    • Matt Saternus



      Unfortunately that’s a question that only a club fitter, working with you in person, could answer definitively.



  16. Elliott Hardy

    Hey Matt,
    Possibly a long winded question for you…I used to play non fitted irons at a C9 swing weight, but recently got fitted for a set that is D3. Swing weight was not considered in my fitting and I didn’t know what my swing weights were until looking into them today.
    Regardless, something wasn’t right to begin with, and after a couple months playing, I pinpointed the problem to the feeling as though I really had to strain myself to get the club moving and the shaft “loaded” in the downswing. I have since started to look into lighter shafts/swing weight, hence I am here. Is a strained downswing a common feeling of going too heavy in swing weight? Or does this feeling come from too stiff a shaft?
    Tangent, but stay with me here…Due to my short stature and freakishly long arms, I was also told in the fitting I could go -1/2 to -3/4 inches down in shaft length, but chose not to.
    But…If higher swing weights commonly lead to the “strained” downswing feeling, do you think shortening my clubs by 1/2 inch would be a good option to reduce swing weight, especially since I was fit for -1/2 inch?

    • Matt Saternus


      Yes, I could definitely see a too-heavy swing weight causing a “strained” feeling in the downswing. Too stiff a shaft could cause this feeling too, depending on how the player reacts to it.

      If you’re thinking about going shorter and you’re thinking about a lighter SW, chopping off 1/2″ does sound like a worthwhile experiment. One thing you might do before making the cut is check to see how much SW you’ll lose from that change.



  17. Were overall club weights kept constant in this experiment? Or in your shaft weight test, we’re swing weights kept constant?

    I ended up shortening my shafts (dg s300s) by 1/2 inch which decreased my swing weight from D2 to C9 because I felt pretty “strained” trying to get the clubhead moving in the downswing. Unfortunately, that didn’t really help. I still feel like the clubs are way too heavy, but now I can’t feel the clubhead very well because of the reduced swing weight.
    This makes me think it’s actually overall club weight that is most important, for me at least. Different overall club weights, if not kept constant across the tested swing weights, could explain your tester’s varying swings as well. Or vise versa, in your shaft weight test, it could have been the differing swing weights that explain the varying results. Interested to see what you think.

    • Matt Saternus


      Since this was over two years ago, I will admit some measure of uncertainty, but I believe that overall club weights were not held constant. You’re absolutely right that both swing weight and overall club weight matter.



  18. Hi Matt, I went to Mizuno for fitting and all went well, perfect. My suitable Shaft modus 120 stiff shaft and jpx 919 tour irons. I was so excited, But my budget couldn’t allow me. I went to golf shop and saw Srixon z 785 iron with modus 120 stiff shaft and I grabbed them. because of the shaft and not considering club head weight. When I went to the driving range, it was all different, very frustrated, why??? When I checked later, I found that Mizuno Jpx is D2 and Srixon z785 is D3 except only P Wedge which was the only Club I could hit so close to the pin (can’t remember if it was D2 or D4). Please help sir. What do I need to first. I was thinking of changing the grip to medium since it was standard. Will this help? Can someone change the club head or is it my swing. Do I need to buy new clubs? Thanks for this awesome post, I just bumped in to this wonderful post…,,Australia-Rob

    • Matt Saternus


      Without seeing and measuring the clubs firsthand, there’s no way to say definitively what the issue is. I’m very doubtful that one point of SW is the difference between loving and hating clubs. I would be much more apt to believe that a quality control issue is gumming up the works. Some possibilities: the club you used in your fitting is very light (or heavy) and the ones you bought are the opposite. Clubs from the OEM are built to be within a certain tolerance. They could state D2 but be anywhere from, say, D0 to D4.

      The best way to avoid this issue is to work with a quality fitter AND BUILDER from start to finish. With someone like Club Champion, they measure the exact club that you are fit with and build to those specs exactly. Then they stand behind the fit and build if you’re not happy. Yes, it’s more expensive up front but you are protected against the situation you’re in now.

      I hope that helps.



