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The Top-16 Myths about Golf Clubs and Their Performance

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The Shaft is the Engine of the Golf Club

Actually, you the golfer are the engine, the shaft acts more like the transmission. The weight of the shaft is a key element in the fitting and performance of golf clubs for ALL golfers. The overall stiffness design (aka the flex and bend profile) is an element of golf clubs that becomes progressively more and more important to performance as golfer clubhead speed increases and point of release gets later and later in the downswing.

So for golfers with progressively slower swing speeds and progressively less late releases, the weight of the shaft is the only key part of the shaft for performance. But for golfers with progressively faster clubhead speeds and progressively later releases, the shaft becomes more and more important to performance, but not more important than the other key fitting parameters.

The Longer the Length of the Club, the Farther You Will Hit the Ball

Longer length only means more clubhead speed for golfers who have a later and later-to-very-late releases. For golfers with early-to-midway releases, using a longer club length does not increase clubhead speed and in many cases can actually deliver a slower clubhead speed at the moment of impact.

The reason is because for ALL golfers, the maximum clubhead speed is achieved right when they fully release the club. Hence, if you have a late release, you’ll reach your maximum clubhead speed right at impact. But if you have an early-to-midway release, the highest clubhead speed is reached before the clubhead meets the ball, leaving time for the club to begin to slow down before impact.

But for all golfers other than those with the smoothest, most rhythmic swing tempo and timing, longer length more typically brings with it a higher percentage of off-center hits. So even if you do have a late release and get more speed from a longer length, you may not actually hit the ball farther due to the increase in off-center hits from the longer length.

Adjustable Hosel Drivers Change the Loft Just Like any Driver with the Shaft Epoxied Directly into the Hosel

Adjustable hosel drivers only change the loft if the golfer always holds the clubface square to the target line in the address position. If the golfer addresses the ball with the head sitting flat on its sole, then the adjustable hosel devices do not change loft, they change the face angle and lie angle. In the world of adjustable hosel drivers, the practice of “forcing” the golfer to always hold the face square to the target to get the loft change eliminates face angle as a possible game improvement spec in a driver for golfers.

That’s totally fine if the golfer consistently delivers the face square to the target line and as such always wants to set up to the ball with a square face, but for the estimated 16.8 million golfers who slice the ball or 3 million who hook the ball, being able to have face angle as a fitting specification separate from the loft is quite important for the full benefits of game improvement.

Tour Grind Type Sole Designs on Irons and Wedges are only for Better Players

If we define a “tour grind sole” as a pronounced sole radius in the direction from face to back across the surface of the sole combined with rounding the leading edge at the bottom of the face, such a sole shape is good for ALL players, whether from nationally ranked all the way to a beginner. It actually can be said that such a “tour grind” sole shape is actually more important for a less skilled player to have than a very good player.

The reason is because the more radius on the sole from face to back, the less area of the sole comes in contact with the ground when the clubhead actually enters the ground during the shot. While no amount of sole radius can prevent “fat” shots, a pronounced face to back sole radius can turn a shot that would have been “slightly fat” into a credible miss. In addition, greater face-to-back sole radius along with a “killed/blunted/radiused” leading edge can also help get just a little more of the clubface on the ball from shots hit from the rough, again due to the reduction in sole contact with the ground from the increased face to back radius on the sole.

Modern Designed Shafts are Better than Older Designed Shafts

It all depends on what your definition for “better” in the context of shafts happens to be. If “better” means producing shafts more consistently to their design specs for stiffness and weight, then it is true that there are more graphite shaft companies whose shafts run in a tighter tolerance than there were 15-to-25 years ago. On the other hand, there are some shaft companies that do not deliver any better shaft-to-shaft consistency than in the past.

If “better” means better performance because of new shaft stiffness design breakthroughs, well… I hate to tell you this but a whole lot of the better player shaft designs of today are different from the better player shafts of yesterday only in the cosmetics on the outside of the shaft. Below is a bend profile graph showing the full length stiffness comparison of the 1988 Grafalloy ProLite 35 S to several modern shafts of today. Back in its day, the ProLite 35 was the “hot shaft” on the world’s professional tours for several seasons. In fact, I believe the ProLite 35 still holds the record for most wins on tour by one shaft model. From this bend profile analysis, it appears the overall stiffness design that made the Pro Lite 35S a big winner among many tour pros is still out there available today, but under different names.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 8.46.18 PM

If “better” means better materials, better wrapping techniques, better “hoop” strength or other such modern marketing points claimed for shafts, I am here to tell you after 23 years of serious shaft fitting research and shaft design research that there are still five and only five different things that make up a shaft’s performance for any golfer: weight, overall stiffness/flex, bend profile/stiffness distribution, torsional stiffness (aka torque) and the weight distribution (aka balance point).

In the end, when it comes to the performance of shafts, there is no such thing as a better or a worse shaft. There are only golfers who end up being fit or finding the right shaft for their swing characteristics and golfers who don’t. What is a “better” performing shaft for one player can be a poorly performing shaft for other players, and vice versa, simply because shaft performance is totally about matching the weight, full length stiffness, torque and weight distribution to the swing characteristics and preference for feel of each individual golfer.

Blade Style Iron Designs Offer Tighter Shot Dispersion Than Cavity Back Iron Designs

Yes, I am aware of that report as well from a company that claimed muscleback blades hit the ball more accurately than cavity back irons. As someone who has done more than his share of painstakingly careful robot testing with clubhead designs, I can assure you it is incredibly difficult to set up and run a robot hit test that completely eliminates every possible variable from entering into the results.

Serious robot testing doesn’t even hit the same ball more than twice so as to eliminate any possible changes in the balls from impact entering into the results. And let’s talk about wind and climate condition changes from shot to shot in the same test. While serious hit testing requires weather station equipment to monitor temperature, humidity, wind and barometric pressure, such gauges are not set up every 25 yards downrange at the altitude the ball flies during its entire flight. If a test claims dispersion improvement in feet, wind somewhere downrange over the 150-plus yards of flight can easily account for that.

I’ve designed 19 different blade designs and over 150 cavity back iron designs in my career. While I have seen distance, trajectory and spin differences between a blade and muscleback, I can tell you when EVERYTHING in the two clubs is identical — when the path and the face angle are both 0 and impact is dead center — I’ve never seen anything close to a result that could possibly come to the conclusion that a blade hits the ball more accurately than a cavity back.

I guess if this were really true, would you see even one set of cavity back irons on the world’s professional tours where approach shot proximity to the hole is of critical importance to scoring?

You Have to be a Good Golfer to Benefit from Custom Clubfitting

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this comment, I could be retired and lounging on the back patio with a cold one after my daily round of golf. But if I also had a dollar for every time a clubmaker told me in the last 30 years that he fit an average-to-less-skilled player who experienced immediate improvement the first day he played with his custom fit clubs, I could actually be flying via NetJets to a nice resort for that round of golf. NetJets cost about $4000 an hour and the resort I want to play is about a 6-hour round trip flight. And yes, that more than adds up based on fitting successes of which I’ve personally been told.

Yes, no question, average-to-less-skilled golfers make definite swing errors and do demonstrate a higher level of inconsistency in their swings. But they get the ball airborne more than 98 percent of the time and their misses tend to be more in one direction than the other. In other words, they are inconsistently consistent.

However, the SEVERITY and the FREQUENCY of an average golfer’s bad shots most definitely can be reduced (not eliminated), but reduced when every single one of the key fitting specifications for every one of his clubs is correctly fit by an expert for the average golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and most of all for their specific swing characteristics.

When this is done correctly by someone who is a professional in the clubfitting, what happens is this: the average player’s bad shots happen a little bit less often and the range of how bad they are is lessened, too. Joe Golfer will still hit poor shots with the same swing mistakes, but they won’t be as frequent and they won’t be as bad as often. He’ll have more shots in play, which means more chances to get closer to the greens, which means more chance to turn a double into a single or a single into a par.

Expert fitting is rarely ever going to turn a 26-handicap into a 12 handicap. That big of an improvement typically has to come from swing improvement via instruction and practice. But expert fitting can turn a 26-handicap into an 18 or a 16-handicap into an 11 simply by reducing the frequency and severity of the bad shots. The goal of proper fitting is to achieve visible, measurable game improvement, and the vast majority of golfers who shoot in the mid-80s to high-90s walk away with that when properly fit.

I Was Custom Fit for my Golf Clubs at my Local Big Box Golf Store or Pro Shop

Here, again, we need to establish a definition for “being fit” for your golf clubs. For fitting to deliver the utmost in game improvement, every one of the 12 key fitting specifications for every one of the clubs needs to be correctly fit by an experienced, knowledgeable clubfitter to each golfer’s combination of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. Then the clubs have to be precisely built to have each one of those determined fitting specifications.

Anything that falls short of this will cause the golfer to fall short of the maximum possible amount of game improvement possible.

You Can Change the Trajectory and Spin of a Shot with Hot Melt or Lead Tape

You can change swingweight or headweight feel to get the club(s) better matched to your swing tempo, timing, rhythm and feel to gain shot consistency improvement. But you cannot add enough hot melt or lead tape to come up with a visible, measurable change in launch angle, trajectory or backspin. OK, you could physically add 20-to-25 grams to the head to get to a point of launch angle, trajectory or backspin change, but you’d not likely see that happen because you’d be struggling to swing that now E4 swingweight club in the first place.

Moving weight to one side or the other of a head to elicit a visible change in launch angle, trajectory or backspin can be done, but it takes a lot of weight movement to do that and that weight movement has to be done within the head’s existing manufactured weight. But even then it only can happen for golfers with a later release and/or those with a very consistent on center hit percentage.

Golfers with a Straight Back, Straight-Through Putting Stroke Need to use a Center-Shafted Putter, while Golfers with an Arcing-Type Putting Stroke Need to use a Heel-Shafted Putter

This makes for a nice story, and even I will admit it satisfies that “logic-o-meter” in our brains to think this. But statistics over the decades show that there are players with a straight-back, straight-through stroke who have putted well and putted poorly with a center-shafted putters just as there have been many players with an arcing stroke who have putted well and putted poorly with a heel-shafted putters.

What matters far more to putting success for any player with any type of stroke is having the length, lie, loft, weighting and grip size/feel perfectly fit to their stance, posture, ball position, hand position, stroke angle of attack and preference for feel. They then have to be matched with a putter head shape/style/alignment aid that satisfies the golfer’s preference for looks, alignment and eye dominance.

Japanese Made Forged Irons are Produced from Better Steel

There’s no better proof of the way a myth can so illogically weave itself into the brain of a golfer than in a comment I received from a golfer swearing that a Japanese made forged iron head was superior because “the Japanese know how to make better steel because the steel used to make the Samarai swords in the 19th century was so superior.”

OK, uh, right. If that sort of “logic” is relatable to iron head production, then in reality the best forged iron heads should be coming from Syria since Damascus steel was considered to be a remarkable alloy for its time.

Uniformity of the chemical composition of metal alloys has been in existence around the world for many years. The chemical composition of the 1020 and 1030 carbon steel alloys most typically used in the production of forged carbon steel irons is the same whether produced under the JIS standards in Japan, the AISI standards in the USA, the BS standards in Great Britain and so on around the world.

