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Does Size Matter? You Bet It Does...and It Could be Costing You Strokes.
Every golfer I know wants a more consistent game. You would be weird if you didn’t.
When a golfer thinks about improving their consistency, they think about their swing mechanics, new clubs, working out, but never their shoes. Yes, I said shoes.
Most golfers have several pairs of shoes. And if you are like me, you have an embarrassing amount. What you need to pay attention to is the height your feet are from the ground in your different golf shoes.
The length of your clubs is important! All golfers agree that with that.
Think about this:
Let’s say you got your clubs properly fitted for you in a particular pair of golf shoes. (We will refer to them as the “Blue Shoes”) Now your new perfectly fit clubs arrive and go out to hit them for the first time and you hit the new clubs in a different pair of shoes (your “Orange Shoes”) and find you are hitting a bunch of thin shots. Could it be your swing mechanics? Of course, it could be, but it could be something as simple as you are wearing shoes that have your feet farther from the ground. It could be as simple as your “Blue” and “Orange” shoes have your feet a different height from the ground.
See the pictures below.
I’ve positioned a bunch of my golf shoes where you can see the heel of the shoe. And you can see where the sole cushion is and where your foot would rest in relation to the ground.
There is as much as an inch different between the soles of the different style golf shoes. This could lead to you feeling different at address. We have all been there, when you are over the ball at address, and something just feels off, but you cannot identify what is the problem.
Also keep in mind that lots of golfers add sole cushions or orthotics to their shoes. This also could change how you feel in your shoes. And sometimes a golfer will have orthotics in one pair of shoes but not another.
I have taken two different makes of shoes here. One is a Footjoy casual style golf shoe the other is an older Puma golf shoe. The shoes look one way from the outside. But they have sole cushions on the inside. When measuring from the inside of the shoe at the top of the foot cushion, the Footjoy shoe would position the foot approximately 1 ¼ inches from the ground. The Puma would position the foot approximately 1 ¾ inches from the ground. That is a ½ inch difference.
This shot below is taken from another perspective. Pictured are two different styles of FootJoy shoes.
Let’s think this through and think about the height of some golf items.
***Keep in mind, I am measuring the items below with a ruler. These measurements may not be exact. What I am trying to give you a concept here with some type of context.
- The golf ball is 1.68 inches in diameter. Therefore, making it 1.68 inches tall.
- An iron head is approximately two inches tall. (This could vary depending on the model of club.)
- The distance between the grooves on the clubface is approximately 1/8 of an inch.
- The foot pad of a golf shoe, based on my limited sample, could be ½ inch to almost 2 inches off the ground the ground.
If the golf ball is only 1.68 inches tall and your shoe base could vary by an inch (or more) which is more than half the height of the ball, it is no surprise your ball contact could feel different.
Hitting crisp shots is a result of the club leveling out with the ground properly with the low point of the swing being just past the ball. Hitting a golf ball just a couple of grooves off makes a difference on the performance of the ball. Hitting the ball an inch away from the sweet spot will create some silly shots for sure!
Imagine how hard it would be to hit a ball if you were in a pair of “platform” golf shoes.
Now, let’s think about golf and consistency.
- Bryson DeChambeau advocates one length irons for more consistency.
- Any player on the PGA, LPGA, or any minitour will tell you to have a more consistent short game you need to play the same ball. And you need to practice with the type of ball you play with when you do your chipping and putting practice.
- Your pre-shot routine should be the same.
Consistency leads to consistency. And wearing the same type shoes in the same height is once way to take a variable out of your game.
Let’s call this experiment finding your “Striking Shoes”. To determine what will be your “Striking Shoes” will be, determine the shoe style that your ball striking is best and feels the best walking 18 holes. Once you have determined the style you like, get that style in different colors. And stick to those shoes for your rounds that are important to you.
Other helpful tips: If you are in the market for new golf clubs and plan to get a club fitting, make a note of the shoes that feel best on your feet and allow you to walk 18 or 36 holes without pain. Wear those comfortable shoes during your fitting. Because the shoes you have on will end of influencing the length of your clubs and lie angle.
Don’t wear a pair of shoes you don’t wear that often and are a different height than the shoes you normally practice in just because they are the cleanest.
On a different note: part of the fun of golf is the fashion of golf – including shoes!
Having some stylish golf shoes makes you feel good! I know it perks me up. Remember when I said I had an embarrassing amount of golf shoes. My shoe rack is below.
Use your fun rounds for your fashion statement shoes. Some shoes are classic, like Wing Tip golf shoes that Ben Hogan would wear. You can wear those anywhere.
But maybe you are going to play in a Charity Event, or “Holiday Event” and you want to wear your Easter Bunny golf shoes and now you are really low to the ground. Anticipate some fat shots.
Other golf shoes just make you grin. For instance, take a look at the Nike Air Max Grass that came out a couple of years ago. If you wore those shoes to play, they would be a conversation starter and some laughs would definitely occur.
I love quotes, so I thought you may enjoy these.
Never underestimate the power of a shoe.
Shoes are like friends, they can support you, or take you down.
I’m wishing you lots of fun on the course! And comfortable shoes on your feet!