What is Golf Swing Weight?
Swing weight is a common measurement in golf that indicates the overall feel of a golf clubs weight while swinging it. Swing weight refers to the weight of a golf club at one-third of its top section (head) and two-thirds of its bottom section (grip).
Although swing weight can have a major impact on a golfer’s performance, it can’t be considered as an absolute measurement
There are four key factors that can have an impact on the swing weight of a golf club:
- Weight of your club’s grip
- Weight of your club’s head
- Weight of your club’s shaft
- Length of your club
Altering just one of these parameters will modify the swing weight and in turn the feel of your golf club when you use it.
This alteration can be done by changing one or more parts of the club except for the fulcrum, by applying lead tape to the club.
Some golf club makers also make the alteration by filling various types of material inside the clubhead or different points of the shaft.
The swing weight is represented as a two-character code. The first character is an alphabet ranging from A to G and the second character is a number between 0 and 9, both inclusive. Alongside the character, the digit ranges from 0 to 9. On the whole, there are 73 possible measurements.
The higher the letter and number, the heavier your golf club will be. A0 is the lightest golf club while G0 is the heaviest.
Strong and weak golfers need heavy and light golf clubs respectively. One point difference changes the weight of the clubhead by 0.07oz or approximately 2 grams.
Often, men’s golf clubs range between C9 to D8 with D0 or D1 as the standard. Women’s clubs come between C4 and D0 with C5 to C7 as the standard.
Does Swing Weight Matter?
Yes swing weight of a golf club does matter. A golf club that is too heavy will be difficult to swing, and can cause a golfer to tire out faster during a game.
Secondly, a lightweight club makes it difficult for you to retain the right path through the swing and control the club.
Both instances will result in inconsistency and many off-center hits.
The swing weight of a golf club is often directly proportional to the weight of its head. If the clubhead is heavy, the swing weight will also be heavy. This will result in the shaft playing soft.
When the clubhead is light, the shaft will play stiff. So, a heavy swing weight can result in a stiff flex shaft performing like a normal shaft.
- Turf contact
A heavy swing weight may result in hitting the golf ball thin. In contrast, you may be hitting the ball fat because of too light swing weight.
- Shot contact with the club
If the swing weight is heavy, the shots tend to get hit towards the golf club’s heel. When the swing weight is light, the shots get hit towards its toe.
- Effect on distance
For average golfers, a change in swing weight results in an increased median distance ranging from 7 to 39 yards. However, some of them cover a longer distance with light swing weights whereas a few others achieve the same with heavy swing weights.
While some golfers are sensitive to their golf club’s swing weight, others are sensitive to its overall weight. There are players who are often able to notice even a slight variation in swing weight but are not affected unless the change makes the club too heavy or too light.
Swing weight is usually more important during the second part of a game round when it tends to affect the strength of the golfer’s forearm.
Two clubs with the same swing weight can have different swing hefts. The swing weight can also have an effect on the player’s timing and impact pattern. Some players tend to miss their shot completely when their golf clubs are too light.
There are golfers who can swing a low swing weight golf club faster than a heavy swing weight club but experience problems later.
Cutting down the length of your driver or any other club will lessen the swing weight.
Although you can add weights and restore the original swing weight of the club, there may be increased chances of shot dispersion because the original stiff flex tends to get softened.
Difference Between Shaft Weight and Swing Weight?
As the name indicates, shaft weight refers to the weight of the shaft of your golf club. Shaft weight is an important aspect of any golf club and can have various consequences on your game.
Incorrect shaft weight can affect your ball speed, result in wrong shots, lessen your distance and increase your dispersion.
Golfers with fast tempo and speed are better off with heavy shafts whilst those with low tempo and speed do better with light shafts.
On the other hand, swing weight refers to how heavy or light you feel a golf club when you swing it. The swing weight affects your distance, shot contact with the golf club and turf contact.
Swing Weight Vs MOI (Moment of Inertia)
The swing weight and MOI are two equally important parameters that you should keep in mind with respect to your golf club.
Two golf clubs with the same swing weight but different overall weights and shaft materials may have different MOI. Often, the total weight of the golf club and its MOI are inversely proportional to each other.
Ideally, all the golf clubs in your golf bag should have the same or nearly the same swing weight. If the golf clubs have varying swing weights, you may end up with a bad performance on the golf course.
However, of late, it has become more important to match the moment of inertia of each golf club in your club set rather than matching the swing weight.
Some noteworthy differences between swing weight and MOI are given below.
- Swing weight is an observed estimation of the heaviness of your golf club that you feel when you swing it.
- MOI is a physical quantity and represents the club weight that inhibits the rotational acceleration of your golf club surrounding a player’s wrist hinge and prevents turning the club from the cocked state to the released state.
- The axis of swing weight of a golf club is 14 inches when calculated using a Lorythmic scale and 12 inches with an official scale from the golf club butt. The axis of MOI for the club is located at its butt.
- Swing weight is interpreted as a linear function and is calculated as the product of the overall mass of the golf club and the distance from its center of gravity to the axis.
- Swing weight is measured in terms of mass-times-length and converting the result to an artificial scale. The final value is expressed as a letter-number combination.
- MOI is interpreted as a non-linear function of the distance rendered by the golf club. The total MOI of a golf club is calculated as the total of MOIs of each grain of mass. It’s measured and expressed in terms of mass-times-length squared.