The Chemical Composition of 1020 Carbon Steel

Photo 2

The Chemical Composition of 1030 Carbon Steel

Photo 3

The ranges in element composition seen in the above tables are insignificant to the performance of the product being made from the steel and simply reflect the acceptable ranges in content approved by the standards within each country that manufactures these carbon steel alloys.

In the end, what makes a “better” forged iron falls into the combined categories of CG position, weight distribution, sole design and how well they with the 12 key fitting specs for the whole club are matched to the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.

The Higher Your Clubhead Speed, the Stiffer Your Shaft Should Be

While clubhead speed is a starting point in the determination of the correct stiffness design of a shaft for each golfer, the key elements for pinpointing the right flex are the swing characteristics that have a significant effect on exactly how much the golfer actually bends the shaft during his swing. That’s namely the transition force applied at the beginning of the downswing, the downswing acceleration or aggressiveness to impact and the point of release during the downswing. If the player has a definite preference for the bending feel of the shaft during the swing and through impact, add that one to the swing characteristics to be on the road to proper shaft stiffness fitting.

In virtually every case of shaft flex fitting among two golfers with the same clubhead speed, the golfer with the more forceful transition and more aggressive downswing tempo will be better fit into a stiffer flex because these swing moves bring about more bending force on the shaft during the downswing. If the golfer also has a later-to-very-late release, add a stiffer tip design to the recommendation.

If the Flex of Your Shaft is too Soft, You’ll Hook the Ball. If it’s too Stiff, You’ll Slice the Ball

Not without the golfer first having the swing path and face delivery that makes a ball slice or hook, it won’t. And even then, only if the X-flex player were to somehow choose to play an A or L flex would he or she see a marked increase in the hook, or the A or L flex player to end up with an X would he or she experience leaving the ball more noticeably to the right.

Where this myth got blown out of proportion to make the 8, 12, 20-handicapper quake in fear of accuracy disaster from a shaft that is more flexible or more stiff than what their swing dictates is from the feedback of the really good ball striker. Really good ball strikers notice shot shape differences from different shafts or different other specs in their clubs because they have what we like to say is a “very small window” for their shot shape in the first place.

What that means is the really good ball strikers are so consistent in their swing path, face angle delivery, angle of attack and point of impact on the face that their shots could all fly through a very small window when they take off.  Most of the rest of us have a window for our shot pattern that would be, well, maybe not quite as large as the picture window in your living room, but a whole lot larger window than a really good ball striker.

When the player has a really small window, he’ll notice little differences of a quarter flex or a 3 mm change in CG position in the head in the shape of his shots because his shot pattern is so consistent from his superior swing repeatability. That, in turn, means that 98 to 99 percent of us won’t notice shot pattern differences until the changes in the shaft or other specs in the head and club are much greater, beyond what would constitute a proper fitting.

The Best Way to Reduce Spin is by Changing the Shafts in Your Clubs

If a golfer is properly fit so his shafts are not too stiff or too flexible for his clubhead speed, transition force, downswing tempo and point of release and he truly does exhibit a higher ballooning ball flight, then the predominant reason is because of a swing error that causes the dynamic loft on the clubhead to be too high for the golfer’s club head speed and angle of attack. The only way a shaft can reduce shot height and spin is to fit the golfer into a substantially stiffer shaft or significantly more tip stiff bend profile. That only can have an effect for golfers with a later-to-very-late release and brings with it the risk of the shaft being much too stiff for the golfer, which in turn can rob the golfer of distance and cause the feeling of impact to be less solid.

In reality, the most effective and sure way to reduce spin is to use a lower lofted club head. If the golfer has a launch angle that is optimal for his clubhead speed and angle of attack, and if the shaft is correctly fit for flex and bend profile to the golfer’s club head speed, transition force, downswing tempo and point of release and the ball flight is of a ballooning shape with a steep angle of descent, the spin problem most definitely is swing related.

Far too many golfers today look at launch monitor numbers and obsess way too much about their spin numbers while completely forgetting the greater importance of the launch angle and ball speed to the optimization of their shots.

Low Handicappers Benefit More from Fitting than Middle and High Handicappers

Actually, if your definition of “benefit” from proper fitting means experiencing visible, measurable differences in shot distance, accuracy or consistency immediately after getting the newly custom fit clubs, middle and high-handicap golfers get this far more dramatically and much more often than do low-handicap players. This is, in fact, a significant reason some lower handicap golfers walk away from a fitting less impressed and from that can develop an anti-fitting attitude about its value and benefits.

The reason low handicap golfers tend to be less “wowed” by a fitting is because as a better player, they have over the years already found clubs that fit their more consistent swing characteristics reasonably well. Better players can and do fit themselves with great success. In addition, better players can adjust to various fitting specs that may not be perfect for their swing far more easily than can middle-to-high-handicap golfers because they possess superior golf athletic ability. As such, it is very common for a good player to walk away from a fitting session with no marked improvement in distance, accuracy or shot consistency.

Middle-to-high-handicap golfers are an orchard with low hanging fruit to clubfitters because their lesser golf athletic ability and swing mistakes are made worse by many of the standard specifications of clubs sold off the rack: drivers and woods that are too long, lofts of low numbered woods and irons that are too low, face angle options not available to offset swing path and face delivery mistakes, totally wrong set makeups, weighting that does not match to their strength and swing tempo and grips that don’t fit and cause too much tension in the hands and arms.

Good player fitting is more difficult to do because it so often involves trial and experimentation to achieve a specific sense of “feel” that the better player has acquired over the years of playing. Good player fitting changes tend to focus on total weight and head weight feel adjustments, shaft bending feel adjustments, ball flight shape adjustments, some set makeup adjustments and smaller things that take time to nail down in a back and forth situation with the clubfitter.

Instant gratification is common with middle-to-higher handicap players. Not as much so with better players.

Putter Fitting Really Doesn’t Matter. All You Have to do is Try Enough Putters to Find the One that Works the Best

With the full swing clubs, there are no less than 12 key fitting specifications that all have to be carefully and often painstakingly analyzed and matched to each golfer’s combination of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. With putters, there are six. But those six key putter fitting specs, if not well fit to the golfer, will keep him wandering around amidst the 200+ putters leaning on racks near the faux putting green in the big box store and hunting like a blind squirrel looking for that proverbial acorn.

In addition, not all clubfitters are focused or proficient in professional putter fitting. Can’t blame ‘em really either. There’s more fitting revenue to be had in fitting a driver, set of woods and set of irons than there is in a single putter. But if you can find a fitter who loves to fit putters, getting the length, lie, loft, grip, weighting and putter head model right for the golfer, his stroke action, his eyes and his sense of feel can automatically drop a handicap by 4-to-5 shots.

In fact, as a quick tip, over the past three years it has been amazing for me to hear from as many clubmakers as I have who have instantly improved a golfer’s putting consistency with a conventional putter with the use of a heavy – 60 grams, 80 grams or 100 grams – counterweights installed in the very grip end of the putter.  Such large increase in weight in the hands of the golfer has brought about an instant improvement in distance control, pull/push reduction and on center hit results.

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Tom Wishon is a 40-year veteran of the golf equipment industry specializing in club head design, shaft performance analysis and club fitting research and development. He has been responsible for more than 50 different club head design firsts in his design career, including the first adjustable hosel device, as well as the first 0.830 COR fairway woods, hybrids and irons. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: February 2014 Tom served as a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory Panel, and has written several books on golf equipment including "The Search for the Perfect Golf Club" and "The Search for the Perfect Driver," which were selected as back-to-back winners of the 2006 and 2007 Golf Book of the Year by the International Network of Golf (ING), the largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the USA. He continues to teach and share his wealth of knowledge in custom club fitting through his latest book, "Common Sense Clubfitting: The Wishon Method," written for golf professionals and club makers to learn the latest techniques in accurate custom club fitting. Tom currently heads his own company, Tom Wishon Golf Technology, which specializes in the design of original, high-end custom golf equipment designs and club fitting research for independent custom club makers worldwide Click here to visit his site, wishongolf.com

154 Comments

154 Comments

  1. Mike boatright

    Jun 13, 2018 at 9:18 am

    I have to disagree with just about all of this even though he is a club fitting expert. I have tried so many clubs in simulators and outdoors and have seen the opposite results ranging from 65 mph swings to 115 mph swings. I have picked up a ping ladies flex 6 iron swung about it’s tolerated speed and achieved a perfect 167 yard result as it’s intended. However If I pump it up and don’t open the face it will pullish hook left and not in some tight ”window” were talking 15 yards left and high. I’m not big,but have quick hands and not some agro downswing either. You see the head is attached to the shaft as the shaft tip section flexes more than it was intended even with a dead square face at a perfect face angle and near -1 to 0 path with the irons and -1 to +4 on the woods the face of the head will become unstable and go either 15 yards left or right usually left and sometimes strait but a mile in the air.

    Iv’e seen this outside in all conditions and have hit thousands of golf balls with every club imaginable at different speeds! Everything he is saying here is just so monotone and wrong. It’s No actually with everything he says… Well i’m telling you it’s yes actually… I have hit uber x flex shafts easy they tail right everytime because the tip doesnt flex and the face struggles to square up on perfect swings,now if you close the face you might hit it straight see the pattern.. Shaft Fitting is nonsense just rubbish all you need to do is go hit some clubs find what works at you at max,medium and somewhat of change up swing it’s all club dependent as well. Having a hyper flexy club in a 9 iron can be great if you know how to use the tool,however for most in the driver it just can’t be timed efficiently enough to swing as the shaft is intended. You see it’s all club dependent you swing a driver fatser than a 7 iron so again this just goes down to hitting balls and trying different clubs and different shafts. You might that uni flex steel shaft in the callaway 7 is so playable for you,but if if you just go 2 clubs down to a 5 it sucks and feels right in a s-300 stock why? Because the 5 goes faster than a 7 iron and a hybrid goes fatser than a 5 iron and even at quicker speeds will sill play ok fore some in a reg flex. You need 14 favorite clubs if you wanna get fitted with a machine you need to fit veryone with different flexes most likely

  2. Jason

    May 31, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Great article Tom, I went to a guy earlier in the week to get some fitting work done. Fancy simulators cool interchangeable clubs and heads but I walked away without really feeling like he knew what he was doing.

    What club fitters do you recommend in the St Catharines, Ontario Canada or if I have to go into Toronto I’ll take the drive.

    I’m a 9 handicap who wants to get his PGA Tour Of Canada Card within the next few years.

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  5. Skip

    Aug 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Tom, great article. A lot of things I didn’t realize about getting fitted for clubs.

    Do you know of any good club fitters in Orlando, Florida?

    Thanks

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Sure can Skip and happy to do so.

      Buena Vista Golf
      Shun Matsumoto
      Winter Garden, FL
      321-947-9684
      info@bvgolfusa.com

      Thanks and hope this helps,
      TOM

      • Skip

        Aug 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        Hey Tom, any good fitters closer than Winter Garden? That’s a decent hike from where I live in Orlando. Thanks again!

        • Matt

          Jun 26, 2017 at 1:48 am

          Winter Park is 20 minutes from Orlando. Lol.

  6. Adam Huenemann

    Aug 12, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks for the article. How about a club fitter in the Northern VA/ Washington area? Is there someone you particularly recommend?

  7. Steve

    Aug 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Tom, do you recommend any good club fitters in the New Haven CT area? Lakeville Golf tech is in CT but 90 miles away

    Thanks
    Steve

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 12, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Steve:

      Closer to you would be either one of these two men. Give them a call, talk to them about your fitting needs and game improvement goals, and then take it from there.

