Opinion & Analysis
10 things to do (and not to do) before your next fitting
In the last 10 years, there have been major advancements in both golf equipment and golf equipment fitting technology. Systems such as FlightScope and TrackMan have given fitting professionals the data they need to maximize every golfer’s performance, regardless of their skill set or technique.
As a result, a good fitting professional can help just about any golfer make gains in distance, accuracy or both simply by dialing in their equipment. But the process isn’t completely foolproof. There are several common, completely avoidable things I’ve seen golfers do before, during and after a fitting that will compromise their results.
Take note of these 10 things to do (and not to do) before your next fitting, and you’ll be on your way to an enjoyable, productive fitting session.
No. 1: Do Your Homework
The biggest mistake golfers can make is not doing the research necessary to find an accredited club fitter. There are various club fitting resources that enable consumers to find club fitters throughout the United States. One of them, Golf Digest, publishes a list each year including the Top 100 Club Fitters in the US. The list is based on three criteria:
- Location: Must be easily accessible to the public.
- The facility must fit clubs from the top manufacturers.
- The fitter must receive high recommendations from their America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses ratings panelists and industry sources.
Another great way to find a good fitter is to ask your friends, golf league members or even a good player in your area where they were fit and what their experience was like. You can quickly get some honest feedback and make an educated decision on whether or not that particular fitter might be a good option for you.
No. 2: Have Realistic Expectations
Before, during and after your fitting, remind yourself that there are no shortcuts in golf. It’s not realistic to expect 30-or-40-yard distance gains just from changing equipment.
On the other hand, most first-time customers gain around one-to-two clubs of distance from a complete fitting, while also minimizing their common misses. As a result, most customers that do full bag fittings often find themselves hitting two clubs less into greens. Hitting a 7 iron into a green is a lot easier than a 5 iron, right?
No. 3: The Pro Can Wait
I think it’s hugely important for golfers to take lessons to improve their games, but I wouldn’t recommend it immediately before a fitting. Think of it this way: Would you take a lesson the morning of the club championship? Unfortunately, many golfers come to me for a fitting and say:
“Well, I just finished my lesson, so I should be hitting it great.”
I cringe when I hear them say that, because the golfer is typically going to be focused on their swing instead of producing quality shots. It’s important to give your fitter an accurate representation of your game, which means you shouldn’t try to mask your flaws with a lesson immediately beforehand. If you regularly take lessons, a good clubfitter will ask you about your golf goals and what you’re working on. Depending on your situation, he might fit you to new equipment that allows you to grow into the planned advancements in your game.
No. 4: Play Your Game
A good club fitter has worked with golfers of all different abilities, from professionals to people who are just learning how to play golf. What I’m getting at is that they’re not going to be overly impressed or discouraged about your skills, because they’ve seen it all. If you normally hit a fade and, don’t try to use your “draw” swing during the fitting. All you’re doing is getting fit to a swing you don’t normally make.
Even if you think you’re lousy, your swing is likely a lot more consistent than you think. Play your own game to see the most improvement from your new sticks.
No. 5: Gear Up!
A lot of our customers forget to bring their current equipment with them to a fitting, which can be a problem for a fitter. The intention is to find something that is better than your current equipment, right?
That’s why it’s important for a fitter to see the shots you typically hit with your old clubs, as well as the improvement you get from the new gear. Hearing you talk about the shots you hit with your old clubs is helpful, but it’s nowhere near as valuable as being able to analyze the numbers the clubs produce on golf radar.
No. 6: What you see is what you get
It is extremely important when you get fit to make sure you have full visual ball flight whenever possible. Hitting indoors or into a net won’t provide you with the necessary feedback to get a solid overall view of the club.
Golfers often tend to swing slightly different when hitting indoors due to the lack of feedback. Having four walls around a golfer will also change the sound of the ball at impact, which for many players is the main source of “feel.” It often alters their ability to accurately judge if a certain club feels good or not.
Even in our outdoor hitting bays, I will often have players step out of the bay and onto the range to hit a few balls in order to give them an accurate measure of sound. In any fitting, half the equation should always be subjective measures like look and feel. Even if the golf radar results are great, if a golfer hates the looks and feel of the club it’s likely not the one for them.
No. 7: Try The Exact Equipment You’re Getting
It’s important that golfers are able to try the exact club their fitter recommends for them.
Let’s say a golfer wants to try different shafts for his or her driver because theirs is too “spinny.” They head down to their local club fitter with their TaylorMade R11s driver only to find out that the custom fitter only has shafts with TaylorMade’s R1 driver tip. The simple solution is to try some shafts in the R1. Whatever shaft works the best in the R1 should work well in their R11S, right? Wrong!
Most driver heads perform differently with different shafts, even if they’re made by the same company and are only one or two generations apart. The R1 is going to spin less than R11s for most players, and finding a shaft that works well in the R1 means just that–it will work well in R1. Sure, PGA Tour players like Tiger Woods and Adam Scott tend to play the same shafts in their woods year after year, but their drivers are hand-picked to have the loft, face angle and weighting they prefer.
