Counter Weighted, Counter Balanced, Back Weighted…What Is It?
Counter weighting goes by many names, but, no matter what you call it, we’re talking about the same thing: adding weight to the butt end of the golf club.
When you add weight to the butt end of the club, you shift the balance point of the club towards your hands and raise the overall static weight of the club. You also decrease the swing weight, so the head will feel lighter.
Two Ways to Do It
Leaving aside the DIY methods, there are two ways to counter balance your clubs.
1) Buy counter weights from a company like Tour Lock.
2) Buy pre-counter balanced grips. These grips, called the Secret Grip, are a relatively new invention from Boccieri Golf, the company best known for the Heavy Putter and a major, longtime proponent of counter weighting.
Both methods have their pluses and minuses.
The Secret Grip’s primary draw is that it’s easy to try: install it like a normal grip and go play. It’s also a relatively inexpensive ($13/grip) way to give counter weighting a try. The main drawback is that the amount of weight isn’t customizable.
If you opt for individual weights, you get unlimited customization, you can use your own grips, and the weights should last forever. On the other hand, buying weights can be very expensive, especially if you’re doing a lot of guessing-and-checking about how much weight you need.
Why Do It?
So you know what it is and how to do it, but the question remains, “Why should I?”
One answer that proponents are quick to point to: because Jack Nicklaus and Sergio Garcia do (Jack is even a spokesman for the Secret Grip). Of course, there are hundreds of PGA Tour players who don’t, so let’s move on.
I would like to consider the benefits of counter weighting to putting and the full swing separately.
Nowhere has counter weighting gained as much traction as in putting, and it has the USGA to thank: major OEMs like TaylorMade and Odyssey are selling counter weighted putters as potential solutions to those affected by the anchoring ban.
Proponents will tell you that counter weighting gives the putter more stability which will lead to a more consistent stroke. You may also hear that counter weighting is another way to “take your hands out of the stroke.”
In my opinion, counter weighting definitely has a lot to offer those who struggle with their putting. Assuming that all the components are in the correct balance, a heavier putter can add stability without causing the golfer to lose their feel of the club head.
When it comes to the full swing, advocates of counter weighting make some pretty bold claims: more accuracy, more distance, and more consistency. That sounds pretty good to me, but keep in mind that these are largely the same claims made by every new club and training aid.
For the full swing, I think that proper fitting is key to unlocking the benefits of counterweighting. As with shaft weight and head weight, the right amount of counter weight will vary from person to person, and some will do well with none at all.
Please don’t misunderstand: I think there are a lot of potential benefits from counter weighting. What I’m trying to convey is that hitting the ball longer and straight is not as simple as slamming a weight into the back of your club.
Much like large putter grips, I think counter weighting is something that’s worth experimenting worth, particularly if you’re struggling with some part of your game. And, much like with grips, you will probably have to do a good deal of experimenting before you find the perfect configuration for your game, unless you are able to find a fitter knowledgeable in counter weighting.
Try It For Yourself!
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Another great article Matt, and really liking the video additions!
Here are my counterbalancing questions…
1. Are there any typical swing characteristics that would lead someone to recommend counterbalancing?
2. With putter counterbalancing, do you need to use a longer shaft and put the weight above your hands (like the TMaG putters) or does it still work to install in your normal length putter?
3. Can Secret grips be blown on with an air compressor?
Here are my answers:
1) From my discussions with various counter weighting people, all swing types can potentially benefit from counter weighting. The thing that I hear frequently is that players who swing too far right often find counter weighting to be a solution to their problem.
2) You absolutely do NOT need a longer shaft to counter balance the putter. It is one way to do it, and it produces a unique feel, but it’s not necessary.
3) I’m not sure. There is a hole in the weight, but I don’t think it would fit the nozzle I use on my air compressor.
Quick question: does the additional butt-end weight have any effect on your swing speed? Just wondering because shafts/clubs are getting lighter, so golfers can gain distance with faster swings. Thanks for your help!
Thanks for the question. Counter weighting *can* affect swing speed in either direction, positively or negatively. Counter weighting advocates can show you people who gain club head speed with it. Others will lose club head speed. As with so many things, it’s a matter of good fitting and finding what works for you.
What is the best way to determine the optimal amount of counterbalance weight to use in each club? I know that you indicated in the video that trying different weights until a person finds one that feels best might work but are there other queues that could suggest how much weight? Age? Typical ball flight? Club length or loft? Steel vs. graphite shafts? Driver/fairway metals vs. irons?