      Michael Brown
      Club Shop Custom Built
      Hamden, CT
      203-248-2100
      http://www.clubshop-ct.com

      Bryce Seltman
      BDS Custom Clubs
      Greenlawn, NY
      516-443-7681

      Hope this helps and thanks much for your interest,
      TOM

  8. Ross

    Aug 9, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Tom,

    Excellent article. Can you recommend a club fitter and a putter fitter in the Dayton or Cincinnati, Ohio area?

    Thank you

    Ross

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Yessir I certainly can, and he’s an OUTSTANDING clubfitter in the greater Cincy area with TONS of experience and a real passion for doing the work to help the golfers he sees.

      Bill Weitzel
      Conquest Custom golf
      4889 Mercedes Drive
      Suite D
      Liberty Township, OH 45011
      513-312-1598
      sales@conquestcustomgolf.com

      Thanks very much and hope this helps!
      TOM

  9. Pitchswag

    Aug 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

    I live in Copenhagen (Denmark) so the fitter you recommended in southern Sweden will do. However I ask on behalf of a friend if you can recommend any fitter in Denmark?

  10. Tim

    Aug 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Do you happen to know any putter fitters near Detroit, MI? Thanks!

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 6, 2014 at 10:44 am

      some clubmaker/clubfitters offer putter fitting while others tend to focus much more on the full swing clubs so you will want to call these guys to ask them if they offer putter fitting before you make a decision.

      Trevor Parkinson
      MW Golf Custom Clubs
      Rochester, MI
      248-651-9580 or 248-709-6417
      golf@trevorparkinson.com

      Leon Falk
      Castaway Custom Clubs
      Saint Clair, MI
      810-364-5368
      lfalk4@yahoo.com

      Gary Cottrell
      Golfer’s Advantage
      Fenton, MI
      810-629-7339
      golfersadvantage@chartermi.net

      Hope this helps!
      TOM

      • George

        Aug 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

        Tom,
        The entire forum with your comments has been an education. I am 61 and was low handicap at near scratch before undergoing surgery. I had to take two years off due to foot surgery and have struggled to get back to form this year although the last few rounds have been good. I have the same clubs from years ago…R 7 425 Taylormade with stiff re-ax TP 65 gm 45″ shaft and an older Sonartec 14* 3W with stock stiff shaft. I have R7 irons with “quote” stiff True Temper S-300 steel shafts. I stopped using a regular 4 iron years ago and have the older Taylor 22* rescue (which I love). In addition to the stock PW, I carry Mizuno forged wedges 53*, 56* and 60* with low bounce.

        After the layoff, I noticed loss of distance (perhaps expected due to age etc)….5I now 170 instead of 180 and on down the line of a consistent 10 yard loss.

        My only experience with a fitter was a disaster….visited a clubfitter about 5 years ago (3 hour drive to Columbia SC) where the fitting monitor broke down and we never even got to do the driver etc. He said my 5I swing speed was 90mph and that my off the rack irons were so good for my swing that he could not improve them. He had me to make a video and send it to him and from looking at it did recommend I go to a 43 1/2″ driver which I allowed him to make. It is a KZG smaller head driver to which I found I could hit my three wood further….so back to the R7 I went.

        After reading your article and comments, I am bit by the bug and desiring to have a new fitting and check out your clubs. I live about 90 miles from Knoxville TN in the Johnson City TN location (37601 zip). I am close to SW Virginia and a good portion of North Carolina and do not mind a couple hour drive or so. Would appreciate your input…..Thanks!

  11. Pitchswag

    Jul 31, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Hi Tom,

    I just read this article, and I am blown away! Fantastic read (as always). I am a +2 EGA handicap planer from Europe, and playing golf as my hobby, but I like to compute when I have time for it and work allows me.

    I have never got a properly fitting, but I’m getting more curious about it. Any chance you know a good fitter in Scandinavia or Norther Germany? That would awesome.

    Again thanks.

    • Tom Wishon

      Aug 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Most definitely I can help with very good recommendations in both areas, although Scandinavia is pretty large so I will take a guess on what areas might be convenient to you there.

      Northern Germany
      Mike McFadden
      TCF Golf
      Jakobsberg Golf Resort
      Brey/Rhens, Germany (near Koblenz)
      49 6742 899 273
      info@tcfgolf.com

      Southern Sweden
      David Leet
      Falsterbo Golf Klub
      Falsterbo, Swewden (near Malmo)
      46 4047 5252
      david@davidleetgolf.se

      Stockholm Area
      Conny Lindgren
      Taby Golf Klub
      46 8760 7750
      info@teeview.se

      Stockholm Area
      Breit Olson
      Brejans Golf
      Sollentuna, Sweden
      46 8623 1060

      Hope this helps!
      TOM

  12. Glenn

    Jul 31, 2014 at 2:31 am

    I am looking to get fit for a set as I will be taking the game more seriously in the next few years. I use a set that is likely for a stronger player with a faster swing/more aggressive transition. I am more of a smooth swinger.

    Know any good fitters in or around Vancouver Island BC? I want to get it right and purchase a set that can last me. I have mistrust for the box stores and even the local courses with their pros. It seems like club fitting can definitely be done wrong despite someone “talking the talk”

    Thanks. Love your articles.

  13. cant-putt-for-toffee

    Jul 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    great article tom – can you recommend any putter fitters in melbourne..cheers

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Absolutely. One of the best and most experienced too. A guy I have known for a very long time and a really nice guy too.

      Geoff Waldon
      74 Bond Road
      Lower Plenty
      Victoria 3093
      39 439 8151 or 0418 170721
      geoffwaldon@internode.on.net

      If you go see him, you’ll have a lot of fun and you will learn a lot too.

      TOM

  14. Pete P

    Jul 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Great article- thanks. I’m 50 and have been playing for 3 years with starter-set irons. I’ve taken lessons, try to practice and feel like I’m playing better but am steady at 26 over the last two years. I believe I’m one of those high handicappers who would benefit from a fitting to keep pushing that handicap down.

    Any recommendations for the Albany NY area ?

    I also am not loving how the SGI and many GI irons have longer shafts for the distance; I’d prefer accuracy over distance. I assume that’s something a fitter can help with. Thanks again.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      I am sorry that I haven’t visited this comment field for a while to have not seen your request for a recommendation for a clubfitter. Hope this isn’t too late for your needs. I don’t know an experienced clubfitter right in Albany, but if 50 miles is not out of the question, I can highly recommend Fred Stevenson at Lakeville Golf Technology for you to work with.

      Fred Stevenson
      Lakeville Golf Tech
      Lakeville, CT
      860-435-0811

      Thanks much for your interest and no question, the good clubfitters understand that length is a totally separate fitting specification from the clubhead type that has to be fit, like all other fitting specs, on the basis of your size, strength, athletic ability, swing characteristics and what your primary most important fitting goals are.

      TOM

      • SBoss

        Jul 25, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Tom, Who would you consider to be the best club fitter in the Atlanta area?

        Thanks!

  15. Rich McElaney

    Jul 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Great info in this post and in the answers – you should turn this into an ebook!

    Who do you recommend in the Annapolis MD area?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      I am sorry that I haven’t visited this comment field for a while to have not seen your request for a recommendation for a clubfitter. Hope this isn’t too late for your needs. I don’t know an experienced clubfitter right in Annapolis, but if 50 miles is not out of the question, I can recommend either of these two men who will do a good job for you.

      Robin East
      East Custom Golf
      Great Mills, MD
      240-938-1914

      Mike Bednarcik
      Custom Clubs of Frederick
      Ijamsville, MD
      301-471-4825

      Hope this helps and thanks for your interest,
      TOM

  16. Todd

    Jul 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Tom,

    On a budget, but I am 6’6″ and need a goof fitting to start taking the game more seriously than playing once a week with 15 year old Palmers. Any recommendation on a fitter out on Long Island?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      I’m very sorry I did not get back to the article before today to see your request for a clubfitter recomendation in the Long Island area. Hope this is not too late, but here are a few clubfitters in your area that I would recommend you contact.

      Bryce Seltman
      Impact Golf
      Greenlawn, NY
      516-442-7681

      Rocket Science GOlf
      John Schiavone (who is by the way a real rocket scientist !!)
      Staten Island, NY
      718-614-6457

      Tim Mosel Custom Golf
      Tim Mosel
      Denville, NJ
      973-586-1700

      Thanks and hope this helps,
      TOM

  17. Dan Koenigsberger

    Jul 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Enjoyed Tom’s article, very detailed but informative, he knows his stuff. Is there anyone that Tom recommends around the Camarillo, Calif area.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jul 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Happy to help. Bill Kelly at Pro-Fitted Golf CLubs up in Santa Barbara is only about 40 miles from Camarillo and well worth the effort to drive up to see and work with. I’ve known Bill for shoot, I bet it is at least going on 30 yrs now in this side of the industry from various clubfitting conventions and seminars that I have taught at which Bill was a regular attendee and avid student. He’s good. Plus he’s a super nice man.

      His contact info is

      Bill Kelly
      Pro Fitted Golf Clubs
      805-218-5451
      pro_fitted9@verizon.net
      http://www.pro-fittedgolfclubs.com

      Thanks very much,
      TOM

  18. Bill Doughty

    Jun 25, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Tom,
    Have just started playing over the past 2 years – at age 53 with a newly replaced hip that finally gave me back some mobility. I’ve tried to focus on developing a consistent, replicable swing, still very much a work in progress. I am at the point that I can consistenly shoot in the low 100s (yet to break though). I’ve taken some basic lessons, am using a name-brand box set because I didn’t want to invest too much on the front end until I was sure I’d like the game – and of course I’m hooked. Instructor and people I play with tell me I’m doing pretty well for playing such a short time. Looking ahead to next season, I’ll have paid off some bills and will be ready to plunge into custom fitting. Any recommendations in the Denver area?

    • Jas

      Jun 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Yeah. I was going to ask the same question. Denver area club fitter if you know Tom. I assume Golfsmith is not out to properly fit.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 26, 2014 at 11:11 am

      yes for sure. Depending on who is closer, I can recommend two clubfitters in the greater Denver Metro area.

      Dan Weitzel
      Weitzel Custom Golf
      Highlands Ranch, CO
      720-470-4321
      dan@weitzelgolf.com

      Brian Kelly
      Kelly’s Custom Golf
      Castle Rock, CO
      720-881-1980
      hazmateer@mac.com

      Thanks much and the very best to you in this great game!
      TOM

      • Straightdriver235

        Jun 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

        The Higher Your Clubhead Speed, the Stiffer Your Shaft Should Be

        While clubhead speed is a starting point in the determination of the correct stiffness design of a shaft for each golfer, the key elements for pinpointing the right flex are the swing characteristics that have a significant effect on exactly how much the golfer actually bends the shaft during his swing. That’s namely the transition force applied at the beginning of the downswing, the downswing acceleration or aggressiveness to impact and the point of release during the downswing. If the player has a definite preference for the bending feel of the shaft during the swing and through impact, add that one to the swing characteristics to be on the road to proper shaft stiffness fitting.

