HCL Concord Golf
Frequently Asked questions
How do I determine the proper shaft Flex?
2. Do you offer woods with steel
3. Except for a few models, no club lengths
are specified. Am I to select them?
4. Why don't you offer hook faced woods? I
have a bad slice.
5. How do these clubs stack up compared to
the big name products?
6. Will these big headed drivers help my
7. What is meant by
8. Why is it that nobody seems to offer
titanium fairway woods?
9. Why don't I get the increased distance
from the new balls the way the pro's are?
10. How can I tell where I am hitting the
ball on the face of the club?
11. How do I fit
irons? Combat the problems with long Irons?
12. Can I swing a lighter club
13. Is the driver the most important club?
If not, then what?
1. How do I determine the proper shaft
In general, you should use the following table, illustrating various swing speeds and ball carry
in the air, while using a driver:-
Driver Carry Yds
Note:- All wood shafts are our own proprietary design.
This table will work well for most players. (Frequent players, those with low
handicaps, may have to adjust their shaft flex a little per the special considerations below.) It
is most important that the player carefully note what his average drive is and work off of that. He should
not select the shaft flex based on his best drive of the week. Unfortunately, many players are using shafts
that are too stiff for them. (also see 12 of the Technology section marked Torque & Shaft Dynamics
).They find it hard to get the stiffer shaft to snap through the ball during release, so they begin to
tighten their grip on the club, trying to find extra power, and end up shoving their hands forward in
the downswing. This prematurely releases the shaft and the stored energy of the bending of the shaft is spent
prior to arriving at the ball. In fact the shaft decelerates and tends to twist open.
What you would like to see is an unstrained and smooth downswing,
with the clubhead overtaking the hands just before impact, with the clubhead slingshoting towards the
target, followed by a nice high finish near the left ear. Excess stiffness makes effortless swinging
very difficult. The score card does not care what flex you use, just the results. Also,
consistent hitting squarely in the middle of the club face will be difficult to do if you have any
strain caused by the shaft flex.
Consistent square hits will provide a much better average
of both distance and accuracy during a given round. (Please remember that it is MV or momentum you are
generating to strike the ball. When you fail to make a square hit you are reducing the M factor, the effective
mass, of the equation and are imparting a glancing blow to the ball. This necessarily reduces distance as well as
Since most players do not have access to a radar gun, they will have to rely on ball carry to
determine shaft flex. Remember, it is carry in the air, not including roll after hitting the ground, that
should be employed.
Those who are more frequent players, have lower handicaps, and generally carry the ball a long
distance, may want to consider another factor in their shaft selection process. In the early 1990's,
True Temper did a study which showed that how you load up the club during the downswing, how the shaft bends
and releases towards impact with the ball, is important for shaft selection. The concept can be
broken into two parts:-
A - Swing Plane. Players tend to fall into those who swing on a flatter plane, or on an upright
plane. To visualize a flat swing, think of a baseball player swinging at a waist high pitch. The bat
will travel in a path almost parallel to the ground. An upright swing can be viewed as a grandfather clock
pendulum, tick-tocking perpendicular to the ground. Golf swings are somewhere in between these 2 extremes.
Those who have flatter swing paths during the downswing tend to apply more torque to the system. Their right
arm (the reverse of course for lefthanders), often crosses over their left arm earlier in the downswing. If
such players are close to the limits of the above table, they may want to consider moving up one order
of stiffness, i.e., R to S or S to X. Those who are quite upright in their swing path may want to consider
the reverse and move down one order of stiffness.
B - Release point in the downswing. If your release- the point where the hands and wrists are
square to your intended line of flight- happens somewhat early in the downswing, between the back foot and
the middle of your body- then it is likely that you are also exerting more torque on the system. If your
swing is not especially flat, you may want to consider moving up one order of flex stiffness rather like the
flat swinger. The player who has a late release in his downswing, somewhere nearer the front heel or
even slightly beyond the ball, may well want to consider moving down one order of shaft flex.
(for lengths, see Club Fitting).
2. Do you
offer woods with steel shafts?
The answer is, no. While it is easy enough to do, we see little benefit in using steel shafts on
such long clubs. Steel shafts, even the ultra light ones, weigh up to 2 ounces and more than graphite shafts.