  19. These findings should not be a surprise. While swingweight is a static measurement of the balance point of the club that produces a “feel” of heaviness, it has implications for the dynamic tendency of a club as it travels around a fixed axis, the golfer who is swinging it. This dynamic tendency can be measured by the MOI of the whole club in motion (which is a different thing than MOI of just the head of the club). In short, MOI (or moment of inertia) is a thing’s resistance to a change in its inertia. The higher the MOI, the more a thing wants to maintain its inertia.

    As you all know well, the law of inertia dictates that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless affected by an outside force. And an object in motion tends to stay in motion, along a straight line, unless affected by an outside force.

    For example, the motion of a clubhead designed with a low MOI will be more prone to be affected by an outside force, specifically a stationary ball, and the result will be a twisting of the club face as it strikes the ball off center (that is, outside the clubface’s center of gravity). Conversely, a clubhead designed with a high MOI will maintain its inertia (in motion) from being affected by striking a stationary object off center, the result being a resistance to twisting.

    The same holds true for the club as a whole. A golf club is (relatively) at rest at address. It is then put into motion (the backswing) by an outside force (the strength of the golfer). A club with a high MOI resists being but in motion thereby requiring more force (muscular strength) to start it and direct it on an intended plane. Once in motion, a club with a high MOI resists changes in its linear inertial direction (though the backswing on an intended plane), then a change in direction (at the transition of the swing from backswing to downswing), and again, changes in direction on the downswing along an intended plane.

    On the other hand, a club with a low MOI does not resist (as much) a change in going from rest to motion, or the changes in its linear inertial direction. However, a club with an MOI that is too low may not provide sufficient sensory feedback to the golfer to know what forces to apply to make it travel on an intended plane.

    Now the reason it is important to be aware of a particular club’s MOI is that the MOI (a dynamic tendency to resist inertial changes) does not have a 1:1 relationship to swingsweight (a static measurement of balance). So if all clubs in a set have identical swingweights, they will not have the same MOI. And if they have different MOIs, each club presents a different inertial challenge.

    This is because each club is a different mass (i.e. weight), is swung in a different plane by virtue of their different lengths (short irons are swung more vertically than long irons) and are swung at different speeds (short irons travel more slowly than long irons). All of these factors have an impact on the MOI of a club which, in turn, affects a given golfer’s effort to swing the club on an intended plane at an intended speed. It’s just simple physics.

    A given club’s MOI may explain why you may enjoy hitting one club at the range over the others or feel more comfortable and confident with one over the others. It’s usually a club you can feel and control better than the others. They key is to identify the MOI that suits your swing and match all clubs accordingly. An MOI matched set of clubs will typically have progressive swingweights (lower in the long irons, higher in the short irons). Tom Wishon has researched and written extensively on the dimension of club MOI, and he has designed a device for measuring the MOI of a club at rest. And once an ideal MOI has been identified, every club can be built with to match it.

    Without the benefit of his costly device, and a certified clubfitter to use it, you can do what I do.

    I take a properly fitted mid iron (6 or 7) and repeatedly adjust the swingweight using lead tape until the club consistently produces the targeted performance metrics on a launch monitor (both clubface metrics and ball metrics). A Foresight Sports GCQuad is the best one for this purpose, if you have access to one through a clubfitter. Absent that, you can just go by the feel of the club and observation of ball flight. After I’ve identified the best swingweight for that club, I progressively set the swingweights of the other clubs in half gram increments, lighter toward the long irons and heavier toward the short irons. It’s not precise, but good enough for government work.

    When I build a new set of clubs, I purposely add tip weights to set up a baseline swingweight progression, so the longest club (usually a 4 iron) is lightest (about a C8 or 9) and the shortest club (usually the PW/GW) is a heaviest (about D3 or 4). In this way, I use less lead tape on the finished clubs. But keep in mind, where you place the lead tape (whether on the toe or the hosel) may an impact on the kinematic sequence of your swing (specifically, how you open the clubface on the takeaway and close it on downswing) as well as the MOI of the clubhead itself at impact.