        In virtually every case of shaft flex fitting among two golfers with the same clubhead speed, the golfer with the more forceful transition and more aggressive downswing tempo will be better fit into a stiffer flex because these swing moves bring about more bending force on the shaft during the downswing. If the golfer also has a later-to-very-late release, add a stiffer tip design to the recommendation.

        Interested in this remark. I would describe my swing as a slow swinging Jeff Maggert type of swinger, or having the tempo of a Julius Boros, but in my 42 years of golfing experience I increasingly have come to believe that an extra stiff shaft will improve just about all golfers. I wonder if you would comment on why this is not so? For years, though I was an accomplished player, due to my slower swing speed I was always referred to play a stiff shaft. With that I was short, solid and crooked. By accident I tried an X-stiff and immediately realized I had been mislead. While I can’t hit a stock 7 iron past 145, and can’t carry a driver more than 235, I repeat those distances at a high rate. I am just wondering your opinion on this. yes, I presume I have a low swing speed, but I also know it repeats, and it repeats more the stiffer the shaft. I have recommended this to other good golfers, and to beginners and they have also improved, but it seems to fly in the face of all the club fitting ideas. After a lot of thought about it, I would have to reject the idea of the shaft flex being related to the forcefulness of the transition, rather, it seems to me a pure swing is only possible if the shaft telegraphs to the hands exactly where the club face is at all points in the swing, regardless of its speed. Perhaps as you say, I have a narrow window, but even for those who don’t, what better way to quickly get used to the narrowness of that window without any real sacrifice in distance. True, some shots initially felt a little clanky, and still occasionally do, but the results are superior regardless of the that occasional impression. Your comments.

        • Joel

          Jul 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm

          You should go back through and read your paragraph. Okay, now can you honestly tell me you kept a straight face the whole way through? I about fell out of my chair halfway through reading your reasoning behind xstiff is superior for all players.

          Do yourself a favor, go buy one those HOF XXXXstiff’s and tip it about 2″. Just hang on because if stiffer is better I’m pretty sure you’ll be on tour soon if you use one.

          • Straightdriver235

            Jul 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm

            I think stiffer is better for any serious player. I’m wondering if this has been tested. Your response is kind of what I would expect, a lot of misunderstanding of my careful discussion here. My point was I don’t have clubhead speed, but I have precision. I am a good player who knows where my body and hands are at all times. I can’t carry the ball more than 235 with a driver. I have always been a slow moving person in all facets of life, not just golf. I’ve videoed my swing, slow motion, forever, it is pretty flawless when it is on… I know technique, anything less than extra stiff won’t work. Do your self a favor and try what I say if you meet my criteria, or you want to improve. What I do find is the lighter the shaft along with the stiffness, the better. I really don’t care to spend thousands trying to go the nth degree to prove my point. I just know I became a much better and more consistent and slightly longer player by doing nothing but switching to Xstiff. I would theorize a proper swing, not a murderous swing, is never behind or in front of the pace of the body nor the speed of the hands regardless of any sort of wrist cock inertia, hips flying open, or arms moving rapidly. If I was to teach, from what I have observed with this, far too many players are using shafts that are too weak to support timing improvement in their swings. I’m really not sure what one is supposed to gain by having a shaft that is late one time and early the next, or always late or early as timed to the syncing of proper delivery of the club along the proper path. If you can demonstrate this is wrong, then I have an open mind and would love to know… until then, I must consider most of these shaft options to be hocum to take money out of people’s wallets… Give me a very stiff, light shaft and I am at my best.

          • Straightdriver235

            Jul 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

            If what you were saying were true, I would leave the ball out to the right because I use a shaft too stiff, in fact, I always faded the ball with the stiff shaft to keep it in play, but now that I have gone to xstiff I have become a confident drawer of the ball. now it can only go so far left no matter how hard I release… not so before. I’ll never play the tour and never intended to, I just want to play my best. However, to prove my point, you will even see that many of the shorter hitting tour level players play xstiff… xstiff is for precise players, with sound swing techniques not just speed hitters. I won’t trust another club fitter until they address that issue. True, most of their experience tells them speed hitters are better players, but this is not necessarily true. If I am trying to teach someone to get to the window of impact, I would recommend xstiff over any other shaft for beginners, women, children until I see otherwise. I believe it is a myth you will leave the ball out to the right with a slow and proper swing with xstiff… but a good swing can be spoiled by too weak of a shaft because the timing can never be pinned down for the release and is not something a good swinger wants to think about.

            • Aaron B.

              Nov 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm

              “…but a good swing can be spoiled by too weak of a shaft because the timing can never be pinned down for the release and is not something a good swinger wants to think about”

              If only there were a way to determine this. Like a process through which golfers could work with an expert to optimize shaft flex. Hmmm…

  19. rgb

    Jun 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks Tom, a refreshing read.

    Are you able to recommend any fitters in the Toronto Ontario Canada area?

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks and happy to help. Contact Dan Connolly at Dan’s TNT Custom Golf in Hampton, not too far from Toronto. Dan is a true technician in clubfitting, which comes both from his background in metrology (science of precise measurement equipment and methods) as well as his real passion for continually studying the technical side of fitting. He’s a good man and will do you a very good job if you decide to work with him.

      Dan’s contact info is
      Dan’s TNT Custom Golf
      5493 Old Scugog Road
      Hampton, ON, L0B IJ0
      905-263-8510
      http://www.danscustomgolfshop.com

      Thanks much and the very best to you in this great game,
      TOM

  20. Paul

    Jun 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Very well written Tom, Thank you! I think it says something about your articles that while a decent size and very informative, your comments section is always longer but also has participation from you in them. Thanks again!

  21. Dave M

    Jun 8, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Tom,

    Thanks for the interesting article. Lessons and practice. I moved my handicap from a 23 to an 8 over a seven year period with lessons and a lot of short game practice and a mish mosh of equipment I picked out based on articles in golf magazines. But just in the past two weeks my good friend (another 8 hcp)and I decided we would like to go through a professional club fitting for the first time and really see how our current equipment fits us compared to other options and if there may be any “significant” improvement with other equipment. We are in the Chicago area and found Club Champion and Cool Clubs (twice the cost of Club Champion just for the fitting). Do you have anyone else in the Chicago area you could suggest? Thanks

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Dave

      I would recommend you give a call to Neal Carlson at 312-282-4517 and talk to him about your fitting goals and your equipment history and likes and dislikes to see if you wish to work with him to be custom fit.

      TOM

    • MS

      Jun 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Tom, if you only want to look at Wishon clubs call the fitter Tom recommended. If you want to try the OEM’s call Club Champion.

  22. MHendon

    Jun 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Tom I guess I’m one of those low handicappers who’s skeptical of club fitting and see’s it as just the new buzz in golf as a way for manufactures to sell new clubs. I Tell this story all the time, 20 years ago when I was new to the game and like many of the new players of today I was looking for a reason why I didn’t hit it as far as I thought I should or accurately, I went to a club fitter and asked him about fitting, his response to me was until I developed a consistent swing a club fitting wouldn’t do any good. Generally speaking now as a better player I believe he was mostly right, however I do agree that some suggestions in set make up such as hybrids, higher lofted woods, and wide sole perimeter weighted irons will provide some help. But there’s no substitute for developing a consistent swing through practice.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      You are absolutely right in saying that there is no substitute for developing a good swing through instruction and practice. No question about that whatsoever. I’ve never said that GOOD clubfitting done by a VERY GOOD clubfitter will replace lessons and practice. But I do say from thousands of good clubfitting sessions done by very good fitters that at least 70% or more of the AVERAGE to LESS SKILLED golfers will gain visible improvement from being properly fit.

      Not vast improvement but definitely to the point that a 26 can become a 19, a 19 can become a 14 or a 14 can become an 11. GOOD players rarely see marked improvement in SCORE from proper fitting because as a good player, they already have found clubs that work well for them through years of hitting different sticks and knowing from their better ability what works best and what they like best. And if something on their clubs is not yet perfect, their superior ability allows them to adjust and not be hurt visibly from the less than perfect spec here or there.

      At the most, a good player gains confidence from a proper fitting to know that his clubs are right – occasionally you see the good player gain something in tangible improvement such as more consistency and a little better “miss” on the less than perfect swing from a really good fitting, but it never will be the level of score improvement the avg to less skilled player can achieve.

      The average player benefits more because he does make swing errors which result in a wider range of bad shots. Proper fitting REDUCES the severity and range of the bad shots for the avg player. So for example, the 15 to 35 yd slice becomes a 5 to 20 yd slice which means the ball is now in play more often, which allows more open shots to the green, which means he hits a couple more greens or gets closer to the green more often which means a better chance of making bogey with an occasional par instead of a double or triple.

      Yes, there is a point that the poor player has to get to before fitting can do its thing. One, the golfer has to be able to get 95%+ of his shots airborne. Two, he has to be at a point where his bad swings generate a range of the same type missed shot such as mostly slicing the ball or mostly hitting it too low, or mostly pulling or pushing the ball. In short, this is why I say that fitting works the best for golfers who shoot mid 80s to high 90s or low 100s. If the golfer shoots 110, no, have him work on his swing until he can shoot in the high 90s or low 100s and THEN fitting can step in to help more.

      What’s really unfortunate from the big companies trying to get into “fitting” is that their form of fitting has to be done within their business model of pre building clubs to be shipped to retailers to be sold off the rack by sales people who sadly know less than many of the golfers who come to the store.

      As I have said many times, for proper fitting to have the best chance to offer tangible improvement, it has to consist of fitting the golfer for all 12 of the key fitting specs for all clubs in the bag. Not 3 to 4 specs for a few of the clubs. In fact, one of the worst things about the big companies’ “fitting” with the adj hosel drivers is the fact these drivers are all still 45-46″ in length which is such a killer for the avg to less skilled player.

      Avg to less skilled players are what they are because unlike you, they do not have your level of golf athletic ability. Ask any pro how many 25 hdcps he turned into an 8 or 10. A couple, but not very many because the proper swing fundamentals are something that takes a certain level of athletic ability to master – which SO MANY golfers simply do not have nor ever will.

      This is why shorter length drivers and woods, the right loft and face angle on the woods, no 3w, more hybrids or high loft woods to get rid of the 3, 4, 5 irons, correct weighting to match the golfer’s strength and swing tempo, proper grip size – all these things can and do make a BIG difference for the less skilled player to play better than before.

      No question there are independent fitters who don’t know as much as they need to about fitting to truly do a good job. But there are several hundred around the country who DO know their stuff and are the best people to consult for proper fitting needs.

      In the end, any good player who doubts the benefits of GOOD fitting has either never met a really GOOD fitter himself or he has never known a less skilled player who got hooked up with a very GOOD fitter.

      It does work to help less skilled players improve visibly when done by someone who really knows his stuff. And thank you for your comment for sure so I can keep trying to share what I do know are the facts from 30+ yrs of serious research in this field.

      • MHendon

        Jun 5, 2014 at 11:45 pm

        I have to admit Tom you swayed my opinion somewhat with that response. I guess like many people I’ve looked at the subject of club fitting with my one sided point of view. I always believed fitting someone with poor mechanics only masked the problem and actually could hurt by keeping them from working towards proper mechanics. But your point that many people simply don’t have the athletic ability to really develop proper mechanics resonated with me.

        • Tom Wishon

          Jun 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

          Thanks very much for your being open minded to look at the facts surrounding this at times controversial subject. What’s made the need for proper fitting even more important for the avg to less skilled player is that many of today’s club specs on the clubs sold off the rack truly are worse for the avg golfer to have to deal with and overcome to be able to play to the best of his lesser ability.

