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Club Fitting, How RELIABLE


116 replies to this topic

#1 juststeve

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 09:53 AM

Last week I was having a post round lunch with one of the usuals when he told me a story that made me start this thread.  He told me that in his quest to drive the ball better he had gone through driver fittings at two very well known and fairly expensive  fitter  companies here in Dallas.  Approximately two hours spent at each hitting various combinations of club heads and shafts to get that optimal fit.  After that he received recommendations from each, in writing, that bore little relationship one to the other.  They differed with respect to recommended head, recommended loft, recommended shaft, recommended shaft length, recommend shaft stiffness and whether or not the grip should be standard or +1/32.

My friend who is a medical oncologist  said that if two doctors were to look at the same test results and arrive at such dissimilar diagnoses  and plans the patient would be better of seeing a psychic.

This is not the first time I've heard such a story, but my information is still based on a small sample.  I would like to know what the experience of others has been.  Are these fitting reliable in the sense that they are identifying some optimal  set of specifications, or is there really no science to it, just a matter of the fitters opinion.

Does anyone have personal experience that weighs on the question?

Steve


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#2 MtlJeff

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:01 AM

I guess it really depends on if the setups were similar. Very difficult to get exactly the same considering how much is on the market.

But like, could i go to 2 different fittings and in one be told Epic Subzero with D+ at 45 inches, and another M1 with Black Tie at 45.5

Sure, but those setups produced similar result for me. So neither guy would be wrong
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#3 Night train

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:05 AM

Many of us do not live near huge metro areas with a wide choice of fitters........finding someone who really knows their trade is nearly impossible.

Getting fit sounds far more simple than it actually is.......

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#4 monkeyboy

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:06 AM

Fitters experience and interpretation IMO.  Neither may be 'wrong' but hard to say which is more 'right'.  In the end, if the player walks out with better dispersion, distance, or consistency - the goals were achieved.  

I know a few who got fitted and went in with the expectation "I'll get fitted, they will tell me exactly what I need and I'll be a better player".

Reality was that they may not have liked that +$300 shaft where a stock shaft would have been good enough.  Suggested grip thickness never felt right to them.  Fitter told them to get a 4 wood and they really wanted a 3 wood.  The consistent miss = the player did not bring his wants/needs/ownership of their game to the table.

If you don't want to spend +$300 on a whiz bang shaft, don't do it.
If a Midsized grip feels off to you, get Standard and maybe buildup tape to get you halfway.
If you really want a Titleist head, work with fitter to get the model that best works for you.

I think players need to understand that fitting is partly science and partly art, but the player should be in charge of some aspects.
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#5 bd59

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:06 AM

Just my opinion here, but science in the golf industry has come leaps and bounds just like it has in everything else.  Trackman, Flightscope, GC, etc, are very good fitting tools that every good fitter I know uses to HELP them make a determination. But I honestly think itís more the player and his or her swing on that day.  Repeating a golf swing is very difficult as we all know and the great Ben Hogan said he only hit one perfect shot per round.  If we were all robots it would be easy, but my take is I always get fit if possible and then test the clubs outside to see how it looks to my eye.  Most of the heads are maxed out these days and itís just a game of finding the right magic wand (shaft) to use.


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#6 Redjeep83

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:08 AM

IMO, the only big part of fitting is finding the correct loft driver head and lie angle, length of irons. Outside of that fitting is way overrated,

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#7 nitram

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:10 AM

View Postbd59, on 15 April 2018 - 10:06 AM, said:

Just my opinion here, but science in the golf industry has come leaps and bounds just like it has in everything else.  Trackman, Flightscope, GC, etc, are very good fitting tools that every good fitter I know uses to HELP them make a determination. But I honestly think it's more the player and his or her swing on that day.  Repeating a golf swing is very difficult as we all know and the great Ben Hogan said he only hit one perfect shot per round.  If we were all robots it would be easy, but my take is I always get fit if possible and then test the clubs outside to see how it looks to my eye.  Most of the heads are maxed out these days and it's just a game of finding the right magic wand (shaft) to use.

