Golf Clubs 101: Center Of Gravity

If you are in the market for a new driver, fairway wood or putter, chances are you’ve run across the term center of gravity (COG) during your research. Most amateur players have no idea what COG has to do with golf clubs, or why they should care about it at all.

Let’s take a closer look at COG and the role it plays in your golf clubs.

Assuming you’ve been a golfer for more than five minutes, you probably know where the sweet spot is on your driver: right in the center of the clubface. Your club’s COG is closely related to this sweet spot in two ways. For one, most golf clubs will position its COG directly behind and slightly underneath the sweet spot. Secondly, the position of your club’s COG impacts how high and how far you can hit the golf ball.

By positioning the COG in this manner, club makers have designed a tool that will help the player lift the ball into the air. Without this strategic design you would be unable to get the ball airborne and instead would hit worm-burners all day long (unless you do that anyway, in which case, go get a lesson). This design also concentrates the club’s mass behind the golf ball, providing a boost in distance.

Allow me to get a little nerdy for a moment. During your golf swing, the COG forces the club to bottom out at the bottom of your natural swing arc. The moment your backswing becomes your follow through — impact with the golf ball is usually at this point — is also referred to as the moment of inertia, or MOI. Your swing arc has changed direction from moving down toward the ball to moving up and away from the ball. The club’s COG helps in this transition.

Most golf club companies will boast their new clubs have the “lowest COG ever” or some other fancy marketing phrase. This just means that the club’s COG is lower in the clubhead to help weekend hacks like you and me get the ball airborne. The lower a club’s COG, the easier it should be to hit.