          Drivers that have “grown” to 45-46″ in length, lofts that have shrunk so much over the years that the 3, 4 and even 5 iron are unhittable for most avg players, and a lack of std specs that can be more “friendly” to the less skilled players really has made it more difficult for the avg player to go buy a std set off the rack and hope to be able to play as well as possible AND make swing improvements when the avg player decides to take lessons.

          The point can be made that the std specs of clubs 20yrs ago were far easier for avg players to deal with than the std specs of today. Back then all men’s drivers were 43″ and lofts were 6-7 degs higher per iron number than today.

          Good players like you are far less affected by these changes simple because you do have the better golf athletic ability to have developed good swing characteristics to adjust to these specs. But even with good players, how many who break 80 can hit a 45-46″ driver as well as one that is 44″ or how many good players can truly hit a 3 iron consistently well?

          As such the door is open for reasonable improvement simply through proper fitting but only when done by someone who is very experienced. Sadly when a new “fad” or new trend is introduced, such as companies offering “fitting” on their std clubs, far too many people who are not qualified or knowledgeable will step in to try to take advantage of the trend.

          So it does take some investigation to find a very good fitter and find the ones who really do know what they are doing. Again, thanks for your interest for sure and the very best to you in this great game!

          • MHendon

            Jun 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

            Your absolutely right Tom, even though I’m a 3 hdcp being very familiar with my swing and the launch characteristics I’m wanting to see from every club in the bag I’ve long since removed the 2 iron from my bag and last year took out the 3 replacing them with hybrids. Also I cut my driver down to 44.25 because I’m simply able to hit the center of the club much more consistently at that length. However I believe I read or heard somewhere that part of the problem with players being able to hit longer irons now a days is the new ball just doesn’t spin enough to climb when hit with a strong lofted iron.

      • Simon

        Aug 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

        Living in the Middle East, access to an independent club fitter is pretty much zero. Clubs are over priced by distributors that believe they have a “walled off market” protection. Pros at the clubs are limited to the manufacturers sponsoring them.

        The comment I really agree with relates to club choice for mid-high cappers (of which I’m one), there’s no point in toiling with 3 woods and 4,5 and maybe even 6 irons. Easier to hit hybrids can fill all of these gaps and cut strokes off a handicap instantly – much more reliable and enjoyable to watch soaring away. Similarly, a well fit putter (I was lucky enough to get help from the Scotty Cameron team over for the Race to Dubai – kudos to the Els Club in Dubai for setting up) will also give more of Tom’s low hanging fruit strokes.

  23. Pingback: Watch Your Scores Drop With These Insightful Ideas

  24. Bernard

    Jun 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Good article, however as a machinist with tons of metal chips under my belt. I can say with certitude that the process is just as important as the ingredients when it comes to creating alloy steels. It’s like cooking food. The chef’s skill counts heavily. So yes, Japanese forging are probably superior to others.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      You’re right, expertise in the process of forging and machining the raw forgings into the finished heads IS the key – along with the design itself. That’s precisely why the top Chinese based forging company that has been plucking forging work from several OEMs is located in Chengdu, China, and not in the areas close to Hong Kong where the other clubhead production factories are located.

      Chengdu was the center of China’s aerospace R&D and aircraft component production for decades because it was so far inland and protected by mountains on three sides – hence more easily defendable in case of conflict. But when China began to reduce their past massive military spending to devote more resources to expanding their export capability to make money from the West, thousands of very experienced and very skilled people in all areas of metal working in the Chengdu area were without a job. Hence why the top China forging company chose to build their factory in that area to hire these skilled people for whom properly forging and machining a golf clubhead is child’s play compared to what they had been doing.

      Do the Japan forging companies have their own in house metallurgical lab with full spectrographic analysis and scanning electron microscope? Do they have their own in house metal fabrication mill to prototype new alloys? Do they have their own in house die making shop? Do they have 2 Ph.D’s in metallurgical engineering and 3 Ph.D’s in manufacturing engineering on staff? I don’t believe so. But the top China forging factory does because it was all there for the taking.

      Wish I had the money to send you over to this factory to see what they do and how they do it. With other golfers who only cling to the marketing enhanced myth of Japanese forged iron heads because it’s a nice story, such a visit would not mean much. But to you with your experience, your expertise would allow you to see in a very short time that this Japan forging better than China forging is a definite myth.

      • Bernard

        Jun 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

        The premise of your myth busting was that the ingredients to forged metal are easily replicated, therefore the end results are. That is not true at all. The process is way more important than the chemistry.

        Also know how is mill specific. Culture plays a role but at the end of it the skill of metallurgy resides at the mill.

        China has a way to go to be considered even in the same league as Japan in terms of metallurgy and manufacturing prowess. They are getting there fast but it takes decades to become world class. The Germans, the Japanese they’ve been the elite for some time. The Americans? We’re great at guns and bombs but when something is machined, most often they use tooling and equipment made in Germany and Japan.

        • Tom W.

          Aug 9, 2014 at 11:04 am

          The “Process” is not exclusive to Japan only. Nor is pride in workmanship.

  25. jonas liljenberg

    May 31, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Keith, Thanks for input. I have adjusted the lies in accordance with the shafts becoming progressively longer. So that is probably not the issue.
    Could it be that the shafts are becoming too weak as they get progressively longer? Would that make them go left? I am playing Nippon Modus 3 120 stiff and I read somewhere that they are relatively weak….

  26. jonas liljenberg

    May 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Keith,
    Thanks for the input. I have already changed the lie to account for the clubs getting progressively longer. Does not help much. The shafts are Nippon Modus 3 120 stiff. Read somewhere on one of threads here that that shaft is kinda soft and having them over one inch longer than standard in the higher irons could make them even softer. That could potentially make the shots go left. However, I have another set where all irons are one inch longer than normal with the Nippon 950 shaft and they don’t go left. That is not a stronger shaft as far as I know. I am confused……

  27. Trey

    May 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Tom,

    Awesome article, my friend. Thank you for taking the time to share this knowledge.

    Can you recommend a fitter in the area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    Also, what is your opinion of companies like CoolClubs and HotStix who use technology primarily in their fittings?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I would recommend Kyle Chauvin of Chauvin Golf LLC over in Arnaudville, a little west of Baton Rouge. He’s also AGCP accredited as a clubfitter which means he’s a cut above most in the craft.

      Kyle Chauvin
      293 Carmen Dr
      Arnaudville, LA
      337-258-6238
      chauvingolf@me.com

      Cool Clubs and Hot Stix most certainly are well above what a golfer can get at a big box store or pro shop in terms of a fitting experience. No question about that. The main criticism I have of these retro fitting companies is the price. That’s a lot of money when you pay first for the OEM clubs, and then pay for all the retro fitting work done on top of that to re build the clubs.

      The other side of this is the fact when you go the retro fit route to take an already built set and try to tear it down and re build it with all the golfer’s requried fitting specs, the fact that it is an already built set means that there will be elements that just cannot be changed in the retro fit which may or may not stand in the way of a golfer getting everything in terms of all the fitting specs he needs to have the fit be as perfect for his swing as possible. That’s why custom fitting from scratch always has a better chance of delivering 100% of the fitting specs the golfer may need.

      A good independent fitter can both retro fit existing sets as well as fit and build totally from scratch depending on what the golfer wants, and will typically be less expensive either way. The independent fitter still faces the possibility that retro fitting the already built set may or may not allow him to achieve all the fitting specs the golfer needs.

      • Trey

        May 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        Thanks, Tom!

        As a player looking to upgrade equipment, I have read up on exciting developments by OEM in terms of technology in their new offerings, and the ability to help golfers improve scores. For me, the value of a piece of equipment isn’t in how great my well-struck shots will end up, but in how playable my poorly-struck shots will be. This (forgiveness/playability) is well marketed by OEM in their new releases, e.g. TM Speedblades. Do you find smaller manufacturers like KGZ, Miura, and Royal Collection can boast of similar claims in performance among their collections, or are these clubs better in the hands of better players?

        • Tom Wishon

          Jun 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm

          Proper fitting has ALWAYS been about reducing the incidence and severity of poor shots more than it has been about enhancing the very well struck shots from when golfers make a good swing. Sure, there are times when the golfer is in the wrong loft driver for his speed and angle of attack so more distance can come from the good swings.

          But all day long, the vast majority of golfers who walk away from a good fitting with a very good fitter experience more in the way of “better misses” than they do any enhancement of the good shots from their good swings.

          I can’t answer your question about the performance or quality from these other component companies you mention because I never look closely at any other company’s head designs. I only spend my time with my own designs to make them the best I can for the golfer types they are aimed at.

          I’m sure these companies you name do a fine job and probably produce some of their models to be as good as any other OEM company’s models because these companies you name do have good reputations.

          One other myth I could have included in this would be, “The clubs from the big companies are better because they have larger R&D staff with highly degreed people.” It just takes one smart person with a depth of experience with a great imagination and passion to drive him/her to create great designs.

          Sort of like the story of the US government vs the Wright Brothers. Back in the late 1800s the US govt tapped Adm Samuel Langley to head up a highly funded govt project to develop a successful airplane. Langley recruited the top engineering minds in the country yet it was two brothers in the back of a bicycle shop with virtually no money who out thought and out worked all these top engineers with their millions of dollars in R&D funding to invent the first successful airplane.

  28. Pingback: The Top-16 Myths about Golf Clubs and Their Performance | Heiser Golf

  29. Tom Wishon

    May 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    To Jonas Liljenberg:

    WRX’s software as a little oddity such that to be able to respond to your question, I had to do a comment myself addressed to you. Hope you see it so you can read my comments to your question.

    The practice of using 3/8″ length increments was originated to go with MOI matching the clubs instead of swingweight matching the clubs to each other. Without an MOI machine to guide the weighting of the heads to achieve an MOI match, the best way to closely approximate this is when you do the 3/8″ increments you also set up the irons in a progressive swingweight increase down through the set.

    What I mean is this. let’s say your longest iron is a 4 iron and let’s say you like that club and it has a swingweight of D1. For the 5 iron you would go D1.5, then for the 6 iron D2, then for the 7 iron D2.5 and so on down through the PW in this progressive swt increase.

    When you did the 3/8″ increments, it sounds like in order to keep the swingweights the same, you put weight in the grip end to counter balance the clubs and trick the swingweight scale. This is not a good thing to do because it adds total weight to the clubs just in an effort to trick the swingweight scale into reading each club’s swingweight the same. So dump the counterweighting in the grip end of the clubs and go with this progressive swingweight increase as I described.

    If you want to read more about MOI matching so you have some confidence in knowing what I’m talking about, here’s a link with good common language information about it – http://wishongolf.com/clubmakers/matching-golf-clubs-by-moi/

    Hope this helps,
    TOM

    • jonas liljenberg

      May 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Tom, Many thanks, will remove the counter weights under the grip and see what happens.

  30. Barry

    May 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Tom,
    Your knowledge is beyond incredible! Could you please recommend a good fitter in the Pittsburgh, Pa area?
    Thanks!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Thanks very much! A little south of Pittsburgh in McMurray, PA is Mark Martens of Golf Clubs and Repairs, Inc. Mark is definitely a very knowledgeable and very experienced clubfitter who most certainly is worth setting up an appointment with to work with him for your equipment needs. He’s also been a good friend over the many years I have known him so if you do go see him, be sure to say HI to him from me.

