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Swanson: The Green Jacket would be Spieth’s if he knew anything about iron design

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Warning: Swanson, the author of this story, does not exist… except in his writing. His character is completely imagined, but that doesn’t mean his opinions aren’t real. 

Recently, I shared with the GolfWRX community my golden nuggets for selecting the 14 clubs in your bag, as to abide by the USGA maximum club rule. Some of you were astoundingly unappreciative. I’ve been getting hate mail and negative comments since it’s been published.

Therefore, I’d like to use the first half of this story to address the responses, which are utterly appalling. The second half of this week’s article will be dedicated to an equipment tip for Jordan Spieth to improve his game and avoid any future meltdowns.

Responding to the Hate

1)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.06.51 PM

Swanson: “Duffer,” you sound like quite the stick. But think about this: If I couldn’t hit a 1-iron better than Hogan (he actually hit it too low), would you care what I had to say? Golfers always complain that the best teachers can’t play a lick or hit it out of their shadow. Consider me your saving grace. How’s this: I’ll play each of the top-100 teachers in match play, and we’ll see who knows more about golf.

2)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.06.18 PM

Swanson: Loser? I remember the last time I needed a 2-iron to reach a par 5. It was around when Bush was in office… Bush Sr. If you want to play for big prize money, you can find me at my country club every week with a locker full of cash and a tee time.

3)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.04.30 PM

Swanson: 17 handicap, yes. When I play the entire round with a putter.

4)Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.54.36 PM

Swanson: Stab at Ian Poulter? Uh no, he’s a family friend. My father sold Poults his first Ferrari back in ’92 before my father bought Ferrari (the company).

5)

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.54.13 PM

Swanson: Funny story. I’m good buddies with the character on which Spaulding Smails is based. He’s a “good egg,” as they say. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m named after the driver of the boat in Caddyshack, since my father loves boats and yachts.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 3.39.23 PM

“Move over Swanson, I’m driving!” Just never gets old!

6)

Screen-Shot-2016-03-30-at-1.53.33-PM

Swanson: They’re handmade by the Dalai Lama’s right-hand man, and I have his cell number if you’re serious. Message me and I’ll get you a price estimate.

7) 

Screen-Shot-2016-03-30-at-1.53.20-PM

Swanson: The last part of the last sentence was spot on.

An equipment tip for Jordan Spieth

I actually feel bad for Jordan. He probably thinks he choked The Masters away. I mean he did, but it wasn’t his fault. I went through literally the same exact thing, so I know what happened.

You see, I’ve also hit a tee shot into the water on No. 12 at Augusta National (I also used the drop zone and got up and down for bogey, but that’s not the point). I got fit for new irons the week before I played Augusta for the first time. Admittedly, I wasn’t the stellar ball striker I am now, so the fitter put me into a set of game-improvement style irons. You know, thick top line, cavity back, thin face… the whole works. They were basically garbage cans, but who was I to question the fitter, right?

So I get to Augusta National with a bag full of shovels, and I struggled a bit on the front nine and made the turn in a few under par. The par 5s are basically par 4s, and the par 4s are basically par-3.5’s, so nothing special. I just wasn’t catching the new irons flush, and didn’t have the precision I had with my forged blades.

Nos. 10 and 11 aren’t nearly as difficult as the pros claim, so I cruise through those with easy pars. But then I get to the 12th.

AugustaSwanson

The pin was all the way on the right, similar to where it is on Sunday for the Masters. The hole was playing 154 yards and the wind was swirling. I decided to try and take the wind out of play, and went with a low-slinging draw with my 9 iron. It’s a shot I’d hit a million times with my forged blades, but the ball floated out to the right and never drew back to the pin.

I knew immediately it was the club’s fault. The forgiveness of the irons kept the ball from drawing back to the pin.

I went onto birdie 5 of the last 6 holes (I missed 3-foot eagle putts on Nos. 13 and 15 because I was flustered), and would have had the course record (which is only 63) if it wasn’t for my irons.

But I learned my lesson. That was the last day I ever played an iron with even an ounce of “technology” in it. In fact, after the round I took a NetJets home to get my forged blade irons, and played the course again the next day. I couldn’t get it going with the putter and shot 66… but I made a hole-in-one on No. 12.

They say there’s only been three holes-in-one on that hole, but there’s actually been four. When I told the committee at Augusta National I made a hole-in-one there with a low-squeezer 9 iron, they didn’t believe me, and no one was there to attest. They no longer allow me on the premises because of the dispute, but if you jump into the pond in front of the green, you’ll find a set of game-improvement irons.

