Behind the Scenes
If you’ve ever wondered how we choose golf myths to test, here’s a peek behind the curtain. I come up with a list of ideas and email them to Club Champion’s Nick Sherburne. We go back and forth discussing logistics and interest until we have one or two worth pursuing.
Recently I wrote to Nick about the 2019 Maxfli Tour golf balls and their claims around the ball’s center of gravity. His response was just one line: “I want in on that.”
Myth #1 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly straighter
Myth #2 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly higher
Myth #3 – Aligning the golf ball’s center of gravity makes it fly longer
How We Tested
For this test, we brought together 5 golfers with handicaps ranging from 0 to 12. Each player used their personal driver and hit a total of 28 drives, half with the “Center of Gravity Alignment Line” aimed correctly, half with it aimed incorrectly. Every shot was captured on Trackman.
All testing was done at, and with the help of, Club Champion.
When we looked at the accuracy of shots with and without “proper” alignment, we did not see strong evidence to support either side. For three of our testers, their accuracy was virtually identical with or without proper alignment. One of our testers was slightly worse with the line aimed at his target. The final tester was noticeably better with the Tour X in the aligned position. Interestingly, he was equally accurate with the Tour version regardless of alignment.
Though the differences were not huge, most of our testers did produce slightly higher shots with the center of gravity aligned. On average, our test group launched their aligned drives 0.4 degrees higher. They also saw small spin increases – around 200 RPM on average.
Just as with accuracy, we could not find significant data to support the idea that an aligned center of gravity produced longer drives. For most of our testers, the difference between their aligned drives and their non-aligned drives was minimal. In fact, in 8 of 10 trials, the difference in carry distance was less than 2 yards. The other two trials were split – one in favor of the aligned drives, one in favor of non-aligned drives – with differences of 8 and 6 yards, respectively.
This test illustrates two important points about manufacturer’s testing. First, it is absolutely possible that, given certain testing conditions, drives with the center of gravity aligned will fly higher, straighter, and farther. However, those conditions may or may not reflect your swing. Second, there is a difference between measurable differences and noticeable differences. 50 RPM of spin or 2 feet of apex height are measurable differences. But are they noticeable? Not to any mortal.
These are both quality golf balls, but in terms of delivering noticeable, meaningful benefits to real golfers, we did not see any evidence to support the claims.