      Mark Martens
      724-941-0110 or 724-747-7805
      mark.martens@golfclubsandrepairs.com

      Thanks much!
      TOM

  31. Nick

    May 26, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Tom,

    Great article once again. I appreciate the time that you take to respond to nearly event comment and question. It is truly awesome!

    For your next article, I would like to see you write about the importance of launch monitors and how they are best used in the fitting process. There is no doubt that launch monitors are extremely valuable in the fitting process. But, in my opinion, there is a point when the monitor needs to be turned off in favor of more subjective methods of evaluation (i.e. feel, actual ball flight, etc.). As launch monitors of various type and quality have become the basis for most club fittings, I think a lot of people would be very interested to hear your take on this subject.

    Thanks again!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      NICK:

      Since you are interested now in getting an answer, I’ll do that and then if the topic comes up later such that it could be part of an article, I’ll do it again there.

      Since I have been involved in club design and related research for around 30 yrs, I’ve had the chance to work with virtually every type of launch monitor ever created in all sorts of different ways from fitting to clubhead research to swing instruction. So from that I think I have a pretty good idea of where launch monitors can be helpful to critical to superfluous.

      At this point in my career, I see the primary way that a launch monitor can be helpful in CLUBFITTING is to verify when you have a golfer in a suitable launch angle with the driver so as to optimize his driver. I used the term VERIFY and not DISCOVER for a good reason.

      The very best clubfitters learn how to SEE what a golfer’s best ball flight looks like to be able to know if the loft or shaft they have the golfer using is heading the golfer toward being optimized with the driver. Sure, no question, a launch monitor makes all this a little easier but only if you have good data to tell you exactly what launch angle is best for this or that golfer based on their swing speed and angle of attack.

      Lots of people like to use a launch monitor to see if their spin is optimal as well. Here again this is something that is a little dodgy to become obsessed with watching the spin number output from a launch monitor rather than to SEE what the golfer’s actual shot shape is and from that, know if he has a spin issue or not. Few launch monitors can read spin accurately. Add to that the fact that most people hit range balls when they hit shots with a launch monitor.

      While there are other areas within fitting that a launch monitor can be helpful, beyond verifying an optimal launch angle with the driver, it is not a must to use a launch monitor in areas of fitting with the other clubs in the bag AS LONG AS THE FITTER HAS TRAINED HIMSELF TO KNOW FROM VISUAL OBSERVATION WHAT IS THE BEST BALL FLIGHT SHAPE for a golfer.

      Beyond that, since I am a long time clubhead designer, a good launch monitor is critical in head design to know differences in the design elements of one head vs another. But that’s not a fitting situation.

      I also see a good launch monitor as being supremely helpful in swing coaching. If the launch monitor is very accurate for outputting the swing path, face angle, horizontal dispersion, angle of attack, swing plane (which not all can do) then the launch monitor can be a very good way for a swing coach to teach a golfer “here are your best swing characteristics”.

      For example, most tour players use a good launch monitor to know what all their key swing characteristics are when they are swinging their best. Then when they go into a slump, they can get back on the LM and see which swing characteristics are suffering and how much, and from that know more specifically why they are in a slump and what to work on in their swing to get back on track.

      But to conclude, don’t get me wrong. A launch monitor can be helpful to verify driver fitting parameters and can be helpful to know other things related to some of the other clubs, but it is not going to allow you to be fit better unless the operator of the LM is very well trained in his visual observation of ball flight.

  32. tlmck

    May 24, 2014 at 5:33 am

    One thing I learned through the fitting process is that I am one of “those” who swing heavy shafts faster than light shafts. Heavy shafts also improved my quality of strike and of course, my distance and accuracy.

  33. Bob

    May 23, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Tom,

    Very interesting read and glad to see that shaft technology hasn’t changed much. I’m just not a $300 latest-and-greatest shaft kind of guy.

    What about wood head technology? There’s been a lot of changes, but it seems to be a lot of smoke, no fire. Am I wrong? (I’ve got a very old 915CFE strong three wood with an NVS shaft in it that I can’t bring myself to part with.)

    Also, any suggestions for someone to fit my off the rack Scotty putter better for me in Orange County, CA?

    Thanks again. Love reading your work.

    • Tom Wishon

      Jun 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Bob, sorry I missed your comment and questions. This area somehow puts new comments in the middle of the pack so it is easy to miss the new ones.

      Once the industry learned to routinely make driver heads with 0.830 COR, make the driver heads with an MOI of 5,000 g-cm2 and create variable thickness faces, that pretty well covered what can be done from driver head design innovation. These other things like adj hosel devices or moving weights around the head are a modern re hash of years ago when the same things were first done.

      So when a golfer buys a new driver and hits it better than what he has, 9 times out of 10 it is because something different in the length, loft, face angle, shaft, weighting or even grip size FITS HIM AND HIS SWING BETTER than what he had before. The 1 of 10 that is left would be if the golfer’s previous driver head was either 10-15 yrs old or older, or was just a very poorly made head.

      And since a TON of golfers, especially those who shoot mid 80s to high 90s, have only played with drivers bought off the rack, this means there are a TON of golfers who could experience a visible, overnight improvement with the driver if they were fit by a GOOD clubfitter. So there is game improvement left out there for the driver, but not from the head design on its own – from proper fitting.

      In fwy woods, now that all the OEMs have followed the lead of smaller companies to now learn how to make high COR fwy woods, at this point the industry has reached the max on fwy wood HEAD performance on its own. But just like with the driver, for those who have never worked with a good fitter, and again especially for the mid 80s-high 90s players, very well fit woods can offer measurable improvement.

      Not sure where you are in Orange County but I would recommend you contact either Ron Burleson at Corona Custom Golf (951-279-9663) or Bob Williams of The Pasadena Clubfitter (626-533-1234). Hope one of them is close enough to not be a hassle to get to their shop.

  34. thefullsp

    May 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Tom. It’s been a long week in the office and I just sat down to relax. What a really great article and I love your information sharing for people to get locally fitted. I’m gonna have to download this offline to read on my longhaul flight this weekend. Will defo look up the guy in the UK for a session. Time to sell the multiple sets on WRX and get FITTED!!!! No. More. Blades. Musclebacks are gonna have to go :(. Have a great weekend!!!!

  35. joro

    May 23, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Great article Tom. We have been around a long time and you hit it all on the head. The shaft can make or break it. No other component is as important as having the kick point, bend point, and flex that matches the player. No machine can tell you that, only hitting balls will tell you. Great article.

    One thing is for sure in all cases, you can have the “best Clubs, best shafts, totally custom fit and made for you”. In other words clubs for a great player, but if you have a game like Phyllis Diller, it won’t make you any better.

    • Tom Wishon

      May 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Joro:
      Thank you. Do please keep in mind that the shaft is a very interesting aspect in clubfitting because there are player swing types for which the shaft’s flex and bend profile are NOT as important as the head and the assembly specs of length, total weight and headweight feel.

      The shaft’s WEIGHT is VERY important for ALL golfers because it controls the total weight of the club. The shaft weight/total weight is very important to be fit to match the swing tempo, swing strength, swing timing/rhythm for ALL golfers. get it wrong and poor shots and off center hits increase for all players.

      But the shaft’s flex/bend profile only become critical to performance as the player’s swing speed increases AND, AND as the player’s release becomes a little later and later in the downswing.

      Overall for most average to less skilled players, if you got the length, loft, lie, face angle, shaft weight, total weight, swingweight and grip size perfect for the golfer but you used too stiff or too soft of a flex for that golfer, he would be far better off than if you got the flex perfect and messed up on these other fitting elements.

      But again, as the golfer’s clubhead speed increases and as the golfer’s release gets later in the downswing, this is when the flex/bend profile starts to become as important as all the other fitting elements.

      TOM

    • Gautama

      Jun 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Funny, as I read this article I drew the exact opposite conclusion, e.g., that kick, bend, and flex are probably the least important aspects of fitting. Does seem to be an endless debate, though, so there must be truth in both camps.

  36. Drew

    May 22, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Tom, like many others I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. And like many others, I am looking for a clubfitter. Do you have any suggestions for someone in central Wisconsin? I’m willing to travel a ways if necessary.

  37. Pingback: A Review Of Macgregor Golf Clubs - iForeignAffairs

  38. gene

    May 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Hey Tom,

    Great article,I had our employee and intern read the article they both looked at me and just smiled. It’s nice to see the truth being shared on a larger scale. Thanks for all you do for club fitters. No luck with MRC

  39. Patrick Nash

    May 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Great article, Tom.
    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on cyclic fatigue of steel shafts over time. In my experience, the stiffness of steel shafts tends to decrease after years and years of use. Of course, if the steel does undergo fatigue, this is more related to frequency of use and not time. Thank you and keep up the great work!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Nope, doesn’t happen unless the shaft is damaged somehow – kinked, rusted, cracked. Clubs with steel shafts could literally be hit hundreds of thousands of times and will not fatigue or change unless one or more of the hits damaged the shaft somehow. Most common damage to a steel shaft is from repeated banging into mats, which are FAR more unyielding than turf/ground. Steel shafts simply are not bent/flexed anywhere near enough during a swing to bring enough stress to cause fatigue in the metal.

      Same with graphite too, although graphite shafts are much more susceptible to damage than steel shafts. As long as a graphite shaft is not cracked, delaminated, chipped, gouged or otherwise structurally damaged (some which are very hard to see with the eye), it will last literally forever and maintain the same bending characteristics.

  40. Ryan

    May 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Tom,

    Great read! Any recommended clubfitters in CT? Preferably central CT?

  41. Chuang Yee

    May 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Hi Tom,

    In your article you pointed out that “I’ve never seen anything close to a result that could possibly come to the conclusion that a blade hits the ball more accurately than a cavity back.”

    I also read the wedge guy. See link.

    hhttp://www.oobgolf.com/content/the+wedge+guy/golf+equipment/5-2032-Blades_Versus_Cavity_Backs_A_Golf_Club_Epiphany.html

    I am not sure if the article is outdated, but I am not too sure if your tests are similar. Thanks!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 10:31 am

      This is the test that I referred to in one of the Myths in the article. Maybe I should say it a different way. When the test results indicate a perceived advantage in accuracy measured in a few FEET, there are a ton of little variables that all can and do enter in to account for a few FEET.

      My point still stands that if there really were an accuracy advantage inherent with blades over cavity backs, you most definitely would never see a tour pro playing with a cavity back iron.

      • Chuang Yee

        May 22, 2014 at 10:47 am

        Ahhh. I get it. Thanks for replying!

  42. Mike

    May 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks Tom. Love the article and your books. Any recommended club fitters in Charlotte, NC?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Happy to help. Either John Gamble at Carolina Golf Mfg (704-563-0897) or Curtis Eudy at Leatherman Golf (704-527-1123) can help you. Give them a call and ask about how they conduct their fitting analysis, tell them a little about your game, your shotmaking tendencies and what you think you need help on and what your priorities are in terms of game improvement goals. And see who you feel more comfortable with. Both are very experienced and very capable.