I had two paragraphs written to say the same thing... :hi:
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#8 wmblake2000

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:11 AM

Steve, I think there are at least 2 variables that make fitting unreliable (eg, do not lead to same results). One is most amateurs have significant variance in swings day to day. That 1-2 hour snapshot of a fitting sees a swing that may or may not be the predominant swing on the course. The second is there is no set of norms - the oncologists have a deep body of research to draw from (upon which they add their perspective, creating more variance especially in treatment options) but the fitter has very little.  The golfer and his/her swing are complex systems. Thus incredible amount of variance in the proposed solutions.

For myself, I have found that multiple trips to my local box store with its hitting bays where I capture and record key data directly is best solution.
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If you see any more new irons before 2020, call the paramedics because my wife will have seriously injured me

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#9 wmblake2000

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:12 AM

Wow ... 5 posts entered in the time it took me to write mine.
Ping GMax 400 10.5
Callaway Epic Hybrid 2h
Royal Collection 3, 4 h
Royal Collection 5-W
RomaRo Pro 3-W
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If you see any more new irons before 2020, call the paramedics because my wife will have seriously injured me

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#10 nitram

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 10:26 AM

View Postwmblake2000, on 15 April 2018 - 10:12 AM, said:

Wow ... 5 posts entered in the time it took me to write mine.

And basically stating the same thoughts... :drinks:

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#11 wkuo3

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 11:34 AM

One has to understand, a good golf equipment fitting is not just gather the numbers and plug them in the formula for the result.

When dealing with human and human bodily function, one has to put the end user first before trying to "tailor" a recommendation to the end user.
Ask yourself, has any fitter ever start the fitting by understanding the golfer's back ground a little bit by asking questions ?   Not just the question of where is your game at now, and where do you want to be !  Many avoided the question answer consultation because either they don't know or they don't care, some even avoid it because afraid of opening up more issue to solve.
The golfer's ability and physical condition played a major role in fitting the golfer with the right stick.  If a golfer had injury in the past , he might be able to fit in the stiffer heavier category , however, that might not be enduring the 18 hole and could cause additional injury in the near future.
The example of medical prognosis given by the O.P. is very close to the golf equipment fitting although the golf fitting is not quite as complicated as a medical prognosis and does not carry the weight of the consequences.

The conventional golf equipment fitting is still at the "box" solution and served at a fast food pace, even with all the digital gadget .   Should you find a good golf fitter, don't complain of the higher fee, because it's probably worth ever dime and more.

Edited by wkuo3, 15 April 2018 - 03:40 PM.


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#12 jeffreyl

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 02:54 PM

Have had an indoor fitting with Flightscope and outdoor fitting with Trackman in the last several  months.

The irons I was fit inside for were "proved" as fit and there were new options. The "inside" Driver and hybrids performed great outside and the outside candidates were not considered. (Hit several heads and many shafts)

Both fitters asked questions and there was a lot of discussion about "feel". Some spin numbers and performance were good, I did not like the feel.

I know from prior fittings and these two that there are numerous shaft options that will work for my swing; the theory is that with the shafts that have nearly  the same profile, generally the more costly, the better dispersion.  (Obviously this could be debated!)

I can imagine that I could be fit for slightly different length and certainly grip size (I use undersize, have used regular and tried oversize, with my "cadet small hands".

After fittings my brain is convinced that the clubs, shafts etc. are correct, so any issues become my swing issues as I saw the numbers and it all "felt" right. As has been mentioned, "feels" and swings change from day to day, but I do believe that I have eliminated the club fitting variable.

Fitting is about the numbers falling into a certain range, how the shaft feels and mostly my preferences. I have tried to educate myself so I can talk intelligently about the "numbers" and how that translated to my swing and "feels"

If I was fit by two different fitters with differences, I would discuss with both and also try the equipment specified by each on both machines and also note my preference!

Edited by jeffreyl, 15 April 2018 - 02:55 PM.


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#13 BY#99

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 04:14 PM

As stated for me the 2 things are-  swings for most will differ day to day and sometimes there is not a lot of difference between choices in my opinion. For me, I got fit 3 straight years for irons and each year the lie angle was fitted different slightly. I saw no major difference in those 3 years as prior or since. My swing is decent but some days it is different. I was at the range twice last week. First time driving well and pretty straight. Day 2 slight fade but straight. If I were to have been fit both those days I probably would have been recommended 2 separate clubs.

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#14 Highbury

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 05:22 PM

I've had a fitting done in the eastern part of the state by a well known fitter. I paid a lot and came away with a great idea of what I needed.  To confirm before I purchased, I went to the club and went through a fitting. I was fit to a different head, shaft, flex, shaft weight, swing weight, and grip size. Results were within two yards on Trackman of each other.  I guess there are different ways to skin a cat.  