And that’s where Jordan Spieth’s irons should be, too. If he wants to win any more majors, he needs to ditch those irons with all that forgiveness and switch to blades. It’s no wonder he hit the worst tee shot I’ve ever seen there, he had zero ball control.

Please email (longballswanson@gmail.com) or tweet me (@longballswan1) with questions you’d like me to answer for a new segment called “Yo, Swanson!” I’ll answer anything you want since I know pretty much everything about everything golf-related, and I can help you avoid you’re own major meltdown.

Longball Swanson, out.

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Swanson doesn't exist, except in his writing. He doesn't play for score any more, as he's too busy working on his spin rates. For tournament purposes, he has a 2 handicap on file from high school golf, registered at his home club, which is only reachable by private watercraft.

59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Frank McChrystal

    Aug 29, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Tongue in cheek, maybe. If you have hands of stone and think the AP2 is a players club then this article is twisted and has your brain shutting down.

  2. Jeff*

    May 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    He shoulda been using the AP2 wedge came with his set, but he wanted to look like a gamer. In front of all the press, and it cost him a Masters. Hard lesson. We could a told him.

  3. The loop

    Apr 28, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Hilarious that so many don’t realize this is satire, tongue-in-cheek! I never knew so many live each day with their underwear so tightly knotted!

  4. cody

    Apr 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

    i think these articles are funny

  5. Andrew

    Apr 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    please stop doing these stupid articles. he is a terrible fictional character and a waste of space on the site.

    • Tyler

      Apr 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Dude lighten up. It’s an entertaining article that makes us laugh because we see pieces of ourselves in it.

  6. RG

    Apr 18, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I use GI irons….when I play left handed. I’m a natural righty so I often play lefty which gives me a chance to use my putter. The last time I played the ‘Ol Girl (That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call Augusta) I shot 31 going out ( That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call the front 9) playing lefty. I got bored draining putts so I switched righty coming in ( That’s what Arnie, Jack and I call the back 9). I birdied 12( SW to 6’) and as I was walking off the green I decided to take a dip in Rae’s creek.It was really hot that day so I just stripped down and jumped in.You know they have a rule against that?! Ridiculous!! Well whatever, that place is totally overrated anyhow. I mean they don’t even have carts for Christ sake!
    O and Swanson, about that locker full of cash…..

  7. AllBOdoesisgolf

    Apr 18, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    sometimes writers should stick to content instead of comedy.

  8. Bogeypro

    Apr 18, 2016 at 8:53 am

    It might have been better if it was actually funny.

  9. Other Paul

    Apr 18, 2016 at 1:27 am

    I was out playing today and was having the round of my life. And then things went sideways. All i got from people with me was that i had pulled a spieth. And when anyone 3 putt or worse it was an Els.

  10. Dtrain

    Apr 17, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    The last 3 times I played Augusta I took my SGI irons and just hammered a PW over the back bunker and because if the super high traj the wind brought it back to the green. Went birdie/par/bird. If it wasn’t for the fact my caddie called a penalty on me for accidentally anchoring my eagle putt on 18 I would have shot 61 for the course record.

    You live and you learn I guess but if anyone know Jordan’s email address PM it to me I think I could offer him some good advice.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:16 am

      Yeah, I go long every time I hit PW there to. I’m telling ya the shot there is 3/4 little half thinny punch cut SW.

  11. Tyler

    Apr 17, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Have we even considered his iron shafts? I mean he’s ONLY playing a PX 6.0. How the heck does he control such a wet noodle of a shaft? I mean if the shaft is the engine of the club then Spieth is running a single overhead cam V6 when every other tour pros (and myself of course; gaming PX 9.0 currently) are running fully blown V8s!

    • Dtrain

      Apr 17, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Actually it’s just the thingy that connects the head to the grip.

  12. Mark

    Apr 17, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Several northern English words can be used to review this article. Cack. Drivel. Tripe. Shyte.

    • Alex T

      Apr 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      You forgot twaddle and bollocks. It’s also those, too.

  13. The Real Swanson

    Apr 17, 2016 at 2:39 am

    This isn’t even that funny, so I shanked it 10 times.

  14. DB

    Apr 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Swanson for President! Wouldn’t mind he and “The Trump” having a friendly 9 holes against each other. Love the articles, Please keep them coming!!!!