The only way for a golfer to find out what works well for them is to hit the models that they intend to play. There are exceptions to this rule, like when a custom fitter doesn’t have a specific grip, shaft flex or shaft weight, but avoid buying a head/shaft combo that you haven’t tested at all costs.
No. 8: You Can’t Try Everything
It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to hit every club head and shaft combination. A thorough driver fitting session should last around an hour, and typically takes at least 60 balls to dial in the right head and shaft combo. That’s a lot of physical and mental stress packed into an hour, and it’s more stress for golfers who decide to get fit for other clubs on the same day.
That’s why it’s important for you and your fitter to be efficient. Let’s say you wanted to test a Titleist 913 D2 on every setting (there’s 16) and each of Titleist’s six stock shaft options (there’s six not counting the different flex and weight options). If you hit one ball on each setting with each of the different shafts, you’d hit 96 balls, and that’s if you only tested one loft. Typically it takes at least five shots to get a dependable average, so now we’re talking about upwards of 480 shots. If you wanted to try all the different lofts (there’s five) that number swells to 2400 shots, and you haven’t even tried the smaller, lower-spinning D3 model or any aftermarket shafts.
It’s important to try things you’re interested in, but trying everything just isn’t an option for most golfers. Trust that your fitter can recognize what will and won’t work for you, and will tailor your testing accordingly.
No. 9: Embrace The Fall
Getting fit in the fall is an option many golfers overlook. Around that time, the new equipment photos are starting to leak out on GolfWRX. That’s why many golfers want to hold out until the spring, when they can swing the latest and greatest from the manufacturers. But getting fit in the fall actually makes a lot of sense, especially for golfers who live in cold climates.
Here’s why: By fall, most golfer have a full summer of golf under their belt. Their swing is grooved and their game is as sharp as it’s going to get that season. And the fact that the 2013 equipment has dropped significantly in price is another bonus.
Many club fitters’ schedules also slow down in the fall, which means he or she will be able to spend more time with you during your fitting and may let you sneak back onto golf radar for tuneups afterward. I know that new club releases are enticing, but how many of us are sharp for a fitting when there’s still snow on the ground?
No. 10: Just Peg It
So you followed my advice, and now you have new clubs that have you hitting the ball farther, straighter and more consistent. Don’t expect your scores to drop immediately, though. Regardless of how good your golf radar numbers were with the new clubs, it’s going to take a little time to adjust.
A fitting will often allow golfers to hit the ball into places they were unable to reach in the past. Getting used to your new yardages, turf interaction, ball flight and course strategy may take some time. Don’t surprised if you find yourself reaching some hazards or flying some greens you may not have had issues with in the past.
At the end of the day, golf is a game of hard work and patience. New clubs can be a huge help, but it’s still up to you to execute the shots. Take the time to learn the distances each of your new clubs fly and do your best to trust those yardages. Be patient with yourself and your clubs, and you’ll find that the game will start to become more enjoyable.
Leave a Reply
Opinion & Analysis
The best bets for the 2023 Valero Texas Open
Forget the $1.5 million due to the winner. The real prize at the end of this week’s Texas Open will be that last-minute invite to the 87th Masters starting on April 6th.
That payout is also nothing compared to the $3.5 million that Sam Burns copped when winning last night’s World Match Play, or the obvious prestige of what is to come. That has to affect the field this week, and we even lose local hero Jordan Spieth, veteran of seven outings around the San Antonio Oaks course.
The 29-year-old has, of course, an enviable record at Augusta with a win and four top-three finishes, so it’s no surprise he takes a break to prepare for the big one, after seven events since the start of February to prepare for the big one.
That all leaves world number 17 Tyrrell Hatton as clear favourite with his closest challengers (according to the market) being Hideki Matsuyama (#21) Si-Woo Kim (#39) and Corey Conners (#40). Behind there is a host of likely candidates that rank just off that vital top-50, with the likes of Rickie Fowler looking to continue his comeback and qualify for next week’s Masters after being a regular for 10 years straight until 2021.
The course itself ranked in the top third for overall difficulty last season and requires a solid overall game, favouring neither bombers or plodders. All styles have a chance here this week, and many of the past challengers confirm that view.
2016 champion and three-time runner-up Charley Hoffman said, “Tee to green is very visual, shapes with the trees and it’s a tough driving golf course,” whilst 2019 winner and three-time Masters top-10, Corey Conners summed up the test.
“Basically took care of the holes that you need to take care of, the par 5s, and No. 5, a short par 4, I was able to make birdie,” he said. “Other than that, just kept it pretty simple. There’s a few pins that are close to some slopes, so played a little safer on some shots, but struck it really well. So just tried to keep it simple and scored well.”
