Harrington, trackman and old clubs

Sorry if this has been seen before:

golf.com/golf/equipment/arti … 40,00.html

That was a horrible test. The club lengths weren’t the same, the lofts were different, etc. He wasn’t fit for the older clubs either. I’m not sure what they were trying to compare exactly.

Loft is loft… I don’t care what the number is on the bottom of the club.

Oh yeah, and someone should tell Padraig to stop drinking the kool-aid. Cavity back irons don’t help you get the ball in the air if you’re a hacker… I know, I was one… and I now play MB blades, and I score better than I ever did.

interesting observation from a top player that the smaller sweet spot would really only bother him on a “bad wet day”.

Yes, embarrassing test. The only reliable thing it showed is that the smash factors could be the same from persimmon and current metal, and the bit Styles pointed out too I found interesting.

I mean testing two clubs, one that gets up to 44 yards off the ground and the other only 27 in a 10-15mph headwind?

Harrington is not a premier ball striker. I think he would be a classic example of a guy who has really benefited from cavity backs and frying pans.

169th in driving accuracy,
184th in GIR.

6th in putts per round.

He’s long and can wedge and putt. That’s today’s game and why he is out there. He wouldn’t be on the tour in the ball strikers era. He looks like he is hitting a wedge shot with his driver, and the sad thing is with the modern frying pans, you can get away with it enough to still win a million dollars a year.

I noticed earlier this year he hit 2 greens in reg (I think it was at Doral) and shot 71. I think anyone with a PGA Tour card should display better ball striking skills than that, even on their worst day of their career.

I agree with Johnny Miller on his take on these kind of players.

You guys took a different angle to the article - it was never going to be scientific despite the trackman bit… just thought that it was interesting that a modern player had done it at all ( I know there is another article where Geoff Ogilvy did something similar).

Point about Paddy not being the purest striker is true but he is a lot better than he was when he first arrived on tour…

Now a properly fitted, loft for loft comparison might be interesting if you could ever get a magazine to publish…might disrupt their advertising revenue though when they realise that every golf club that ever needs to be made has already been made…they just need cleaning, regrooving+/-chrome etc… :wink:

Some of the guys would do fine… others would be a disaster. You can tell by looking at their swings which would make it and which would not.

Brent Snedecker took on the challenge a couple years ago playing 60’s gear and the results were not impressive. The argument is that they would all adapt. but I would say adapting into a real golfer is not just a given. If you’re really good, you can play any era gear, even hickories, and perform well on an interesting articulate golf course. The modern gear and modern courses are breeding mediocrity in the ball striking department. Perfect conditions aren’t helping either. A little adversity is a good thing in golf.

I thought the smash factor (ball speed / clubhead speed) with the irons was very interesting.

I think Kenny Perry is thought of as a very good ballstriker, but I think he’s a guy that has benefited tremendously from the titanium driver. For one, his clubhead speed with the driver is slightly below average at 110 mph. But, he’s one of the longer players on Tour. Why? Because he obviously hits up on the ball (and probably hits up on the ball quite a bit) with the driver. This allows him to carry further, get less spin and for his swing…hit his driver with a lot less curvature and almost straight.

Trying to hit up with a persimmon driver is a risky proposition because of the sky ball factor. And I’ve found that hitting up with persimmon is just difficult to keep it relatively straight compared to hitting up with the oversized titanium.

I get asked a lot about how I manage to get the ball up in the air with my long irons since they are blades. I really don’t have an issue with that. I will say that today’s modern course designs, a competitive golfer may go with Cavity Back long irons because you might have to parachute long irons into greens and could use the extra help. I remember Ryan Moore went from his Scratch Golf blades to their cavity backs for the Masters because he needed that extra height.


The comparison with Perry is relevant when you compare him to decent ball strikers and their troubles with the modern drivers.
One the comes to mind is Olazabal who is a great ball striker and shot maker in my book.

I’m not one for swing theory and claim little knowledge in this field but Oli was always one for a downward hit with plenty of leg driving action. This made him a great iron player and non to shabby with a persimmon driver.
He has struggled big time with the big stick which seems to coincide with larger headed light weight melons!

I struggled in exatley the same way having a similar swing to Oli (but not as good Im afraid!). Any metals I have used are strong 3 woods in the main which suits my downward assault on the golf ball!
Persimmon drivers are easier to hit than melons IMHO but thats just my dodgy swing talking Im sure!! :smiley:

That has been my conclusion too with Kenny Perry. Was it Louis Brown that recently said he was surprised Kenny went on to have the career he did?

This is a re post of the Brent Snedeker experiment from 2008 for new readers here to ponder. I commend him for doing this, and talking candidly and humbly about the experience.

A pretty good friend of mine is actually Lag’s age. He played at the U. of Miami during the same time as Nate Crosby (IIRC, Crosby is 3-4 years older than he is).

I haven’t played golf with him in about 10 years, but from '89-'99 I played golf with him quite often.

