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Opinion & Analysis

Why haven’t you been fit?

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“Why haven’t you been fit?”

It’s a question I pose to most golfers when talking about equipment.

This conversation usually starts on the course after a few holes when playing with random golfers of varying skill levels. As someone who has worked for years as a fitter and club builder, it doesn’t take long to determine the likelihood that a golfer was fit for their clubs; seeing poor shot tendencies develop and a quick look into someone’s golf bag can put the puzzle pieces together pretty quickly.

I’m not out to shame or annoy people, rather, I’m here to try to help! Thanks to most golfers now having an adjustable driver, it can be as simple as a few quick clicks of a wrench to see improvements.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for not getting fit and see if we can help with your next equipment purchase.

“I’m not good enough”

This is the most common answer I hear when it comes to fitting, and if you are are in any way serious about getting the most enjoyment out of your time on the course, a simple fitting should be part of that. A basic level fitting includes: getting the right grip size and texture, length adjustment, lie adjustment, and shaft flex—including shaft material (graphite or steel). If you are a stronger player, then steel is generally the way to go. For players looking for extra speed or some shock absorption, graphite will provide the best option. At this level, it’s all about building a set that is going to provide the best opportunity to hit good shots more often.

“I always thought it was expensive”

The perception that a custom fitting is expensive has been drawn out for too long.  Depending on where you are purchasing clubs, many retailers wave the cost of the process when purchasing. This can even include clubs that are being bought off the rack and getting basic adjustments. NOTE: You should expect to pay for grips if you decide to get them changed.

On the other side of the coin, getting custom fit top-to-bottom with the latest and greatest from an appointment-only independent shop is an expensive process. You should expect to pay close to $500 for the fitting, which will be on top of the cost of any clubs.

“I only buy used clubs”

This statement hits home. I love hunting down used clubs. However, the idea that used clubs can’t be fit is seriously misconstrued and often stems from the fact that with online shopping, we can’t talk to a knowledgeable person face-to-face and clubs are sold as-is. Considering the often large cost savings of purchasing used clubs, for just a bit extra, you can make sure they are just right for you.

The first option is available before you even start looking for used clubs: book a professional fitting—generally between $75 – $100 per “piece” of equipment; irons, driver and woods,  etc.—and buy used based on those specs. Just be sure to let your fitter know in advance you are just looking for your specs and will buying used. This can be an intimidating thing to say, but you should know it is a common practice.

The second option is to buy based on the knowledge you have from what you may be using now and then take those clubs to a fitter and have them adjusted accordingly. Basic adjustments like lie and loft are around $5 per club, and the cost of grips varies depending on the models you are looking at. A more wholesale change like shafts can become more expensive, but you can mostly avoid that by taking some time to understand your needs before purchasing.

Everyone should have a set of clubs that allows them to get the most enjoyment from playing golf, and regardless of the avenue you take to purchasing your equipment, it doesn’t take much extra to make sure they are right for you.

(Photo Credit: Club Champion Fitting Studios )

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. JM

    Feb 26, 2020 at 12:54 am

    Hey Ryan, who would you recommend for a fitting in Alberta? I live in Edmonton but would be willing to go to Calgary. Love the pod!

  2. Mike

    Feb 16, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    When eBay or online retailers offer fitting — I will consider getting fit.

  3. Merion

    Feb 16, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Club Champion is an absolute joke. The fitting process is absolutely unlike a course setting and the grip/shaft options are severely limited. A few memories from my “fitting” I went for the $150 iron fitting. Recommended jumbo grips at 30 a piece to install without letting me hit any on trackman. Recommended 2 degrees flat to help fight a hook without ever considering the divot pattern. Mind you, the fitting is indoors on a super forgiving turf may. Tried a few generic shaft options and there you have it, a ” TOUR LEVEL FITTING” yeah right. Clubfitters that work at big retail like club Champion have sold their soul. A set of $900 cobra irons was going to cost $1900 from club Champion. Ctaper shafts and jumbo grips were the only mods. Wow

    • Bay Hill

      Feb 16, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Merion,

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • you know

      Feb 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Built to swingweight and guaranteed to perform? You sometimes get what you pay for, no?

    • Kevin

      Feb 22, 2020 at 9:51 am

      I agree. I went to Club Champion last year. Bought into it hook, line and sinker, and I can’t tell you how much I regret it. The Trackman of a mat to a screen tells you nothing. I’ve seen no improvement in distance or accuracy. Put me in heavier shafts, then had to add hosel weights to correct swing weights from heavier shafts. Iron fittings are with a 6-iron, which I’ve realized I can’t hit consistently, so results are meaningless. I spent a ton of money, and my HCP index went up by 4 strokes.

