The “SWEET” SPOT
Simply put, the “Sweet Spot” is the most efficient part of the golf club face at transferring energy to the ball. The “hot spot” be refers to a larger spot that still allows for a solid hit and encompasses the club face “forgiveness” area. A shot that directly hits the sweet spot will travel farther than a shot that even slightly misses it within the hot spot area. However, the sweet spot is about more than just distance. Since the club doesn’t vibrate or twist on a sweet spot strike, the ball launches on a straighter trajectory than when it’s hit in the hot spot area or with the toe and heel. Backspin is maximized by the sweet spot, while side spin is minimized. Side spin causes the shot to lose both distance and accuracy. Not every shot hit on the sweet spot turns out perfect. If the club face isn’t square to the target at impact, even a pure strike will create side spin.
All clubs have a sweet spot. However, with different style clubs, the size of the sweet spot and location can vary depending upon the club head design. Do not presume that it is the precise center of the club face, as it may not actually be at that location, albeit the sweet spot always overlaps the center of the club face. The larger the hot spot – the more forgiving the club, meaning that a mishit will still provide a decent shot. A large hot spot reduces the number of mishits, but the trade-off is reduced overall distance.
The actual sweet spot that is about the size of a dime at best and probably closer to the size of a pinhead. There is one single sweet spot on every club that maximizes the delivery of the mass. As you begin to move the impact away from this spot, you lose distance. The one controllable variable that most affects the ability to hit the sweet spot is the club shaft length and that can be changed.
It should be noted that the “sweet spot” is not the same as the “center of gravity”. The center of gravity in a club head is measured along three planes: front to back, side to side, and top to bottom.
The Putter Sweet Spot
As with any of the other 13 clubs in your golf bag, the putter does indeed have a sweet spot. Most golfers may think that the sweet spot would be right under the manufacturers alignment line placed on the top of the putter head, but this is not always the case – especially for older or heel shafted putters (where the shaft is set into the heel end of the head).
To find your putter sweet spot is a fairly simple process as follows. Hold the putter at the very top of the handle nearest to the head. Take a standard eraser pencil and with the eraser end tap the face of your putter. With the putter face in front, start at the toe end and work across to the heel. Tapping around the toe and heel ends should cause the face to just twist. Tapping towards the middle – the putter begins to move away, but the face remains in front. This is the general location of the sweet spot. Continue to tap in and around this area to find where the face is at its most stable. This will be the true sweet spot.