Welcome to another edition of Yo, Gear Guy!, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF's deputy editor of equipment, Mike Chwasky) fields your hard-hitting questions about clubs, fittings, gadgets, bounce, lofts, CG, MOI, and a bunch of other scary acronyms. Got a question for Gear Guy? Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.
Dbbowen2 on Reddit: I'm looking to convert my iron shafts to graphite. The thing is, I have no idea where to start. What shaft brands would you recommend for your average weekend golfer?
The great news about composite (graphite) iron shafts is they're better than ever before, and high-quality models are available from a variety of manufacturers including Fujikura, Aerotech, Aldila, UST, and a number of others. The best place to start is to visit a qualified clubfitter and see where your performance stands with the current steel shafts you're playing and where you need improvement. If you're looking for more speed and distance a lighter weight design (potentially in the 60g or 70g range) is worth a look, but if you simply prefer the feel of graphite or want less vibration for health purposes then a steel weight model (100g or more) might be best. Keep in mind that if you do decide to make the switch, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to install the new shafts in your irons without any further adjustment, as swingweights and overall feel are likely to be significantly affected.
Gina Fasano on Facebook: Is there any real reason why pro golfers don't wear two gloves? I would prefer to, but I feel like people are judging me when I do.
You're right, other than Tommy Gainey or Phil on a cold or rainy day, you rarely see a Tour player wear two gloves. The main reason is simple – they want more feel, not less, which means a glove on their top hand only. However, if you're more comfortable with two gloves you should indulge yourself – there's certainly nothing wrong with it and those who give you grief will pipe down if double mitts help you play better. If you're still hesitant, you could also investigate new grips – there are some very comfortable models available these days that can make even one glove unnecessary.
@Jim_almost on Twitter: Why is the markup so high on drivers when they cost so little to make?
Modern drivers might not actually cost $400 or $500 to produce, but as is the case with the majority of consumer products, there's a lot more to the equation than just manufacturing costs. The major club companies who are able to charge premium prices for their drivers spend heavily on things like Tour sponsorships (those guys don't come cheap), advertising, marketing, keeping the lights on, paying employees, providing benefits and restocking the coffee pods among other things. I didn't attend Harvard Business School but am pretty sure it's difficult to run a profitable business if you charge cost for your products.
@Stalkme4free on Twitter: I am great with a 56-degree SW but can't hit a 60-degree LW... My 56 I can do a lot with, bump and runs, high and soft, long as well. I want a very high lofted club like a 62 or 64 for those pesky 15 yarders that need high trajectories. Practicing with a 60, need some advice.
My first piece of advice is to forget about 62- and 64-degree models until you gain some level of competency with your 60, which frankly should be enough loft to handle just about any reasonable short game shot. A lot of recreational players struggle with their higher lofted wedges for the simple reason that the extreme loft makes them more challenging to hit solidly. Believe it or not, even Jack Nicklaus struggled with his wedges from time to time, and others, like Tiger Woods, have had similar difficulties with shorter clubs. The key for effectively hitting a higher lofted wedge on full shots is to sue more forward shaft lean (hands leading the clubhead), which ensures ball-first contact. On shorter shots, try shallowing out your attack angle so your divots are also shallower. This will hopefully improve your contact on pitch and chip shots. It's also good to remember that a lot of truly great players like Ballesteros, Palmer, Hogan, Nicklaus, and many others played amazingly great golf with nothing more than a 56-degree wedge. If you're "great with it," as you mention in your query, you might not need anything else.
Josh Barley on Facebook: At what height so you consider altering the standard length of clubs? I'm 6'2" and not sure if I would benefit from that or not.
The truth is total height is only one consideration for shaft length, as arm length, posture at address and impact, swing type, and some other elements are also important. At 6'2" you could be a candidate for slightly over-length shafts, though many tall players, like Nick Faldo, did very nicely with standard shafts. I hate to sound like a broken record, but in your case it's a good idea to consult a qualified clubfitter to analyze your needs. If you feel uncomfortable at address or have trouble making level divots with your irons, particularly if you're making toe-first contact with the ground, you might want to go longer.
Jay Tonno on Instagram: I see more and more people using those fat grips on their putters. Are they more for looks or what real purpose are they serving? The "fat grips," you're referring to are likely SuperStroke models or something similar. While there might be some folks out there who simply like the way they look, or more likely want to resemble the guys on TV, they definitely are not designed for the image conscious. Instead, oversized grips can serve several purposes, including quieting the hands during the stroke (taking the small muscles out of the stroke), promoting more confidence and stability during the stroke, and counterweighting the club for a preferred feel. For some players, an oversized putter grip can be a game changer (just ask Justin Rose, who currently uses a FlatCat grip), though for others they do very little. If you're interested I recommend trying one, but maybe on a backup putter rather than your gamer. A new grip of any kind can and will significantly change the feel of a given flatstick and you don't want to mess with a proven performer unnecessarily.