- Swing weight is measured with the help of dedicated mechanical or electronic devices. The other option is to use a formula and general-purpose tools comprising a ruler and a postal scale. This is a static measurement.
- MOI is measured with the help of dedicated electronic devices or using a formula and general-purpose tools that comprise a ruler, a stopwatch and a postal scale. This is a dynamic measurement.
D0 Vs D2
The following are a couple of differences between golf clubs with D0 and D2 swing weights based on golfers’ experiences.
- The D0 will have a lighter feel at the clubhead because it weighs lesser by 4 grams when compared to a D2, which may help you with a little extra swing speed with the D0.
- If a D2 has been modified to D0 by a shaft weight change, the shaft of the changed club will weigh around 20 grams lesser than it did originally.
D1 Vs D2
The points given below highlight some differences between D1 and D2 swing weights golf clubs.
- The D1 is most likely to be a little longer than the D2.
- The D1 has a relatively light swing weight when compared to the D2.
D2 Vs D3
Some differences between D2 and D3 swing weights golf clubs are as follows.
- The D2 is often more forgiving and has a lower spin than a D3 for most players.
- The D2 tends to have a bigger clubhead and a lighter swing weight as against a D3.
- The center of gravity of a D2 golf club is farther from the clubface compared to a D3.
- The D2 offers more spin with less control and distance in comparison to a D3 for some golfers.
D2 Vs D4
The list given below highlights some differences between D2 and D4 swing weight golf clubs.
- The D2 has a lower swing weight when compared to a D4 with the clubhead weighing lesser by 4 grams.
- The D2 has a slightly bigger shaft than a D4 by 1/3 inches and a lesser weight at the grip by 10 grams.
- The tempo is less consistent with a D2 as against a D4 for some players.
How to Measure Golf Swing Weight
The golf swing weight can be measured in many ways and is an arbitrary measurement. Here are some ways to measure them.
Using a Swing Weight Scale
This is one of the most common methods of measuring the golf swing weight of your golf club. The 14-inch Lorythmic scale is a popular swing weight scale that has a sliding weight and a fulcrum.
- Place the golf club for which you want to measure the swing weight over the swing weight scale.
- Adjust the sliding counterweight until the golf club is perfectly balanced.
- Note the point where the sliding weight gets aligned against the scale. The value at this point specifies the swing weight of your golf club.
Using a gram scale along with general purpose tools
You’ll require a gram scale that offers measurement in minute fractions of ounces or grams as well as a ruler above 40 inches measurement. The precision is very important because a small error in weight or position of the center of gravity will result in the swing weight point of errors in the final measurement.
- Measure the balance point distance of the golf club in inches from the end of its grip cap.
- Measure the total weight of the golf club using the gram scale.
- Deduct 14 inches from the above value and multiply the result with the total weight of the golf club that is measured in ounces or grams.
- This value is the torque above the club axis that is 14 inches from the golf club butt and represents the swing weight in either inch-ounces or inch-grams. The swing weight code can be determined from the above value.
The other way to measure the swing weight using the above tools is as follows.
- Take the same measurements as you did in Step 1 and Step 2 above.
- Enter the above two values in a swing weight calculator to measure the swing weight. There are several such calculators online that help you arrive at the swing weight according to both the Lorythmic scale and the official scale.
How to Calculate Golf Swing Weight
Two golf clubs with the same overall weight can have different swing weights. Similarly, two clubs with different overall weights may have the same or similar swing weight. The following steps can help to calculate the golf swing weight of your club.
- Lay a pivot point over a flat surface. This is a triangular gauge that uses gravity for balancing any object placed over it.
- Keep your golf club horizontally over the pivot point and hold it until the club balances properly.
- Measure the shaft of the golf club from the point where the club balances over the pivot point to the grip end at the top of the golf club using a tape measure. This measurement can be made in inches, centimeters or millimeters.
- Weigh the golf club using a postal scale. Make sure that the scale has maximum accuracy. The postal scale often gives the club weight in ounces and you’ll have to do the conversion to grams.
- Look up for a swing weight calculator online and enter the values noted in Steps 3 and 4. The swing weight value is displayed when you click the Calculate button.
How to Change/Adjust Your Golf Swing Weight
As a general rule of thumb, increasing the weight of the clubhead by two grams increases its swing weight by one point. Similarly, increasing the length of the golf club by one inch boosts the swing weight by six points.
There are many ways you can change/adjust the swing weight of your golf club so that you get the right swing and give your best performance in the game.
The following are the best methods to adjust your golf swing weight:
Using a lead tape to increase the swing weight
- Stick a few lead tape strips on the clubhead of your golf club. Depending on the width of the tape, a 1-inch long strip of tape will increase the weight of the club by 1 gram.
- Apply the strips on the lower back of the golf club towards its center. This will increase the center of gravity of the club and ease the lofting of the golf ball.
If you don’t want to use a lead tape, you can add some tungsten or lead weight to the shaft tip.
Using a lead tape to decrease the swing weight
Attach the lead tape near the grip end of the golf club. This will lessen the swing weight of the club while increasing the weight of the grip. This will give you a comfortable feel without affecting the flight of the ball.
You’ll need the assistance of a professional club fitter for this. If you want to increase the swing weight, replace your present shaft with a lighter shaft. Alternatively, using a heavier shaft will help you to decrease the swing weight of your club. It’s worth noting that the shaft weight will depend on its material and length.