Wind is the main defence here, and therefore it’s no surprise that all the last four winners show form at the likes of Bay Hill, Waialae, Mayakoba, Hilton Head, and, in the case of Spieth, Conners and Kevin Chappell, at Augusta.
Since moving to its current slot just before the Masters, nobody has defended the Texas Open title, but it looks as if J.J Spaun is ready to strike again after an encouraging display at the Match Play last weekend.
After making his way through the grades, winning on the PGA Tour Canada and the Web.com tour, a misdiagnosis of his diabetes stalled the 32-year-old, and he dropped from just outside of the world’s top 100 to a place closer to 500th. However, in the second half of 2021, he ran up to Grayson Sigg at the Albertsons Boise Open before a top-10 in Bermuda settled the drop.
2022 was another year of progress as he took in four top-30 finishes early in the year – at La Quinta and, more relevantly, at Pebble Beach, Honda and Valspar – before a two-shot victory here. The final half was equally decent with one missed-cut in 10 outings, with top-15 finishes at the Shriners and (again relevant for comp course fans) at Mayakoba and at Sea Island. On top, he led the better-class St. Jude field for every one of the first three rounds before a final round collapse.
The new year has been mixed, with Spaun making the weekend in only half his eight starts. However, those 50 percent take in a fifth place at Kapalua (in second place going into Sunday) and 12th at the Sony, where again he was in the final group for the last round.
Again the 33rd finish at Riviera disguises that he was in the top-10 going into payday and he bounced back again with comfortable victories over Matt Fitzpatrick, Sahith Theegala and Min Woo Lee at Austin last week to head his talented group.
With a solid tee-to-green required this week, be encouraged that he ranked fifth at both his first two efforts this year in Hawaii, whilst his short game has seen him in the top-22 for scrambling in six of his last eight recorded starts.
Coming into this event last year, the Scottsdale resident had three midfield finishes mixed with missed weekends, something very similar to his lead in here this week.
Perhaps inspired by Matt Wallace’s victory in the Dominican Republic last week, Aaron Rai can continue a great run for British golfers following Wallace, David Skinns on the KFT and Georgia Hall’s very nearly come-from-behind effort at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
The 28-year-old stormed to the front rank in Europe after gaining automatic qualification from the Challenge Tour after three wins before the end of July 2017, before beating Matt Fitzpatrick in Hong Kong and Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off for the Scottish Open.
Hopefully that Boise Open is of some relevance, as Rai finished alongside Spaun as runners-up in 2021, letting a one-shot lead slip on Sunday, but still gaining his tour card.
It’s hard to argue against the view that everything since has been very one-paced, but on the pick of his form he has to be of interest here this week, particularly after a strong showing at Sawgrass.
2022 saw Aaron Two-gloves finish top-20 at Mikey, Houston, Canada, Shriners and Houston on the PGA Tour, and when dropped to the DPWT, he finished in the top echelons of the Italian and Irish Opens.
Rai hasn’t set the world alight in 2023 but was just outside the top-20 after round one at the Sony, led the Farmers field after the first round, was a never-nearer 29th at the Genesis, fifth after round one at Bay Hill and went into the final round at Sawgrass in the top five.
It’s going to be about putting it all together the same week, and he comes here after an encouraging top-30 here last year when two rounds of 74 and 73 spoilt the first and third rounds that saw him twice in the top seven.
In an interview after his first round 67 last season, Rai admitted it was useful to know the course:
” I think putting together how the course is on the Tuesday and having in mind how the course is going to change and I think that’s where it’s very good asking questions and speaking to people who have been here for a long time. So those are the most important things for me.”
Over the last three months, Rai ranks top-10 for driving accuracy, 11th for ball-striking, 10th for greens, and top-20 for tee-to-green at all of Riviera, Pebble Beach and Sawgrass. Perfectly able to find the short stuff in the wind, it’s clear that the flat stick is the one thing holding him back, but any improvement allied to those sharp stats will see him right there on Sunday.
Although always tempted by the younger, unexposed brigade, I’ll finish this week with two stalwarts.
First up is former top-class major contender Kevin Chappell, who was put up at 90/1 for the Corales last week, did nothing wrong and is now a much bigger price!
Formally 23rd in the world, the 36-year-old has dropped to outside the top 600 but has dropped hints over the last three weeks that he may be approaching the play that won the Texas Open, run-up at Sawgrass, and finish top-10 in four majors.
Since his body broke down in 2018, golf has been a struggle, and he has not recorded a top 10 since the CIMB in October of that year. However, after missing nine of his last 10 cuts, the Californian resident has improved to 29th at Palm Beach Gardens (round positions 84/48/50/29) and 15th at Puerto Rico (47/54/33/15).
Strokes gained were positive throughout at the Honda, and he ended up almost repeating his 2022 effort at the Corales, finishing one place worse, in 16th place.
