When it comes to equipment,
Garcia tends to go his own way
counterbalancing is common with putters, but for wyndham champ sergio garcia the
practice is continued throughout the set—part of his search for reduced swingweight
sergio Garcia has always been a little different than his tour brethren when it comes to his equipment. His driver is shorter
than most (about 43 inches instead of the
tour average of 45); he likes to grind his
own wedges; he uses heavier shafts in
his woods than most; and, perhaps most
notably, he is one of the last players on
tour to believe in counterbalancing his
clubs throughout the set.
The simplest definition of counterbalancing is one weight that balances (or
offsets) another. As clubheads and shafts
have become lighter, the most common
practice has been to counterbalance that
with weight in the butt end of the club.
For years Garcia put lead tape underneath his grips to counterbalance the
weight of the head. This practice (which Jack Nicklaus and
Ernie Els also used) allowed Garcia to get the stability he
preferred while making the club’s swingweight lighter.
Using lead tape, however, was inexact. At the 2010
Valero Texas Open, TaylorMade’s tour technicians started Googling “golf counterbalance.” One of the results was
a company offering “Tour Lock” weight plugs that insert
into the butt end of the shaft. Realizing it would be easier
and—more importantly—provide more consistency than
lead tape, the product was ordered and placed in Garcia’s
clubs. It is a practice Garcia continues with all his clubs.
Although Garcia is perhaps the only player who contin-
getting the lead out
Using weights that he inserts into all his
clubs, Garcia no longer relies on old-style tape.
ues to counterbalance his clubs throughout the set (others tend to shun adding
weight, feeling that although it might
enhance stability, it also might modestly
reduce swing speed), many have done so
with their putters. Some manufacturers
actually build the counterbalance into
their putter designs.
One of the reasons is the role shaft
length plays. For example, a Scotty
Cameron by Titleist Kombi mallet has
a headweight of 340 grams at 35 inches,
350 grams at 34 inches and 360 grams at
33 inches. Boccieri Golf’s Heavy Putter is
another example, using extreme weight
on both the head and grip end of the club
to get the right balance.
For others, counterbalancing the
putter is more feel than science. Take
John Daly. For years Daly was one of the few tour players
to use a graphite shaft in his putter. But in order to achieve
the desired feel, 40 grams of weight were added to the
head to counterbalance the lightness of the shaft. Then
there’s Padraig Harrington, who at the 2007 Wachovia
Championship had a new Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Blade
putter with two lead weights just underneath the grip for
counterbalance. “It changed the dynamics of the putter
substantially,” said Harrington at the time. “[It’s] so good
it should be banned.”
The way Garcia has been playing lately with his full set
of counterbalanced clubs, some other players might agree.
tour StorieS ErniE Els // Let’s go to the videotape
While reviewing his play at the PGA Championship, where CBS’ coverage included multiple “down the line” shots of him
putting, Ernie Els noticed he was missing putts to the right even though his alignment appeared good, his stroke consistent and his mechanics solid. Eventually, Els figured out that a recent change to a more upright posture effectively
altered the club’s lie angle, making it too flat. This caused the heel to rise up, thus opening the face. During Els’ off week
prior to the Barclays, Odyssey reps sent the four-time major champion a new version of his British Open winning Odyssey XG #1 Proto Belly but with a significant adjustment. Els’ previous gamer had a 70.5-degree lie angle, and the new
version is three degrees more upright (73.5). The change helps Els set the putter flush to the ground and allows him to
return the face back to square more easily.