Tom Wishon E-Tech Report – April 2008
Welcome to the April 2008 issue of the Tom Wishon E-Tech Report!
In this issue:
1. Fitting Outside the Traditional Box – the Concept of True Length Technology™ from Club maker Dan Connelly
Fitting Outside the Traditional Box – the Concept of True Length Technology™ from Club maker Dan Connelly
TWGT Note: One of the most difficult things for all of us to do is to consider deviating from various accepted and “traditional” norms that have been a part of club making for a very long time. For example, when TWGT introduced Clubmakers to the concept of MOI Matching golf clubs as a replacement for swingweight matching, the new concept was bucking over 80 years of the golf industry relying only on swingweight as the method of trying to make all clubs in a set offer the same swing feel. While many Clubmakers learned and now embrace MOI Matching as the best way to truly create the same swing feel for each club in the set, tons more are hesitant to even afraid to try MOI matching for fear of deviating from 80+ years of club making tradition.
I first became aware of club maker Dan Connelly and his TLT system for length fitting through TWGT’s Rob Sines. At the 2007 PCS Show, I had the opportunity to sit down and listen to Dan’s concept which flies in the face of literally decades of the golf industry’s traditional practice of changing the length of clubs by full inch or half-inch increments. After hearing Dan’s explanations for his True Length Technology™ length fitting methodology, I had to admit his work definitely has merit and should be considered by all Clubmakers. As a result, I asked Dan to write an article about his TLT system so we could expose Clubmakers to a brand new length fitting methodology that is most definitely worth all club makers’ consideration.
We welcome your comments after you read Dan’s article, whether directly to Dan, TWGT or on our Club maker Forum, accessible through our wishongolf.com web site.
“Have you ever encountered golfers who are troubled by the condition of ‘My long irons are too long and my short irons are too short’? Every set of clubs I’ve owned in my 35 years of playing this game have fallen into that scenario.
True Length Technology™ addresses this condition through CAD modeling the entire set by correlating the ‘lengths and lies’ to the golfer in their athletic address position. Imagine having one single, stable athletic address position for every club in the bag. Holding every club in the same hand position and still utilize varying lengths and lies that fit your math model, perfectly.
I have a strong mathematical background, with precision accuracy (micro-measurements) being my primary function since 1988.
- Currently a Precision Inspector (Metrologist) for the General Motors Canadian Regional Engineering Centre as a CAD programmer for the Coordinate Metrology Lab
- Past Chairman (2 years) of the ‘Association for Coordinate Metrology Canada’ – devoted to educating & understanding micro measurement technology
- Durham College Graduate – Mechanical Technology Program
- Certified by the Ralph Maltby’s Clubmaking Academy in: Assembly and Repair, Professional Clubfitting, Masters Program (only 3 in Canada)
- Certified Rifle Shaft Fitting Centre
- Accredited by the Golf Clubmakers Association (GCA) with Professional/Advanced Status
- Developer and Owner of the Proprietary Length/Lie/Fitting System – True Length Technology™
- Currently pursuing accreditation with the Professional Clubmakers Society
When I reviewed the standard lie angles versus length throughout the golf equipment industry, the lie angle progressions did not add up mathematically to the traditional standard lengths of the various golf club companies.
- Company A – Lie angles increment in ½ degree per club
- Company B – Lie angles increment in 1 degree per club
- Company C – Lie angles vary and don’t seem to follow a progressive pattern
How could each of these (different) lie angle designs all have (identical) finished lengths? OR conversely, how could each of these lengths all be matched to a little different lie angle spec and progression?
