Your ultimate guide to finding a better game
If you haven’t noticed, custom clubfitting has become more ubiquitous than craft breweries.As more equipment companies offer drivers with dozens of settings and bouquets of custom shafts, the golf consumer is at once tempted and swept away by a cornucopia of confusing choices.You may regret buying a driver or set of irons without first testing what is suitable for your personal swing and build.As an American clubfitter explained, “I don’t think golf equipment is a self-shoppable product.” Fortunately, many golf outlets today, from the megastores to sometimes your own golf club, are increasingly equipped with expert fitters divining the right heads, lofts and lengths with a wisdom that encompasses club technology, instruction ideas and even good, old-fashioned people skills.The best facilities expertly bridge this marriage of art and science, and we offer some of their wisdom to prepare you to embrace the benefits of clubfitting.
How to prepare for a clubfitting.
Approach this with an open mind. If you have a swing coach, get a tune-up before going for a fitting. Come to the fitting with notes on what you’re working on and where you want to get to. You also should come to the fitting with your current clubs. This gives you and your fitter a baseline for comparing other clubs. Every good fitting requires patience. There’s no need for anxiety and nervous tension.
Why getting fit once is not enough.
One myth about clubfitting is that it’s like buying a tailored suit: Get fit once, and use those specs for life. But that thinking is off base. Avid golfers should be fit every two years, as a lot of things can change in that time. Golfers might experience changes in strength, flexibility, reflexes or have an injury. Their swings might become steeper or shallower. People also need to realise different manufacturers might have a different specification for length or lie angle. So the fitting you get for one brand might not apply to another one.
Finding the right driver isn’t only about swing speed.
Swing speed can be a starting point, but the best fitters want to see how you’re hitting the ball. If impacts are scattered across the face, for example, you can bet a large, highly stable driver is best for you, even if you swing it faster than Bubba Watson in a bad mood. The right driver is also about how the weight is balanced within the head. Knowing how drivers differ or how that weight can be tweaked can improve how far you hit the ball and how well you square the clubface. Finding a driver with the correct centre of gravity for the player, whether it’s forward, back or towards the heel, can change the person’s game. For example, a relatively straight hitter who is spinning the ball too much, even if he doesn’t swing fast, can gain tremendous distance with a driver that will spin the ball less.
The putter is the easiest club to get fit for.
Your putting stroke is generally your most repeatable, so that makes it the easiest to analyse, and sometimes the recommended changes (length, lie angle, grip) don’t require a putter change. Even if you want something new, resist the urge to test a bunch of putters off the rack. You might make a few good putts with this putter, but that doesn’t mean you’re lined up with it or that it has the right weighting for you. We recommend that you focus not only on the head shape, but the hosel position, weight distribution and alignment lines, the stuff that can really make a difference.
Wedges are the most overlooked club in fitting.
It makes no sense that many golfers still buy wedges off the rack, even though they may have non-standard length and lie angles in their irons. Aside from length and lie angle, nine out of 10 golfers don’t use enough bounce. (That’s the angle formed by the sole, the leading edge and the ground.) Heavier shafts can also bring extra control, because you want to reduce the role of the hands on wedge shots. It’s like a counterbalanced putter: The more weight, the less chance a golfer can err. Then, there’s distance gapping – making sure each wedge covers a certain distance without over-
laps. Some clubfitters believe 5 degrees between clubs works better than 4, citing a need for more loft around the green.
Don’t forget about grips.
The grip might be the last thing on your list when you go through a clubfitting, but it can yield big benefits. A grip’s size and texture affect the way your hands release the club at impact and the shape and trajectory of your shots. Tour players agonise over grips because they understand that is what connects the golfer to the club. Finding that proper size will help promote the proper release at impact, leading to crisper, cleaner shots.
Should I get my swing fixed before I get fit for clubs?
Top clubfitters believe instruction is a vital component of the fitting process. They typically work backwards from impact to address to understand how the head and shaft need to perform for players to get the most out of their swing and equipment. The point is that finding more distance or improving accuracy can’t be limited to new clubs. But the clubs should take precedence. Getting the proper fit in the player’s hands gives a better opportunity to develop the impact fundamentals from the beginning.