  4. Tom S.

    Feb 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Prove it really works first. Get a bunch of mid handicappers and give them an expensive fit and measure the results over a month or two. Then “unfit” them with the standard setup and re-measure for a month or two. Color me skeptical. Most people will simply adjust to the idiosyncrasies of their clubs and play about the same. They will hit their 150 yard club when they are 150 yards away.

    Alternately compare results between an expensive fitting and golf instruction.

    The marketing drive to get fit seems a little religious and data free in my view.

  5. Brandon

    Feb 16, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Some of the clubs that worked the best for me have been used clubs that I just took a shot in the dark with.

  6. Harpua

    Feb 16, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I think the main reason is the lack of quality fitters. Most fittings are just a scam. Unless you can try out irons outside on a grass range with a trackman, a fitting is useless. Hitting off mats into a screen ten feet away from you does not tell you anything. Especially with irons where it’s been proven that mats increase launch angles and reduce spin. These are not real world scenarios.

  7. JThunder

    Feb 16, 2020 at 1:37 am

    I wouldn’t get “fit” for a golf club at a big box store any more than I’d get “fit” for a suit at Wal-mart.

    Playing golf with ill-fitting clubs is like running with ill-fitting shoes. It won’t be a positive experience.

    Anyone who plays regularly should get fit. Either by a specialty store, a good independent golf shop, or a teaching pro.

    This concept will be a hard sell in the USA, because “I know better than everybody else”, “nobody can tell me what to do”, “everything is a rip-off”, and buying 10 drivers a year to find one that “works” is much more capitalist than buying one driver properly.

  8. SV

    Feb 15, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Yes fitting is expensive. If you go to a fitter such as Club Champion, True Spec, etc expect to not only pay a fitting fee, but the cost of the club and probably an upgrade shaft of varying amounts. Your “stock” driver will now cost $800-$850 (500+150+150-200 for the shaft). I have been fit for a driver. With the fitting fee and $200 upgrade shaft the driver would have cost me $780 and this is with a half price fitting fee coupon.
    My thought is that unless your handicap it less than 5 you are just as well off having a retailer fit you for either a regular of stiff flex shaft in your driver. You probably know what you need, but check to be sure.
    I had irons fit by a custom club maker years ago and still use that lie in my irons. Therefore I know pretty well what I need. Again a competent retailer can check the lie angle.

    • Funkaholic

      Feb 17, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      That all depends on your perspective, I don’t fit off the rack clubs, my fit is actually pretty odd and I am not a 5 handicap. When you get in the booth with endless options it is very eye opening. The booths at the PGA store are pretty suspect and lacking in useful data, track man is the way to go. It isn’t like you have to buy the club from that fitter if you don’t want to, I can build a lot of things myself, specs are important to improve. A lot of low handicap guys playing off the rack are adjusting to bad fits which is just foolish in my opinion. If you are serious about your game, get lessons and get fit.

  9. REJ

    Feb 15, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    It all boils down to the same thing. Keep spending your money at the golf shops. Imagine getting fit for a house or a car? I’ll fit myself thank you.

    • Moosejaw McWilligher

      Feb 16, 2020 at 1:32 am

      Some people are knowledgeable enough to buy a house without a realtor or home inspector. Most are not.

      Would you purchase a car you had only driven in a simulator?

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Flatstick Focus

Flatstick Focus: Anser-Style Draft and Interview with Nate Stone from Chirrp

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In Episode 10, Glenn and Parker draft a team of 5 Anser-style putters to compete for listener votes on Instagram. We also interview Nate Stone from Chirrp Golf to discuss their new product coming to the market later in 2020.

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 best golf commercials of all time

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The world of golf has seen its fair share of commercials; both memorable and well…not so much.

Lucky for us, and cinematographers alike, production values, camera technology, and creative concepts have certainly improved over time with the biggest creative leap thanks to Nike golf. This is look back and both some and the best and, let’s say less creative.

Golf’s Not That Hard, Right?

The Moment Tiger introduces Joe the 27 Handicap, you know it’s not going to end well.

Titleist DT – It’s Wound In.

I don’t know if the best part of this commercial is the music, the fist pumps, or the classic sweater and stiff collar outfits worn by everyone involved.