    • Spot on Jim….. I invested in one of those high tech MOI measuring devices, after researching MOI matching. I bought it used of course. I MOI matched my clubs and about a half a dozen of my friends. We have all had positive results In the consistency of our golf swings. I actually gained the yardage that I lost in my #5 and #4 irons… probably due to slower swing speeds caused by the aging process…. I’m am 57 y/o. This is one of the big advantages to the single length club theory ….that all the clubs are MOI matched and feel the same when your swinging them.

  20. You seriously lost me at people hitting 6 iron with a smash factor of 1.5

  21. George Johnson

    great article ,i have tried a lot of things with golf clubs and shafts , like make the shafts shorter and longer ,i even flatlined a set of irons . i have never fooled with the weights , i am going to try this sounds great to me,

  22. Quite interesting article – it may have been useful to show the current swing weight (or preferred) for each of the 6 testers in the table.

  23. My clubs is D2-D4 as standard and I cut my shafts 0.5″ and put on a Lamkin oversize grip that is 24.5 grams heavier + added 4 grams of lead tape on the shaft direct beneath were the grip ends. 5,6,7,8 got a swing weight of C2-C2.5. 9 and PW got slightly more. Beofre this change I often hit up on the ball with my irons. At the fitting I had an avg AoA at +2.4 deg with the 7 iron. Now I have a avg AoA at -3.3 deg and lowest was -4.9 deg. With the PW the avg AoA is -4.8 deg and lowest was -5.5 deg. I also have started to hit a pull/cut fade with the irons. That have made me lose some distance, but gained better shot control and club speed consistency. Lost about 3 mph in club speed but gained 0.03-0.04 in smash factor. I can live with some loss in distance because of the better shot control. The swing weight made me feel that I could throw the club head at and through the ball. I got that “Swoosh” sound after the ball every time.

    • Continue from last post. I also got a more neutral club path and face to path. Before when the swing weight was D2-D4 I had an in-out path at 4-7 deg. Now my avg club path is 0.4 deg in-to out and with 0.1 deg open face. With the pw the numbers are 0.7 deg in-out and 0.7 open face. I have practical zeroed out the club path I think it is.

  24. Zerpersande

    I got fit for Mizuno JPX921 Forged at the the Mizuno Fitting Center in Osaka, Japan. Language barrier a bit of a problem due to my Japanese. When I got home I was looking at the proposed build sheet and saw the clubs were at D0. My current TM SpeedBlades are in the D3-3.5 range. I was hitting the mat hard a lot during the fitting but I chalked it up to having taken a break over the winter. But when I went to the range I experimented with the Mizuno T20 wedges I already purchased. Low swing weights and contact wasn’t crisp. Switched to my TM wedges at D4.5 and made good contact.

    I’m thinking of having the clubs built at D2, maybe D3. I could always counter balance with lead tape under the grip if that proved too high. I’m just hesitant to shell out aver $1,000 for a set of irons and not be sure about SW.


    • Matt Saternus

      I think you’re right to be hesitant. When you say “hitting the mat hard” – were you hitting a lot of shots fat or making good contact with a steep approach, hence the hard “landing”? If the former, I’d have to question the whole fit since much of the value of a fit, in my opinion, is finding a combination that lets you make good, consistent contact.

      Generally speaking, I think swing weight is a very important and very under-considered aspect of fitting.



  25. jack turturici

    I just changed from my C9 Taylormade driver to my D6 Taylormade driver. My swing speed is 119 -121. my tee shots are going from C9 about 227 yards to D6 between 235 to 242. I’m 84 years old and am I dreaming that a lighter club shaft can gain some yards?


    At 73, I have spent 60 years observing and competing against some very good golfers here in the Midwest. Here is what I have learned regarding swing weight. Players who possess strong forearm strength compared to their core, will do better in the long run with heavier swing weight i.e. D4 or slightly heavier. These players usually play S and X flex and the heavier SW helps with tempo and makes it easier for the shaft to produce that wonderful slight kick at and through impact. Conversely, golfers with strong core strength compared to their grip strength will usually do better in a lighter SW i.e. D1 or slightly lighter. These observations have been with better players who were constantly looking to improve and were willing to put time in to accomplish goals. I would guess even higher handicappers could assess their physical attributes and benefit by applying the above as a starting point. I would further guess that the shorter the backswing and follow through one has, the heavier and stiffer the shaft should be in relation to SW. Why, because the player has a shorter distance to get his clubhead up to speed and thus put more torque on the shaft than the longer flowing swing. Finally, even older bodies can get stronger and more flexible given time and effort. IMHO this, along with lessons, is the guaranteed way to more distance and consistency.

