You likely read it in just about every new club design description going back twenty years, but what does ‘center of gravity’ exactly mean? And how does it affect your golf game? Well, in a nutshell, center of gravity is important for your trajectory, spin and for keeping off-center shots on line, and on target. In this post we’ll dive a little deeper into center of gravity and how it plays a role in your golf game.
Let’s start with Trajectory
Whether its your driver, iron or even your putter, the center of gravity plays a role in the trajectory of your shot. For all three of these club types, manufacturers have attempted to make your life on the course easier by placing the center of gravity of the clubs lower than the bottom half of the ball. By doing so, this helps you the golfers gets the ball airborne more easily. Yes, this is even true with the putter. Putters carry about 2 degrees of loft, and if you watch in slow motion, the ball gets slightly airborne before it starts its roll. The lower the center of gravity, the higher the trajectory of the shot. The opposite is true for clubs with higher center of gravities. And obviously the loft of the club you’re using plays a major role as well.
Now on to Spin
While loft plays the biggest role, the position of a clubs center of gravity can affect a shots trajectory and thusly affect the amount of spin on the ball.
Most importantly we come to Side-Spin
This is where center of gravity plays its biggest role. You’ve likely hear the term MOI or moment of inertia before in reference to golf club design. Well, manufacturers have consistently tried to increase a clubs MOI by moving a clubs center of gravity far away from the clubface. By adding in heel and toe eights (technology you’ve seen in irons and woods for decades), the engineers have been pushing and pushing to move the center of gravity back from the face (much like the image to the right). By doing so, they significantly have changed how a club reacts on off-center hits. Golf clubs designed with a much higher MOI will not twist nearly as much as one’s without on off-center hits. This helps the average golfer keep their ball in play, even when their swing is not up to snuff.
Off-center hits are also helped by the bulge and roll effect with drivers and woods, but thats a topic we’ve already covered in another post.
We hope that makes more sense, and before we hear about it in the comments, and because we have a whole post coming out on it in a few days time, I want to be very clear – center of gravity IS NOT a clubs sweet spot.