Given his efforts also at the Honda (13th), here (18th) and Barbasol (21st) in the recent past, we need to heed any nudge that Chappell has made his way back.
Now on a run of 16/15/29 it appears that the four-time major top-ten player is over his near career-ending surgery, and he returns to San Antonio after a career record that reads one win, one runner-up, fourth, 15th and 18th.
With nine of his last 12 rounds being 70 or under, and none worse than 72, quotes in triple figures border on the insulting.
We don’t see many teenage ‘Kevin’s these days, so there is no shock in finding the final selection is in his 40s.
Rather like his namesake, Streels has been in the doldrums, and whilst his return to form is not as obvious as Chappell’s, it’s worth jumping on the positive parts of his resumé from the past 14 months or so, again returning to a favoured track.
Another with back-form that gives him a serious shout – top-three finishes at the Farmers, Sawgrass, Pebble Beach, Bay Hill and Harbour Town – he also backs it up with consistent form at Summerlin, home of the Shriners (amongst other titles), an event won twice by 2013 Texas champ, Martin Laird.
Monday morning back to work!!!
?@PGATOUR? ?@attproam? pic.twitter.com/Q0YQSd4kEq
— Kevin Streelman (@Streels54) February 6, 2023
While the 44-year-old has dropped well outside the world’s top-100, it’s noteworthy that he can still post top finishes and has recorded nine top-10 finishes over the last couple of years, including second-places at Bay Hill and River Highlands and a third at Silverado.
2021 saw several top-15s that incorporate Bay Hill (again), Wyndham, Match Play and at top-20 finishes at three of the four majors, whilst last season found him posting runner-up at the Barbasol, seventh at Valspar, and top-20s at Shriners, Honda and here, at the Texas Open.
Suddenly the results look far better than at first glance and many of his final figures tend to hide some decent play.
Since October ’22, Streelman was in 10th at the halfway point at the Sanderson, sixth going into Sunday at the RSM, 14th after round one at Riviera and made his way from 85th after day one at the Valspar to lie top-20 after the third round.
He’ll pick and choose his events but he’s still got fire in his belly, posting his best iron play for a while at Innisbrook last time out, and he’s back at a course that he’s played eight times, racking up every cut, an average position of around 21st and posting last three years finishes of 18/6/8.
- J.J Spaun WIN
- Aaron Rai WIN/TOP-5
- Kevin Chappell – WIN/TOP-5
- Kevin Streelman – WIN/TOP-5
- Kevin Streelman – Top-20
Opinion & Analysis
2023 PGA Championship: Interview with Jeff Corcoran, GCS
As ticket-holders exit their shuttles and enter the main gate to Oak Hill Country Club this May, their eyes will be attracted to so many sights. The 100-year old, Tudor-style clubhouse, designed by Thompson, Holmes, and Converse (of New Tammany Hall fame in New York City) catches and holds many glances. The market boardwalk will feature emporia of food, drink, and memories, all featuring the designs and flair of marketing teams. It’s a lot to take in.
Most attendees won’t enter the clubhouse, and their time along the merchandise promenade will be restricted to acquisition of souvenirs and sustenance. The majority of their time will be spent in the rough, adjacent to tees, greens, and fairways. Their eyes will roll across the hills of Pittsford’s jewel, but they might be forgiven if they don’t consider exactly how the course and surrounds came to reach this pinnacle of preparation.
Fortunately for them, we’ve tracked down the gentleman who knows more about Oak Hill’s preparation than any other. Mr. Jeff Corcoran is the Manager of Golf Courses and Grounds at the venerated New York state club.
GolfWRX: Tell us a bit about the re-invention of the fifth hole. What sort of hole did it replace, and how does it join itself to the course’s Donald Ross roots?
Corcoran: Our game plan doesn’t really change at all based upon the temperature. There are inherent agronomic aspects that need to happen to be successful, and some of that depends on the temperature and some of it doesn’t. Our focus is to plan for those aspects that we can control, and have a plan to react to any variables that are throw at us as we prepare.
GolfWRX: What question haven’t I asked, that you would love to answer? Please ask it and answer it. Thank you for your time.
The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?
I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.
What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.
I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.
Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.
It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.
Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.
The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.
But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.
More from the Wedge Guy
- The Wedge Guy: It’s not all about distance
- The Wedge Guy: Are you really willing to get better at golf?
- The Wedge Guy: Anatomy of a wedge head
Ian Poulter opens up on “tough times” that followed LIV Golf announcement
Morning 9: PGA Tour’s designated event revamp | PIP changes | LIV and pros react | Bay Hill photos
Tiger Woods WITB 2023 (February)
Tom Kim WITB 2023 (February)
Tom Doak brings High Pointe back in 2024
Jason Dufner WITB 2023 (March)
Darius Rucker WITB 2023 (February)
Brett White WITB 2023 (February)
Chez Reavie WITB 2023 (February)
Stewart Cink WITB 2023 (March)
Rickie Fowler WITB 2023 (March)
Rickie Fowler what’s in the bag accurate as of the Valero Texas Open. More photos from the event here. Driver:...
