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3/8" Club Stepping - Starting Point



  • Howard JonesHoward Jones  9566Members Posts: 9,566
    Joined:  #32


    The tech side of Golf has been "myth based" for generations, who really knew what they was talking about? it was those folks i meet when i needed "expertise", but what i found was humbug....they had NO CLUE, but i did not want to give up playing Golf, but i was advised to, since my issues was "medical" (bad back), and not related to swing tech or equipment, thats was the advice from all of them...quit Golf, that was an option for a addict?

    I proved this clowns DEAD WRONG, for sure i had medical issues and still have, they will never leave, but the solution was both equipment AND swing tech related, and no club fitter i saw (5-6 different), or my own swing trainer was able to locate the issue....

    This photo is NOT me, by my issues was exactly the same, and i was not alone with it. This player has a way to early release, and try to force the club forward, with a distance from his own back and spine to the clubs actual BP way to long out, he ADDs about 50% of the clubs measured resistance the way he swing it, so combined with a total weight to high to start with, no wonder my back could not make it for more than 9-10 holes? and they could not locate the issue?
    That actually means, those folks i went to for help, dont understand equipment OR swing tech, so what do they know?

    it was THIS SIMPLE, and the reason i became a club fitter my self, im not the kind who gives up , but it took me many years, and several hundreds of volunteers i used for the most crazy set ups to be able to study what club specs actually does to the players swing. Thats whats behind my fitting concept VISUAL FITTING...we can SEE club specs when the player swing the club if we know what to look for and how to judge it, and ive been using that concept ever since, and always made it, its actually very simple....the basics for the concept is public in my DIY driver tune up.*

    So, i might be crazy about excel, charts, and numbers, but i DONT use numbers during fitting, i go old school by "more or less", and "too little or too much"...navigating by the players own human scale, thats the scale used in play, so thats the one we should rely on during fitting too. The instruments we have belongs to the works shop to measure and duplicate specs of clubs already fitted without the use of any of those tools....except a launch monitor is we have one, but even that one can be left out, we can still make it better than most with access to a LM, even for drivers....

    The more i get to know, the better i understand how little i actually knows, new doors is opening all the time, and to places ive never seen before, so i look at myself as a student of Golf club tech and will always be, the day i think im done, then im done and should leave this, but i cant stop testing and doing numbers to get more insight on the deeper levels we hardly ever debate, because we knows to little about it.

    Take 2 parameters, TOTAL weight and shafts balance points wher both is of highly importance, but do we know how to deal with it? Try to ask a club fitter about the subjects Total weight and total weight progression for the iron set, or shafts in the bag in general....LOL, its a reason for why i lost most of my hearing too, ive heard enough BS...(the actual reason is my back ground as a Gun Smith, and that back ground is also the reason for why i dont "cut and glue", its simply not how things shall be done....

    Just look at the simplest of them, total weight progression, and compare DG Descending with Constant and AMT and your eyes will be rotating....30 grams total weight difference from #3 to PW on descending, 40 grams for Constant, and 60 grams for can all 3 be options for the same player? its very clear that they cant be, the weight pattern and difference is way to different for that, and when we add different balance points comparing KBS with PX, DG or Nippons, we can no longer look at uncut shaft weight alone, it dont tell the story we need to know, and many club fitters dont even know that DG descending is NOT a shaft we shall look at as 130 grams, but they do since thats the official specs...

    The actual knowledge level is way to low in general among them who has this for a living, many hobbyists would have done way better, and most of you who are active on this forum is actually real "experts" compared to many of those who call them-self professionals, the difference is they charge you, its got nothing to do with knowledge level, so this business is a big disgrace if you ask about my honest opinion, but there is always exceptions to that, but way to long of a distance between them...,and im NOT the best, but my alias should ring a bell for those of you old enough......"things can only get better"....

  • GolfWRXGolfWRX Warning Points: 0  11 Members Posts: 11 #ad
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  • mogc60mogc60  1016Members Posts: 1,016
    Joined:  #33

    @Howard Jones said:

    @wkuo3 said:
    Have anyone thought about how the irons will perform after the modification ?
    How will the performance be effected on distance of each iron and distance gap between each of the iroan ?
    I'd learned much from the discussion without having to experiment the process ( really don't have the time nor the resources to but down several sets of shafts to prove a point ).
    Isn't the performance from the end of the modification is, what we're after ? Or are we just trying to make the numbers looking great ?
    Has anyone actually done the process either with a personal set or with a player's set ? Any feedbacks would be appreciated.

