Regardless if you’re an enthusiast or a weekend hacker, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the structure of a golf club. When searching for clubs, or if you plan to get a fitting, it helps to know what each part is. One big question that comes up when looking for new irons is around offset.
What is an offset in golf? An offset is a design component in the head of a golf club in which the hosel or neck of the club's head is positioned in such a way that the club face appears to be slightly set back from the club's neck. In other words, an offset is a distance between the forward side of the club head's neck and the bottom of the leading edge.
In the 1800s, Scottish golf pro Willie Smith is credited with inventing offsetting in golf. The modern offset didn't really take off until around a century later when PING engineers created the offset iron in the 1960s.
Pros of Golf Club Offset
Offset is a great way for the average golfer to improve their ball flight. Offset is three to smooth out some of the kinks in your golf swing and give you the best chance of hitting a good golf shot. Let’s review some of the main advantages of an offset club:
1. Squares the club face at impact
When you are playing an offset driver, this is one of the best benefits for you. Offsetting helps reduce a slice. Most golfers find it difficult to control this shot with the driver, so using an offset may be the way to straighten out your ball flight and encourage a draw.
Because of the design, your hands can get past the ball before the club does, giving you more time to square the club face up and reduce side spin. Game improvement clubs feature offset to help golfers gain confidence in their driver and irons to hit more fairways and greens.
Most game improvement iron sets will have a progressive offset, meaning that the longer the iron is, the more offset there will be. This give you maximum forgiveness for the harder to hit golf clubs.
2. It Allows You to Hit Higher Launch Angles
In that last decade or so, golf club makers and golf ball designers place importance on higher ball flights in their designs. Getting a golf club with a low center of gravity (CoG) that promotes a higher flight will help you hit shots that get up quickly and land softly. Offset golf clubs will have adjusted CoG to compensate for the reduced loft that the offset creates.
The amount of offset varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so test the clubs if you can to see how your swing will work with the offset on the clubs.
3. Straighter ball flights
For expert golfers and professional, offset isn't really a benefit for them since they would rather work their shots and shape their ball flights. But for beginners or average golfers, it’s a necessity to keep the ball straight and in play. Offsetting enhances the level of your club and helps you keep your club head square which helps you hit straighter ball flights.
4. Reduced risk of a slice
One of the most important benefits of offsetting golf clubs is that it brings a reduced risk of a slice. The square face that offset brings increases the chance of the golf ball's starting line being left of the target and reduces the possibility of hitting a booming slice.
Offset drivers will also have extra weights in the heel of the golf club to encourage the face to close through impact. This extra weight combined with the offset face design should make even the most out to in swings show an improved ball flight.
Cons of an Offset in Golf
Even if offsetting a golf club is becoming more popular, it still has its disadvantages for some golfers. Let's go through some of them.
1. More of a crutch than a cure
Offsetting golf clubs is a quick fix, not the source of the problem. Indeed, it offers a remedy and allows you to hit straighter shots, but you don’t really solve the real underlying swing issue.
Swing coaches recommend that you should consistently work on fixing your swing issues while you’re using the offset. This leads to a win-win situation where your confidence level and swing improve.
2. Increased risk of a hook
We’ve already talked about how the design of offset clubs helps them reduce slices. But they can also increase the risk of hitting a hook. For example, right handed players would usually notice that offset clubs will create right to left draw spin off the face. This can cause a hook if your swing is naturally in to out or massively over the top.
3. Over compensation
Another issue that offsetting causes is the possibility of overdoing the shot you want to fix. Although an offset can help you cure a slice because it gives you more time to correct an error, you brain might over compensate and exaggerate your swing fault.
Offset Vs. No Offset Golf Clubs
“What’s the difference between Offset or No Offset golf club?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions that golfers discuss around offset. The simple answer is that there are various differences in the design and functionality of these two golf clubs. Here, we list the differences to help you understand:
Golfers can prevent slices with offset clubs. On the contrary, non-offset golf clubs do not have specific design features to help overcome slices. Rather than relying on your club’s design, some would say the best course of action for you would be to research and do the appropriate corrective swing changes to prevent slices.
Due to how the leading edge of the clubface is positioned, offset golf clubs have a shaft which is set back from the face. This is visually off putting for some players. Straight shafts are present in non-offset clubs from the hosel to the top of the grip and suit the eye of more traditional golfers.
The offset golf club design places your hands in front of the clubheads during shots. Non-offset golf clubs, on the other hand, are designed to do this so any shaft lean will come from your swing, not the equipment.
Offset golf clubs are ideal for high handicap players or golfers who are really struggling with a slice. Non-offset golf clubs are suitable for better players and professional golfers but even they will often play longer irons with the maximum offset which suits their eye.
Should You Use Offset Golf Clubs?
Throughout the article, we’ve talked about offset and how it can influence our game. Working out if offset irons or drivers are right for you all comes down to what you want to achieve. If you struggle to square off the face at impact or if you are struggling with a slice, then offsetting your club may be the right thing to do.
If you want to improve your game in the long run, getting lessons to fix unwanted shot shapes might be better than using offset golf clubs to hide the problem.
Final thoughts on Golf Club Offset
Offset matters. It is essential for you if you prioritize guaranteeing your shots land where they should. As you can see from everything we've discussed thus far, if you want to achieve a straight ball trajectory, nothing performs better than anti-slice offset technology.