From those early years, he was by far the best ballstriker I ever played with…and I played 18 holes with Wayne Levi the year after he won the PGA Tour Player of the Year title. Played golf with Jason Gore when he was a hot shot out of Pepperdine. Played golf with Tom Scherrer on many occasions, both a PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour winner. Etc, etc. I think from those early years, '89 to '94-ish, he probably would’ve been a top 20 ballstriker on the PGA Tour. I mean, hitting 16 GIR and flagging shots all day were there norm for him and if he hit something like 12 GIR, he usually just had distance control issues (fliers were much more prevalent then).

Just an excellent iron player and the best I’ve ever seen hit the persimmon driver.

Eventually when Titanium came out, he was less effective as a driver of the golf ball. He gained distance with the titanium, but others were gaining a lot more distance over him. And he wasn’t as accurate. He chalked it up to getting older, although guys just as old as him who couldn’t hold a candle to his driving ability, were making bigger gains in distance.

Now with what I know about equipment and the Angle of Attack with the driver swing, I think it’s pretty obvious that he probably hits about -3* downward with the driver. Back in the days of persimmon, that was probably the norm for most golfers and from a pure clubhead speed and centerness of the strike standpoint, only a select few in the world could compete with his persimmon driver capability. But once the titanium came out, guys could hit up much more on the driver and find the larger sweetspot and now out-drive him even though they had much less clubhead speed and didn’t hit it as pure as he did.


Sure, makes sense.

Who in their right mind would want to change a swing that is already working well? The new gear did nothing for the already good golf swings. Just brought in a bunch of guys into the game that shouldn’t have been there.

Bradley I am sure would give a better insight, but from what I see, the good strikers would often slow their swings down with the lightweight gear to get a sense of feeling the clubhead again. If you are a good striker, you want to know where the clubhead is at all times. It’s not just a flailing blur going through impact. The less refined players are now swinging harder, and with a more forgiving club are gaining accuracy too with their off centered strikes. Of course that does them no good with the long irons… but then hybrids come out and now they can leave those long irons in the trunk of the car too. Taking the biggest test of a players ability out of the game was not a correct move on the part of the USGA.

In defense of Harrington, he knows where the middle of the club is. He didn’t have a very good golf swing as an amateur and Bob Torrance has transformed it into what it is today- he’s in much better physical shape too. But he could hit a Persimmon driver off the deck and flight it, even with his bad swing, and I’ve not seen too many people do that. So he’s not a guy I’d lump in with the rest of the frying pan group. His stats may not show it, but I think that’s more to do with his propensity to tinker and make swings as opposed to hit shots, than it does his ability to strike it out of the middle.

Before I took off last spring I was playing with Gipper Finau in Vegas quite a bit and this kid has as much talent as any player I’ve ever seen. Loads more than his brother, no matter what anyone says. He’s got a bunch of video all around youtube but none of it does him justice of course. Total package right now but of course at the ripe ol’ age of 18 had no clue how to use all of it. I got him to mess around a bit with my sticks a few times and I told him flat out that if he put my driver in his bag for a year he’d end the year top 10 in the world with at least 3 big wins. He didn’t get it and never really contemplated it but it was amazing. With Ti his driver flight was 360 in the air with a 40 yd hook, with persimmon and an an X400 and balata it was 310 in the air on a string with a tiny lean right coming down. Tiger is redoing his swing again looking for what Gipper has right now with my Cleveland driver. The sad part is that by the time he’s 25 Leadbetter will have turned him into another CHIII…

Good to see you back LCDV. How big is this guy height /weight? Did you let him use your irons?

Gippers like 6’3", 210 & looks like a first round draft choice at wide receiver. He’s half Samoan and half I think Filipino and he says he keeps a weird diet to keep from gaining weight because all the men in his family are very large as a lot of Samoans are. One of those rare athletes that could write their own ticket in just about any sport. He & his brother were on Big Break Disney I think. I guess I’m about the only golfer that doesn’t ever watch that stuff. O ya Lag probably doesn’t either. Gipper’s game is so much like Tiger’s at the same age it’s uncanny but gipper has a much smaller swing with the short irons and can flight it down better. He liked the leather wraps especially in the rain and the one iron. Was hitting moon balls with it like 290 off the deck, absolutely sick. I couldn’t help but smile at the ridiculous sweet shots I saw poured on hole after hole day after day. He already hits blades and a 13° PT Fairway metal all he needs is a playable driver flight under 330 and this kid is ready to contend. And he can handle the rest of it too his family travels with the brothers all over and they’re quality people. I don’t go on & on about young hotshots at all but how could you not about Gipper?

Nice to see you LCD! Happy new year and welcome back!

A good buddy of mine (actually the guy that won the Vegas TRGA event last January) played with the Finau bros in one of those “Million Dollar Challenges” they played in Vegas a few years ago. He played with Tony in the practice round and then he beat Gipper in one of the early matches. I remember him calling me after that match and the first words out of his mouth were “I just played with the future of golf today”. :smiley:

It sounded like Gipper was still pretty “raw” at that time but Luke said it was so obvious the talent level he had was off the charts. And… as you mentioned, both are really good people.


Hey Rob been way too long. Happy and healthy to u & hrs as well. I dunno how to compete with talent like that, at least not over the long haul. FREAK

I remember watching Gipper and Tony on the Big Break. From memory Tony progressed further but Gipper was the one everyone thought had the x-factor.