Shankapotomus

This was a big Superbowl commercial and it was long after that shankapotomus became part of the golf vernacular.

Kenny G Sells Clubs?

I’ll never quite understand that demographic that was targeted at. People, that enjoy forgiving clubs and smooth saxophone? I guess Lisa Simpson wasn’t available.

Boo Weekley – Launching It

When it comes to characters in golf, Boo Weekly will always be remembered as one of the finest. Although considering VJ is well knows for living right next to TPC Sawgrass I feel like they took some liberties with shooting locations.

Get Custom Fit!

Although the company certainly isn’t around anymore the message is a good one – You’re going to play better with custom-fit clubs. Throw in a groin-hit for good measure because that’s always fun right?

Big Bertha Caddies

This one is pretty good, and if you have ever caddied for any period of time it’s quite relatable. But regardless of the clubs there players are gaming, I’d rather not be carrying a staff bag around for 36 holes unless there is “a little something for the effort.”

PING G10 Irons & Driver

These will always be my favorite golf commercials. They are endlessly funny and play directly into many golfers often farsighted aspirations around their own golf games. Best line “Exactly. One good year and that’s all taken care of.”

What did we miss, GolfWRXers? Let us know your favorite golf commercials in the comments!

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Opinion & Analysis

A 2015 conversation with Dean Snell

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In 2015, Dean Snell answered nine questions for our Ronald Montesano, for publication on his site, BuffaloGolfer.Com. As we all know, Snell Golf is still around and succeeding.

Have a bit of time travel with us, as we go back five years and read what Dean Snell had to say.

Dean Snell lists positions with Titleist and TaylorMade golf ball divisions over his 25 years of involvement with the development of golf balls. In 2015, Snell founded Snell Golf, selling golf balls directly to the consumer. He agreed to answer our interview questions, so have a read.

1. Give us an idea of how Dean Snell found golf and how it became the focal point of his professional life.

I actually did not like golf at all growing up.. I was a hockey player my whole life. My first golf experience was when i was playing hockey out in Hershey PA, my dad came out to see me play, and we had a day off, so he wanted to play golf. I rented clubs.. he was a very good player. The first hole I shot my ball so far right, never found it.. he made par.. Second hole I was again way right, in the woods.. when I heard a huge commotion in the fairway.. my dad was also a big boy, and took no crap from anyone… well these two guys were in his face, so I ran across fairway, clothes-lined one guy and we beat the crap out of these two guys on the second fairway. needless to say they threw us off the course.

I asked my dad what happened on the ride home… evidently he was waiting for me in the woods, and the guys behind us hit their ball and it rolled into him.. so he grabbed a 3 wood and fired it back at them… then they came down and it was GAME ON… so i thought maybe golf can be a fun thing after all.. haha..

I was actually working at BF Goodrich Aerospace and Defense in 1990 designing composite parts for F16 and blackwhawk helicopters when I answered an ad for a quality engineer at Titleist… which happened to be in my hometown of Acushnet MA… they sent my resume over to R&D because of the engineering degree and background I had… two weeks later they offered me a job and I started my career in golf.. i didn’t even have a set of clubs…So I got some clubs, started playing and have been hooked on golf since… which makes it easier cause my hockey days are not over…I started working on designing the engineering process to make cast urethane golf balls, and introduced the first cast urethane ball in Titleist Professional in 1994/95.

2. What were the most important lessons you learned while at Acushnet and TaylorMade?

I love both companies… Both extremely professional and very technical… While at Acushnet, I truly had to learn the game of golf.. engineering, performance, what was important, testing, EVERYTHING…. then i began to work with the tour players and developing a good understanding of what they would look for in a design. At TaylorMade it was a complete business start up… They had one ball patent, and didn’t even have a scale to weigh a ball.. so very interesting in building factories, processes, designs, development and complete business practices.. Again, worked very close with tour players and continued to understand what they need and how to make products they eventually would play and win at the highest level. Today, a lot of these players are still good friends and I keep in touch with.

3. Snell has two golf ball lines, the “My Tour Ball” and the “Get Sum.” What are the most important features of each ball?

MY TOUR BALL is a 3-pc CAST URETHANE covered ball..this cover technology has been around since 1994 and I believe nothing will ever replace it.. it is outstanding… allows very soft covers for soft feel, extremely durable urethane and we cast it very thin to allow outstanding short game spin and control…The core is very low compression and FAST in ball speed, which equates to lower driver spin rates and faster ball speeds, both of which make the ball very long off the tee… the mantle layer is designed to control the iron spin… it works with the core on longer irons to keep spin down and prevent ballooning, and then works with the soft urethane cover to create high short game spin and control…LONG, SOFT, ,DURABLE, and spin control… great combo.