  15. Roger Daltry

    Apr 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Funny. However, totally agree with the cavity/blades argument. I’m way better with blades, period, and yes, been through the whole change/change back process. Too bad many more don’t realize blades force you to be better as you are more connected with your tool.

  16. Alanp

    Apr 16, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I read this in bed while the wife was sleeping. I woke her up from laughing.

    • :-ppp

      Apr 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Enjoy talking to yourself and laughing at your inner jokes, do ya, Schizo Smizzle?

  17. Nathan

    Apr 16, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Hmm,
    How did you describe the responses to your first article?
    You said utterly appauling, I find them a reflection to the article written, and from this perspective I would have to agree.

  18. michael johnson

    Apr 16, 2016 at 6:09 am

    this is me feeding the troll

  19. NikkoAZ

    Apr 16, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Other than the fact that almost everything you just stated is complete bs????????I do agree all players on Tour should not be gaming in their bag “game improvement” irons. I mean a club is a club it is a certain length, loft and lie and is what it is.But the level that professionals play at you need to have complete control of your shape and trajectory. Jordan Speith did not loose cause he’s playing AP2’s, it was the Indian and not the arrow. Plus if anything his miss would be left due to the offset of a more forgiving iron. But to give you my opinion, play with whatever you are confident with whenever you pull that club out of the bag, for me I do play blades and don’t plan on switching because when I pick what shot and club I’m going to hit I know what it’s going to do. So play with clubs that you know how the ball is going to react and most importantly have fun.

  20. DW

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    You’re growing on me, Swanson. Not like a fungus but rather more pleasantly. Good stuff.

  21. Johny Thunder

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    The guy who wrote this is obviously insane.

    By the way, what the h*** happened to Stephen Colbert? He was my hero, but he almost seems a bit liberal these days…

    • DW

      Apr 15, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      He’s always been liberal. Never more than when he did the Colbert Report.

    • Bernie Sanders

      Apr 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

      That was the funniest thing I have read in weeks Jonny.
      If for some strange reason you were serious, then you are living proof of what I’ve thought of conservatives guys all along and may I humbly recommend that next time you vote for a someone for president – try to choose one that has an IQ above room temperature.

  22. Philip

    Apr 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Great! Now where is the satire article from someone of the opposite point of view? Shovels or bust!

  23. Marc

    Apr 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Loved it , went well with my Bacardi and Coke sitting in my lazy boy watching a little heritage classic.

  24. Joe D

    Apr 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Almost peed my shorts. Hilarious stuff. Love it. Its sad that some here actually believe this.

  25. Bob Pegram

    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    This was funny and obviously satire. However, I agree with the comments on extreme game improvement irons though. With blades when you feel you are making a mistake, you can sometimes correct it with a roll of the wrists. Doesn’t work with game improvement irons.
    On par 3s into the wind I purposely hit the ball low on the face with one more club to reduce spin and shot height. Can’t do that with game improvement clubs.

  26. talljohn777

    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Sorry, but nobody plays Augusta by themselves. They play with a member and a caddie. So, the fictitious hole in one would have been witnessed. Also, the pond in front of the green is a creek.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:30 am

      Show’s what you know. It’s a pond Mon-Fri. They only turn on the creek sat-sun and during the tournament.

  27. Steve

    Apr 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Crap like this is why I don’t visit the site as often as I used to.

    Painfully dumb.

  28. kingfish

    Apr 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I am just stumbling upon this article… is it meant for any bit of seriousness or is this just a big joke? I am being serious in my question also because I have never read this guys stuff before.

    • Jack Nash

      Apr 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Maybe it’s a late April Fools. Spieths rinsing the balls on 12 had everything to do with his swing and not his irons. He’s already got a Green Jacket with those irons.

      • Zak Kozuchowski

        Apr 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        Just to clarify, we added this note to the top of the story:

        “Warning: Swanson, the author of this story, does not exist… except in his writing. His character is completely imagined, but that doesn’t mean his opinions aren’t real.”

  29. Timbleking

    Apr 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Swan, you’re my writing hero. We want more!! Keep it up!

  30. Chadio

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Yo, Swanson! I think you were the single playing in front of my group at Augusta when you hit that sweet low draw in to 12 for an Ace. I’ll attest for you if you have any trouble with those old codgers. I’m playing Miura…..what is your favorite blade?

