Tips on Golf Swing Weights

By William Pirraglia
Swing weight can influence the way the club feels throughout the swing.
Swing weight can influence the way the club feels throughout the swing.

Golf club swing weights often are misunderstood by beginners and casual players. Experienced and low-handicap players sometimes spend a lot of time discussing and tweaking swing weights. Because most golf equipment choices depend on your personal preference, proper swing weights can help your game regardless of your experience or ability. Understanding swing weights and how they work may make you a better golfer. Here is what you need to know to cut some strokes off your typical score.

Understand the Difference Between Actual Weight and Swing Weight

Actual weight is the true weight of the golf club when put on a scale. Swing weight measures the distribution of the actual weight. For example, if you weigh three identical 5 irons, their actual weight would be the same. If you add one piece of lead tape to each club (put tape on the sole/blade of one club, the shaft of the second and the handle of the third), they still would have identical weights on a scale. However, the club with the tape on the sole/blade would feel heavier because it has a different swing weight than the other two clubs. All three clubs are still effective, but one of these swing weights will feel better to you.

Understand the Industry Codes for Swing Weights

Manufacturers use standard codes and labels to identify the swing weight of golf clubs. They use a combination of letters (A through G) and numbers (0 through 10) to note the swing weight of clubs. For example, the men's clubs standard is D0 and D1, while women's clubs have C5, C6 or C7 as their standard. These codes identify the "swing weight point" of the club. The coding system provides up to 77 different combinations. If your clubs feel too light, you'll want to move to a higher letter and number code. Should your clubs feel too heavy, just move down the swing weight scale.

How to Change Your Swing Weight Without Buying New Clubs

If you are an experienced, lower-handicap golfer, you already might know your preferred swing weight. It makes sense to order your next set of clubs with your favorite swing weight. However, less experienced golfers could spend many hundreds of dollars before finding their preferred swing weight. Enter the aforementioned lead tape. You can add a piece of lead tape at various points on your clubs to achieve the swing weight that works best for you. If you're not a DIY person, ask an experienced golfer or golf pro do it for you.

All of Your Clubs Should Have the Same Swing Weight

Make sure all your clubs have the same swing weight. Even if you think your clubs are a bit light or heavy for you, all the clubs in your bag should at least be very close to the same swing weight. Using clubs with different swing weights typically leads to poor performance on the course. It is difficult to use effective "muscle memory" when the clubs in your bag feel different to you. If your clubs have differing swing weights, use lead tape to equalize your clubs as much as possible.

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