However! One fitter did not take into account my comments. I never liked the feeling of a shaft but was still told that it was the correct shaft. As others have stated, it's not a science.

Edited by Highbury, 15 April 2018 - 05:23 PM.


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#15 Sean2

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 05:36 PM

View Postbd59, on 15 April 2018 - 10:06 AM, said:

Just my opinion here, but science in the golf industry has come leaps and bounds just like it has in everything else.  Trackman, Flightscope, GC, etc, are very good fitting tools that every good fitter I know uses to HELP them make a determination. But I honestly think it's more the player and his or her swing on that day.  Repeating a golf swing is very difficult as we all know and the great Ben Hogan said he only hit one perfect shot per round.  If we were all robots it would be easy, but my take is I always get fit if possible and then test the clubs outside to see how it looks to my eye.  Most of the heads are maxed out these days and it's just a game of finding the right magic wand (shaft) to use.

That is a great point. And, not only the difficulty of having a repeatable swing, but the individual being fitted may have more energy in one fitting and less in the other.

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#16 BigHook25

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 06:12 PM

I have seen mixed results.  A fitting in most cases will help most people, but I'm pretty good with numbers and knowing what I see.  A lot of fittings people want distance and I didn't, but that was still what they looked at.  They wanted to get my spin down, but they never really looked at accuracy.  I trusted the guy that fit me (major fitting place), but it was the most inaccurate I've hit my irons.  I have since switched.  I might have lost a few yards, but I'm way more accurate.  The first few times I fit myself for my irons and I did a better job.

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#17 Snowman9000

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 06:34 PM

There is a lot of art in a good fitting.  It's very possible that one of the fitters was better at seeing the effects of the test drivers on the golfer's swings.  So they might both give good numbers in that moment, but the one that has the most beneficial effect on the swing would be the better fitting.

Edited by Snowman9000, 15 April 2018 - 06:36 PM.

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#18 DLiver

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 06:39 PM

There are many setups (head/shaft combinations) that will work for most golfers. The heads and shafts being produced today are mostly very good. I do several demo days at my club every year, and the differences between the best setups for me are small.

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#19 bluedot

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 07:43 AM

View Postjuststeve, on 15 April 2018 - 09:53 AM, said:

Last week I was having a post round lunch with one of the usuals when he told me a story that made me start this thread.  He told me that in his quest to drive the ball better he had gone through driver fittings at two very well known and fairly expensive  fitter  companies here in Dallas.  Approximately two hours spent at each hitting various combinations of club heads and shafts to get that optimal fit.  After that he received recommendations from each, in writing, that bore little relationship one to the other.  They differed with respect to recommended head, recommended loft, recommended shaft, recommended shaft length, recommend shaft stiffness and whether or not the grip should be standard or +1/32.

My friend who is a medical oncologist  said that if two doctors were to look at the same test results and arrive at such dissimilar diagnoses  and plans the patient would be better of seeing a psychic.

This is not the first time I've heard such a story, but my information is still based on a small sample.  I would like to know what the experience of others has been.  Are these fitting reliable in the sense that they are identifying some optimal  set of specifications, or is there really no science to it, just a matter of the fitters opinion.

Does anyone have personal experience that weighs on the question?

Steve

I think that your friends experience would be fairly unusual, but I'd LOVE to see the Trackman numbers on the two fittings.  In my experience, a "bad" driver fitting is usually based on the fitter focusing only on distance on center strikes, rather that a more balanced approach that looks at dispersion, mishits, etc.  That said, to get a result like that from a reputable club fitter after a couple of hours of testing would be odd, to say the least.

A personal story: In the spring of 2008, I did an iron fitting with a really good Ping club fitter in Georgia (Todd Gilgrist, now at Chicopee Woods).  He fitted me to irons that were an inch longer and 3 degrees upright, and I had used those specs ever since.  I live in NC now, and week before last I did an Ping iron fitting with a top 100 club fitter here; when he asked me what I was currently using and I told him, he said, "That doesn't sound right; you'd need to be about 6-4 to need those specs." (I'm 6-1)  So we did the fitting, and fairly quickly he said, "I may have to eat my words"; eventually, we settled on the exact same specs for the new irons.