  31. Imanoff

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    So, Spieth will leave Titleist, because their iron materials is not good enough at his level. And PXG has actually designed a special blade for him, including a -iron, made with damascus and carbon shaft. This time, however, his irons will be single length. And it will be hard-stepped three times, so that he will not floated out the ball to the right again. At the end of the day, he will win another green jacket. Not only that, he will win the blue one, the red one, even the black one as well.

    Well played, Swanson. Well played.

  32. Kevin

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    You all need to calm down a little bit. This is a joke to poke fun at your typical Golf WRX member. I am one just as much as the next guy, learn how to have a laugh.

  33. Rev G

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    This article is ridiculous, everyone knows that Jordan Spieth lost the Masters because he’s wearing unproven Under Armour shoes. If he was wearing Foot-Joy or Adidas he’d have won by ten strokes. By five if he was wearing Mark Ecco. Probably could have got into a playoff wearing Sketchers or Nike. But Under Armour, come on, they put him at way too big of a disadvantage. He’s been very lucky to win anything with their proto-type shoes, but now that they’re retail, forget it. I’m going to post to this article again after I figure out how many strokes Spieth lost by playing the new Super Stroke club grips.

    • RG

      Apr 19, 2016 at 2:43 am

      The real problem with UA shoes is the lace tension. They have changed the hole configuration and gone with a new grommet but it is not quite work with the 2mm lace (and as we all know how bad UA’s lace tech lags behind other OEM’s) this in turn can cause slip through the tarsal and meta tarsal and we all know what that can lead to….sod laying. Although UA has been a leader in moisture wicking apparel(and we know how important that is) they are definitely behind in their lace, grommet and grommet patterning.How very insightful of you Rev G. (and no we are not related).

  34. Mike Bond

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    This is stupid. Jordan was blocking himself ALL day. Everything was going right because his swing was off, nothing do with his clubs

  35. Erock

    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Was waiting for him to say Spieth needed more upright lies.

  36. Mike Honcho

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

    GEEZ-US!, they let this bizzaro world, Herbert Warren Wind Mark Twain rip-off write another article after we Cleveland VAS shanked the last article. Just admitting that you’re friends with the real-life Spaulding Smails sums it up. You may be a good stick, but as a writer you couldn’t break 120 if all the holes were down wind and the greens were running at 7. Al Czervik sez, “Does this article come with a bowl of soup?”.

  37. cgasucks

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Please tell me that this is a parody article…this article was meant to joke around..

  38. McLovin

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    hemingway has NOTHING on you…..gave it 2 thumbs up

  39. Jason

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I love the Onion…Greagreat work.

    My blog is better, but I can’t help it…I am a narcissist.

  40. joel

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:30 am

    The picture made me laugh. My vote is more of this.

  41. Nucj

    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Hilarious. Big fan of these satirical articles and its needed here. Too many people jump at the chance in the comments on this site to make their egos feel big. Too much negativity.

    Keep it up GolfWRX!

  42. BRS

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Best writer on Golfwrx, period.

  43. Scott

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Absolutely. Hilarious.

  44. Ferb

    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

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Opinion & Analysis

Two great golf books: “The Rating Game” and “Golf’s Holy War”

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A proper book review pretends to reveal enough of the volume’s contents, that the review reader is enticed to purchase the book with great rapidity. In our time, this might mean AbeBooks, or Amazon, or some other online service. A proper book review communicates the notion that the reviewer understands, in a most profound manner, the intent of the author and the magic of the words.

Two proper book reviews are almost too much to handle; the reader pauses nervously, uncertain which tome to purchase first. You, dear reader, are fortunate. You are about to read two proper book reviews, so let me caution you: you cannot err. Whichever of the two books you purchase, or read, first, will be worthwhile. As will the second. Their topics are dissimilar at first light. As often happens, especially with golf’s great devotees, you will draw connections between the intentions of the scribes and the subjects.

You have my reviews at the beginning, in case you are pressed for time. Both books are well worth the bitcoin that you will exchange for them. Each is an intellectual exercise, and will demand that you dedicate your attention and your thinking to its understanding. Don’t rush the readings, and be sure to prepare a warm mug of your favorite coffee or tea. Have it close at hand as you break the seal on these tomes.

Enjoy, then, reviews of “The Rating Game” and “Golf’s Holy War.”

