Saturday, March 10, 2012
Golf Club Fitting Leads To Huge Gains
Do you buy your suits or dresses without trying them on or getting altered? Do you buy shoes without trying them on? There is no reason to buy golf clubs without getting fit for them either!
I have been selling golf club for 20 years and the fitting process has evolved immensely over that time period. Back in the mid 90’s, the only company primarily doing “custom” golf clubs was PING. We used to ask the golfer to take their grip and stance, in the golf shop, and place a credit card under their club trying to figure the correct lie angle for them and then order the corresponding color for their new clubs. That was as custom as we knew back then. Since the late 90’s, equipment manufacturers developed “dynamic” fitting where golfers would hit the ball with tape on the clubs to indicate impact spots and sole markings to direct us as fitters to what lie and length a golfer needed. This too has changed.
The bottom line is that if you are going to invest in your game, you need golf clubs that fit YOU! Improper length clubs can result in shots that are too thin or too fat. Clubs with improper lie angles can result in shots that go left or right too much.
When I fit people, I measure their wingspan and their knuckles to the floor. With a proper set up and address position, your arms hang to a point where we need the proper length golf club. Most people believe that a very tall person needs longer golf clubs. For example, a 6’6” man stands straight up and allows me to measure his wingspan (arms extended outward to the side). This man has a wingspan of 80” from index finger to index finger of the other hand. 82” equates to 6’10”. Translation = this man has longer arms for his height. Longer arms means his hands are lower to the ground and this man NEEDS SHORTER CLUBS! Conversely, a 6’2” man has short arms and that is why he needs longer clubs. I hope that makes sense. Bottom line, do not use the word STANDARD when referring to club specifications. Your fitting is based on a measurement and then used to order your clubs. There is no consistent standard from company to company. All they try to do is establish their own ‘standard’ so that when they order heads from overseas, the majority of those heads are at a lie angle that can satisfy the bulk of their orders so that they do not have to make many alterations and slow down the production process in their warehouse, thus causing their orders to get backordered for weeks; that’s just bad for business when they can’t provide a set of clubs fast enough as a golfer may choose another brand if the word got out.
Shafts have improved a lot over the last few years as well. There are many types of steel shafts and many different weights for them. Just remember if you wish to affect the trajectory of your shots (higher or lower) then the weight of the shaft is the key factor in choosing your shaft. Heavier shafts keep the ball down or help from hitting those high, ballooning balls. We match the flex of the shaft based on your swing speed. Launch monitors are the best tool to fit you for clubs as we can determine which flex you should have. Graphite shafts are for those that need a little more distance based upon needing a lighter club due to slower swing speeds or those that suffer from wrist, elbow or arm injuries and need a softer shaft to absorb some of the shock from striking a ball.
What’s amazing is the invention of these metal woods where we can adjust the loft, face angle and weights within the make-up of the club. I personally love to tinker with these options because I love to see how much they alter the shots of my golfers.
Whichever way you like to buy your golf clubs, it is better to see the person whom you trust that understands all of the options and adjustments available to you so that you can have the best fit clubs that you can buy. I just hate to see someone have a good swing and have poorly fit golf clubs so that they are wondering what’s wrong when all it is, is to fit them properly for their set. I love fitting golf equipment so anyone that wishes to share in my knowledge and beliefs in club–fitting can reach me at Little Bennett Golf Course at 301-253-1515.
Jeffrey Rosenberg, PGA