I've been using fitted clubs for over 20 years now, and I've had two fittings in all that time that gave me weird results.  One was a driver fitting that was only about distance, and I got rid of that club after just a few rounds with a hard lesson learned.  The other was an iron fitting that gave me an result that I wasn't comfortable with; I didn't order, redid the fitting, and got a result that was more in line with what had been the specs I had been using.  So it happens.

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#20 JCAG

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:10 AM

It is near impossible for a club fitter to have every possible combination of head, shaft, grip for someone to try. That said specs from one fitter to another should not vary that much ala length, loft, flex, etc. Does it matter if it is TT or KBS or whatever as long as the shaft specs are the same?


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#21 phatchrisrules

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:47 AM

I'm going to chime in just to add that it's basically been said before:

1) 100% your friends swing was different one day to the next.  I was hitting irons on a GCQuad Friday night and swinging it around 90-91mph with a 6i, getting 170 carry with a 30* 6i, and hitting mostly draws.  Saturday I went to the same facility, just a different location (different city) that has the exact same setup (Quad, balls, heads etc.) and was swinging 2-3mph slower and nursing a cut and getting basically 170 carry but using a club that was 28*.  My swing didn't feel any different, and the only time I got close to 90mph was if I felt like I was swinging WAY hard.  Didn't feel like I was doing that on Friday.

2) As someone else pointed out, unless he got fit for a 7.5* M3 cranked 2* open with a HZRDUS Black 85 X tipped one inch and then the second fitter recommended a 917D2 12* set to +1.5* with a Mitsubishi Grand Bassard 29 Senior flex, then I fail to see his concern.  One place might not carry brand A, but the other place doesn't carry brand B but they both carry brand C.  Maybe brand C was consistently second while brand A won on day 1 and brand B won on day 2.  It's not unheard of to get varying recommendations on what works from head to head.  Different bottom-bore-ground-measurements, adapter insertion depths, and even tipping levels can greatly influence the feel of a shaft (and thus the results) for a person.  So if one shaft works like a dream in head A it might be mediocre at best in head B.  

At the end of the day, your friend is the customer.  He has complete free will to stop a fitting or provide his input.  Saying "I understand where you are going with this, but I was fit previoulsy into *other combo* and was curios why we are moving in this direction instead of trying to go *other combo* route when that worked so well before."  If the fitter can't provide a good answer why that is the case despite "I think this is going to work well for you"...they don't understand their job very well and likely have a very limited grasp on how things like CoG and shafts and such influence the delivered metrics of a golf club.

Edited by phatchrisrules, 16 April 2018 - 10:53 AM.

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#22 golfinbrad

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:08 AM

Jeffreyl mentioned feel and I this is a big factor.  Not all fitters do an in depth interview, especially if you go to a demo day where they are also doing fittings.  Today's technology is awesome to reduce spin and minimizing distance, but significantly reduced spin can have a major impact on the ball flight a player prefers.  Personally I do not like fittings indoor, because I like to see the flight and shape of the shots.  I think the biggest difficulty is find a fitter who truly understand you and what you are looking for.

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#23 HoosierMizuno

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:31 PM

View Postbd59, on 15 April 2018 - 10:06 AM, said:

Just my opinion here, but science in the golf industry has come leaps and bounds just like it has in everything else.  Trackman, Flightscope, GC, etc, are very good fitting tools that every good fitter I know uses to HELP them make a determination. But I honestly think it's more the player and his or her swing on that day.  Repeating a golf swing is very difficult as we all know and the great Ben Hogan said he only hit one perfect shot per round.  If we were all robots it would be easy, but my take is I always get fit if possible and then test the clubs outside to see how it looks to my eye.  Most of the heads are maxed out these days and it's just a game of finding the right magic wand (shaft) to use.

I'm going to actually disagree in that yes you may feel like you are having an off day during a particular fitting, but a good fitting shouldn't require you to have your best. you're tempo, transition, swing speed, release, etc aren't changing drastically day to day. a good fitter should be able to work around your misses.


