Open and frank, my game with driver, woods and hybrids is very, very poor. Up to a point where I whiffed, shanked or topped balls. Pathetic, I know. I was better once, had lessons when it got worse, but it all was pretty obvious: irons yay, woods nay.
In the past years I made peace with my woods and as a consequence ignored them in my basement, literally leaving the long sticks at home when I left for a competition. I felt confident with my long irons, put a 2- and 3-iron in the bag and found the fairway very, very consistently.
While this was great for confidence, and shot shaping, and pace of play, it left me at a stage where with handicap 12 I figured it would be really difficult to drastically improve if I would’t be in a position to jack up my GIR rate and just be a little longer. Putting the ball in the fairway is nice, but it’s not ideal to attack the flag with another 200 meters to go.
Usually my 2-iron gets me to 180 meters effortlessly. Sometimes less, sometimes up to 200, depending on weather and turf condition. And I do appreciate that consistency, it’s just that in order to get to a single handicap, I’m urgently in need to improve with my woods and hybrids. I just need to be able to take out the driver to aim for an area of the hole that is more than 230 meters away. That was out of the question so far…
Two years ago I bought a brand new G400 PING driver, a new PING G400 3- and 5-wood and a new PING G400 hybrid and I believed this would solve my dilemma. It was the latest technology, I was fitted into a PING Alta CB stiff shaft and left the shop with confidence, knowing it would work if I just slowed my swing tempo a bit. Just to learn that it wouldn’t do the trick. I still didn’t improve and more and more concentrated on my long irons as a consequence.
The wood and iron swing is fundamentally different. That I know, and I think I can even adapt to it quite properly. But it didn’t help.
This weekend I had enough. I went to the range with numerous woods, brought my old ones and my set of PINGs.
As said, the PING is roughly 2 years old. The Titleist 910, as the number suggests were introduced in 2010 and I guess I bought the set in 2012. Both have a similar volume but differ in loft. While the Titleist has a conventional 9.5 degrees, I went for a more higher-launching and potentially forgiving 10.5 degrees in the PING G400.
In terms of shafts, they are pretty much apart from each other – and that’s exactly where my dilemma is currently. The old trusty Titleists had a fairly heavy Diamana ‘ahina 72 gram stiff shaft in them. They indeed play more on the heavy side and with my swing I would characterize the flights as more low than low-mid.
The PINGs have as well stiff shafts in them, but as you know, stiff isn’t the same as stiff. In fact, they are pretty much apart and that’s not only a more flexible tip section in the Alta, it’s the general flex and torque which is much softer unfortunately.
In other words. My solution to the current problems I’m having seems to be my old shafts in my new clubs… As there are different adapters (Titleist vs PING) I’m currently in the hunt for either pre-owned Diamana ‘ahina shafts with a PING adapter, or to find a new set of shafts (4x) for my new PINGs with similar flex, weight and torque characteristics as the Diamanas. That might be to much to ask, I know, but I already found some club fitters in the United States who sell all kinds of shafts and you just chose the adapter and further specifics to it.
Currently I have an eye on the Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec and the Diamana S+ shafts. Not sure if that plays in the same league though. I’m pretty sure I’d go for a tad lighter shafts (around 65 to 70 grams) but that usually translates into being softer, too. So I might go for an extra-stiff here to compensate. Not ideal to not have tested them somewhere….
And it’s not a bargain either, especially making its way over the big pond, so I’m trying to find some domestic dealers as well. Or I will ask in my local Golf House, those guys who fitted me into this crap in the first place. So let’s see.
For the moment I decided to put my 9-year old Titleist clubs back in the bag. I cancelled all competitions for this year but plan to excel with some serious practice and training in order to get my numbers right, my GIR to a level I can accept and my handicap down eventually (next year). Wish me luck, folks.