“The Rating Game”

Why you choose this book~

Human beings like order. Plain and simple. We encourage physical order, chronological order, and even emotional order (the last one is a doozy.) Following closely on the heels of order is order of importance. We determine that certain items, events, or feelings must supersede others, and presto, we arrive at ranking. Human beings also like to converse, chat, gossip, and we love to share the new with each other. Whether out of envy or a desire for truth, we often compare our, or someone else’s, new with an other. Thus emerges the controversy in ranking.

At the beginning, it is nearly impossible to keep personal opinion, or emotional attachment, out of a ranking. As will all other skills, we need to learn how to properly and impartially rank. Once we remove the personal from the task, our eyes clear and we move toward an outcome. Jonathan Cummings has decades of experience as a golf course rater/ranker. His day job, for nearly four decades, was as a research test and measurements mechanical engineer. He is certainly a fellow who likes numbers, the statistics that they provide, and the relevance of those statistics. He is an expert in golf course ranking, and you love golf. Now it’s time to learn what goes into the rankings that you read each year, in golf’s print and digital magazines.

Some of what you will find~

Eight chapters, with titles like “The Ranking History,” “Categories or Not,” and “The Perfect Rater,” offer a complete assessment of the fundamentals and complexities of rating a golf course for architectural ranking. Cummings draws on personal experiences, both good and bad, equal parts serious and humorous, to make his points about all aspects of the ranking lists that exist, from classic to modern, USA to world, public to casino.

What to take away~

  • An understanding of the difference between USGA/R&A course rating, and magazine course rating for ranking purposes. The USGA and the R & A assess courses for difficulty, in both course and slope numbers. Magazines continually acuminate their systems, on the eternal path toward the perfect rating system.
  • An appreciation for the subtlety and nuance that, intentionally or not, occur in golf course architecture.
  • An admission that different schools of architecture have existed over the past 150 years, and which particulars are held as fundamental elements of golf course design.

“Golf’s Holy War”

Why you choose this book~

There are days when golf feels spiritual, a retreat from the chores of the daily grind, an entry into a beyond that gives us respite. The sun, the dim, the wind, the calm, the trees, the views … no matter the natural elements, we are at peace, with our only responsibility being to our self. And on those days, sometimes, we play well. Our swing finds a rhythm, the golf shots develop a cadence, and the numbers that appear on our scorecard are a pleasant surprise. The question, though, is which side of our self is responsible for the outcome?

Brett Cyrgalis is a sportswriter. He covers hockey and golf, most days. The subtitle of his book, the battle for the soul of a game in an age of science, reveals the dichotomy of golf. It is a game to most of us, but it is a business to a growing percentage of participants. Competitors, coaches, teachers, salespeople, the entire product-development chain, all combine efforts to shape the game that we enjoy. Each of these business people depends on a reduction of the random, a coalescence in order. In contrast, it is the arrival of the unexpected that shapes the golf that the weekend warrior, the buddy tripper, comes to know.

Some of what you will find~

Reading this volume was an existential experience for me. Not so much for what reason I exist, but how I came to exist, golfwise. Cyrgulis connects some of golf’s most important writings, figures, and events to substantiate his thesis: from Homer Kelley’s The Golfing Machine to Michael Murphy’s Golf In The Kingdom; spanning Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods, and the advent of the mind as 15th club (or is it 1st?)

In addition to writing for GolfWRX, I teach Spanish at a high school in Buffalo, NY. During this time of coronavirus, COVID-19, and virtual instruction, I am compelled to re-examine the way I teach, the manner in which students learn and acquire, and education as a whole. Cyrgalis devotes many pages to the history of instruction, and its present and future direction. “Golf’s Holy War” is an almanac for a one to three-decade span of golf’s human history.

What to take away~

  • An opportunity to build another shelf for your golf book collection. I went to Abebooks while reading, to add a few volumes to my own putter’s parish. I now have The Golfing Machine, The Art and Zen of Learning Golf, and Get a Grip on Physics (I’ll let you figure out the importance of that last one!)
  • A quandry~am I left or right brain, or both, or neither? Trust me, we all have our days of each of the three options. More important is, when am I at my best?
  • Most important: should I change anything? We are all tempted to try something new, and changing from artist to scientist, and vice-versa, is usually detrimental. That said, life is short and challenges, worthwhile.
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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Elk is in the house!

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In this episode of TGD brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with the one, the only, the legend Steve Elkington.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

The differences between good and bad club fitters—and they’re not what you think

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Club fitting is still a highly debated topic, with many golfers continuing to believe they’re just not good enough to be fit. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it’s a topic for another day.

