Steel shafts vs graphite shafts.

Mark Pieper (14) of Colorado asks…
Do you think steel shafts or graphite shafts are better?

Scott Robbins:
Shaft material depends on what your skill level, strength and other physical needs are. Graphite is still a new industry and the consistency from shaft to shaft and company to company varies greatly. Steel is a much more consistent material as long as you get an upper grade shaft. However, steel creates more vibration and is harder on your arm and shoulder joints where graphite dampens those effects. I would recommend steel shafts for a young man such as your self. Junior Golf Tips

What kind of ball should I use?

Mike Melena of Lakewood,CO writes…
My club head speed is about 100 mph and I am a 9 handicapper, what kind of ball should I use?

Scott Robbins:
It sounds like you are on your way to building a great golf game. Today, the ball question becomes a little more complicated than in the past. My recommendations depend on weather conditions, course conditions and your ball flight characteristics. If you hit the ball normally high, you need to select a two piece ball with a low spin rate such as a Titleist DT 2 piece or a Maxfli surlyn covered as examples. If you normally hit the ball low, you would need a ball with more spin like a balata covered Maxfli HT or a Titleist Professional or Tour Balata.
A lot of players with your speed will play a balata covered ball in calm conditions on hilly and/or wet golf courses and a two piece ball in windy days and on flat hard courses. Find a balata covered ball you like for “normal” calm conditions and a two piece ball you like for adverse, windy, and wet conditions.
The best way is to invest a little money and experiment with balls. From a personal standpoint, I play either the Titleist Tour Balata or Titleist Professional in dry calm conditions and the Titleist HP2 Tour, Titleist HVC or Precept EV Extra Spin in windy conditions. Those are the balls I select to use depending on the day, course and conditions. The Tour players select one ball and stick with it. Corey Pavin plays the HP2 Tour, Davis Love the Professional, Nick Price and Ray Floyd the Precept EV and Nicklaus, Norman and Couples the Maxfli HT. These balls all match each players shot and ball flight characteristics and act best for them in the wind.
100 compression will always fly farther, 90 compression can give you some added feel. Experiment, good luck and keep bringing that handicap down. Junior Golf Tips

What is the best golf club in your opinion?

Ben Zera of Tallahassee, FL asks…
What is the best golf club in your opinion (brand name)?

Scott Robbins:
Ben, That is a great question. Obviously there are a bunch of top line golf clubs that Tour Professionals are playing. Yes they get paid to play the clubs they do but there is one thing in common to all those clubs. The clubs fit their swing, they don’t fit their swings to the clubs. That is what you should strive to find. You will go through a few sets from here out in your career as you grow taller and stronger and improve your swing technique.
Club fitting is a science. Be sure you find a PGA Professional experienced in club fitting. The clubhead should be any clubhead that looks good to your eye as you put it on the ground and also be sure the clubhead weights are very consistent throughout the set.
The most important part of the golf club is the shaft. First, get fit for length of the club for your height now. I have seen too any juniors have to change golf swings and pick up bad swing habits due to clubs that are too long and therefore too heavy for them. Secondly, find the right flex for your swing now. That flex will probably change in a couple of years.
The next thing is be sure the golf club has the right lie for you today. A too upright or too flat lie will cause you to adjust your golf swing to compensate for any incorrectly fit component.
Finally, be sure you have the proper grip size and type. All these factors should be consistent from club to club to provide a balanced set of clubs to play with. Some companies with great fitting systems today are Titleist, Ben Hogan, Ping and probably the best system for fitting and most consistently and best built club is Adams Golf Company from Richardson Texas. Junior Golf Tips

Can I use longer clubs or should I get ones that fit me now?

David Hansen of Cudahy, WI writes…
I would like golf clubs for my birthday. Can I use longer clubs and hold them lower so I can use them for more years, or should I get ones that fit me now?

Scott Robbins:
I am a firm believer in clubs that fit a golfer at all stages of development. I have seen too many juniors with too big and heavy of clubs creating too difficult of swing errors just to swing too much club.
Get a set that is right for you now and have them extended as you get older. You can get clues that are a half to three quarter inch extra length, but much more than that can cause some swing problems.
Good luck and happy birthday and I hope you get to use those new clubs soon! Junior Golf Tips

Am I losing distance because I am trying not to swing so hard? Would lead tape would help me get back some distance?

