What is MOI in Golf (And why is it important)?

golf driver hitting a golf ball off the tee box

Golf manufacturers like to throw around acronyms. There are a few, like MOI and CG, that all brands will use, and others that are more brand-specific. Both CG and MOI in golf are important for golfers to understand and be aware of when choosing the best golf equipment. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what MOI in golf is, how you can influence the MOI, and whether or not your game needs a high MOI golf club. 

What is MOI in golf? 

MOI in golf is the club head’s ability to restrict twisting at impact. The acronym MOI stands for Moment of Inertia. This means that when the golf ball and the club head make contact with each other, the best result is for there to be minimal vibration. 

A high MOI golf club will reduce the vibration and make the golf irons considerably more forgiving and stable at impact. The high MOI design is often associated with more distance. 

As golfers, we know that when you hit the center of the clubface and there is little twisting or vibration, the results are better. Not all players need a higher MOI in golf, but it can be helpful. 

Why Does MOI in Golf Matter? 

MOI in golf is directly related to forgiveness. The more forgiveness you seek in a golf club, the higher the MOI should be. Many golfers are looking for forgiveness and resistance to twisting at impact, as it can significantly impact the direction of a golf shot. 

The more forgiveness you seek in a golf club, the higher the MOI should be.

If you hit the club on the toe of the iron, the face will twist and become more open. If you hit the ball on the heel of the club, the club could twist and turn further left. However, with a high MOI golf club, the results will typically be considerably straighter. 

Distance and forgiveness are two of the most important factors for players when choosing golf clubs. When a club is a bit more forgiving, it can also help you produce great distance and overall carry. 

Do I Need a High MOI or Low MOI? 

This high MOI golf club design sounds like the perfect solution for all players; however, that is not the case. Remember that MOI or Moment of Inertia technically describes the amount of resistance the clubhead has to twisting. However, some players want the club to twist. 

Twisting the golf club intentionally to be able to hit a draw or a fade is something that many better players will get involved with. If a golf club has a really high MOI and you try and hit a draw or fade, it may actually correct the shot for you. 

The result here is a frustrated golfer who thinks they are incapable of hitting a draw or a fade when in reality, it is simply an equipment issue. Here are some things to think about when it comes to high MOI or low MOI in your golf clubs. 

Pros and Cons of High MOI 

The high MOI design in a golf club is typically best for golfers that are inconsistent and need more help in their golf swing. Do you find that you hit a shot left, and then the next swing, the ball goes to the right? Chances are there are some issues with the club path, but some of it could very well be the club twisting at impact. 

With a golf iron or driver with a high MOI, the ball will likely travel considerably straighter down the fairway, and most of the time, it will launch a bit higher. MOI can also be found in putters, and the high MOI putters help keep the ball rolling on the proper line. 

The negative to the high MOI design is the fact that these clubs are not workable. The ball flight and launch are hard to control, and it can result in negative results for players trying to control the ball. This is likely the reason you see golfers on the PGA tour playing with blade irons that have a lower MOI. 

These golfers have excellent control of the clubhead and want to get true feedback based on the type of shot they have just taken. 

Pros

  • Easier to get more distance
  • Results in straighter shots
  • Typically a higher launching golf club 
  • A better option for mid to high handicappers that need forgiveness

Cons

  • Not a workable golf club head design 
  • Feel and feedback can be consistent but not necessarily helpful 

Pros and Cons of Low MOI 

Certain golf clubs like a driver or iron are available in a lower MOI design. Of course, almost all manufacturers want to include some forgiveness in their golf clubs. Even scratch golfers make a lousy swing where they hit it slightly on the toe or in the heel, and these players expect the forgiveness that a low MOI golf club can bring. 

Low MOI golf clubs typically have much larger distance gaps between good and bad shots. For instance, if you hit your seven iron 160 yards typically, a high MOI iron may give you 157 yards on a missed shot, whereas a lower MOI iron may only give you 150. 

The loss of distance can be a problem, but the low MOI golf clubs make up for it when it comes to workability. With a low MOI golf club, it’s much easier to hit both high and low shots and golf shots that go left and right on demand. If you like to fade or draw the ball, the low MOI clubs allow that slight bit of extra twisting at impact to ensure it happens. 

Pros

  • Very workable
  • Better feedback for the better player 
  • Can control both launch and direction 
  • Teaches you to hit the center of the clubface more often 

Cons

  • Less forgiveness
  • Great loss of distance on the shots that just slightly miss the clubface 

How Equipment Impacts MOI

The equipment that you play with will have a significant impact on the MOI. This is not a factor that you can impact with your golf swing; it’s something that is measured within the clubhead. The MOI is different for all golf clubs in the bag, and while it may pay to have the highest possible MOI in a golf club, for others, it’s not quite as important. 

MOI in Drivers, Fairway Woods, and Hybrids

The MOI of your driver is probably the most important. Most golfers appreciate a high MOI in your driver, and because the club is longer and you are swinging it faster, the extra forgiveness is really important. 

In fact, one of the facts that many players are unaware of is that the shorter your golf club gets, the less MOI it needs. As golf clubs get shorter, it becomes easier for golfers to stabilize them independently and not experience any twisting at impact. 

If you have heard of the TaylorMade Twist Face Technology, essentially, they were talking about a high MOI clubface. The club is highly resistant to twisting at impact; therefore, players experience a straighter ball flight with a bit more ball speed. 

MOI in Irons

MOI in irons is where you will see some of the better players move away from high MOI and move closer to lower MOI. Remember that the high MOI iron designs will decrease workability in the club head. 

The lower MOI irons are much thinner, have a smaller sole, and typically a smaller overall club head size. Higher MOI irons are traditionally thicker both on the sole and from the top-down look. The thicker irons allow for more stability and less vibration when the center of the clubface is missed. 

MOI in Wedges

Most golf wedges are slightly lower in MOI. The reason here is that the short game is very much about feedback and feel. You will want a golf club that allows you more feedback and tells you whether or not you are hitting the center of the clubface. 

Golf wedges that are blade-style wedges tend to have lower MOI. Some newer cavity-back style wedges have a slightly lower center of gravity and a higher MOI, but still not enough for a golfer to be disappointed in feedback. 

MOI in Putters 

High MOI putters are all the talk in 2022. More and more mallet head designs are coming to market with increased forgiveness and higher MOI. When it comes to putting, precision is critical. Golfers underestimate how important it is to hit the sweet spot on the putter and optimize the roll; high MOI putters make this process considerably more manageable. 

Conclusion

We hope that MOI now makes a bit more sense to you. This is not a factor you will need to measure or think about from one round to the next. However, when purchasing new clubs, it may make sense to know if it is a high MOI design. This terminology is becoming even more apparent in the latest releases to the market, and it’s important to decide if you are a low or high MOI golfer. 

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.