In the past, father’s would cut down a set of old iron’s and pass them along to his budding junior player. Little did they know that this act of generosity would actually slow down the progress of learning. When you cut 2 or 3 inches off a 7 iron what you have done is made the club more stiff and unusable for a youngster starting to play golf. Today there are a large number of companies that have a nice selection of junior club’s at an affordable price.
The weight of the club must be light enough for the beginning junior player to be able to swing freely without the feel of extra effort. The head should have enough weight that the youngster can feel the head which will allow for optimal control throughout the swing. U.S. Kid’s Golf is an excellent source for beginning junior golf clubs. At the George Pinnell Golf Academy we see a significant number of youngster’s using the U.S. Kid’s Clubs and they perform well until strength of the junior player become’s such that they can no longer feel the head of the club when they swing. To an adult it would feel like we are swinging a “toothpick”, no weight felt in the head.
As the junior grows and gain’s strength the boy or girl will move into a ladies set of iron’s and will stay with them until they have the ability and strength to handle men’s clubs. If we try to push a junior into using clubs that are too heavy, we are certain to limit his/her ability to make progress. Often the junior will lose interest and the parent cannot understand why his/her junior does not “take” to the wonderful game of golf.
Selecting wood’s is critical to developing confidence in junior player’s. Here in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel Basin, I see 8 and 9 year old junior’s trying to play with a 10 degree MEN’S DRIVER! I ask the player and the parent, why such a difficult club? The response is always “because ALL of the OTHER kid’s have this club.” Absolutely ridiculous. Parent’s need to be aware that LOFT IS A PLAYER’S FRIEND, especially when they are learning to play golf. The youngster’s should use junior driver’s until they are strong enough to use a lofted women’s driver. Let’s talk for a moment about what cause’s the ball to launch into the air.
To launch a ball into the air we need to have SPIN on the ball. Spin is what give’s the LIFT that allows the ball to get it’s trajectory. TO GET THE BALL INTO THE AIR WITH PROPER LIFT, WE NEED ONE OF TWO THING’S: SPEED OR LOFT! Usually a beginning junior player will not have the SPEED to get the necessary lift to get the ball very high (That is why the trajectory is usually very low). So, If we do not have speed, the only other option is to have the PROPER LOFT to get the ball into the air so it will fly higher, and farther. Many adults think that a low trajectory with a lot of roll is a great way to get distance. WRONG. We want the ball to be launched high so that we can get maximum carry and proper roll after the ball has landed. With TrackMan Technology we can now measure the exact club speed, spin rate, launch angle, highest point and landing angle to help a player get fitted correctly with the proper club.
In addition to getting the ball into the air on a proper trajectory, it is also very important to know that more loft will produce a straighter shot! The less loft you have the more the spin axis will be negatively affected unless the player has controlled impact on the center of the clubface. Therefore it is important for the junior player to have the necessary loft to provide the needed trajectory to get maximum distance for the amount of club head speed he/she has.
I have just touched on the importance of proper club fitting for not only juniors but adults too. I hope that you find this information useful and will apply to your young player.