GET FIT, PLAY BETTER
A club fitting can unlock your potential
Alot of golfers don’t know about custom-fitting, or they greatly underestimate the impact of a properly fit set of clubs. They think a clubfitting is for tour pros or better players. That education begins by visiting a clubfitter, of which there are several in our major centres.
Master clubfitter Steve Cottingham, head professional at the Mount Edgecombe Golf Academy in Umhlanga, says that equipment affects the motion of the swing. “A good teacher will look at a player’s swing faults and determine to what extent these are caused by ill-fitting equipment,” he maintains. “Golfers also react to what they see the ball doing. It’s essential to be fitted “dynamically,” by testing and hitting different clubs, observing what the ball does, and relating that to the motion of the swing.The rule I go by is simple; a good balanced swing plus correctly fitted equipment equals desired ball flight.”
In the world of golf equipment, one size doesn’t fit all. Especially today when there’s almost infinite complexity. A qualified clubfitter makes it simple. “Small changes can make big ripples in your game,” says Cottingham.
Cottingham emphasises that everyone benefits from club fitting. “Talented players can make an ill-fitted set work, but the average player doesn’t do that well. It just makes the game harder.
“The science part of clubfitting can be complex when considering the issues of frequency matching, shaft puring, moments of inertia, lie angle progression, etc. A clubfitter needs to be educated in these scientific measurements to do a good job, yet the art aspect of fitting comes from years of seasoning and practising the craft with care.”
Clubfitters generally see the same five problem areas. It’s time to start finding out what’s wrong and how quickly you and a clubfitter can make it right: ▶ DRIVER. Your loft is too low or sometimes too high. Achieving the ideal golf-ball spin rate, launch angle and direction is possible only through a launch-monitor fitting. Because drivers have different characteristics, not all lofts across all brands are equal. Loft has the biggest impact on spin, so getting the right loft to properly spin the ball is critical. Also, the standard shaft length for many drivers is almost always too long. Shortening the shaft often results in more solid shots. Solid strikes always win the distance race compared to longer shafts that create off-centre contact. ▶ PUTTER. The most overlooked club when it comes to fitting, the putter is the easiest to match to your game. Contrary to popular belief, putting isn’t all about feel. It’s important to use a putter that feels good and has visual appeal, but more important is how well the technical specifications fit the golfer to produce a predictable, consistent roll. ▶ WEDGES. As iron lofts have become stronger, they have created a gap where your wedges start. Throw in the variety of sole grinds and bounce configurations, and you’ll need an advanced degree to figure out what you should do. Or you can visit a clubfitter. Players should be gapping off their pitching wedge to create as many full shots as they can. Wedges should be an extension of your irons, and not a collection of different brand wedges with different shafts, lie angles, bounces and lengths. ▶ LONG GAME. Odds are you’re hitting two of your longer clubs – maybe three – about the same distance. Often you need a 5-iron and a 5-hybrid, or sometimes a 5-wood goes further than a 3-wood. You might need a 4-hybrid and a 2-hybrid because the distance separation is too small between consecutive clubs.You cannot buy a modern golf set by the numbers. ▶ SHAFTS. There are so many shaft options on the market, even computer databases can’t keep pace. Consequently, self-fitting can’t be the answer. Those golfers who have their shaft flex corrected cannot believe it’s the same person hitting golf balls. Consistency, control and accuracy improve 110 percent.