  43. Dennis Clark

    May 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Great article Tom; comprehensive and enlightening. Thx

  44. Holy Moses

    May 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Tom forget all of this golf mumbo jumbo. The real questions WRXers want to know is this: is your name pronounced WISH-ON on WIS-HON? I need an answer!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      It’s been butchered ever since I started in grade school eons ago! It’s been everything from WISE ON, WIZEN, WYESHON, WILSON, WEE SHON, etc. But it is your first guess, WISH ON, as in the phrase “wish on a star.”

      • Edwin Scheepers

        May 30, 2014 at 3:46 am

        AND that is exactly what you ARE ! …a “STAR”! Great information with the original article to all golfers…Tks Tom Star!

  45. Ben

    May 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Tom, always a great read! Any chance you know any recommended club fitters in Jakarta/Singapore area?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Ahhh. You still haven’t stumped me yet!! HA!

      Agung Pamudito of Custom Clubs by Agung Golf in Singapore or Nathan Houser of JNG Golf in Kuala Lumpur.

      Once again I have known both these men for a very long time in the business and have had both of them in training and seminar sessions over the past many years. I stay in contact with them, I field their tech questions and have good discussions via email with them both so I know how knowledgeable they are and how experienced they are.

      Agung – 21 634 2950 or 8588 5876 888; email – agungpr@cbn.net.id

      Nathan – phone: 37 9800 0284 or 12 231 6153. Email: nathan@jnggolf.com

      (sorry if I got the phone numbers in wrong sequences of numbers, but they are right if you just dial the numbers in that order – you’ll know since you obviously are there! )

  46. Oldplayer

    May 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks Tom. You do a great service to all golfers.
    Your contacts and knowledge of good quality fitters is impressive!
    Does it extend to international options?
    I live about an hour from Melbourne Australia. Do you have any contacts there?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Not quite as extensively as it does in the USA, but in your case near Melbourne, I can say you are very fortunate to be close enough to Geoff Waldon in Lower Plenty, just a little north and east of Melbourne city center.

      Here again, Geoff is a clubfitter I have known for a VERY long time and can highly recommend because of his experience and passion for the craft. He’s the best in the Melbourne area without question and is very thorough and very caring in his work.

      Geoff’s phone number is 039 439 8151 or 041 817 0721 or you can contact him at geoffwaldon@internode.on.net to talk to him about a fitting appointment.

      Thanks so much and glad I can help!

  47. Edward

    May 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Great read Tom. Any recommended fitters near London in the UK?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Edward:

      Thanks very much, happy to know you enjoyed the information. I would recommend you contact Damian Donnelly of Golf Diagnosticks in Chalfont St Peter just a little west of the M25 loop. I’ve personally known Damian for going on ten years and from our frequent communications about equipment and fitting technology I know without question that he is very knowledgeable and very experienced and does a very thorough job in his fitting analysis. Call him on 0789 908 1257.

      TOM

  48. Josh V

    May 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Tom-

    Thank you for the great article. After being in the golf business for awhile I became a serious tinkerer with equipment and have become really intrigued with proper fitting equipment.

    I would like your thoughts on a recent situation I came across at a demo day. I know it would be very helpful to see the actual golf swing but see if you can make something from this.

    Current driver- Cobra Amp 10.5 Aldila R.I.P Beta 60 Stiff 44.5″(open setting) I have a strong grip and my miss would be left- hence open setting.

    Current irons Cobra S3Pro muscle back with KBS TOUR STIFF std length nad loft- 7I carry distance (160-165yds)

    During a recent demo day it was slow and I picked up a Adams XTD 13.5* (matrix white tie) ladies driver and was shocked at the results I saw. Of course my ball flight was higher due to the extra loft. But my spin didn’t change from the usual 2300 range. I was flying the ball further than my typical total distance. And out of 60 ball hit, I missed 2 fairways. (My FIR stat per round is typically 60-70%)

    I am obviously skeptical to make the jump to go to such an extreme. So I am just trying to get a better understanding of what is happening and why this appears to be working. I am only 5′ 10″ so the shorter shaft length interests me a good bit.

    Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Please understand I can only speculate on actual explanations for the difference in performance without actually being there in person to see your swing characteristics, to see the actual ball flight with both clubs and the big one, to be able to accurately measure the specs on both clubs. But I will do my best to explain what I can.

      first off from what you report, it sounds like whatever the real loft and real specs of the Cobra driver are, that actual loft at impact is not optimized for your specific clubhead speed AND angle of attack. That part would explain why the higher loft (if it is indeed 13.5) would generate more carry distance.

      As to the same spin with the higher launch of the higher loft driver, typically that can only happen if the angle of attack is higher with the Adams than with the Cobra, somehow. Or as is more often the case, for launch monitors other than TrackMan and FlightScope, the spin measurement is subject to error. Differences in an angle of attack from one driver to another can come from the difference in length and how that matches to your specific swing characteristics – I assume the Adams was shorter since you said you were interested in the shorter length?

      If the Adams driver was shorter, it is true that the shorter length would be a big factor in the improved performance. That is such a big deal in driver fitting because so few, SO FEW, golfers have the swing characteristics and ability to hit a driver length of 45″ or more.

      Hope this helps a little,
      TOM

      • Josh V

        May 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        Tom-

        Thank you for your time and reply, it is greatly appreciated!

  49. Andrew

    May 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Tom, great article and very insightful. I was fitted for all of my clubs a few years ago (with good success), but have recently changed the driver to an new model but kept the same shaft (Matrox black tie SG flex which I love).

    I had an opportunity to get on a launch monitor recently my with the new driver, but using range balls. It reported a spin rate of 4600 rpm, club head speed of 108 and carry of 230. When originally fitted the spin was around 2600 and carry of 270 or so, which is also closer to what I experience on the course using GPS..the 270 that is, no idea on the spin 🙂

    Would range balls account for this, or should I be heading for another fitting as swing changes/head change may account for it?

    Thanks in advance.

    Andrew

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Most likely from real inconsistencies in the range balls. Once range balls get scrubbed through these various ball washing machines, not only does the surface coating come off which changes the friction coefficient of the surface vs the air flow, but part of the cover does too which shallows the dimples.

      But all this aside, you cannot be focused on the spin number all the time. You have to get to a point that you watch the shape of your ball flight from shots hit with what you know to be your best swing move to determine if you have a spin issue or not. Put a good move on the ball and the ball curves more steeply upward to an apex and then falls more straight down and you have a spin issue.

      Even very high shots but with an Arc-ing trajectory which still have an angle of descent that is not very steep are just fine. If you look at the PGA Tour statistics for the launch monitor data for driver shot height, you see players on tour with 2000-2200 spin hitting the driver 120 Feet in the air, and you have players out there with 2500+ spin hitting it 90 feet in the air.

      The world is far too obsessed with spin numbers these days and forgets to learn what the range of acceptable ball flight shape is vs what a truly excessive spin ball flight shape is. Once you get to a point that you know your good swings and you see an acceptable ball flight, then forget about the spin number and just go play.

  50. happygolfer

    May 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article.

    #realkingdom

  51. Jaacob Bowden

    May 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    For those of you asking for good club fitters in your local area, Tom maintains a club fitter finder tool here:

    http://wishongolf.com/find-a-clubfitter/

    I’ve used several guys on the list. All good experiences.

  52. Don

    May 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Great read as usual Tom. I am a scratch player who is really looking to be fitted properly. Do you have any recommendations in the Dallas area.
    Thanks

    • Keith Chatham

      May 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Don……….if you don’t find a good clubfitter in the Dallas area, I am in Kerrville about a 5 hr. drive from you. I would be more than happy to work with you.
      Keith Chatham, owner
      Precisionfit golf

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Don

      Let me start by saying if the drive to Kerrville is do-able, it certainly would be well worth the time because I can testify from lots of face to face time with Keith over the years in seminars, in “mentoring” sessions, etc, if I made up a list of the Top 100 fitters in the WORLD, Keith would be in the top 5. No BS about that and not said just because I am following Keith’s message. It’s been 20 yrs since I have known Keith in the business.

      If that trip to Kerrville is too far, then in the Dallas area I would recommend Gary Pickle of Pickle’s custom Golf in Euless (817-684-1128), Tim Brantley at The Golf Station in Hurst at 817-595-4653 and Dave Murray at Plano Custom Golf at 972-517-3688 or 972-596-8858. I have know all three of these guys for a long time as well in the business and know them all to be very experienced and very competent.

      TOM

  53. Ben S

    May 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Tom, thanks for this fantastic article, its very insightful. But as I was reading you mentioned a few times “there are no less than 12 key fitting specifications.” And I was wondering what they are? Do you have an article listing them that I could read? Thanks

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Loft, Lie, Length, Face Angle, Shaft Flex, Shaft Weight, Shaft Bend Profile, Total Weight, Swingweight (or Club MOI), Grip Type/Size, Set Makeup and the Clubhead Design itself – for which the clubhead design has its own sub set of fitting parameters of CG, MOI, Offset, Sole Design, Face Design.

      WRX is talking to me now about doing a next article on what constitutes a truly professional clubfitting session, ie what the good clubfitters look for, what they do, and how they make the right fitting decisions for each one of these key fitting parameters listed above.

      • Ben S

        May 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm

        Thanks, and I am looking forward to the nest article

  54. Kurt Thomas

    May 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Tom – great article. What do you see as the advantages of going to a custom fitter that you recommend versus a fitter such as Miles of Golf? With the custom fitter and an iron fitting – is it still the standard fitting process of you get fit for a 6 iron and then the specs from that are used for the rest of your irons – excluding wedges? Is the main difference that this fitter will also build your clubs as opposed to ordering them from the MFG? I have done fitting at Miles of Golf – they are good, but they don’t build the clubs and it is not like you are being fit for every iron in your bag. I have considered going to a club fix facility in order to get fitted at a place that will build the clubs to the specs in which I was fitted, but there is not one close to me and the cost will be quite high.

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I honestly do not know the people who may do the fitting work at Miles of Golf so I really cannot comment on the quality of what they do and how they do it or their level of fitting knowledge. At the same token, in all fairness not all of the independent clubfitters are at a top level of knowledge and experience, so one cannot assume just because a person fits as an independent that they are better than one who fits at a golf retail store.

      That’s why we maintain a list of competent, experienced clubfitters on our website, and why golfers also really need to be aware of the two professional clubmaking/clubfitting organizations, the AGCP (Association of Clubfitting Professionals) and the ICG (International Clubmakers’ Guild). Both these organizations also maintain lists of their certified members who most definitely would be on the top levels of clubfitters.

      Point is though, when it comes to trying to get the best fit for your equipment, why not work with someone who is certified AND pursues the approach of full specs, full bag fitting to tear down and completely re build an existing set or to custom build the full specs fit set from scratch. The chances of maximum game improvement from a full specs, full bag, fully built/re-built approach are always going to be better than with a partially fit approach.

  55. Taylor

    May 20, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Great article Tom. I can definitely appreciate things from a biomechanical perspective. I agree that the lay club fitter would lack the knowledge on the above principles. Any recommendations on club fitters performing the twelve point assessments in Seattle?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Yessir, a long time friend of mine in the golf equipment business and a great player and teacher along with being a crazy experienced clubfitter too – Jim von Lossow of Von’s Golf Plus in Seattle on 48th Ave NE. 206-406-2619 – http://www.vonsgolf.com . And if you see him, do be sure to give him a hard time from me, but do still make sure he understands that at no time in my life could I have ever beat him on the golf course even when he plays left handed !!