During any lesson, I was always taught to ‘get into my athletic address position’
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Knees slightly bent
- Spine tilted forward near 30 degrees
- Arms hanging down and slightly out from your body
When I did this my 7 iron fit and played like it was built for me
- Slight amount of grip cap extending out from and a little above my upper hand
- Lie angle looking correct at address
- Hit the ball straight
However, when I assumed the same exact stance position and posture, my 3 iron would have nearly one inch of butt cap extending out from and above my wrist at address, while my pitching wedge would almost be down into the palm of my hand. It seemed that there was roughly an extra 1 ½ inches between my longest and shortest clubs that just did not seem to fit my position. Most golfers who use a traditional set of clubs must adjust their spine tilt, knee bend, distance between their feet, etc. for every different club in their bag. This will result in the golfer having to recall and execute 13 slightly different setup positions to maintain one common hand position. No matter how good of an athlete you are, this is a very difficult task to master consistently.
I felt that if I was a visually handicapped golfer, I would setup in my single, repeatable athletic position consistently – waiting for my club to marry with the same exact stance and posture. Would I know the position I was suppose to be in if I was holding my 3 iron verses my pitching wedge? Would there be a difference? My thoughts were ‘No, I am ready to hit, give me my club please.’
In trying to understand how these theories worked with my existing clubs, I began to think, that just maybe, there was a more scientific approach to length relative to my athletic address position.
The Birth of – True Length Technology™
My first attempts at alternative lengths were building in 0.4 inch, 0.33 inch and 0.25 inch increments, which did help, but this too did not fit perfectly. After many different attempts, I decided to try ‘Math Modeling’ a set based on my athletic address position. As I began plotting lie angles on my computer, it became apparent rather quickly that any uniform increment length cut (not just ½ inch) was not mathematically correct. True Length Technology™ proves that the length cut has to be progressively less per club as your clubs get shorter in length and more upright in their lie angles.
If you picture a set of triangles and compare
- one at 56 and one at 57 degrees
- one at 64 and one at 65 degrees,
The length differential between the 56 & 57 degree angles are greater than the length differential between the 64 & 65 degree angles. Herein lays the proof that any static number like ½ inch or ¼ inch variation per club is not mathematically sound. Each increment has to be progressively less than the last increment as the clubs get shorter.
True Length Technology™ clubs do vary in length. However, their club to club length increment of change is less than the traditional ½ inch increment. In fact the length variance is perfect from club to club, giving the golfer an identical and more easily repeatable address position and posture for your personal setup.
As all custom club fitters know, one size does not fit all. More precisely, only one size fits each different golfer individually. As all custom Clubmakers know, length and lie are vitally important fitting specifications, but club makers only have access to a few charts that are ‘recommended build sizes’ – 2 charts for men, 1 chart for women.
If you look at any of the old ‘Club fitters Rulers’, one single ‘recommended club length’ fit is ordained to fit over 3½ inches of variations in the Wrist to Floor (WTF) measurement, except for women, in which case the clubs are always assumed to be 1 inch shorter. How much sense does that make? Someone with a 34 WTF is playing the same lengths as someone with a 37 WTF? This again is not mathematically sound and is simply done on such length fitting rulers for convenience.
True Length Technology™
The True Length Technology™ system consists of a series charts that vary from what I call a Series 0 to a Series 12 golfer. Every chart is a Math Model of perfect proportions for each individual series. The math behind the True Length Technology™ assembly charts is the result of each golfer’s single most comfortable address position. Not everyone addresses the ball in the same manner and therefore the target assembly charts are still susceptible to some variation. You, as a club fitter need to find the correct series target length for each individual golfer and then build the clubs to the appropriate Series chart.
Note; WTF measurements are used but only as a starting point within the fitting process. A full dynamic fitting is still recommended using the True Length Technology™ Fitting System.
- Hitting balls allows the fitter to be aware of swing tendencies and club head paths that do influence
- Individual swing skills certainly do play an active role in determining the correct final lengths.
- Dynamic fitting is still a necessary step due to different bend profiles of shafts, and the dynamics of
the individual’s swing. The math model would remain intact if all lies within the set were altered to
the same degree, resulting in an averaging out of today’s swing flaws.
- The traditional dynamic lie board adjustment should be used for every club as a more accurate lie
fitting alternative to the averaging method described above.