    I dont know how many who have done it, far from all return with a write up, but some does like in this tread.
    This is what most of us would call "a better player", former PGA swing trainer and -hdcp on the sunny side, but it takes a bit of a man to admit that there has always been room for improvement in the iron play, and this was the improvement always wanted....but nobody has ever showed this up as option to this issues ALL of us has.
    The short end often works pretty good if we have a set that fits us, while MID is OK, while the long end could absolutely be improved, and thats not only for high HDCP players, it goes for all of us, and if it worked out for a man like this, what makes you think you want make the same improvement, maybe even more, depending on how good a fit the short end is now.

    So I guess this man lol should chime in after this. I had this discussion with Howard during my build and tried to cover it in my recap of my experience, but standard or what I “fit” for never felt right. I fit at +1/4 but always used my standard length of 35.5 PW and progressing from there. I am about 2 months into my change and all I can say is the consistency in my longer clubs has never been better. The quality of the contact and the ease of swinging them has been fantastic. Howard has posted so many different scenarios of late that about any change a player feels they want to make has been put out there in great detail. My advice to anyone is lose the stigma of what standard is and don’t be afraid to try what you feel is right for you. Chances are if done with the knowledge of how to make the change it will benefit your game. I said in my recap that the game got easier with half my irons making this change. I firmly believe that. It feels simpler and more consistent and that’s what we are a looking for.


    CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH SZ 9 EV BLACK 75 6.5 44 1/4”

  • Puttersaurus RexPuttersaurus Rex one swing at a time  625Members Posts: 625
    Joined:  #34

    Cheers, Howard! Your posts have been eye opening on many levels. Simplifying to feel and your driver fitting has paid dividends. You mentioned making each club your favorite club, and that makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you.

    I am looking forward to my first 3/8 or 10.9 mm type build this winter. I intend to take my time, and it will be fun to see the end result.

    Have fun - ready golf - repair/replace divots & ball marks - FORE! as needed
  • Howard JonesHoward Jones  9566Members Posts: 9,566
    Joined:  edited Sep 7, 2019 6:08am #35

    @LostArkitekt said:

    @Howard Jones said:

    @LostArkitekt said:
    Also...would stepping 3/8" affect the tip trimming suggested by shaft manufacturer or butt trim measurement only?

    Yes and no. think of it like it was Parallel tips where the classic system is 4/8" tip trim and 4/8" between clubs, and 1/8" tip trim = 1 CPM. Then a 3/8" set up should have a tip trim of 7/16 both ways from out starting point if we did not except any change to flex.

    To understand what happens to flex, just look at this SW values, and think 1 SWP = 1 CPM
    Since most sets is D2 as standard, D1 = 1 CPM stronger and D3 = 1CPM weaker
    Slope is 0.5 SWP, between clubs, so to compensate we need half of 1/8" = 1/16" less tip trim progression
    (4/8" tip trim progression become 7/16" - both ways from start point)

    Example, a "standard" #9 iron as D2 as starting point gives a #3 iron of C9 or 3 CPM stronger than STD
    Example, 2 "standard" #3 with SW D3.5 gives a #9 with D6.5 or 4.5 CPM softer than standard

    Well, I understand MOST of that, and my current irons are standard at D2 from 4 iron through 7 iron (i think) and D3 in 8 iron, 9 iron and PW. However, the clubs got longer, and I don't think they did any stepping or adding butt weights to offset the length. So, if I'm starting at 7-iron, what you are saying is that I should go in 7/16 increments of tip trim from there? Would I add tip/butt shaft weighting (based on balance point) to get the swingweight to equal D2 in 4-7, D3 in 8-LW? I'm wondering that if this is the standard, maybe making the 2 and 3 irons D1.5. I'm sure I won't know till I hit the clubs, etc., but I think I'll be light years ahead of where I am now.

    If we started out from NEW uncut shafts, we could adjust or "offset" the standard tip trim chart to get flex slope more like it is standard by REDUCING tip trim on clubs that ends below D2, and ADD trip trim vs standard for clubs above D2
    Since SWP and CPM is 1:1 the math is simple, but we also need to know how much tip trim thats needed on the actual shaft to gain or loose 1 CPM, most but far from all steel shafts respond with 1 CPM for each 1/8" of tip trim, while shafts like RIFLE FCM and KBS needs 3/16 of tip trim to gain 1 CPM.