This forces you to use a light head and the overall length of the club is limited. In the case of a driver it
is around 43 to 43.5 inches. Beyond that and the club becomes too "heavy ", too difficult to swing. At
one time, graphite shafts had too much of a twist (torque) component in them and players found the heads
rotating excessively during the downswing and upon collision with the ball. The ball was sprayed off
line readily.This is no longer the case. Most players need the greater distance afforded by longer
graphite shafted clubs. As you may have noticed, now most Tour players have converted to graphite, especially
on their drivers. They have come to the conclusion that the new designs are highly functional. Generally,
Tour players are so exceptionally talented that what they do simply does not apply to anyone but the very low
handicap players. However, in this instance it is relevant. The shaft selection charts take care of the
difference between you and them automatically. When you pick the proper shaft for your swing speed from the
tables, you are selecting a shaft that matches your needs, in terms of flexion, bend point, weight
distribution, torque, balance point, etc. The Tour player could use the same chart, but obviously his
selection would be in the very stiff to x-stiff range to pick up the characteristics he needs.
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3. Except for a few models, no club lengths are specified. Am I to select
In the order form you have the choice of picking "standard" or selecting some length above or
below "standard", for all of the other products, i.e., 1 inch longer or 1 inch shorter. The left hand
tab marked Club Fitting lists the actual lengths that are normal for most players and considered as
"standard". You must decide what you want. The Fitting guide will help you arrive at the proper
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4. Why don't you offer hook
faced woods? I have a bad slice.
Such so called cures do not address the problem. It also shuts down your ability to do anything
else but pull the ball to the left. If you take a normal club with a square face or 1 or 2 degrees open, you
can easily rotate the toe of the head to a closed position. Your are simultaneously rotating the sole (the
head is all one piece so all of it must rotate). The face now has a little less loft because the back of the
sole has raised off the ground, tilting the face downward. Many people do just that in fact to hit a
draw, or a hook. If you take a hook face club and try to open the face to hit a fade, to get around an
obstacle for example, you cannot. The reverse happens. The back of the sole digs into the ground while the
face lifts way off the ground. The best cure is lessons from a good teacher.
But there are a few things you can do which might help. Try adding lead tape. Put it on the side
of the head, starting just below the hosel, in a strip of 2 to 3 inches long. Add several if necessary, one
on top of the other. This will pull the center of mass of the head a little closer to you. That will reduce
the inertial drag of the head (the tendancy to open up at the toe) as you swing. You should also benefit
at collision with the ball as the nearer center of mass will somewhat resist the head's tendency to twist
open (gear effect) as it and the ball are in contact.
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5. How do these clubs stack up compared to the big name
As you will see in the detailed descriptions in the Products Catalog, they are specifically
designed to compare to many of those names. Tests have shown that they work quite well. Please
note that much of what is being made today comes from the same sources. Often times the difference in price
is largely a matter of the high cost of advertising and the fees paid to the Pro's.
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6. Will these big headed drivers
help my game?
There is no simple yes or no answer to that but will vary from individual to individual,
especially depending on how big a head you have in mind. In the case of a driver, the head is quite a long
distance from where you grip the club. No matter what size we are considering, there is a point where we are
weight limited and cannot make the head any heavier or the club will become too hard to swing. If
you care to enlarge the head, but are already at the maximum weight, the only practical choice is to thin out
the walls, the top, the sole, and possibly the face. You are blowing it up rather like a balloon. The danger
is that the structure becomes so thin that it cracks or dents at one or more spots in repetitive use. In the
case of 17-4 stainless steel drivers, the limit is roughly 220 cc's before head collapse starts to occur.
Designers have therefore turned to various titanium alloys as a result. These Ti alloys are just 58% or so
the density of the 17-4 stainless. And they are comparable in tensile and yield strength, and in hardness.
Now heads can be built at 300 to 400 cc's without the danger of collapse. This means that designs can be made
where the face is proportionally less of the total head weight than before. This in turn means that the
center of mass of the head has been moved towards the rear. That produces a higher ball flight and quite
probably longer ball carry in the air.
In a well designed head, it is now easier to increase the distance between the center of
percussion (the point where the clubhead does not twist upon impact) and the vibratory node (the point where
the vibrations at impact are the smallest). This enlarged distance between the two points is what is often
called an enlarged "sweetspot".
Some players with poor eyesight also seem to find larger heads
beneficial. They have more confidence while hitting the ball. They feel they make more hits in the center of the
face than they did before.