- The golfer who sets up with a traditional stance will often find that the WTF measurement will often
correlate to the Initial Target Series Chart and will indeed be very close to the final build
- “Single axis swing” golfers and some women who carry their arms more out and away from their
body will in all likelihood need a set of greater length, deviating from what their WTF target
indicated. Again, True Length Technology™ is not strictly a WTF system because it is intended to
correspond to the most comfortable stance and posture position of each individual golfer.
- People with disabilities, who have difficulty assuming a traditional stance and posture position may
need a variation in length and lie, but will still end up in a single stance and posture position –
common to every club and the key to more repeatable swing consistency.
- All of the above scenarios need to be addressed by the fitter in determining what the proper ‘actual’
assembly size will be. Once the Target Series Build Chart has been determined, the builder needs to
build to the specifics of that Target Series chart keeping the math model intact.
In my most formal development, I have created a TLT System Set which I use to fit golfers and implement my TLT fitting technology. The full True Length Technology™ Fitting System consists of the following:
- A ‘5 piece set’ for every Series Chart.
- Each True Length Technology™ Fitting System Set consists of;
• 4 iron at 58 degrees of lie
• 7 iron at 61 degrees of lie
• PW at 64 degrees of lie
• Driver is built to a 47 degree static lie/length chart due to the shaft bend properties.
• Putter lengths are listed for 3 different positions – Upright, Mid and Low due to the many varieties of
styles. Putters must be fit to the individual; therefore each Series Charted Listings are for reference
Note: Having a ‘5 piece fitting set’ per each Series is not essential, but can be helpful as this becomes the selling feature when the individual gets to actually hold, feel, and swing each club in the set. Alternatively, TLT fitting with the Series charts followed by building actual test/demo clubs that will become a part of the golfer’s final TLT set may be much more convenient for Club makers.
Each True Length Technology™ fitting set has its lengths correlated with its lies – set to a perfect math model for all Series Build Charts. However, TLT does recognize that dynamic lie fitting of the TLT length fit set is a proper way to accommodate all lie fitting requirements within the TLT length fitting. Traditional fitting methodology still does apply, where the customer needs to go through;
- Wrist to floor measurements
- Statically fitting with a variety of clubs
- Dynamic fitting with a variety of clubs
- Hitting balls with a variety of lengths
- Hitting balls with impact stickers
- Watching ball flight
- Dynamic fitting procedures still apply
The most satisfying feeling is, when the correct length and lie are determined, you are confident that the entire set will fit the golfer like never before.
True Length Technology™ utilizes Series Charts 0 (Petite) to Series Chart 12 (Very Tall)
Here is an excerpt from a response I received from Ms. Nadine Foreman, a Golf Teaching Professional from the Durham College Golf Administration Program in Oshawa Ontario, Canada.
True Length Technology™ has helped my game because of the confidence which I now have stepping up to every single iron in my bag.
As a golf professional, I have taught the fundamentals of the game to players, and taught them that they should be swinging with the same swing each and every time. However I now realize that’s not possible, without the help of True Length Technology.
Even though I might teach the ‘perfect posture’ as I see it, while my student is holding their 7 iron, they cannot possibly duplicate that stance and posture with their 3 iron. I found in my own game, that I was so comfortable standing over my 6-8 irons, however when I would get to the longer irons, I had to put so much more power into my swing, to make the result happen that I wanted to.
With True Length Technology™, when I step up to a wedge, 8 iron, 5 iron, or 3 iron, I get myself into my perfect posture first, and my hands are in just the right spot now without having to manipulate that club in my hands or alter my posture for the iron I’m holding.
I have control and spin with my wedges, I have the ability to work the ball as I like with my long irons. I no longer have to factor in that 15 yard draw that I know my 3 iron used to produce. I can fade or draw the ball as I need to, with the rest of my shots going straight, using my comfortable swing.
To me, True Length Technology has not only improved my game, it has improved my teaching ability, and the learning curve of my students.
They can perfect that 7 iron posture and fundamentals, and easily transfer it to any club in their bag.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Next thing we’re working on is the putter!