    That was for "equalizing" the difference that happens to flex, but we can take it further, and tweak flight pattern into a Flighted slope if we like. Then we "overdo" it, and start by the numbers needed to equalize flex, then we offset it further so shafts becomes 1 to 2 CPM softer for clubs longer than starting point, and 1 to 2 CPM stronger the other way.

    Thats how RIFLE FCM Flighted is made, we alter tip trim so flex slope become 5.88 CPM between clubs vs 4.25, so RIFLE becomes Flighted when slope is altered with 1.63 CPM progressive softer or stiffer than standard from the start club.

    If the set we have is already made and its all a modification, we dont really have this option, but there is a trick of the trade for that too, and thats TIP SHIMMING...We need only 1.00" as insert and most heads is 1.25", so we can shim up the tip by 0.25" as the most and that is for most shafts 2 CPM softer, so that #3 iron of C9 can be shimmed 2/8" and "soften it" 2 CPM while our target was 3, so we want make it 100%, but gets as close as we could get. We cant stretch it any further for sets already made without new shafts, and i would not use 7/8" as insert on the longest club, just to get 1 CPM softer and "right"., we should not push it that far, we say 1.00" is minimum insert and stick to that.

    Here is a set up i only made once, and its a good one for those who wants a 3/8" set with a good MOI match on both heads and shafts (very good feel of balance from both), and the player can handle shafts like Dynamic Gold X100, so its a low priced shaft option we modify to become slightly Ascending WGT - 3/8" - MOI matched and FLIGHTED.

    Those shafts dont officially exist from TT, but they do if we just know how we can mix them and tip trim them to get there, and here is the chart for that. For a set 3-PW ive added a #1 and #2 iron shaft, and removed the #4 and #8 shaft, the rest is tip trim (yes on Taper tips, no problem with that). Flex goes from SS2 (soft stepped 2 x) in the longest club to "strait in" or standard for the #9 iron. in this set, its really the #6 iron who is starting point for flex at SS1, so over all, this set should be considered as Soft stepped 1x, but with a Flighted flex slope.

  • LostArkitektLostArkitekt  27Members Posts: 27
    Joined:  #36

    Thanks for all the info Howard. However, I think this is "above my pay grade" (way more information than I really understand). Here is the gist of the scenario. I bought Mizuno JPX919 Forged from a recommendation of a "fitter" (use that term loosely because I now know he is a salesman). He also went off of numbers that I told him I hit when I was much younger. The length is right (feel great in that regard), but the shafts are TOO stiff, and the clubs feel extremely heavy and laborious for me to swing. Unfortunately, I was laid off after buying the clubs and now, can't afford to get really fitted out (although I'd keep the heads and try to make them work) for a complete set, so I found some old Ping ISI irons on ebay that were more upright, and I'm bought some graphite shafts that were on sale, and I'm trying to make a serviceable "back-up" set that I can play till I get my Mizunos fitted properly. So, while this information is awesome, and I love learning about anything...I don't understand all of it. But, I will definitely use it when I get the Mizunos fit for me. I'll go to someone who actually understands all of this better than I do.

    Basically, I'm looking for the info needed to build a set starting with a 7-iron as +1.25 standard, and then stepping 3/8" from there. The shafts are parallel tip Fujikura/Cobra Pro Iron graphite shafts. My swing speed falls right at the low end of the Stiff Flex and the upper end of the Regular Flex, so I figured I'd get the Regular flex and trim some more off than make them slightly stiffer. I've reamed the hosels of the PING ISI clubs to be .370, and I've weighed the heads...which are not stepped 7 grams between each...they vary (some down to 5.5g and others up to 8 grams).

    That's where I'm at. Probably not going to do flighted shafts with this set or try to do MOI matching (again...more difficult than I really understand at this point), but I really appreciate all the info so far, and I've learned a lot just through this thread.

  • Howard JonesHoward Jones  9566Members Posts: 9,566
    Joined:  #37

    Ok, if you can tell me uncut shaft weight, uncut shaft length, the shafts balance point (one shaft is enough for parallels), and head weight, i can do the numbers for you, no problem. (ive looked into my shaft DB but dont have specs for that shaft.). Head weights are never 7 grams apart from production, they always vary plus minus, so we always need to adjust them anyway.