On the other hand, there are players who don't find large heads all that good. The center of
mass of the head is generally further away from their bodies, and, like the slice problem in point 5 above,
they find it harder to square up the head at impact. Some feel that it is harder to hit the ball in the
center of the face with such a large face and overall width.
There is the question of air resistance -drag - as well. While the amount is really negligible
on heads up to 300 to 400 cc's, it could be a "feel" problem for some.
Contrary to popular belief, large heads do not necessarily translate into more distance.
Assuming a proper fit, a smaller head struck at its center of percussion will propel the ball just as
far as a large head. You select a large head for its forgiving qualities with the hope that you will obtain
more hits somewhere in, or near, the sweetspot. If you can manage to reasonably square up the face at impact,
then you can expect a greater consistancy, resulting in an improvement in your average distance.
Although the general trend towards larger heads must be considered as genuine progress, there is
probably a point, unique to each person, where a head is just too big. Only you can answer that. ( also see 2
B of the Technology section for a discussion on "springier faces" )
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7. What is meant by
The letters stand for "coefficient of restitution". This is a
concept in physics to measure what is happening to energy of motion - kinetic energy - when a collision takes
place. In golf, the collision is the head face striking the ball. The highest value of COR possible
is 1.00, where the collision is totally elastic and there is no loss of kinetic energy. If two objects meet in
a collision and stick together, then the COR value is zero. Most collisions are inelastic and have a value between
0.00 and 1.00, as you would expect. The higher the value, the less the loss of energy. The losses show up as heat
and are significant.
If you look at a ball, for ease of understanding, a high COR means it is more lively, bouncier.
It does not deform very much and quickly returns to its original shape. The energy loss is less than
others with a lower COR value. The value will vary depending on what sort of surface the ball is striking,
and at what velocity. For example, the ball will rebound off concrete much more than off grass. You can
take the concept of COR and apply it to the striking implements - bats, rackets and golf club heads,
etc. Since there are a lot of variables when people actually play - the powerful players generate more
momentum, for example - the ruling bodies of the several sports define standardized tests that are
judged to be reasonable for all conditions. At any rate, in the case of golf the USGA has a limit of 0.83 COR
for clubs. ( see www.usga.org/test_center/test_protocol.pdf for the exact measurement system used). While
C.O.R. is a variable value depending upon collision velocity, the test produces a single number that is
deemed to be reasonable for all playing conditions. Likewise they have a limit on balls. This must be
done to keep the notion of skill in the game.
In practice, there are so many other things that determine the outcome of striking a golf
ball that COR may be largely meaningless for many players. If your swing fails to make square, solid contact;
if your clubs are too long or too short; if the shaft flex is not right; if the ball has too high or too
low a compression value; if you cannot square up your club due to inertial drag in the design, etc.,
then these sorts of things obviously outweigh COR considerations.
What has been overlooked in all this discussion and noise about club heads has been the
ball, the other component of the collision. A golf ball is a pretty good spring and returns most of its
compressive energy quickly. Curves have been made estimating the COR of the ball at various club impact
speeds. At a very low 40mph impact the COR is a very high 0.80, but at 110mph the core goes down to
about 0.60 or so. The very powerful player just generates more heat losses in the collision of
clubface and ball. However, the very high momentum (MV) of his swing more than compensates for the the
increase in losses, as he catapults the ball down the fairway 275 yards or more. Of course he would
like higher CORs too so that he can be longer yet. You want to use a ball that matches your swing and your
equipment, so that the ball compresses optimally. You will either have to do some experimenting or see
your local teaching pro to make a better match between the club and the ball.
Clearly the biggest factor to more distance is to increase momentum, MV. Most of the M, or mass,
comes from the club with very little from the body. (The collision time where ball and head are in contact is
too short for you to add much beyond the club's contribution). You are limited to what to what the
manufacturer gave you. It is the V, or velocity, part where you can do something. And that will come from
better technique and a good shaft.
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8. Why is it that nobody seems
to offer titanium fairway woods?
Ti fairway woods are on the market but we do not offer them. The benefits, on these smaller and
heavier heads needed for fairway play, are not there to justify the big increase in cost. The steel head
is not a dinosaur at all. There are many good rounds being played every day using steel heads throughout the
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9. Why don't I get the
increased distance from the new balls the way the pro's are?
