What is Center of Gravity and Why Does it Matter?
Center of Gravity (CG) has been a huge topic in golf in regards to new technology and player development in clubs, but what is it and why does it matter?
Everyone is saying that it gives you more forgiveness, distance, control or some other benefit, but does it really?
Well, let’s start out with a definition:
The Center of Gravity (CG) of a club is its single balance point.
In more general terms, it’s the spot on your clubface at which it is perfectly balanced, so if you have ever balanced your clubhead on your finger, you found the Center of Gravity.
This is the point that all the weight of the club is acting through.
It can be moved vertically, horizontally, or backward and forward in a club head by moving fixed or adjustable weights inside the head or hosel.
The Center of Gravity can be altered more as you move more weight a greater distance along the clubhead, however it almost always only a slight variant of being right at the center of the club.
And it is in this small distance that lies all the difference.
Why Does This Matter?
The Center of Gravity has a major influence on the performance and feel of your club.
The Center of Gravity bestows many of the flight characteristics onto the ball such as ball spin and launch, both of which have a major impact on your golf game.
One of the most typical places that you will really see this is in drivers with adjustable/sliding tungsten weights.
Moving the weight in the club in different directions creates different outcomes.
Moving the CG lower creates less backspin and higher launch which is good for a player who hits down on the ball (a negative angle of attack).
Higher CG produces high backspin and lower launch conditions which works for a player who hits up on the ball (positive angle of attack).
Moving the CG closer to the heel creates more draw and is good for countering slices while moving it closer to the toe creates a draw and is good for countering hooks.
There is no ideal CG position, it all comes down to your game and swing that determines what CG placement works best for you.
The main thing you should be keeping in mind when deciding what type of CG placement you want is what type of effect you want on the ball.
each direction that you move the CG has an impact on one or more of 4 variables.
Dynamic Loft: Actual loft delivered to the ball at impact. Higher dynamic loft equals more spin.
Closure Rate: the rate at which the clubhead closes during the downswing.
Slower closure rates are generally described as being more workable. A backward CG equals a faster closure rate and makes the club more forgiving. It also helps to get rid of a slice.
Spin: This is the speed at which the ball is spinning when it comes off the clubface. One of the most common ways that you will see spin is when you see the backspin that pros create on the green. this is as a result of a really high spin rate.
MOI: MOI is an acronym for Moment of Intertia (more on that here),but this is how equally the club imparts energy on to the ball along the clubface. This is what many golf companies refer to when saying that their clubs have “more forgiveness.” The farther back the CG is, the higher the MOI and the more “forgiving” the club is.
Here is how each variable is impacted with each direction the CG is moved:
Dynamic Loft: Decreases
Closure Rate: Decreases
Dynamic Loft: Increases
Closure Rate: Increases
Dynamic Loft: Decreases
Closure rate: No Effect
Dynamic Loft: Increases
Closure Rate: No Effect
What types of CG combinations are there?
There are three main CG combinations that you will see in golf clubs.
Low/Forward: This is best for a player that makes contact with the ball on their downswing and wants less spin and higher launch for more workability. This is a setting for more advanced players.
High/Forward: This setting is for the advanced golfer that has a fast swing speed, wants more spin, lower launch and ultimately more workability on the course.
Low/Back: This is the go-to for most beginner to intermediate players and the main goal of almost all club manufacturers that are trying to appeal to the everyday golfer.
This setting creates higher launch, less spin and more forgiveness for the golfer that just wants consistency.
As a rule of thumb, however, advanced golfers will typically start to do better with a CG that is low or high and forward while beginner to intermediate golfers will do best with a CG that is low and back.
What CG is Best For You?
This is up to you and based on your current skill level and goals when you are out on the course.
There is no perfect settings or perfect CG position, rather there is a perfect one for YOU that you need to choose either on your own or with the help of a professional.
Want to know the most foolproof way to find the perfect CG setting for you as well as all the other specs that would work best for your game?
Get a trackman fitting with a PGA pro where they can give you customized advice based on your exact numbers to get you the exact clubs you need.
Regardless of what you choose, we hope that you are able to use this new understanding of CG to get a club that fits your game!