The third major of the golf season is almost upon us, meaning it’s time for the British Open.

While that’s what it’s known as in the United States, the rest of the world knows it as the Open Championship. It runs from July 20-23.

This year, it’s being played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in southeast England with Hendrik Stenson being the defending champion.

Each year, The Open is not played at the same golf course, but has a nine course rotation. Four are in England; four are in Scotland and a recently added venue in Northern Ireland. Muirfield Golf Club was for many years in that rotation, but in 2016 was removed because of its membership rules not allowing female members.

Since then, Muirfield's membership has amended its membership rules and Muirfield was recently put back into the rotation for hosting the Open. Another interesting note is that there is never a limitation to ticket sales, in essence if you come, you will be admitted.

Club fitting

Shaft flex and there effect on golf shots is a very misunderstood subject.

It’s often said the shaft is the engine of the golf club I would classify the shaft more like the transmission. The golfer is really the engine and the shaft or transmission needs to coordinate with how the engine is running.

I here golfers say “I can only use a regular flex" or "I have to use a stiff flex because of my swing speed." Unfortunately, confusion and misinformation will likely continue because there are no real standards in the golf shaft industry that defines what a regular, stiff, senior or any other flex name you can think of.

There is a measurement that club makers use known as cycles per minute frequency that does measure flex but you will never see that on a shaft. The cycles per minute frequency of a shaft -relative to shaft length is the absolute true flex of a shaft.

Weight plays more of factor in how a shaft flex's than any other factor.

An example, in many instances a 70 gram driver shaft marked as a regular flex in most cases will have less flex (stiffer) than a 50 gram shaft marked as a stiff flex.

Am 80 gram steel iron shaft, marked stiff is nowhere near as stiff as a 130 gram steel shaft. Another good piece of information, most club manufacturers will offer a steel shafted iron set with a light weight (80-90 gram) shaft. These shafts are usually very flexible although they are marked as a regular or stiff flex. It's virtually impossible to make a lightweight steel golf shaft that has a low flex. These steel shafts are utilized mainly because they are inexpensive to produce and help manufacturers keep their prices down.

Being lightweight does offer benefits that can help the golfer. The lighter shaft can bring up swing speeds but certainly the argument could be made that the more flexible shaft could lead to inaccurate iron shots. A real trade off is lightweight steel keeps prices down, perhaps increases swing speed at the expense of accuracy.

Maybe you've wondered why some golf shafts are so expensive and what makes them different. Stability is the real key, no doubt a shaft should bend, but does it bend reliably each time. As a shaft gets lighter it become more difficult to produce a stable reliable shaft. Finally, if you have a shaft that seems to produce well for you, hold on to it. Industry experts say that no two graphite shafts are exactly alike.

Upcoming events

The Lemoore Open is July 15-16 with 36 hole medal play. Men’s and women’s flights with gross and net. $125 entry fee includes green fee, lunch on Sunday, tee gift and prizes.

Junior golf camps – Beginner/intermediate ages 5-and-older. Camp 1: July 18-20. Camp 2: July 25-27. $50 per child. 9 a.m. - noon. No equipment needed. Camp 3: Advanced/high school. All Ages. July 31 - Aug. 4. 8 a.m. - noon. $125 per child. Information: 924-9658.

Tom Ringer is Director of Golf at Lemoore Golf Course and has been a PGA professional for three decades. He can be reached at tomringer2003@yahoo.com.

Load comments