Rory McIlroy has new clubs and has lost his game — what an insult to his clubfitter!
Rory is one of the greatest naturally talented golfers ever born. He has a deft touch, incredible power, more accuracy than a sniper and he is smart, so why is he struggling to win right now? Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo say it is because he has new equipment — what a crock!
Today’s clubs are CAD manufactured to within .001 mm of the design specs. They are made using highly controlled metal alloy processes in the most modern of manufacturing plants.
Steel shafts for irons are graded by extremely sensitive weigh scales and measured for frequency matching. Graphite shafts for woods are made by layering composite material around a mandrel, while each step is painstakingly monitored and custom-directed.
Grips are made using the most consistent products, weighed and installed using a laser for perfection. The clubs are bent to the exact lie and loft required by a computerized machine. Shafts are cut to the perfect length and “spined” by a computer.
The exact swing weight is calibrated and regulated by a computer. Shaft flex, dead weight, grip size and COR (coefficient of restitution) are all very measurable. Clubs can be tested by using a flight scope so every manufacturing detail can be measured within the tightest of tolerances.
Computers can measure launch angle, clubhead speed and face angle at impact. Today’s clubs are the best ever made. In fact, woods can even be adjusted on the spot with a wrench.
Gone are the days when drivers were made of wood and suffered from moisture content, where sets of irons had every shaft vary by weight and flex, and where lie and loft were attained by an abrupt whack with a lead hammer.
Swing weights were calculated on a different scale for woods and irons. Iron heads were made by cold pressing steel, not by castings, and shaft flex was determined by using a deflection board. S
ome consistency arrived with unitized shafts but the old “pro fits” were a nightmare. Epoxy was a godsend after silver solder and hardened steel pins.
In spite of the difficulty in producing a set of clubs that matched a previous set, I recall some very interesting things about players using new equipment.
Moe Norman hit every shot right in the centre of the club and in an absolutely straight line, hundreds in a row. Suddenly someone would say to Moe, “Here Moe, try this driver.”
Without stopping, frequently without so much as a waggle or a practice swing, Moe hit the new club and I defy anyone to tell the difference in the shots produced. Heavy clubs, stiff shafts, longer clubs, higher lofts, lower lofts, Moe hit every shot with the same flight and trajectory.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player all represented equipment manufacturers on the PGA Tour.
Jack was McGregor, Arnie was Wilson Staff and Gary, First Flight.
However, in the UK and Canada (can you say British Open and Canadian Open, the fifth major?), Jack and Gary played Slazenger. In Canada, Arnie played Campbell of Canada and in Australia there were different contracts again.
Now, for the best part, every time they played in a different country, they used new clubs, the same old barely-matched stuff I just talked about.
For added measure, they used the ball made by the foreign manufacturer with a balata cover and wound elastic, not accurately molded plastics and, in the case of the British Open, they even used the “small” ball.
Between them, they had 34 majors and hundreds of victories. Who knows what they could have accomplished using Rory’s new clubs?