Years ago, there were local club makers that could tweak your clubs for you. Although they still exist most people don’t wait to tweak their clubs, they get them ordered to fit right from the start. The idea of getting a custom fitting is being sold to any and all types of golfers. The question is, is it really necessary for everyone? Getting custom fitted for golf clubs can tell you if you need standard length clubs, what the lie and loft should be for each club, the grip size and type, the shaft specifications and quite a bit more. The process is highly technical and can be costly. So, who really needs this process and why?
Beginner Golfers: Any decent teaching professional can tell you that when a person starts playing golf, they cannot swing the club the same way every time. Professional golfers cannot swing the club the same way every time, but they come relatively close. The differences between each individual swing that a new golfer takes are extreme. The path is different, the tempo is different and that is part of what makes picking up this sport so difficult. So, for a beginner golfer to go get on a Trackman and take 17 completely different swings really makes no sense. There will be no conclusive data (aside from what the salesman might tell you). If a beginner has not bought clubs yet and they are 6’5” they may want to look into something a bit longer but outside of that custom fitting for beginner golfers is money that should be spent on a lesson. Get a solid, forgiving, quality set. Choose a set that has less clubs but higher quality. You do not need 14 clubs in your bag as a beginner, they will likely all go the same distance for a little while anyway!
Average Golfer: The average golfer is somebody who can break 100 but rarely breaks 90. These guys are playing most weekends and having fun with their friends. They may have clubs that are a few years old that they bought directly off the shelf. There could be things that are really wrong with the clubs as far as fitting them properly (mostly shaft flex) but overall the clubs do the job. Most of these players think back to the days when their Dad literally sawed his old 7-iron in half to help them get out there and learn. The idea of custom fitting seems kind of ridiculous, but is it?
The average golfer that truly enjoys this game and wants to get better should absolutely pay for a custom fitting. Any custom fitter will tell you that this is the group of people where they really see drastic changes in equipment when they come in for a fitting. This is where you will get the guy who is 5’9” playing clubs he had extended an inch and a half because he felt he was bending over too much. The same group of people who swing an extra stiff shaft because they thought the regular shaft was causing a slice. Turns out they actually need the regular shaft and a lighter one at that to be able to release the club and hit a draw. Sometimes these fittings will be inconclusive as well but the majority of them will result in some positive information about purchasing clubs moving forward.
The Players: These are the guys that are good. The Blue Tee Players. The ones that are always looking for a way to get a shot or two off their game. These shots are hard to come by as you get better and better and that is why the Players without a doubt need to be custom fitted. Their tweaks will be small, there will be slight lie angle changes and an extra wrap of tape on a shaft that is 5 grams heavier but they are changes that will matter. There is no question that the Players need to get on a Trackman every year or so and try out new equipment to see if it can help their game at all. All good players will tell you that golf is an expensive sport but it gets even more expensive as you get better. Sometimes the difference between last year’s wedge and this year’s can really turn a 76 into a 71 and that is a big deal. The most important thing for Players to look at when it comes to fitting is Dispersion. Most of the time this category of golfers can hit the ball decently far. When you try out a new club/shaft and your misses start to get narrower, you are finding the right club for you.
One interesting thing about fitting that does not get talked about enough or given enough attention at all is putter fitting. People seem to justify the pricing for fitting when it comes to a set of irons or a driver. Swing speed and lie angle and face angle and ball speed are all really important, but what about that club that takes up 40% of your strokes. There is more that goes into a putter fitting than most golfers realize length, loft, lie angle, grip size, overall weight, balance, toe hang (who knew?) and style. That’s quite a bit of information and each thing is just as important as the next. When you leave your Driver fitting and head to the 19th hole you can talk about your 125 MPH swing speed and how you need the X Stiff Tour Shaft put in your new Driver. Let’s face it, it’s not as impressive to come out of a putter fitting and tell your buddies, “I’m left eye dominant, with a pronounced arc so I’m going to go with the putter with a slight to moderate toe hang.” The thing is, if you miss that putter fitting you may be buying the drinks!
Let us know your thoughts on custom fitting. Did it help your game? Did you end up dropping a few shots or did it make no difference at all?