  56. Thus

    May 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Hi tom once again another great article. I’m in New Zealand and I’m going to California soon also San Fran could you recommend a club fitter for me to see while in the area.. Putter and driver shaft mainly but will prob do the whole bag.. If only I could come to you… Thanks again for your knowledge keep it up pretty sure all wrxers love it…!!!

    • Nunya

      May 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      In San Francisco, John Taylor at 415-587-9815 or 415-334-4450 has a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge and would do a very good job for you in a full fitting experience. I’ve known him personally for a good while and can testify to his expertise. I’ve not personally had interaction or have ever had Joe Kwok of SF in any seminars or classes I have taught over my career, but I can tell from his posts on WRX that he knows what he is doing.

  57. The dude

    May 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks Tom

    Putter fitter in Indianapollis?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Give Tony Rhode of True Clubs in Noblesville a call and talk to him about your putter fitting needs, thoughts and what you have in mind. Some of the clubfitters do and some do not focus specifically on putter fitting while all of them work in the full swing clubfitting area. I know Tony has very good experience in clubfitting but I can’t say for sure about putter specific fitting since it has never come up in conversations. 317-260-1600 http://www.trueclubs.com.

  58. Eric

    May 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    If I understand this correctly, an adjustable driver set all the way “open” which lowers loft by 1.5 degrees will play 1.5 degrees below its stated loft AND with a square face angle if held square at address? I thought because loft and face angle are linked in most adjustable drivers, decreasing loft opens the face, adding loft closes the face.

    So I can add or decrease loft without affecting face angle if I address the club in a square position?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Eric
      This whole matter of trying to think about effective loft in terms of the relationship of face angle and loft at the moment of impact is not only a very confusing matter in club performance, but it is WAY overblown and just simply does not need to be thought about from a fitting standpoint.

      Here’s why. In any quality fitting analysis, the clubfitter is going to do the shot and swing analysis to determine what face angle is best to deliver the best accuracy improvement for the player. Once that best face angle is known, then the focus shifts to what loft is going to work with that face angle to deliver the golfer’s best launch angle and shot shape characteristics to fully optimize the driver for the best combination of carry + roll. Hence in the test club process, the clubfitter would then test you with drivers of different loft that then also have the face angle you need.

      Doing it that way, all this confusing garbage about effective loft is automatically taken care of and allowed for. You just cannot pre think this stuff because it never works out as accurately or as correctly in the end as it does if you fit face angle first, then go find the loft with that face angle that results in the golfer’s best launch conditions for his swing speed and angle of attack.

  59. Rich

    May 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    In the paragraph on tour grind type sole design you’re just referring to camber right?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      If by the word “camber” you are referring to the radius of the sole from the face to the back, then yes, this is what I was referring to. I have in my career seen camber defined as three different things on the sole (thanks to the fact there are no standards for anything in golf clubs), so I just wanted to clarify that.

  60. Joel

    May 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I’ve been digging around looking for an actual club builder/fitter in my area and about the best thing I can come up with in a comfortable driving distance is a Golftec center. I’m a little skeptical when it comes to them. I wish there were more option in western/norther nevada. I could probably find someone in vegas or the bay area but then I’m looking at 4-5 hours in the car or paying for a flight. Any names pop into your head Tom?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I’m sorry I missed your comment before now. Western/Northern Nevada is a tough one. I’ll hope you mean relatively close to Reno, so in that case another 88 miles down I-80 to Loomis, CA won’t be a difficult trip.

      In Loomis is Ken Alterwitz of Loomis Custom Golf. 916-316-4850 or ken@loomiscustomgolf.com. He has a lot of experience and will do a very good and thorough job.

      • Joel

        May 29, 2014 at 12:46 am

        Not a problem at all Mr. Wishon. I found the “find a fitter” area of your website and stumbled upon Loomis Golf. I sent off some questions through there “contact us” form and have not heard anything back yet. Perhaps I need to actually pick up a phone because I am very intrigued with the idea of trying some Wishon sticks.

        I’ve been through just about every component company I think at this point EXCEPT your’s. Only reason being that you keep sales and catalogs to experienced fitters/builders which by the way I think is bordering on genius. I will be sure to get in contact with Ken one way or another.

  61. Tom

    May 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I live in Ann Arbor, MI whom do you suggest in the local or outer area to get custom fit for every club in the bag. Thanks!

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Miles of Golf does great work. We work with them at GolfWRX quite often.

    • Tom Wishon

      May 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      My apologies to Zak, but 35 miles north of you in Fenton is GARY COTTRELL of Golfer’s Advantage. Without question, without debate, Gary is one of the very top independent specialist clubfitters in the whole country. I’ve known Gary from clubfitting schools and seminars that I have taught at clubmaking conventions and symposiums going back over 20 yrs. So he has a vast amount of clubfitting knowledge, experience and passion. Call him. Talk to him about your equipment goals. You won’t be sorry you did. 810-629-7339.

  62. Ben

    May 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Tom – any recommendations on putter fitting in NC?

  63. Chuck

    May 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This is all so brilliant.

    I have no reason, nor the requisite credentials, to dispute a word of this remarkable little essay.

    One quibble on adjustable drivers and face angles. While what Tom says is accurate, I have a very different impression of the market.

    Let’s take TaylorMade as our example of what is typically available in drivers. Their retail drivers have quite upright lie angles (to discourage slicers), higher-than-stated loft angles (to help poor players get drives airborne when they select insufficiently lofted models), and closed face angles (again, to help cure the slice of most recreational players). If a player wants help fighting a slice, just buy a stock TaylorMade driver and leave it as is.

    But if you want an driver that is true to loft, and with an opened face angle, you can do that with the adjustable hosel.

    Tom Wishon is exactly right; when you are fiddling with loft, you are also moving the face angle. But given the stock specs, it is routinely necessary to move both dimensions.

    Tom might want to comment on manually-bendable hosels for drivers and other “wood” type clubs.* Personally, I liked the development of adjustable hosels because I never had the option of walking into a tour van and having some technicians try — with an unlimited number of titanium alloy heads — to bend a driver to my liking. Bendable/adjustable; to have that option readily available to the masses is a big deal, and a real democratization in golf equipment.

    If you gave me $1000 for (a) new clubs, (b) a one-hour lesson with Butch Harmon or (c) a plane ticket to see Tom Wishon and get fit for clubs his way, I’d rank the choices this way:
    1. Go see Tom Wishon for clubfitting.
    2. Get a lesson with Butch, with my current clubs.
    3. Play a weekend at Bandon with my current clubs.
    4. Almost anything else.
    5. Use it on new clubs.

    • Tom Wishon

      May 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Having had a lot of experience in adjustable hosel sleeve technology and in having developed eminently bendable drivers, woods and hybrids, I do have a lot I can offer in this area of overall driver/wood/hybrid adjustability. But I will try to keep this short.

      For golfers who are best fit with a square face angle or for golfers who always have trained themselves to hold the face square when addressing the ball, I really don’t have a problem per se with the adjustable hosel devices. Because it is ONLY when you have the adj hosel driver in the square face position that you get the loft change stated.

      For golfers who do need the assistance of an open or closed face angle to optimize their accuracy, (and that is a LOT of golfers, like 70%+) the adjustables are not the answer because you can’t have both specs of loft and face angle nailed down accurately together. For such golfers who need a specific face angle this is where a bendable hosel works better because you can buy the head with the right loft for your swing speed and A of A to optimize launch and distance, and then you can bend the hosel to achieve whatever lie and face angle they need while keeping the loft unchanged.

      Specifically on bendable woods, the usual titanium alloy (6/4) used to make almost every Ti driver head just are not bendable unless you want to torch the heck out of the hosel and scorch the finish in the process. We had to employ a very different rarely used pure titanium metal for the hosel to be able to do this. I don’t know of any other company doing that.

      In hybrids and fwy woods, since the vast majority of such heads are made from 17-4 stainless, that too in a thin body wall hollow head is virtually unbendable. For our bendable woods/hybrids, we had to employ a different stainless alloy for the hosel piece with the right ductility property to do that. Once again, I don’t know if anyone else is doing that.

      But the advantage of a bendable hosel on a Dr/Wd/Hyb is that you can hand select measure the loft to know it’s right, then you can bend the hosel to precisely the lie and face angle the golfer needs, so the end result is that all three key specs are exactly known and exactly right for the golfer.

      Thanks much for being at the top of the list!! Although if it was me, I think I would take the Bandon trip first!! (with my current clubs which of course were fit to me by me!!)

  64. Tom Stickney

    May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Tom– always a great read! Big fan if your work, sir!

    • Tom Wishon

      May 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Tom
      Thank you and likewise in return. I am a former PGA member from way back but have always remained very interested in swing technique and research and I enjoy your articles very much.

  65. Tony Lynam

    May 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Tom has one of the best minds in golf. I have bought his books and the information he preaches has reduced my club ho’ing significantly. Thanks Tom!

  66. Clay

    May 20, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Will you please come to Birmingham AL and fit me?

    • Tom Wishon

      May 20, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Clay:
      Give a call to Lorne Blankenship at Southern Golf in Pelham. He’s a very competent fitter who can do a very good job for you. I’ve known him for a long time. 205-621-4653

      • levi harris

        May 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

        Hey tom great read can u pm me with a good club fitter around Lafayette indiana…thanks

        • Sebastian

          May 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm

          Hi Tom,
          Great read as always very interesting.
          Any chance you know any good fitters in germany? Preferably in the south, im in munich.
          Thanks in advance

          • Tom Wishon

            May 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm

            Sebastian – TCF Golf based out of the Koblenz area has created a network of very well trained clubfitters all over Germany. I don’t have their list handy but I do believe they have a well trained fitter in Bavaria. Please do this – call Jason McFadden at TCF headquarters at 0674 289 9273 and tell him you are looking for a good clubfitter in the Munich area. You can also look at TCF’s website at http://www.tcfgolf.com and they may have a listing of their certified clubfitters.

            I know these guys are good because I trained all the TCF people heavily in 2007 and they in turn trained their network of fitters from my curriculum between 2008 and 2010.

            Fielen dank !

        • Tom Wishon

          May 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

          Done via email, I trust you received that.

          • jonas liljenberg

            May 26, 2014 at 4:04 pm

            Tom,
            I have built a set with the 3/8´´ increments you suggest. I have adjusted the lie angles to account for the resulting lengths of the shafts. I have also used led tape under the grips to counter balance in order to get consistent swing weights throughout the set. I feel very comfortable setting up to the ball etc. However, I have a problem hitting the higher lofted irons – I pull them. In fact, the higher the number of the iron, the more I pull them. Do you have any idea what is going on here?
            Thanks
            Jonas

          • Keith Chatham

            May 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm

            Jonas………sounds like a lie problem to me. Did you do a lie fitting for each of the higher lofted clubs? With the clubs getting 1/8″ longer for the higher clubs, you might have too upright of a lie on them.

            I do not use a lie board for lie fittings. I use grooved balls and Mark-it Spray. this leaves a mark on your clubface and lets me know when you have the perfect lie at impact. You can use a sharpie pen and make a line on your ball towards the target then hit. What you want to see is the mark perpendicular to the ground (straight up and down). If the mark points toward the toe of your club, you have an upright lie at impact and might possibly pull the ball.

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