CPGA Class “A” Professional
Ms. Foreman is not paid to use my system, and in fact bought her custom fit set because of True Length Technology™. Her statement reflects that of pretty much my entire customer base. Once you have tried True Length Technology™ I’m confident you will become a believer as well.
Q. Does the shorter length separation affect the shot distance separation between clubs?
A. No, in fact many report back that they have actually increased distance due to more on center hits.
Q. How will the Swing weight of the clubs in the set be affected?
A. A longer overall length set of clubs (Series 10) often will of course have to be built with the lightest head weights possible to help maintain a manageable feel and swingweight or MOI for the set. A shorter overall set of clubs (Series 2) will typically need to be built with heavier head weights to help maintain playable characteristics, feel and swingweight/MOI. A mid length set (Series 6) can be built to a single swingweight or on a progressive swingweight slope (very similar to a Moment of Inertia matched set).
Q. What happens if I need a very upright (or flat) set due to my swing (and I don’t want to change it)?
A. The entire set will need to be upright (or flattened) from the initial starting TLT standard, using a dynamic lie fitting procedure to determine the final lie angle for each club in the golfer’s set.
Q. Do wedges follow the same length / lie technique?
A. This depends on your type of wedge play. I keep the length of my Gap, Sand & Lob at the same length, and this means that their lies will usually be identical once the final dynamic lie fitting is done. However, if you are only using half shots with some wedges than special attention may need to be taken to tune the lie as head flattening can be to a lesser degree.
Q. Why are Drivers and Fairway woods built to a much flatter degree than what the actual head specification is?
A. Wood shafts are thinner in the tip area and are prone to different bend properties. As the club is swung the Center of Gravity of the larger head is trying to get in line with the shaft axis at the hands. The size of the head and the location of the COG cause a higher degree of head flattening during the swing. Research has shown that woods built to their corresponding WTF charts have proven to be the most effective.
True Length Technology™
One common hand position, relative to a perfectly math modeled length and lie will result in:
- A very repeatable athletic address position
- A very repeatable swing pattern
- More on center hits
- Fewer fat shots
- Fewer thin shots
- Improved feel and playability
- Less physical stress on the body
- Final result – Improved scoring.
Dan Connelly’s ‘True Length Technology™ Fitting Charts’ (All 12 Series Charts + Build Procedures in ‘Word’ Format) suitable for printing the actual Clubmaking worksheets, can be purchased for a limited time only.
Introductory Price of $159 Canadian Funds – Tax Included. Check, Visa or Master Card. You may contact Dan or Marianne at 905-263-8510 or E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in contacting Dan to purchase the TLT Fitting Charts, please include your name, the name of your clubmaking business, address, telephone number and email address. As a Registered TLT Clubmaker your business name and point of contact information will be listed in Dan Connelly’s Club makers Registry at www.truelengthtechnology.com
This was originally published through Tom Wishon’s April 2008 E-tech report. Since Tom has retired I have adapted it to my page so the reference can live on.
Added note from Dan Connelly 2017
Please note that the $159 price has expired, but the charts have since been vastly improved and developed into a full Excel spread sheet. Now offering 16 adult fitting charts and an additional 10 children’s charts. Please see my Club Maker’s Registry page for enrollment. Being a True Length Technology Club fitter you will get listed on my site to drive customers your way.
Please note that the all references to dynamic fitting are no longer in effect. Since the time of publication dynamic fitting involving the sole of the club has been dismissed and is no longer a valid approach to lie fitting. My studies have shown a very inconsistent ‘center of sole’ is equal to ‘center of the face’ is simply not true. Sole grinds move the sole low point forward and rearward making this a non valid method. True Length Technology Fitting involves getting the player athletic. It will take 5 rounds of golf or hundreds of balls to have your body adapt to your new athletic address position.
Here is a recent endorsement by Tom.
There were inquiries about a Canadian builder for a new set of Sterling’s posted on Toms web-page. I responded about how well the Sterling’s work and if I could be of service. Here is what Tom wrote back.