Does matching the lengths of clubs improve the consistency of a high handicapper in golf?
Placement Research Project Olly Eades
Supervisor: Dr Jon Roberts
Manager: Dr Paul Wood
This paper summarises the effects that a matched length set of irons has on a group of 21 high handicap players. This was achieved by creating a set of clubs that had varying lofts, as determined through pilot testing. These clubs were built so that the 4 iron, 5 iron and 6 iron were built with their lofts stronger than standard. The 9 iron and Pitching Wedge were built with their lofts weaker than standard. The 7 and 8 irons were the same lofts as standard. All the clubs were 7 iron lengths (36.75”).
The final set was then tested in a case study and in a player test on a range. Data acquired showed that there was a downward trend in scores for Player A, playing with the matched length irons, whilst the player playing only the standard set had a very flat trend. Player B started with a matched length set and then changed to a standard set after 5 weeks. The first 5 weeks showed a flat trend of scores, the second 5 weeks with the standard set, although starting with a lower round, showed an upward trend of scores.
The player test survey showed that the most important thing for this sample was to give consistent contact of the ball and the data acquired showed that the matched length set had a significantly higher percentage of good shots hit than the standard set. It also showed that more players were hitting more good shots than mishits with the matched length set. The standard set did show to minimise extreme misses better, the second most important factor according to players. There was also no significant difference between both sets for the total and carry distances. There was however a significant difference in the launch angle of the 4 irons and there were trend lines suggesting that the matched length clubs launch the ball higher for shorter clubs and lower for longer clubs. This may suggest that a larger sample size would show a significant difference in carry and/or total distance between the two sets for the 4 iron and the pitching wedge. For a set of this nature to be made, bounce angles would need to be designed into the head to account for the different attack angle and different lofts.
There is evidence to suggest that this is an option that manufacturers should consider exploring further and that building a matched length set is beneficial to a high handicap player as it improves consistency and appeals to over 53% of golfers, players who have a handicap of 14 or higher. Acknowledgements
First of all I would like to thank my manager; Dr Paul Wood for the chance to conduct this project. He has provided valuable insight and advice throughout the project which has been, not only helpful, but essential in the project’s completion. Thanks also go to Matt Simone and Erik Henrikson for their help and feedback, giving initial reviews to help catch some mistakes as well as aid in additional information.
Furthermore a big thank you has to go to the rest of the Innovation team at PING Golf: Eric Morales, Tyler Shaw, Sina Ghods and Robby Reiter. They gave me feedback along the way with the testing and compilation of results, as well as providing vital feedback in the Interim Presentation.
Finally, I’d like to thank all the Ping test subjects from the case study and the player test for their effort in completing a particularly long test with a positive and unbiased attitude and for their commitment to recording data week in, week out. Without them this study would not have been possible.
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Definition of variables – Dynamic 2
1.2 Definition of variables – static 3
2 Literature Review 6
2.1 Journals 6
2.2 Books 7
3 Pilot Testing 9
4 Test Methodology 10
4.1 Test Outline 10
4.2 Case Study 10
4.3 Player Testing - Range