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The absolute worst thing you can do for your kid’s golf game

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The key to Tiger Woods' golf development as a junior (shown here at age 14) was playing with properly fit clubs, said his father, Earl Woods.

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Question: My kiddo recently took up golf. Can I just cut down a set of adult clubs?

A lot of parents believe they are doing their kids a favor by cutting down adult clubs so that they have “quality equipment,” but veteran club designer Tom Wishon, author of 12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game, doesn’t mince words about this approach: “The clubs will be too heavy, too stiff, the wrong loft, the wrong lie and probably the wrong length. Other than that, they will be just what the kid needs to develop a good swing—for cutting firewood.”

Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, believed that the right equipment was critical to his son’s golf development. “I always made sure Tiger had clubs that fit,” he said. Unfortunately, too many kids start out playing with cut-down, hand-me-down clubs. However, cutting down a club leaves less shaft to offset the weight of the club, thus making the head feel heavier. Because a lot of golfers, including tour pros, are increasingly switching to clubs with shorter-length shafts, especially drivers and putters, it’s important to know how to offset this potentially negative impact. First, clubs should normally be cut only from the butt (or grip) end. However, that alone won’t do the trick. To get the weighting correct, mass in some form (lead tape or perhaps another method like internal hot melt) will need to be restored to the clubhead to maintain the proper swingweight.

This is especially important in putters, where feel plays such an essential role. There’s a reason Scotty Cameron (and other companies) utilize weights on the bottom of putters: The weighting changes depending on the length. Finally, with some drivers nearing the limit on moment of inertia, it’s important to realize that cutting down the shaft of a driver and adding weight to the head could push a driver that is at or near the legal MOI limit over into nonconforming territory.

So, yes, you need to worry about weighting when cutting down a club. However, before trying this, perhaps it might be best to just heed Earl Woods’ advice and get clubs that fit properly in the first place. Especially for small kids and juniors, there are many quality sets available that are already the proper length and weight.