Is Club fitting a necessity?
Largely ignored and often overlooked by most golfers is the need to be equipped with the right set of clubs and fitted to the right length and specs. Yes, buying golf clubs is just like buying a pair of shoes or purchasing a new suit, not every set of clubs is tailored to your game and most important once you have the right clubs do they fit? It is just incredible that we still see players visit retail stores, perhaps inspired by a television ad or a friend’s suggestion and plop down $500 to $1,800 for a set of irons without even testing them. Yet, it is affordable and sometimes included in the price of the club, to obtain an unbiased opinion from a qualified club fitting professional as to what really should be the right club for you and have it fit to the right specs.
Brian Thomsen, Club-Fitting Services Manager at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens agrees; Club fitting is necessity. A tour player with all the talent can just about play with any clubs and they get paid top money to do this. However; amateurs need specific clubs depending upon other factors such a swing speed, handicap index, frequency of play, etc. Brian comes to PGA National after spending 10 years on TOUR fitting the best players in the world.
When customers come to my shop I start the fitting process by telling them to bring their current clubs. I measure length, lie and flexibility of irons and woods on a frequency cycle machine to determine if they can still use their own equipment or if any changes are needed to make their current equipment fully operational. Depending on the individual I may recommend to change to a different golf shaft on a driver or if needed I could recommend another driver based on my findings. My priority is to fit the player with the best equipment for their needs, I don’t necessarily need to sell them golf clubs. In fact; half of my customers have already purchased new equipment they can not properly hit; it is my duty to have this customers tailor fitted to their new equipment. The importance here is that customers will walk out of here with just some minor adjustments and having spent $60 to $80, and of course in some cases yes… the customer with the wrong equipment will be guided as to why his/hers equipment is not suitable for their game and be recommended the right stuff. My guarantee is a big smile the next time you play a round of golf.
Even the most untrained sales clerk at a sporting-goods store will direct golfers to models with generally appropriate characteristics, such as stiffer shafts for fast swingers and whippier shafts for slower swingers. All you have to do is ask…They will also nudge higher handicap players toward irons with bigger, more forgiving club heads and drivers that get the ball airborne easily. In more advanced sessions, the fitter will watch customers hit balls, either indoors in a hitting bay or outdoors at a range, and custom order clubs with just the right length, grip size, shaft flexibility and lie angle. Golf clubs are made under certain manufacturer standards and more often these standards fail to meet a specific player’s needs. It will be nearly impossible for a manufacturer to custom make clubs for players.
In fact, most experts will agree that “Any fitting is better than no fitting” Bill Baldwin Store owner Planet Golf in South Miami told us last week. Titleist, Taylormade, Ping, Callaway and most club makers provide a fitting cart, with sample heads and shafts, to teaching pros that sell its clubs and train them in how the system works. “Club fitting is more important than anything else because with the wrong fit you will not able to use the equipment properly”.
We had one of our staff members adjusted his old clubs and the changes were noticed especially in his wedges. First, the lofts and lies of the current wedges were off, possibly from getting banged around over the two years he had played them. Second, the technician recommended taking the seldom-used four iron out of his bag and replace it with a third sand wedge, to give more scoring accuracy from inside 120 yards. The driver head was fine but the shaft was too stiff for his ball flight and swing speed. A new shaft was recommended and installed, after the changes our employee spent $300 (compared to $ 1,200 + by purchasing a new set) and the gains will last for years.
We offer these details not because they are relevant to anyone else particular fitting needs, but to illustrate the types of issues a good fitting can address. One of the main benefits of club fitting is peace of mind. A player will go out there and worry about the swing, about the lie, wind and climatic conditions but for sure will not have to worry about the equipment