S.H. Kim WITB 2023 (March)
S.H. Kim what’s in the bag accurate as of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. More photos from the event here. Driver:...
WITB Time Machine: Jordan Spieth’s winning WITB at the 2021 Valero Texas Open
At the 2021 Valero Texas Open, Jordan Spieth fired a final-round 66 for an 18 under total and a two-stroke...
Davis Riley WITB 2023 (February)
Davis Riley what’s in the bag accurate as of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. More photos from the event here. Driver:...
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Brett White WITB 2023 (February)
Whats in the Bag3 weeks ago
Andrew Putnam WITB 2023 (March)
Whats in the Bag1 week ago
William McGirt WITB 2023 (March)
Whats in the Bag3 weeks ago
Jordan Spieth WITB 2023 (March)
Equipment2 weeks ago
Miura announces mid-size cavity back CB-302 forged irons
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Aaron Rai WITB 2023 (March)
News2 weeks ago
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (3/17/23): Bettinardi BB28 putter
19th Hole3 days ago
The current average driving distance of men and women amateur golfers by age and handicap
Dec 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm
These are my comments based on what I have learned regarding fitting:
Money drives golf, money drives everything here in the good old USA.
So why would anyone be amazed that money drives golf equipment and the industry involved with golf equipment.
I’m new to this club fitting industry, 10 years now, and know diddly squat compared to the gurus here that even I am in awe of when they produce an equation that I can really follow and understand, much more get something out if it for my customers. My hats off to them always.
I have fitted golfers/hackers/duffers/high handicappers almost exclusively since day one simply because 90-95% of all golfers fall into this category. At 63 years of age, they are my ‘peeps’.
According to the PGA the average round of golf is still @ 100. So equipment has not helped the average golfer at all except to lighten their wallets.
What I have seen help golfers that I have built clubs for is what has made a second pass these days. It’s the idea that the standard half inch increment per club is/was wrong for the ‘average’ golfer. This goes back to that 50-70 year old ’38-24 rule’. Don’t know where it came from but back in the late 70’s/early 80’s when I first got interested in working on clubs just for fun, it was told me by a pro at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. It’s simple. The average hacker (the 90-95% group) cannot regularly hit a ball consistently with a club over 38 inches in length or with less loft than 24 degrees. Hitting consistently is meant to mean hitting a specific club a specific distance and straight (within a 10 yard right or left of dead center of the fairway). And it’s true still today! Now isn’t that amazing? (Sure if you are 6 foot 6 inches you would require a longer club. We’re talking about the average height golfer.)
Once you weed out past/present/future pros-semipros-college athletes-high school athletes-club pros-students in a pga program; you, end up with the 90-95% percent of golfers (men and women).
I build one club for a person and then send them off for lessons at a really great place here in Arlington Texas. They return with a write up of their results and I tweak the club and have them hit a small bucket of balls and send them back. After 2 lessons and one club built for their ability they are hitting the ball so well they are smiling like a possum eating poop. We then talk about what clubs they really need, not want, and which clubs will help them score the best without putting them into debt for life. Some times I just continue building one club at a time till they feel like they have all distances covered.
It’s not the name brand that makes a good golf swing or game or score. It’s having a person understand their limits, accept those limits, understand their possible scoring accomplishments down the road and having them learn to play golf with the mind as much as with the body. Teach them to take a shot so that the ball ends up where the next preferred shot will be taken from instead of just standing up there and taking a swing at it. This in no way means a high dollar club won’t help a person with a good to great swing and the means to afford a more expensive set of clubs. But this person is in the minority of the 95%. There are always a bunch of guys or gals that just swing naturally and hit the ball better than the rest. Who knows why? In my opinion they are just natural athletes that have a golf club in their hands at the moment.
Bubba Watson said a while back that the club head is the least important part of the club for weekend players. The actual size of the grip fitting your hands in a comfortable manner so that you felt you had control of the club was number one, next was a shaft that was correct for your swing speed and physical ability. He said if these two were correct that any brand would do since these days manufacturing is so close from one to the other that a hacker/weekend player would never be able to feel or tell the difference and performance would not differ.
Same thing for spining and puring, the weekend hobbyist would never feel it until they have a grooved swing they can repeat and can hit the ball with excellent results. And even then they may not feel anything. They may notice straighter shots from time to time and even some greater distance at times. But the average weekend player does not have a swing they can repeat over and over again. That’s why they are high handicappers. And that’s okay, most golfers really are in the 95% group. It’s okay.
A pro? Sure they would/could appreciate and feel the difference, maybe.