Great questions. I’m not an expert in counter weighting by any stretch, but there are a couple rules of thumb I’ve picked up. Generally I’ve found that people use less weight in their longer clubs (drivers) and weight goes up as the clubs gets shorter (you can put LOTS of weight in a putter). It’s thought that hookers benefit from more weight in the butt; slicers don’t need as much. I haven’t heard any rules about weight relating to age, though I would think that higher swing speed/stronger players may need more weight to really notice it.
I hope that helps.
Thanks for the guidelines Matt … At 56 now, my swing speed is only about 85 mph and it does make sense for the shorter, feel-related clubs to have more weight as they have a “heavier” feel at the end of the club vs. the longer clubs feeling lighter at the end of the club.
I have ordered the Tour Lock drill mounted device and Tour Lock weights (20, 30, 40, and 50 gram) to test on a 5 iron. I play with custom fit Hogan Apex Plus irons and have acquired a second Hogan Apex Plus 5 iron (not custom fit) that I will install the counterweights in. I plan to take both to the range and compare feel and ball striking consistency between the non-weighted club and the other club weighted with various weights. Should take some time but could be some interesting insights. I also have a couple drivers that are quite similar and may do the same test with them.
Again, thanks for the advice and I’ll try to post my results/experience after the testing … I just check the UPS tracking and the Tour Lock devices will be delivered tomorrow. Could be a couple weeks though before I can do the test with previous time commitments for the coming couple weekends.
Dan, how did the experiment work with the 5 iron.
I’m a senior(75-80 swing speed) one video suggested 20g wt for the irons. I’m thinking maybe more wt for the wedges and putter and less for the driver? Got any ballpark guesses for the weights to try on the wedges, putter and driver? Thanks, bobby
I try to avoid guesses like that and instead recommend fitting. If you do want to experiment with the putter, Super Stroke has a new grip that allows for easy install and removal of a 50 gram weight. It’s called the Super Stroke Plus Series.
I have an incredibly low ball flight. All of my woods are presently turned up to higher lofts. Part of my problem is the inability to snap my wrists through my swing.
Will counter balancing help create higher ball flight for me?
It’s certainly possible that the higher balance point would help you “release” the club more, but there are no certainties. I’d recommend either buying a few weights to tinker with or working with a fitter to see if weights can help.
I HAVE RECENTLY STARTED THE HOGAN PIVOT METHOD AND WHAT A MAJOR IMPROVEMENT IN ACCURACY. EVERYTHING
IS DEAD SQUARE AT IMPACT (NO QUICK HANDS) BUT THE DRIVER
IS STILL A BUGABOO!
WHAT ABOUT WEIGHTING FOR CONSISTENT SQUARE IMPACT ?
You may find that counter weighting helps you square the club face. I’d recommend working with a fitter who is familiar with counter weighting.
I have a 3-5 fairway wood that gives me trouble off the fairway….it seem I either top the ball or slice it 100-150 yrs ….I purchase some true lock weights 70-50 -30 and 20 …I have been playing the game for about 11yrs and haven’t gotten better with my ball strick… do you think one of these weights will help solve my problem
That sounds like a pretty severe problem, so I don’t think that a counter weight is going to solve it entirely. It could help a bit though. Let us know how it goes after you’ve tested them a bit.
A cheaper way to check out counterbalancing weights is to tape half inch hex nuts tothe end of your grip and your swing Speed at your local golf fitting store or purchase your own. I bought one about 15 years ago so I now have use for it
I do counter weighting with a small wrap of lead tape at the butt end of my club. I just started this year and have been struggling with my game. I’m 60 and a 4 handicap, but it’s been a struggle. I can’t blame the counter weights yet. Not sure one wrap of lead tape at the butt end would affect my game that much. It’s just an experiment. What do you think? Like your site, bty.
That’s a fine way to do counterweighting. As to whether or not that’s the cause of your struggles, I’ve learned not to underestimate the importance of swing weight.
I know it’s a personal preference as to counterweighting, but when putting wouldn’t you want to feel the putter head more as it is supposed to be an extension of your arms? I want to know where that putter head is and feel how much speed I putt with. I’m not sure I see the benefits of making the putter feel lighter when it’s actually not. Any thoughts?
It’s all a matter of fit. You say that you want to feel the putter head, but I suspect you wouldn’t want a swing weight of G7. What feels right to any one individual can be totally different than what feels good to another. Counter weighting just gives us more options.
Thank you for the really good information.