Whether you are a golf enthusiast or simply an occasional follower of the sport, the anatomy of a golf club is something you want to familiarize yourself with. When looking at clubs or planning to get a fitting, it’ll help to know what each part means and its function. One of such questions that always come up during these discussions is offsetting in golf.
So, what is an offset in golf? An offset stands for a design condition in the head of golf clubs, in which the hosel or neck of the club’s head is positioned in a way that makes the clubface appear as though it is slightly set back from the club’s neck. Put differently, an offset is a distance between the forward side of the clubhead’s neck and the bottom of the clubhead’s face.
Offsetting in golf started in the 1800s after it was invented by the Scottish golf pro Willie Smith. However, the modern offset did not become a thing until about a century later, when it was added to irons by PING engineers.
Pros of an Offset in Golf
As expected, offsetting a golf club has its benefits, and that’s why many pro golfers often opt for it. Here, let’s review some of the advantages.
1. Squares the face of the club at impact
This particular benefit comes in handy when you are playing an offset driver. It works for reducing a slice. While it’s often difficult for most golfers to control this shot with the driver, using an offset may be the way to get a grip of it. The design is famous for helping golfers deliver a square clubface on impact.
The design allows your hands to get past the ball before the club reaches it, so you’ll have more time to position yourself optimally. An offset design may not be a total cure, but it helps for regaining confidence in the driver and hitting more fairways again.
2. It Allows You to Hit Higher Launch Angles
Nowadays, golf ball and golf club designers prioritize flight during their designs. After all, getting a golf accessory that favors flight would help increase your chances of hitting towering shots that land softly. However, the ease with which you’ll hit these towering shots may depend on the spin rate you can get as the ball flies into the air (A phenomenon that makes up the core of offsetting).
The slight tweak of your shaft’s position associated with offsetting would help improve your launch conditions. Therefore, giving you higher launch angles and better ball flights.
3. Straighter ball flights
Expert golfers may not exactly see this as an increased advantage because they prefer to work their shots from different angles. However, if you are a beginner or an average golfer, keeping your ball straight and in play would be a necessity for you. The enhanced level that offset brings to a club would help you keep your clubhead square, therefore helping you hit straighter ball flights.
4. Reduced risk of a slice
Perhaps, the most significant advantage of offsetting golf clubs is the reduced risk of slice that it brings. As we’ve covered above, the square face that offset brings at impact limits the chances of hitting a slice in golf. Instead, you can expect to be kept straight and in play.
Cons of an Offset in Golf
Of course, offsetting a golf club is becoming more popular among golfers, but it does not go without its disadvantages. Here, let’s talk about some of them.
1. More of a crutch than a cure
While we all fancy getting a quick fix to our problems, it often means that we sacrifice getting to the root of the issue. The same applies to offsets in golf. Yes, it offers a quick fix to a slice, allowing you to hit straighter shots, but it also means masking the real issue. Opting for this kind of club setup often suppresses the need to fix the real swing issues causing the slice.
Experts often advise that you continually work on fixing your swing issues while using the offset to work on your confidence level. Doing this would help you get the best of both worlds while you walk through the process of improving your swing.
2. Increased risk of a hook
By now, you’ve already learned that the design of offset clubs allows them to reduce slices. However, they can also increase the risk of hitting a hook. Right-handed players would typically notice their offset clubs promoting more right to left sidespin off the face. This can easily cause a hook if your swing rhythm goes off.
There’s also the possibility of overdoing the shot you want to fix, resulting in another issue. Yes, an offset can help you cure a slice or a hook since it gives you more time and margin to correct an error when squaring the face at impact. However, as you begin to solve the problem, you may soon realize that you are overdoing it, reversing your fault in the process.
Offset Vs. No Offset Golf Clubs
One of the most popular questions that often come up when golfers discuss offset in golf is the difference between an offset and a no offset golf club. The direct answer to this is that there are a number of differences in the design and functionality of both kinds of golf clubs. Some of these differences are listed below to help you understand how they vary from each other.
- An offset golf club allows for downswing angles, therefore allowing golfers to avoid slices and hit fairway iron shots. On the other hand, non-offset golf clubs do not have the features to help golfers overcome slices. So, you must research and take the proper corrective steps to prevent slices instead of depending on your club’s design.
- Offset golf clubs feature slightly angled shafts because of the positioning of the leading edge of the clubface. Non-offset clubs feature straight shafts all the way from the hosel to the grip top.
- The design of offset golf clubs positions your hands in front of the clubheads during shots. However, non-offset golf clubs are designed for your hands to be positioned behind the clubheads.
- Offset golf clubs feature designs and functionalities that make them ideal for amateur golfers. In contrast, the design and functionality of non-offset golf clubs make them suitable for professional golfers.
Tips For Gripping Offset Clubs
If you are using an offset club for the first time, it can take quite a while to establish a firm grip on your offset golf club. Here, we’ve detailed out steps that you can adopt to master the process more easily. Take a look at them and incorporate them as you practice.
- Position the sole of the club to the ground, ensuring that the club face’s bottom line becomes a T shape on its target line. Experts often say that this step causes the clubface to be squared towards its Target line. To verify this, keep a measuring stick or a ruler on the ground along the club’s target line.
- Keep your feet in a parallel position to the setup of the clubface.
- Place your left hand at the top of the club. You should be careful while doing this so that you won’t change the clubface positioning. Keep your hand at a safe distance from the club’s grip butt (usually about ½ inch away). Ensure to use your fingers for the grip and not your palm. Also, be sure that your hands works its way to the back ball.
- Carefully position your right little finger, so it fills the little space between your middle finger and forefinger of your left hand.
- Once your right little finger is in place, interlock your right hand’s forefinger with your left middle finger. Alternatively, you can place your ten fingers at the top of the club’s grip with your thumb facing the center or left of the shaft.
- While in this position, the thumbs and forefingers of your two hands would form a V shape. Ensure that the V shape points to your right shoulder or at least towards it.
- If your club’s offsets are becoming too much, you can open up the face of your club a little.
Should You Use Offset Golf Clubs?
We’ve talked so much about offset golf clubs and how they can influence our games. But as usual, you are probably wondering whether you should offset your golf club or not. It boils down to what you want to achieve in the field of play. For instance, if you struggle to square off the face at impact, if you struggle to hit a slice, or if you need to hit the ball a bit higher, then offsetting your club may be the right move for you. Remember that an offset club puts you in a better position to your hands to the golf ball first before the club. Therefore, drastically minimizing the possibility of not achieving proper launch conditions or thing shots.
Conclusion: What is a Golf Club Offset?
That’s it; a detailed explanation of what an offset in golf means and how it can affect your game. Yes, offset matters. It is important if you prioritize ensuring that your shots land where they should. And this means preventing hooks and slices. From all we’ve talked about so far, you can see that nothing performs better than anti-slice offset technology when you want to produce a straight ball flight.
Offsetting a golf club means that the clubface would take a split-second more to square up properly. And with that eliminates the possibility of a slice. But then, it’s essential to also understand that this is more of a quick, short-term fix than a permanent solution. The flaw in your swing will still exist unless you work on addressing it. So it’ll help to find a solution to the common fault while using an offset club.