According to a club fitting vendor that does puring, Tiger Woods was given several sets, 2 had been pured. He chose two sets that he said felt/hit best, one was a pured set, one was not. So? Here is Tiger Woods and he could not pick out the two pured sets. But for the vast majority of golfers that want to play and enjoy the game, they would never know if it’s a ping or a callaway. They’d only know it was a good or bad shot.
I’m always reading, asking, looking for the best info on golf equipment and places like this forum are great. I just can’t imagine them not being here for the masses to read. You do a great job for golf.
Nov 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm
First off, while I tend to agree that being fitted is not( at every players point an time) worthwhile, I do believe that for most or all individuals who aspire to learn an perform better that it has merit!
The beginner who is just learning needs proper instruction first an foremost before ever considering a fitting. Like what I believe most commenters are saying, unless you work on your game an put in the time a effort a fitting is not going to cure your swing ills. However, for those who like me started out as a 20+ handicap an has continued to read an study an practice the game! I do believe a crossover occurs where the fitting is warranted.
Earlier this year I was fitted(by Pete Farner) who wrote this article. I learned a great deal during this fitting an I did select new irons an a new hybrid. My handicap has gone from a 12 to a 9. Would I say it is all due to the fitting? No, but I also know that once Pete provided the fitting it gave me the confidence to know that I had the proper club in my hands based on my current swing tendencies. My faults were minimized as well(dispersion of my shots) an I am more consistent with my swing.
I truly believe like many people, that we are not able to be knowledgeable in everything an I see fitters as the experts to help individuals like myself! I found the investment to be worthwhile an if through continued effort on my part( time and more lessons) I feel a need for a new set again, I would certainly make the investment again!
For what it is worth, Pete was great to work with an I would highly recommend him!
Oct 16, 2013 at 4:18 am
Hi, I work at FlightScope. We have a map called “Find a FlightScope near you”. Here’s the link if you’d like to have a look – http://flightscope.com/index.php/component/option,com_phocamaps/Itemid,83/id,1/view,map/
Sep 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm
Great article. Thanks for emphasizing bringing your current clubs to the fitting. I do about 250 fittings on average per year and at least 20% don’t bring their current clubs, which makes it difficult to know whether or not we are really accomplishing our goals.
Also, thanks to the last commenter about committing to a new set of clubs.
Sep 27, 2013 at 5:50 am
I’ve been suffering from an elbow injury for many months, and my doctor’s advice was quite simple : either stop playing golf for at least 6 months, or switch to graphite shafts. However, none of the “off the shelf” clubs with graphite shafts worked for me (feel, ball flight way to high, …), so scheduled a 2h fitting with the thought of finding the ideal graphite shaft to put into my Ping i20s – was thinking Aerotech Steelfiber, or some other high-end graphite iron shafts
The fitting itself was an eye opening experience on many fronts. First one was that even though I’d been fitted for the i20s at a big brand golf retailer, the both lie angle and club length were still off. Second surprise was that the clubhead characteristics on the Ping i20 were all wrong for me, independent of shaft (backspin way too high, smash factor too low, …). Third surprise was the impact shaft flex, weight, shaft kickpoint, … have on overall club performance.
I ended up ordering a set of clubs with slightly smaller head, less offset, and a significantly lighter shaft than what I had before, and given the clubs were on sale and the fitter gave me a good price on my i20s, the total cost was less than if I’d just put the graphite shafts in my existing clubs.
The lofts on the new clubs are stronger than my older ones, but I’ve still gained over 1.5 club lengths comparing a 6 iron in the new clubs to a 5 iron in the old ones (now shoot an 8-iron on a par 3 where I used to be between a 5 and a 6 iron), with a significantly better ball flight and obviously less strain on my elbow.
One final point : if the results of a club fitting is a set that’s completely different from what you had in mind (as it was in my case), you have to be open minded about it, and you have to commit to the new clubs – it took me 6-8 rounds and quite a few range sessions before I was really seeing the benefits of the new clubs.
Sep 27, 2013 at 4:38 am
Nick Faldo said something along the lines – you know if a club is wrong after 5 swings. No need to try to force something to work 🙂
I feel for you Soul.
Sep 27, 2013 at 1:34 am
Hmm I guess I’m just not sold on club fitting. I’ve said this before on another post, I believe it’s just another sales ploy. I remember 20 years ago when I took up the game club fitters would honestly tell you a player couldn’t really be fit until they developed a consistent swing. The thing is once you develop a consistent swing you can or at least should be able to fit yourself simply from knowing what feels good and what to look for. Just out of curiosity I got on a launch monitor to see what my numbers where on the driver I selected through feel and visual reference. It only backed up what I already knew. Club head speed averaged 112, ball speed 166, launch angle 12 degrees, spin rate about 2300, average carry 280, average total 305. I feel the launch monitor exaggerated those last two numbers but they are close to what I see on the course. My point I knew that driver was right for me with out a fitter and the launch monitor only backed it up. I seriously doubt any fitter could improve on that!