The chances are that you have been playing with the hard cover and hard core two or
three piece balls all along and don't see too much of a difference. Until recently, the tour
pro's have tended to play three piece wound balls with soft urethane covers. They wanted the spin
these gave them for precision shots. They were sacrificing the distance which the harder solid core
balls would afford them for "feel". Evidently the new balls combine the best of both worlds for them since so
many have switched. Their technique skills are so very high that they are able to repetitively hit the ball
on the center of percussion of the club head and gain full advantage from the new balls. Most players don't
do that and lose some of the ball's potential benefits.Obviously the pro's also compress the ball optimally
with their high swing speeds so the ball springs off the face more rapidly than for the average player.
Further, the pro's are playing on courses with much more closely cropped fairways than average, and their
roll after landing is much more than normal. The first thing you will have to do to realize some
gain from the new balls is work on your technique- try to strike the ball solidly and squarely in
the middle of the club face.
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10. How can I tell where I am hitting the ball on the face of the
Get yourself some "impact stickers" that paste onto the face. They come in packets of 15 or so,
for either woods or irons. Most of the components companies have them, as well as some pro shops. The
ball will leave a big, clear imprint on the sticker and you will have no doubt where contact was made.
As an alternate to that, you could bring a roll of thin masking tape to the practice range with you and,
if it is not too thick to ruin the ball contact, it will work as well.
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11. How do I fit irons?
You start by selecting the right flex of the shaft. You can take this off the fitting
charts, matching it to your driver skills. Then select the lengths suitable to your build. Standard lengths
will fit the majority of players. If we look at the majority of players today, we find
they don't even carry a # 2 iron, seldom use their #3 iron and hardly use their #4
iron. Evidently they are too hard to use. Their set is essentially #5 through #9. And they are
turning more and more to utility woods, or hybrid irons, as a result. Our concentration
for now is on developing utility woods and hybrids, which we believe will be of more immediate use
than the usual set of 3 iron through pitching. The low handicappers will be inclined towards the traditional
set of 3 thru PW, where they need precision more than distance.
There is no single solution to the long iron problem - it will vary depending on the
individual player. Some are better off using fairway woods. These allow a more sweeping action, making
it much easier to get the ball airborne. Woods are several inches longer than standard or hybrid irons.
Many find they get more distance using woods as a long iron substitute. The downside to fairway woods is that
they have shafts tips that are 0.335" thick. There is slightly less control and accuracy with them, which may
be a problem for some longer hitters. We do know that there are Tour players and low handicappers who
are successfully using high lofted woods, say a 7 wood, and do control the ball well. And such high lofted
woods are much easier to use from high rough as well.
Hybrids are offered in two forms. One is the hollow iron with a larger sole, from face to
rear, than the standard iron. The second form is the hybrid built more like a small fairway wood. Both
have thicker 0.370" shaft tips that twist less during the swing and at contact with the ball. They tend to be
more accurate than fairway woods.They are made to standard iron lengths. Many find it easier to swing a
shorter club. Both permit a more sweeping action, and are easier to use than standard irons. Both will
handle high rough more readily than standard irons but will be slightly less forgiving than fairway
In summary, the player must determine which of the three best suits his game and his swing. Any
of the three solutions will be an improvement if he or she is having long iron difficulties.
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12. Can I swing a
lighter club faster?
If the club is properly designed, probably no. Weight is just one factor in the total resistance
equation. It all depends on how much weight we are talking about, and where the weight is located with
respect to the axis of the swing. For example, we could design a driver, say 44" long, weighing a mere 270
grams ( 9.5 oz. ) that would be very difficult to take back to the top, and release in the downswing. It
would be too "heavy". The weight would be concentrated in the head and the club would be a virtual flywheel.
If you were to balance it horizontally on your finger, the balance point would be somewhere at the hosel. You
might have to twirl like an Olympic hammer thrower to get any swing speed.