  27. Peter Martinaitis

    Amazed to see one of the golfers had a difference of 24yds carry distance which is astounding.
    Clearly shows how crucial club and swing weight are.

  28. Hey Matt,
    Thinking of switching grips but the weight difference is 2 grams… is that enough weight to change feel and swing weight? New grip being the heavier one.

    Thanks for the great info!

    • Matt Saternus


      I would not worry about a difference of 2 grams, but I’m also quick to acknowledge that feel is personal and that might be enough for someone else to notice. I would suggest trying it on one or two clubs to see what you think.



  29. Kim Pedersen

    Again you are correct again.
    Clubfitting is almost impossible.
    Twenty years ago working in Ca fitting clubs for
    players in Palo Alto we would almost each day build ourselves a set with some specs different from the last set.
    Early morning round of nine holes to find out what we learned.
    Owner of the shop would then each month send his article to a magazine with our independent reviews and what works and what does not.
    This was pre YouTube and computerized Clubfitting.

    The habit of constantly changing a set in some way or another became a must for me.

    Does the head size really matter, is swingweight important , blades or cavity.
    Longer vs shorter, light vs heavy or traditional specs vs modern.
    The list of possible changes go on and on.

    Years past and long ago I passed having build and played more than 500 combinations of clubs.

    Not as we do today by changing a shaft in a store room and hit a few balls onto a screen.

    No each set was build at night in the wee hours and played on a golf course.

    What universally true do I believe I really learned from having gone trough this?

    Number one is a player will adapt to what he plays.

    Number two is the length of a golf club is the most likely way with Clubfitting to correct whatever swing a player has.

    Too long clubs are as common on a golf course as excuses for bad shots.

    Number three already I am on shaky ground.

    But it is quit possible to gap clubs properly for appropriate distances between clubs.

    But unfortunately it may not be the standard settings or what you might think they are.

    You actually have to hit each shot with each club both on your good days and the bad ones to find out how far you hit each club.

    Then adjust the loft accordingly and recheck.
    Or perhaps change a few clubs to get the distance needed.

    Some will in my opinion play better with fewer than 14 clubs assuming the build a set with proper gaps.

    Having 3 clubs going the same distance is counter productive to having one club you know well carry that distance.

    Lie can be tricky to get just right.
    But you can survive too upright but not to flat.

    All the rest is a total individual pursuit of what fits a player.
    Heavy vs light stiffer vs more flex high vs low swingweight, blades vs hyper super up game improving heads.

    This is all up to you, as I found no consistent universal truth there.
    On top of it what works this week might not work next week.

    Bottom line is club fitting is still a mystery and 500 plus combinations later I almost as confounded as ever.
    That being said get the length of the shafts correct before you worry about swingweight.


  30. Gary Onken

    Lots of good info here. I am an 80 y/o golfer with current handicap of about 12. Started playing golf at 11 yrs old and was scratch by about 13.
    Pay attention to what Kim Pedersen said. He is really close to being right about the game mechanics and building clubs, especially that last statement. Actually I enjoyed the read in all of the questions and analysis presented in this forum.
    I will say this. I always play with two drivers in the bag that are different but play about equally well. If I can’t hit one of them I can usually hit the other one. If you can’t get off the teebox you may as well go home.

  31. Ꮩery good article. I will be fаcing a few of these issues as well..

  32. Greetingѕ from California! I’m bored to death at work so I
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  33. Goоd day! I could have sworn І’ve been to this blog before
    but after ⅼooking at some of the posts I reаlized
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  34. Deane Studer

    I’m in the process of getting new clubs and learning about all the key variables that will increase my happiness on the course. I just wanted to thank everyone and Matt for sharing their insights into this topic. I feel this should be researched and analyzed more in order to help us all in this game we love. Cheers from Canada!

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