Backweighting (also called counter balancing) is adding a weight to the grip end of your clubs to increase the overall weight of each club and also to reduce the swingweight. Since you are adding weight to the club, the overall weight of the club will increase. Swingweight is the balance between the weight of 14 inches of the grip end of the club and the rest of the club. To put it another way, the balance point is 14 inches from the butt end of the grip.
Adding this weight can have any number of effects depending on your swing characteristics. If you tend to be too “handsy,” it will quiet your hand action which makes hitting straight, consistent shot easier. If you have lightweight shafts and the clubs are a little too light, but otherwise a good fit, adding this weight will give you better feel and probably more distance since you can swing the heavier weight club without exceeding your level of strength. It also gets rid of the feeling you are swinging a “feather”. Since the weight is added to the grip end of the club, it doesn’t make the shaft flex more as adding weight to the head would.
Another major effect is that most people will hit the ball farther with increased accuracy. Testing by Balance Certified (see below) with a golf robot confirms this. Because a robot swings the same way way every time, there is no power of suggestion to change results.
It is come to light that Jack Nicklaus always used clubs with backweighting throughout his career. It certainly served him well and he was noted for his ability to hit long, accurate drives.
Technology has changed a lot since Nicklaus starting backweighting his clubs. Tour Lock makes weights of various sizes that fit into the butt end of a club after cutting a hole in the end of the grip. The weight is tightened in place with an Allen wrench. Here is what the Tour Lock weight look like:
As you can see, they come in many different weights.
A second type of backweight is produced by Balance Certified. They are designed by an aerospace engineer, Jeff Lindner, to add weight and to reinforce the butt end of the shaft. Here is what they look like:
The reason these increase accuracy is that they prevent the shaft flexing under the hands. That gives you more control of the club and better feedback of the clubhead motion. In addition, the extra grip weight reduces a golfer’s ability to uncock his wrists too soon, increasing wrist uncock at impact where it should be.
Here is a graph showing robot results with the Balanced Certified inserts. Blue is before adding the inserts and red is after:
Which weighting system is better for you? Tour Lock weights are better for some players and Balance Certified reinforcing weights are better for others. And some do better without either, especially if they make the clubs too heavy. If you want to try one or both contact me here: Contact me
Putting and Backweighting
Backweighting is done to putters for a different reason. In lag putting, the main goal is get your ball within easy one putt distance so you can walk up and tap it in. When you stroke is too “handsy” – too much wrist activity – getting longer putts close to the hole consistently is difficult. Putting a backweight in your putter will quiet the hands and yield immediate results. It did for me. More on putter fitting is here, and on putting technique is here.