Yesterday, I had a great lesson with one of my up and coming twelve year old junior girl’s, that provided the player, coach and parent with the information that led to selecting the proper set makeup (Which club’s to carry in the bag) for this particular young player. This youngster is vertically challenged (that will change with time) and her weight is around the 70 lbs.
The conventional thinking is that ALL junior players in this category should be playing with maybe, a seven, five and certainly they must have the “revered” three wood in their bag. This thinking is fostered by young player’s and parent’s mimicking what the more “successful” player’s, carry in their bag. Yes, the trickle down effect. This is definitely the wrong way for player and parent to address this issue.
The forward thinking parent, and player, will enlist his/her coach to help them decide what each club will provide the player in term’s of ball flight, carry distance and total distance. This has always been subject to, what someone “thinks” about how far the are hitting the ball in relationship to a target that may or may not be accurate. For those coach’s that are fortunate to have a TrackMan, it becomes a rather simple task to determine what club’s will be most beneficial to a player.
We spent a couple of hour’s hitting iron shots to determine the proper “gapping” between the club’s. The gap’s were fairly consistent until we go to the seven and six iron where the gap’s go decidedly closer. We then moved into the hybrid and found that she could eliminate the six iron, because it was more difficult to hit than the five hybrid and gave us a better gap between the seven iron and the five hybrid. So now we have the iron’s and her hybrid figured out so we move on to the more controversial selection of what wood’s should be carried in her bag.
The player was carrying an eleven wood, seven wood and a five wood. The player and parent were probably thinking about how quickly she could get a three wood to give her the “extra” yardage she desired to keep up with the “other” girls. Enter TrackMan. The player was completely warmed up, prior to hitting five shots with her eleven, seven and five wood. As I presented the results to the player and her father, I could see the disappointment with the reality that came with the accurate number’s that TrackMan provided to us.
The results showed that her ELEVEN WOOD, CARRY DISTANCE AND TOTAL DISTANCE WAS FARTHER THAN HER SEVEN WOOD OR FIVE WOOD distance’s! The ball need’s either SPEED or LOFT to get enough SPIN on the ball, to keep the ball launched high enough to keep it in the air longer. The player lacked the CLUB HEAD SPEED necessary to get the proper launch for longer distances so we needed her to use LOFT to achieve longer distance’s. Her SPIN RATE’S DECREASED consistently with the seven wood and the five wood. Interpretation, the ball did not have enough speed to get the necessary SPIN to keep the ball in the air longer than her eleven wood. The result was, the eleven wood should be used, for now, as her “go to” club for longer distances.
I explained that these conditions will change as she grow’s and put’s on more weight. As always, JUNIOR GOLF IS A PROCESS THAT CAN NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED! The sooner young player’s and their parent’s understand this, the more happy and BETTER, the youngster will perform.
I should mention that during this process we were able to get the player’s swing on path and radically change her ball flight to more of a draw that gave her the “extra” difference she wanted in her irons and woods! This was done by changing her club path and swing direction to match up better with her club face through the impact position.
At the end of our lesson the player, father and coach were all on the same page with the help of TrackMan IIIe.