Sep 27, 2013 at 10:22 am
Sounds like you have a pretty good swing, if you were a high to mid handy and were in the market for a new set as you are using clubs that are 20 years old (blade or CB) you wouldn’t want some help with purchasing a new set? Talking with A CPGA pro I know had a customer come in that suffered from the Duck Hooks (quack!) his swing was had a severe inside to out move with a lower swing speed. his club had a mature (lite) shaft in it, the only way to get rid of the quack hook was to put a stiff shaft in it. id say in this case the fitting worked as I would assume that most shops including myself would have put this individual in a lite flex shaft just based on swing speed.
Sep 28, 2013 at 12:43 am
TJ I guess I’m just expecting anyone who’s serious enough about the game to consider a custom fitting to take the time to read the articles on different equipment and how it affects ball flight. That’s what I did when I was new to the game. I remember having a driver that was really ballooning on me and wondering why. I read an article on how shafts affect ball flight. I learned shafts have different kick points and heavier shafts tend to reduce spin. From that I had my driver re-shafted with a Graphite Design YS-7 at the time a real high end shaft. It had a high kick point to bring down launch and was an upper 70 gram shaft to bring down spin, it transformed that driver and I loved it for a long time. Probably around that same time I read an article from some pro I don’t recall who that said he only gives a club 7 swings if he doesn’t like it he moves on to the next. His reasoning was if you swing a club much more than that you’ll begin to adjust your swing to that club. I’ve used that same method ever since. And from what you said about the guy with the quacks I’m not a bit surprised they put him in a stiff that’s what I would expect based on the fact he had a light senior shaft. It sounds like he was probably flipping his hands and the stiffer shaft slowed the club head down.
Sep 27, 2013 at 5:52 pm
Are you seriously that naive. You may one of the select few who can just pick up a stock club and play a great game and have great numbers on trackman. BUT, the 99 percent of golfers would benefit from a professional fitting. Height and wrist to floor measurement are almost always different for every golfer. So lets just say that every golfer has the perfect swing, the length and lie angle would still need to be adjusted to fit properly. The best players in the world get custom fit for every single club in the bag. Dont you think if anyone can tell based of feel alone, the professionals would be the ones to do this. Every pro also has clubs based on their height, wrist to floor measurement, and swing characteristics. You may be good enough to pick a club and make it work for your swing and tell which one feels best and therefore produce pretty good numbers. But if a pga touring professional wants to be measured to find the correct length shaft and lie angle, I will probably benefit from the same custom fitting even more due to more swing flaws and less eye hand coordination.
Sep 28, 2013 at 12:09 am
Andy I’m hardly naïve and was getting ready to point out the same thing Radar commented on below. Actually most pro’s don’t select their equipment from using trackman, or whatever other radar ball flight systems there are. Most actually use the 10 swings or less method. Basically if they don’t like what they see within 10 swings or less they 86 that club and go to the next. Now I will point out that off the rack equipment fits me pretty well since I’m 5’11” with a normal arm length and hand size but only people significantly shorter or taller will be adversely affected much by standard length, loft, and lie equipment. And like the pro’s I don’t pick a club and make it work for my swing it either fits my swing or it doesn’t and if I don’t like it within 7 swings I move on to the next. I think the point I’m trying to make is people want to believe they can buy a game instead of practicing the right way and if a fitter putts them in equipment that promotes a flawed swing he’s really doing them a disservice!
Sep 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm
I fully agree with this. Sorry for my harsh words, but all these hacks are getting fitted, if you are a 20 handiacapper you are not going to be 10 just because you got fitted, you will stay the same 20, that is how it is. Lessons will make you imrpove your handicap and practice after you take the lessons and know exactly what you are doing wrong. Hitting 1000 balls on the range with an incorrect move will not make you any better. Might as well make 1000 putts that will bring down anyone’s handicap.
Fitting is a huge marketing game. I’ve done that mistake once, i got fitted before i took lessons. I got WORSE. The fitter put my driver into a draw setting, to what they call it “help” my fade. Well my good swings started hooking and then i changed my swing to accomodate then. I got sick of spraying the ball all over, took 3 lessons went from shooting all oover the place to consisntely being in the high 70s to low 80s.
GET LESSONS, thats all there is to it. Get fit after.
If anyone wanna prove me wrong, show me anyone who went from 20 to even 15 after a fitting.