You have touched on moment of inertia which is the resistance factor in circular motion. (
In straight line motion the resistance would be mass ). The golf swing path is complicated, but for our
purposes we can consider it to be circular. If we were to take a round stick, a dowel, and rotate it around
one end, the far end would transcribe a circle. In simple algebraic terms its moment of inertia would be,
mass, times length to the rotation point squared, divided by 3 i.e. I = 1/3 M x L
This L squared, the distance back to the center of the circle, obviously can become
a large number rapidly, even with a small increase in length. You would like to keep the distance
down to some reasonable level so a given club is not burdensome. A golf club, say a
driver as representative of any club, is not a uniform body the way the stick is, but is
irregular, with the bulk of its weight in the head. Its center of mass is not actually on the club, but off
the shaft and somewhere, say about 11" to 14", above the head in a well designed club, in line roughly with
the head's cm. And the center of the circle formed as you swing it is about 5 " down from the butt end,
in the middle of your wrists. You need to use integral calculus to precisely calculate the moment of
inertia. But the stick analogy above gets us close enough to see what is going on.
We hear claims about lighter means faster all the time, but it may or may not be
true, depending on the specifics. Beware of this sort of hype. If the driver is around 330 grams or so at 44
to 45 ", and it horizontally balances on your finger at least 10" from the sole, experience tells us that
this can be swung effectively by most players.
We can look at this another way. Without a club assume your normal stance. Take your right arm
back to the top and throw it as hard as you can underhanded, as though you were throwing a softball. You have
just made a swing with a zero weight club. Except for wrist action and shaft release, this is as fast as you
can go. One could say that the club weight doesn't determine how much faster you can swing but it
determines how much slower you can swing. A 44" driver at 330 grams with a balance point about 11"
above the sole will not slow you up if you are at a swingspeed of 80 mph or more.
For those with very fast swing speeds, or the very muscular players, they may actually be
better off with a higher moment of inertia. A little more "weight" often helps them know where the club is
during their entire swing- the "feedback" is a little better- while not decreasing their impact
velocity at all.
If one were considering very long drivers, above 45 ", obviously the L squared factor becomes
huge very rapidly. The only effective way of keeping moment of inertia to playable levels is to use ultra
light, ultra high modulus shafts, that weigh 60 grams or even less. Such shafts are very costly and
correspondingly increase the club price. In our view, such shafts are totally unecessary for most
applications, and may in fact decrease the player's "feel" and timing during the swing.
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13- Is the driver the most important club? If
not, then what?
If you look at the layout of most courses, you will find that they are generally par 72,
consisting of 4 par 3's, 4 par 5's, and 10 par 4's. The par presumes that you will take 36 shots and 36
putts. From the standpoint of use, clearly everybody uses the putter more than any other club in the
bag. In a real sense, this can be considered the most important club. Good putting can literally save an
otherwise poor round of golf. It is always positive and desireable.
But we all want to do better, not just hold our own. Your question senses the great importance
of the driver. Low handicappers may be using their driver for as little as 5 or 6 holes, to as much as 14
holes, depending on the course. And there are some seniors and ladies who have to use their driver for all 18
holes. In all these cases it is safe to say that it is the driver that they use second most. The whole game
is a lot easier when you can get a decent drive that is in the fairway. It sets up the hole - it provides the
good chance of par or even a birdie. Maybe we cannot call it the most important club, but it is certainly
critical to playing better golf.
There is a good chance that you have met someone who says he cannot use his driver and then
gives all sorts of reasons. With todays' technology, there is no reason for that to happen, except that this
fellow (or lady) has a club not fitted or suited to his or her game. This is why fitting is so
important. A perfectly good design is worthless if the club doesn't match the player.
You have probably seen the player who struggles with a driver. He bought it because he saw his
favorite Pro playing it on TV.Let us say he hits the ball about 185 yards with a pronounced fade to a
frequent slice. From time to time he also tops the ball, even while on the practice range. He is in good
health and reasonably coordinated. The odds are overwhelming that his driver does not "fit" him. Since the
driver is the longest club you have, any flaws will be greatest with this club. This is what we are liable to
- the shaft is too stiff, or too
- the flex point is too
- the head doesn't have enough loft, or
not enough backweighting for a higher trajectory
- the head is too wide and he is
fighting inertial drag which keeps the head open at impact
- the club is either too long or too
He may also have a bad setup and could stand some good lessons. But if the club doesn't fit, the
struggle will continue. This is why we encourage you to take your time and carefully look over all the data
before you select a driver, or any club for that matter. The data is here on the site. It is a bit of
work but it cetainly beats all the frustrations likely to happen later if you don't make the effort. That Pro
on TV is not you and what fits him most probably doesn't fit you.