Once you have decided to invest in your game and equipment, however, the next step is figuring out where to get fit, and working with a fitter.  You see, unlike professionals in other industries, club fitting “certification” is still a little like the wild west. While there are certification courses and lesson modules from OEMs on how to fit their specific equipment, from company to company, there is still some slight variance in philosophy.

Then there are agnostic fitting facilities that work with a curated equipment matrix from a number of manufacturers. Some have multiple locations all over the country and others might only have a few smaller centralized locations in a particular city. In some cases, you might even be able to find single-person operations.

So how do you separate the good from the bad? This is the million-dollar question for golfers looking to get fit. Unless you have experience going through a fitting before or have a base knowledge about fitting, it can feel like an intimidating process. This guide is built to help you ask the right questions and pay attention to the right things to make sure you are getting the most out of your fitting.

The signs of a great fitter

  • Launch monitor experience: Having some type of launch monitor certification isn’t a requirement but being able to properly understand the interpret parameters is! A good fitter should be able to explain the parameters they are using to help get the right clubs and understand how to tweak specs to help you get optimized. The exact labeling may vary depending on the type of launch monitor but they all mostly provide the same information….Here is an example of what a fitter should be looking for in an iron fitting: “The most important parameter in an iron fitting” 
  • Communication skills: Being able to explain why and how changes are being made is a telltale sign your fitter is knowledgeable—it should feel like you are learning something along the way. Remember, communication is a two-way street so also being a good listener is another sign your working with a good fitter.
  • Transparency: This involves things like talking about price, budgets, any brand preferences from the start. This prevents getting handed something out of your price range and wasting swings during your fit.
  • A focus on better: Whether it be hitting it further and straighter with your driver or hitting more greens, the fitting should be goal-orientated. This means looking at all kinds of variables to make sure what you are getting is actually better than your current clubs. Having a driver you hit 10 yards farther isn’t helpful if you don’t know where it’s going….A great fitter that knows their stuff should quickly be able to narrow down potential options to 4-5 and then work towards optimizing from there.
  • Honesty and respect: These are so obvious, I shouldn’t even have to put it on the list. I want to see these traits from anybody in a sales position when working with customers that are looking to them for knowledge and information…If you as the golfer is only seeing marginal gains from a new product or an upgrade option, you should be told that and given the proper information to make an informed decision. The great fitters, and I’ve worked with a lot of them, will be quick to tell a golfer, “I don’t think we’re going to beat (X) club today, maybe we should look at another part of your bag where you struggle.” This kind of interaction builds trust and in the end results in happy golfers and respected fitters.

The signs of a bad fitter

  • Pushing an agenda: This can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Whether it be a particular affinity towards certain brands of clubs or even shafts. If you talk to players that have all been to the same fitter and their swings and skill levels vary yet the clubs or brands of shafts they end up with (from a brand agnostic facility) seem to be eerily similar it might be time to ask questions.
  • Poor communications: As you are going through the fitting process and warming up you should feel like you’re being interviewed as a way to collect data and help solve problems in your game. This process helps create a baseline of information for your fitter. If you are not experiencing that, or your fitter isn’t explaining or answering your questions directly, then there is a serious communication problem, or it could show lack of knowledge depth when it comes to their ability.
  • Lack of transparency: If you feel like you’re not getting answers to straightforward questions or a fitter tells you “not to worry about it” then that is a big no-no from me.
    Side note: It is my opinion that golfers should pay for fittings, and in a way consider it a knowledge-gathering session. Of course, the end goal for the golfer is to find newer better fitting clubs, and for the fitter to sell you them (let’s be real here), but you should never feel the information is not being shared openly.
  • Pressure sales tactics: It exists in every industry, I get it, but if you pay for your fitting you are paying for information, use it to your advantage. You shouldn’t feel pressured to buy, and it’s always OK to seek out a knowledgeable second opinion (knowledgeable being a very key word in that sentence!).  If you are getting the hard sell or any combination of the traits above, there is a good chance you’re not working with the right fitter for you.

Final thoughts

Great fitters with great reputations and proper knowledge have long lists, even waiting lists, of golfers waiting to see them. The biggest sign of a great fitter is a long list of repeat customers.

Golf is a game that can be played for an entire lifetime, and just like with teachers and swing coaches, the good ones are in it for the long haul to help you play better and build a rapport—not just sell you the latest and greatest (although we all like new toys—myself included) because they can make a few bucks.

Trust your gut, and ask questions!

 

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