Sep 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Thanks Alex you validated my point. A high handicapper simply can’t be fit because their swing is so inconsistent. Say they show up at the fitter swinging a certain way that day, the fitter determines based on how much the toe of their club is digging they need clubs 2 degrees upright. By the time they get their new clubs in the mail due to their inconsistency they don’t realize they’re standing an inch farther away from the ball or they’re dipping more now on the down swing. Now suddenly they’re new clubs are too upright. Even the pro’s swings change a little over time but it’s minor compared to your average 20 plus handicapper. What so many of these high handicappers want to believe is a custom fitting will be that magic in a bottle but its not and never will be. Yes the pro’s get fit because they’re playing for they’re lively hood and the couple of feet closer to the pin of custom fit set makes for them really matters but a custom fitting won’t correct a 30 yard over the top slice and won’t make the difference from not hitting the green to hitting the green. Your right if someone truly wants to get better then they need to take lessons and practice but now a days people are so lazy they look for technology to do the work when it comes to everything. I’m afraid technology maxed out when it comes to golf equipment a little over ten years ago and if anyone doesn’t believe that then just check the stats over the last 15 years on the PGA tour. It’s funny how with every new driver introduction from Taylor Made they claim 5, 10, 17 more yards but yet the average driving distance on tour has actually gone down a little over the last 5 years and the longest average for a season was all the way back in 2004 thanks to Hank Kuene averaging 324. The truth sometimes hurts but you ain’t gonna get it from the big OEM’s or the guys they pay millions to endorse their equipment!
Oct 22, 2013 at 8:12 am
A good fitter will pick out several options based on the golfers needs and then the golfer takes some swings with each to see which feel best. From there you can see the numbers and compare models. The pros may put a lot of emphasis on look and feel, but they know the numbers and make decisions based on them. Not to mention the fitting is more than just getting the best swing speed and spin rate. Once the best feeling and most efficient clubs are chosen the length, lie and grip size are adjusted to fit the individuals measurements. Lofts are also adjusted to fill distance gaps. Trackman is only piece of the fitting. Being properly fit is also on piece of total game improvement.
Sep 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm
so what im hearing is that in a driver fitting i need to have the exact model i want decided before i even start.
if thats the case, i wont bother…
Sep 27, 2013 at 12:40 am
I would agree with you that it’s silly to only try one manufacturer’s clubs!
BUT… I don’t think that’s what they intended by the “You Can’t Try Everything” section. It was stating it would be impossible to try every driver permutation from one manufacturer, and that you should trust your fitter to narrow down the variables you end up trying across manufacturers.
Sep 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm
#2: Often hitting two clubs less into par 4s!!!!!!!
What is realistic about that?
Sep 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm
I think you are a little quick to criticize. The author states: “Another great way to find a good fitter is to ask your friends, golf league members or even a good player in your area where they were fit and what their experience was like. You can quickly get some honest feedback and make an educated decision on whether or not that particular fitter might be a good option for you…”
So it would seem that the three fitters in your area you refer to might fall into that category?
Mr. Farner never says it’s essential for the fitter to be associated to a top rated course. He says this is how Golf Digest assesses the Top 100 Fitters, which is ONE source the golfer may use to determine a fitter to meet his or her needs.
Sep 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Wow!!! What a bunch of elitest B. S. I am really said to see that $$$ has gotten in the way of what I use to consider a wonderful place for information about golf equipment. Top rated courses in america to find a good fitter!!! Get real, I can find about three in my area who work from their a small shop and have oem accounts. Get over your self wrx and stop acting like a bunch of elitest snobs!!!
Sep 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm
First of all, the article clearly stated that GOLf DIGEST selected a list of top fitters, not WRX. WRX simply is writing a story about club fitting and referenced a place to find out where great club fitters are located. They then listed the criteria Golf Digest uses. I also dont think they meant the fitter had to be at a top 100 rated course. They stated that the list is selected by the same panelist and industry sources that selects the top 100 courses. Golf WRX is still a great place to find out new and useful information about golf. Yes, it has grown and changed over the years, but it has been for the overall well being of the website and golf lovers. Their are still great articles and resources about custom fitters and clubs that are not mainstream. Hell, Tom Wishon is a main contributor and he is not an OEM elitist fitter at all. He sells his own brand of clubs, which however well fitted or customized for me, I would never play nor buy. (Wishon is still and encyclopedia of club knowledge) Call me elitist on that, but not Golf WRX.
Sep 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm
What does “The facility must fit clubs from the top manufacturers.” mean?
If someone is fitting and building custom clubs with good quality components, say Wishon, but doesn’t have an account with the major OEMs – can they qualify as a top fitter on the Golf Digest list?
Sep 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm
Sep 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm
I did an iron fitting recently… I got the shanks during it… it was a waste of money, I just got so nervous…. it was unbelievable
Sep 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm
I did a driver fitting in 10 minutes. guy had me pegged right away, 913 d3 ahina stiff. i have never hit the ball so well in my life. fitted on a launch monitor indoors into a screen. i have played enough indoor that i don’t ease up like a lot of people do. and feel was great indoor and out.
Sep 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm
sorry to hear that
Sep 27, 2013 at 1:03 am
I was telling the fitter “i swear its not like this on the course” if i could read his mind it’d like “sure buddy”
Sep 27, 2013 at 10:05 am
you nailed it.
I fully understand though as I get the shanks once in a while, while practicing pitches, “They don’t make grooves on the hosel”