Conor McGaley of Larchmont, NY writes…
I play with TA 845s, stiff flex on 5 iron through wedge. I have a good trajectory. My question is am I losing distance because I am trying not to swing so hard. I was wondering whether lead tape would help me get back some distance without changing to a regular flex? What will the tape do? How do I know that I have enough tape? Thanks

Scott Robbins:
Great questions! The best way to find all these answers is to find a PGA Professional who is proficient in clubfitting. Shaft stiffness within your set is based upon two variables, swing speed and swing tempo. Someone with high club head speed might need a softer shaft if the tempo of their swing is slower. If that person swings too stiff a shaft they will tend to try and fight the club and sometimes feel they have to “swing hard” to hit it.
The other side of that coin is if someone is swing too soft a shaft then the tendency is for the clubhead to lag the shaft and they tend to push or “hang” the ball in slice territory. What I see in that case is the player trying to adjust the swing to compensate and that player sometimes tries and manipulate the hands or shoulders to adjust for ill fitted golf clubs. You as a player, at any level, will adjust to the golf club in your hand. Therefore it is better to be fit and have a golf club that fits your swing rather than a swing to fit your clubs.
The question of tape. Yes, as you add tape, you change a lot of things. You change the head weight and the relationship of that head weight to the rest of the club. That changes the balance of the golf club and the feel of the club in your hand. It is best to know what your are trying to accomplish (i.e. what flex, weight and balance point) before you start adding tape. If you add tape to a accomplish a specific goal it is great as a tool.
Good Luck. Find a good fitter. Most good fitters can also tell you if you can get your current clubs to the playing conditions you want or if you need to reinvest in a properly fit set. Find that set that will let you be the best golfer you can be! Junior Golf Tips

Blades vs forgiving clubs

Dave Newman of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada writes…
I am a 3 handicap that is an avid competitive golfer in my province. Recently I have decided to purchase new irons but I am confused. What is better, blades or forgiving clubs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of either? I was told that with blades, a junior such as myself can be more accurate, and improve more easily. But if forgiving clubs are easier to hit, wouldn’t that be the way to go? Please clear my confusion on the subject.

Scott Robbins:
Golf equipment at your level of play becomes very, very important. The most important factor in the club is the shaft. Be sure you are fit with the proper shaft to fit your swing. Otherwise you will be adjusting your swing to fit your clubs.
The feel you will have is not to do with the head design but to do with the shaft. However, head design can be beneficial. Any design will produce the best shot when it is hit in the center of the club (again has more to do with the shaft) but a cavity back design will give you a little more room for error.
There are cavity back forging and cast clubs. Either one will do as long as the clubs are made by a major manufacturer and the manufacturer pays close attention to consistent weighting of the heads.
Three recommendations in fittings and clubs would be Mizuno, Titleist DCI irons and Adams. Good Luck. Be sure those clubs fit your swing! Junior Golf Tips

Hard for me to grip the club right now because I have small hands.

Hunter Watts (12) of Keswick, VA writes…
My question is that it is hard for me to grip the club right now because I have small hands on the shots that are not on the green. I do not know what is the appropriate grip for small fingers. I know I have to change grips because at the moment I am using the ten finger grip that I have used since I first started playing at the age of four.

Scott Robbins:
Grip formation (10 finger, interlock, Vardon) changes are made when your hands become big enough to accommodate them. It sounds to me like your problem though can be solved in a different manner. It sounds like the grips or handles on your clubs is too big for you. Go to a PGA Golf Professional or knowledgeable and reputable club repair shop and have them check the size of grips on your clubs. You might need to put a women’s, small women’s or junior grip on your clubs.
Don’t worry about small hands. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Kite both have small hands. I know Tom personally and have been in his home repair shop watching him put women’s grips on his clubs! Junior Golf Tips

Should I use some adult clubs that have been cut down or should I be measured for my clubs?

Anthony Peralez (10) of Abilene, TX USA writes…
I just started playing golf and I really enjoy it. Should I use some adult clubs that have been cut down or should I go to a place like Golfsmith and be measured for my clubs?

Scott Robbins:
The better clubs fit you, the more you will enjoy the game. Cutting down adult clubs usually will make the club you would play with too heavy and the shaft too stiff which means you can’t bend the shaft with your swing.
My recommendation is a club that fits. If you want to go longer to have a club you can grow to, only make it 1/2 inch longer than you measure for. Use the lightest shafts possible and light club heads.
Enjoy the game. Practice, play and have fun.