On a side note, I'd really like a decent single digit cap player to write an article summarizing their fitting results after having been fit from multiple fitters in a short time period. i've always wondered what type of discrepancies between fitters would exist if having been fit from multiple well known fitters. i think this is why fitters need to provide the 'why' in a fitting and not just the 'what'. If you tell me to play a certain shaft, tell me why. i want to know the characteristics of that shaft (tip stiff, soft butt, kickpoint, etc) and why that fits my swing.
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#24 platgof

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:33 PM

Some fitters have a bias toward selling a particular brand, as they have a relationship with that company, because they offer payback rewards. That is what happened to me. he was hell bent on selling me Ping G's. At least I did learn that I do need a 1* upright lie on my irons. Sad thing is I was really looking more to the M2 irons as I need distance.

Edited by platgof, 16 April 2018 - 06:34 PM.

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#25 chocolate_rehab

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:36 PM

I've been lucky enough to have awesome fittings at Cool Clubs - the choices were well explained, the data backed them up, and the results later confirmed the choices. I typically pay $150 or so to be fit and I find it worth it - especially when I consider what I spend on shoes and ho'ing golf clubs (reduced/eliminated when I get fit).

I don't know if it's my handicap (15), but I also have found the correct combos are almost obvious during the fitting.

I'd imagine if you were low single digit or better, you'd be able to hit a lot of combos really well.

This video really proves the benefit of fitting, imo.

https://www.youtube....Dv5lmlE&t=1355s

Edited by chocolate_rehab, 16 April 2018 - 08:37 PM.

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#26 DRGJR72

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 09:18 PM

When I conduct my fittings I typically will create a matrix of sorts (essentially a spreadsheet of the items that are being tested).  We will start off with a conversation of what type of golfer they are, what they are looking for brand wise, etc.  From there we will do some static measurements to get an idea where they fall to get an idea of where they need to be shaft length wise and possibly a general idea for lie angle.  

They will then hit some shots and get warmed up while I start putting together some clubs.  The heads will be selected based on feedback from the fitting clients preferences.  I will also either use the Mizuno shaft optimizer (if readily available) or get some shafts at various weight/flex categories to test.  From there we will start the fit and have the client hit several shots with each club to start to sort down the variables.  During this process I will be asking them about how the particular set up feels to them.  Additionally I am keeping an eye on how the particular setup sequences with their swing.  At lot of times we will see particular set ups that don't sync nicely with the way they deliver the club to the ball and we can eliminate those pretty quickly.  Also during this time we will visit some different shaft lengths and also hammer down lie angle.

After hitting some shots we will then assess the launch monitor numbers to see which ones are performing the best and we start to narrow down the field.  Usually we can determine flex, weight, length, lie pretty quickly.  Then we will revisit some of the top performers to reaffirm the findings.  

Eventually we will narrow it down to two or three top options.  We will then nitpick certain things and come to a winner or top two.  It is then ultimately up to the client to determine which one they feel is the best.  I know which one works best from a numbers and results standpoint, but I cannot "feel" the things he or she is during the swing as sometimes one club just looks or feels better to them.

To me, my goal is to provide the client with the best information I can so they can make a more educated decision on whether or not to buy a new set of clubs.  Many times their current clubs are performing as well or better than anything I throw their way, and that is fine.

To echo some of the points that were mentioned earlier, this is not an exact science and there are many variables (which can change from swing to swing) at play.  I feel that my job/goal is to provide the clients with as much information as I can as well as explain why I have come to this conclusion with them.  If they buy new clubs great, if not I hope that they got some new information that will help them improve in golf.
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#27 Lenny7

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 09:29 PM

If he were still alive, Houdini would expose fittings for the fraud that they are.

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#28 Kale_m

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:16 PM

Biggest thing will be what swing you brought that day.

Maybe he swung better one day then he did the other. That will change the results
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#29 saksittb

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:22 PM

So many variables come into play, mainly being the player and their inconsistencies in addition to the ball launcher, computer, software etc and club fitter biases.
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#30 Valtiel

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:27 PM

I definitely echo the thankfully common sentiment that not only is day to day performance a variable (I assume your friend is not a scratch or + player) but there are also many different ways to skin a cat and I would be WAY more surprised if two different fitters came back with the SAME results.

The medical diagnosis analogy only works if there is an objectively correct solution, which there isn't, and a completely controlled set or variables, which there aren't. The only way medicine and golf club fitting can be accurately compared for the purpose of a pithy analogy for your oncologist friend would be if a patient could show up with varied and conflicting symptoms to each appointment.

Edited by Valtiel, 23 April 2018 - 05:31 PM.

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