Why Is The Center Of Gravity Of A Club Important?
You hear it a lot, “lower center of gravity (CoG) for more distance” but what does this really mean? It is a phrase that really became part of mainstream golf talk in around 2014 after some major breakthroughs from the big manufacturers in terms of moving the CoG and performance.
Center Of Gravity is the point in the golf club head where half of the weight lies on either side. AKA the Balancing point of the club. The positioning of the COG has an enormous impact on the performance of the golfer and the club in general, modern clubs even allow us to adjust COG on the fly.
I want to help demystify this topic for you and give you some insight into what the importance of CoG is to you and your game. Let’s settle in for a more geeky article today.
What Is A Golf Clubs Center Of Gravity And Why Should I Care?
Anyone who has ever had a club with moveable or adjustable weights has had the ability to move the CoG of their driver.
It is arguably the most important factor in the performance of a club yet it is something that most golfers don’t know much about and you certainly should care about it if you want to find your potential in the game.
What Is Center Of Gravity?
In simple terms, the CoG of anything is the point at which the weight of an object is perfectly balanced.
This definition, extended to golf, means the point of your club where the weight is concentrated and often balanced, this is usually in the center of the club head.
Many manufacturers would have you believe that you can move the CoG quite considerably, but in reality, you can only move the CoG a very small amount.
However, this small amount can have a big effect on how the club works.
How Does It Effect The Performance Of The Club?
This may be the most important factor behind the performance of a club.
A low CoG nearer the club face can reduce spin and increase distance, it can also makes the club less forgiving.
A club with a CoG that is off-center would impart side spin on the ball and make it hard to hit it straight.
Can You Buy Low And High CoG Irons?
Yes, you can. One of the reasons that bladed irons can be so hard to hit is because the CoG is much lower in them.
Think about that chunky portion on the back of the club and how that brings the weight center down. Cavity backs have high CoG because weight is distributed differently.
Should I Be Using High Or Low CoG? How Do I Know?
The easy way to remember it is that higher handicap players and slower swing speed players will tend to do better with high CoG.
Low handicap players with higher swing speeds will do well from a lower CoG. As always, get a fitting and speak to a pro about this for best advice.
Can You Adjust The Center Of Gravity In Irons Or Drivers?
Adjustable drivers have been a massive leap in the world of golf, the various sliders and weights allow you to move the CoG around, however, is it possible in irons?
For this we have to go old-school and use lead tape. This tape allows you to move CoG in irons and woods alike.
What Does Lead Tape Do?
Lead tape is a way of changing the weight and CoG of your club. You can add it to your irons and woods although you should be careful where you put it on these clubs. By using the tape correctly, you can correct shot shapes and trajectory.
This method of tweaking clubs is still seen fairly regularly on the tour, however it isn’t seen as much as it used to be in club golf.
This can be a great tool for making very small set-up changes to your clubs and improve how they perform in your hands.
What Is MOI In A Golf Club And Why Does It Matter?
MOI stands for ‘moment of inertia’ and refers to how much a club resists twisting on impact with the ball. The higher the MOI, the more forgiving a club is.
If you hit a ball off the toe of the club, the club will twist open, high MOI reduces this and makes the mishit less of a bad shot.
This property of a golf club can have such an effect on performance that there are strict rules set by the USGA and R&A to limit MOI.
Bladed irons have a low MOI whilst cavity back irons have a high MOI, to give you an example of how it works in irons.
How Does MOI Affect Performance?
Most golfers have a few mishits a round, this is just a matter of life in amateur golf, we can’t strike it like the guys on tour.
Having a higher MOI club should help you hit more fairways or miss them by less and so save you shots during your round.
The cost for this, there is no such thing as a free lunch, is that you will lose some distance but you need to decide what is most important to your game.
My tip here would be that hitting more fairways will probably benefit most golfers, the decision is yours.
Does CoG affect putting?
Yes, it does. Many studies have been done on this and the consensus is that moving the CoG closer to the face of the putter can improve launch conditions and even aid the stroke.
Moving the CoG toward the heel or toe can even cause side spin to be imparted on the ball during a putt.
How To Maximize Performance
Adjusting the CoG of your clubs is a tricky business, it is easy to make mistakes that can be really detrimental to your performance.
This article goes into great detail of how CoG can affect performance and is worth reading through. Read the article with a view to your game
My best piece of advice here would be to speak to your club pro or coach about this. He or she can help you to tweak your clubs to maximize performance.
This is something that you need to be careful with so please get the help of a professional to get it right, getting it right can really pay off!
Where Is The CoG Of A Golf Ball And How Does This Effect Performance?
Golf balls have a CoG that should be right in the middle of the ball, however, not all golf balls are perfectly balanced.
It is worth checking your balls (video on how to do this in the last link) so that you know. It really is the case that you could be missing putts and it isn’t your fault, it is the ball.
Some manufacturers make big claims about perfectly aligned golf balls and how they can give you longer drives.
Some research suggests that this may not be the case, however, more and more golfers are checking the balance of their golf balls. This is a very Bryson thing to do though.
Should You Be Thinking About CoG If Buying New Clubs?
Yes, you should to an extent, although you should be looking to an expert to help you and he or she should be considering it more.
Custom fitters are trained in these sorts of things so they are in a good position to help you. If you don’t want a custom set then read this article again for tips.
How Do I Find The Best Set For Me?
This one really comes down to a good custom fitting session with a trained technician. The other method is to try many different options and just feel them out to see which you like best.
You could even try your friends’ clubs if they’re of a similar playing level to you to give you an idea.
Many golfers just grab a good deal and give it no thought other than price. You need to put time into this process to make the best decision for your game.
Also, don’t make the mistake of sticking to one brand, you’re not a tour pro who is signed to a contract, so shop around.
What Other Components Of The Club Affect Performance?
The stiffness of the shaft makes a huge difference to the performance of a club.
How it’s made, ie does it have an off-set,
is it a blade or a cavity back?
the type of Grip can also make a big difference
These factors all play a role in the performance.
This is why you need someone trained to help you pick new clubs.
Golf clubs are complicated things and buying them seems evermore complicated.
As technology develops we have more and more to think about when it comes to choosing the correct clubs for our games.
Thankfully people out there are trained in helping us get it right and cutting through the noise.
Center of gravity is a factor to know about but not one to scare yourself over.
Many a golfer has gone crazy by getting too geeky on golf club specs, don’t be that person.
Go and speak to your club pro about it and let them help you with any specific queries you have on this matter.