GET FIT, PLAY BET­TER

A club fit­ting can un­lock your po­ten­tial

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

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.

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