Golfers vary. If you give Davis Love III or Brad Faxon a club which is slightly heavier than what they are used to it will noticeably throw them off. Hulk Hogan or Arnold Schwarznegger will never notice the difference. The ball will just go farther. The nature of their muscle mass is what limits their top-end swing speed. Long, loose muscles generate the most speed. Large, bulky muscles generate the most torque. Fast ball pitchers and quarterbacks are never built like tight ends and linebackers. Wayne Gretsky is surprisingly scrawny and puny looking without his shirt on, yet he was able to shoot the hockey puck with great velocity.
It’s a case of John Deere versus Kawasaki. The fastest motorcycle does a terrible job hauling a lot of weight and the strongest tractor is blown away by even a dinky, little motorcycle in the quarter-mile. If you add a second, two hundred pound rider to the back of the motorcycle you will drastically reduce its zero-to-sixty speed time. Adding the same weight to the tractor will have little or no impact on its rate of acceleration.
A tall, scrawny runner might easily beat a stocky, muscular decathlete in a footrace until both men are given thirty-pound backpacks to wear during the race.
How do we determine the optimum weight of a golf club? Well, we know that a hummingbird smashing into a golf ball at 100 miles per hour would, just before it died, cause the ball to fly only a very short distance. We also know that a massive locomotive smashing into a golf ball at 20 miles an hour would not cause the ball to go very far either. The optimum weight/speed combination rests somewhere in between. Anyone who has hit range balls with a weighted training club has experienced the same results: that ball just does not go very far regardless of how hard the golfer tries.
Golf clubs can easily be made very light. That enables them to be swung at great speed, but to little avail if the weight falls below a certain amount. A lightweight, plastic, juvenile club does even more poorly than does the weighted, training club. Finding the optimum weight combination would be simple if all humans were the same size and weight and possessed the same strength and suppleness. An Iron Byron test machine or a physics professor could decide the issue in an hour or two. Unfortunately, we all vary a great deal and manufacturers are forced to go with a general average weighting pattern. There is no one precise formula. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Many, many women and seniors labor under the misassumption that ultra-light clubs will enable them to hit the ball farther. Generally, the opposite is true. They can get the club up more easily, but when it comes down to the ball it does not have enough oomph to send the ball flying. Some companies construct their ladies’ club heads so that they are actually heavier than the male counterparts.
It is the golfer who can generate high club head speeds who generally benefits most from lower head weights. Golfers with slow swing speeds are the ones who benefit most from the added authority given by extra weight both overall weight and swingweight. Unfortunately, weak and elderly golfers often do not have the strength endurance to use the heavier clubs for a complete round.
Strong, muscular golfers do have ample strength endurance, however. They are the ones who should experiment with added weight. They are the ones who should try heavier shafts, heavier heads and heavier grips. There are an infinite number of combinations. Adding a few extra grams to both head and grip might be the answer.