    To measure balance point you only need a ruler, a vise and a knife, plus a piece of painters tape.
    Put the shaft on one finger to find its approximate BP, and add a round of painters tape on that spot.
    Put the knife in the vise, edge up, and put the shaft on the knife blade.
    Move that shaft back and forth until it can rest in perfect balance.
    Push the shaft down against the knife, so the edge of the knife set a mark in the painters tape (not the shaft, thats why we added the tape). Measure distance from the TIP AND BUTT (and check if sum is equal to total)

    What work shop equipment do you have access to?

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  • sford31sford31  42Members Posts: 42
    Joined:  #38

    Posting here so I can find this thread easily in a few months when I get antsy over winter. Hopefully I can understand it.

  • Howard JonesHoward Jones  9566Members Posts: 9,566
    Joined:  #39

    @sford31 said:
    Posting here so I can find this thread easily in a few months when I get antsy over winter. Hopefully I can understand it.

    Ask about what ever, there is no stupid questions here, we are far outside "the books", so what im writhing about here is NOT common knowledge among club fitters or club makers, only folks who has been deep diving into the Custom world of it.

    For the record, 3/8" set ups is NOT my invention, this ideas comes from Tom Wishon, and it was done to make it easier to MOI match a set based on "standard" head weights as starting point. When we use the classic system of 4/8" between clubs, we end up with long irons with too much head weight, and head weight reduction is not really a DIY job, while if we modify to 3/8" we only need a few grams added to make them all to the same actual resistance (MOI).

    Another benefit Tom did not mention or made a point of, is that we by going 3/8" can improve impact in the long end, and keep the short end "right", since going shorter on all makes the short end of the set too short and thats no good.

    So far i have NOT seen any down sides by going this way, i can only see improvements if we plan it right and make it right, so like ive stated before, i dont think i ever will build a set to 4/8" between clubs again, i see no reasons for doing that, all i see is issues, the same issues we take care of by going 3/8" (or shorter)

    PS!. not all players fit to play a MOI matched set where all clubs has the same resistance and for that reason shall be swung with the same amount of power. Some players has the SW system "in their bones", and is used to sets where we add power the longer we want to move the ball (longer clubs), and this players might have hard time to "slow down" when they use their longer clubs, but going 3/8" DONT mean we have to MOi match, we can combine 3/8" with the classic SW system, or a resistance slope in-between them so it becomes right for each player.

    We are all different, with different needs, but going 3/8" dont prevent us from making a good fit on what ever specs we talk about on the club, so the way i see this, it gives us more options to make a good fit, and most can make the needed modifications them-self when we know where to go.

  • sford31sford31  42Members Posts: 42
    Joined:  #40

    Thanks Howard, I actually read up on this from you or Tom a couple years back and made a set at 7/16"(as best i could) increments and did the poor mans MOI matching. I figured over 8 clubs, taking 1/16 off per club would give me a 1/2 inch shorter 3 iron. I think it worked out pretty well and I just wanna expand on that since I want some softer shafts. I think going to 3/8 would be even better. And i do believe I want to MOI match rather SW at least until I decide it's not for me.

  • ProfessorDaveProfessorDave  57Members Posts: 57
    Joined:  #41

    I don’t know if this helps, but I have found that going with 3/8” between clubs compresses the gapping in the shorter clubs. Not hard to tweak with loft adjustments, but something to look for.
    I personally like this increment between clubs. Some golfers like the progressive swing weight it can produce.

  • Howard JonesHoward Jones  9566Members Posts: 9,566
    Joined:  #42

    @sford31 said:
    Thanks Howard, I actually read up on this from you or Tom a couple years back and made a set at 7/16"(as best i could) increments and did the poor mans MOI matching. I figured over 8 clubs, taking 1/16 off per club would give me a 1/2 inch shorter 3 iron. I think it worked out pretty well and I just wanna expand on that since I want some softer shafts. I think going to 3/8 would be even better. And i do believe I want to MOI match rather SW at least until I decide it's not for me.

    1/16* is equal to 1.59 mm, so the fast and dirty would have been going 10.7 or 2.0 mm progressive shorter like the chart in page 1 shows, that set up dont demand any head weight tuning is it all started with the same SW as 4/8" set, but we only go "1 club shorter", in the long end....kind of "conservative", when we can stretch is way further, but a good option to try MOI matched for those who dont want to add lead tape. Mark butts, cut on the long side and use a belt grinder to target .


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