Golf Articles

Clubfitting: Why you may never buy off the rack again!

Clubfitting and golf instruction technology has come a long way over the years. What was once the domain of elite touring professionals has slowly trickled down to the masses, allowing golfers of all levels to benefit from sports science’s most exciting breakthroughs.

With the aid of launch monitors, video cameras, advanced computer programs and motion capture technology, you can now see—in minute detail—exactly what is happening during every microsecond of your swing.  From things like swing path to clubhead speed to impact angle and swing “efficiency”, new golf clubfitting technology can uncover the nuances of a swing that could not be caught by the naked eye.  And while all this information may be a bit much to wrap your head around, when placed in the hands of an experienced PGA teaching professional or clubfitter, it can have an amazing impact on your game.

Even just getting a single club properly fitted to your game – like a driver, fairway wood or wedge—can make a massive difference in your score. Especially if the gear that you are currently using isn’t properly suited to your own game and/or swing.

Perhaps your shafts are too stiff, or the lie on your irons isn’t upright enough, or you have a specific gap in your wedge or hybrid distances, or your grips might even need a double-wrap of tape underneath. Each one of these things can shave strokes off your score.

Clubfitting technology has come so far that you can even make sure that the brand and model of golf ball you use is suited for your particular game.

And let’s not forget the most important club in the bag: the putter.

For many golfers, buying a putter is often done “off the rack”, or based on the advice/success of a mate, often with little or no real fitting or practice. The putter may work for a while, then somehow lose its magic – later being relegated to the closet with a dozen other has-beens.

Matching a putter to your stroke requires careful examination.  An ill-suited putter can actually reduce your chances of sinking putts, especially if it is the wrong type for your swing.  A trained PGA Professional, for example, can immediately determine whether you need a face-balanced, heel-toe weighted, or toe-weighted putter, the proper head weight, shaft balance, grip size and even overall length of the putter. If any one of those is off (or incorrectly modified), it can affect the putter’s success.

So it’s a foregone conclusion that we should all be using equipment that has been correctly fitted for our game, rather than just grabbing a set off the rack or purchasing a set online.  Using “stock standard” clubs off the rack is like everyone buying size-9 shoes — you’d be lucky to get ones that actually fit. (And as for buying clubs online…well, if you haven’t been burned by a counterfeit or dodgy set of knock-offs yet, it will just be a matter of time before your wallet gets cleaned.)

Regardless of your gender, age or skill, having fitting clubs can help make golf easier and more enjoyable. The benefits in having a fitting session, with a fitting system offering comprehensive fitting options, can be significant to all golfers, regardless of golfing ability. Also, the great news is that ladies and teenagers, for example, can now experience a comprehensive fitting process, by trying several different shaft flexes, lengths, lofts and lie angles.

As many of my long-time readers will know, I personally have been through a number of clubfittings, and I have learned a tremendous amount about my game during each session, and my game has gotten progressively better as a result. Working with PGA Professionals, I’ve changed putterhead types (the mallet was ill-suited to my stroke style), ball brands, driver shaft flexes and a number of weight/loft adjustments to really dial-in my game.

In truth, I would never, EVER buy a club off the rack again. And nor should you.

And if you’re wondering if getting fit should be done before or after any major swing changes, then rest assured that your PGA Pro can help you out with that as well. Modern equipment can really make up for a lot of the common swing faults or weaknesses that affect today’s golfers.  You might find that you need a lesson or two in combination with a clubfitting. Just ask the pro!

So where can you go to get fit?

If you’re ready to take the next step in your game, and get fit for a set of clubs, then look no further than your club’s PGA professional.  At the end of the day, few people know your game better than your local Pro, so he or she can definitely get you prepared for a quality fitting. They can objectively determine which brand of clubs can best suit your game, and can help you make the right decisions to improve your game.

In addition—and this is a critical point—a PGA Professional has the knowledge and experience to understand how a club can affect your golf swing. From different swing weights, to shaft flexes and everything in between, the club itself can actually affect your golf swing.

Best of all, you will have the confidence of knowing that your Pro is committed to making sure that you are completely happy with your new set. After all, it’s their job to help you get better at golf. And they will see your face each week as you come in after your regular comp or social round—so they will aim to make sure it’s a smiling face, not a frowning one!

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