GET SUM is made to have low compression, low spin core and thin soft ionomer cover to give very soft feel. This ball is lower in spin, launches a bit higher with all clubs.. great ball for higher handicaps, as the lower spin helps reduce hooks and slices and helps the ball fly straighter… also easier to get up in the air, which is sometimes a challenge…

4. How does a start-up golf ball company hope to compete with established companies, boasting decades of success at all levels of the game?

In all honesty I do not think we plan to compete with the big companies. This is an on line direct to consumer based business where we reduce a lot of expenses and pass the savings on to the consumers… The larger companies will still have the big stores, on course and off course retailers, and even they sell some on line… I am trying to bring the best technologies and processes and performance at a lower price to consumers to help them play more, and want to play more..The way we sell will not be measured in any market share numbers reported by the larger companies.

5. Snell golf has a members forum on its site, for supporters to ask questions, contribute comments and offer opinions. What is the value in dedicating a portion of the site to your customers?

I love education and think that golf is very tough and technical.. I have some good experience and stories over the last 25 years, and if I can find a place to share this info to consumers, I love to do that. anyone can log on and submit any technical questions they may have about golf balls and technology, and I will do my best to give my technical opinion and help them out…

6. Currently, Snell golf balls are available only through the company website. Why is this and will it continue into the future?

We are a small start up… the niche today is selling direct to consumers.. so no big marketing expenses, no big tour contracts, no sales reps, no mark ups… so the balls cost the same to make as other balls, but all the expenses we can save is passed on to the consumers…I have a lot of pro shops call and want to carry… will it ever been seen in pro shops, I am sure it will… but today we have a niche and are not set up to support this type of system. If any pro shop wanted to call and place an order for their club or members, we would certainly take the order and ship out the next day…I have a crawl, walk run philosophy in business… i think if you try to do too many things too fast, you fail. we have a had a lot of requests to have distributors overseas… great ideas, but just not ready to do this yet… LET IT DEVELOP is my favorite saying.

7. How will you measure success for Snell golf balls?

Our plans are realistic and we plan to start small and let it develop… learn and try to do things right. We have target goals to meet in a 3 year plan, and will work hard every day to meet these goals…

8. What aspects of golf ball development and production are most unknown/confusing to the consumer, and deserve clarification?

I think I have two…compression.. people think they have to play a low compression ball to “compress” the ball..not true at all every golfer compresses the ball.. compression is a designers tool that helps us understand spin rates and has a small factor in the overall feel of the ball.. so dont worry about compression.. most balls today have not ratings for a reason.. they are not important… Second is swing speed… in my opinion players should not choose a ball based on swing speed.. if a player picks a lower compression ball based on swing speed, that means he or she is playing a ball that has a lower spin rate… so think about it… you are picking a ball that “may” increase your ball speed by 0.5 mph with a driver.. lets say that did happen.. that means now your 230 yard drive just went 231 yards… so now you are a whopping one yard longer (maybe) and you have to play the rest of the hole with a ball that is made to have no spin or low spin… and where do you need spin the most? around the green…you should play a ball that fits your game around the green.. test several models from inside 70 yards.. chips,… putts, etc.. then dont worry about driver.. they all go about the same distance today… but you score around the green… choose the ball that fits your game where you play the most… not off the tee…

9. What questions haven’t we asked, that you wish we had? Ask them and answer them, please.

Is this a cheap tour ball?

No, I never use the word cheap.. people believe that if the tour ball is cheaper then it is not as good.. i only ask that you try it… I used the same technologies and materials that have been used in tour balls for over 20 years… proven on tour… the performance is there.. the cost is a savings for you to hope you play more…

Will there be any tour players in the ball?

At this point, we have had a few players contact us to play the ball.. unfortunately, as a small start up, we are not paying large tour contracts at this time, and are passing this savings on to you the consumers… I have designed or co designed golf balls for the best players in the world over the last 25 years at both Titliest and TaylorMade, and have a good understanding of golf ball performance, and what it takes to create this type for performance. Golf is my passion today, but hockey is still my favorite sport… even if I have never been successful to tie the two sports together like I had in my first golf experience with my dad.. haha..

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