CUSTOM FITTED OR
Let me start by saying this, you can play good and enjoyable golf with golf clubs that are not custom fitted. In an ideal world however i'd be absolutely confident in saying that every golfer would benefit from golf clubs that are custom fitted to some degree. As you may know there's many facets to custom fitting a golfer, for instance length of club as well as lie angle are of absolute importance to the golfer. A golfer of 6 foot 4" would be highly unlikely to perform to optimal using a standard length set of golf clubs (there is no standard specifications for golf clubs throughout the industry, however each manufacturer will designate their own 'standard' specifications throughout their own particular models). Lie angle can affect initial direction of the golf ball, and length of the golf club can affect speed of the golf club, as well as the ability to strike the golf club efficiently; can you see why i'd say these two facets of custom fitting are of absolute importance now?
Over the years in the golf industry (and there's been a fair few of them, 20 in fact) I have learnt and understood more and more about custom fitting through what i like to call being on the 'front line'. Having fitted thousands of golfers there's one thing that i've noticed throughout every session. Every golfer has an awareness about certain aspects of golf clubs that they like or dislike, or are sensitive/un-sensitive to without realising. I'm often told by a golfer:
'I can't tell the difference between clubs'
'I have no preference'
'I don't know what i like'
Now sitting here today typing this i can categorically tell you that those statements above are absolutely nonsense! A good club fitter must - understand ball flight, and they must also have the ability to filter through all of the white noise produced by the golfer in front of them, and probe deep enough to gain an understanding what makes that golfer tick. This is why the questioning process during a fitting is essential, and it must be ongoing as well as in depth. Far too many times i've seen custom fittings performed like this:
* Quick introduction
* Warm up with own club(s) and capture data
* Give golfer a club(s) to try
* Proceed with a recommendation
Now if you've ever had a fitting like this it will have likely been free, and you've been done a disservice. Back to my point about the golfer having an awareness about certain aspects of golf clubs that they like or dislike without realising. Case in point, our new assistant at Shaw Hill; a good golfer and plays off 5. Now I know what you're thinking, this lad is a good golfer, he's bound to have an awareness or know what he likes or doesn't, however i'm here to say that he had very little understanding of what he likes or dislikes. When first asked about his clubs, this was his reply:
'I just hit them, club's a club to me', don't know the difference'
So with very little to go on, it was time to start extracting more information, we talked about his strengths & weaknesses etc. His irons comprised of a combo set, cavity long irons, blade mid/short irons. However these weren't a combo set per say, these were merely just two sets put together from different models (same brand), however the specs when i measured them were off the scale literally! I measured them for swingweight and what i found was that the long (cavity) irons came in much, much lighter than the bladed mid & short irons. Now whilst i'm measuring and still questioning him, he tells me he absolutely detests his mid & short irons, he doesn't hit them consistently but he hits his 4 & 5 iron better, coincidence? I think not, so this is the first nugget i've extracted, he likes a club to feel lighter in the swingweight. Now i won't go through the whole fitting process, however for someone so convinced that he didn't have any awareness or preferences in golf clubs, he left with a clear understanding of what makes him tick, what specifications of club will work for him, as well as a new found confidence in his equipment. This rings true for every ability of golfer, with so many variables that go into building a set of golf clubs, it's essential that you start to embrace the thought that your equipment can make a difference. Through my own experience i know exactly what specs suit me, i know what swingweight i like in all my clubs, length of clubs, lie angles, loft angles, grip types and sizes, shaft flex and weight, as well as bend profiles. So the next time you're looking at changing your golf clubs, whether that be new or second hand, make sure you get a fitting. We offer a pay for fitting service for this very reason, it's not about selling the clubs, it's about you paying for a service to better understand which route you need to go down when choosing a new set of golf clubs. If you'd like any more information on club fitting or need any advice, i'd urge you to either contact us here, or complete our online iron selector tool, whereby we can set you on the right path, The online tool will give you a starting point to look at, it is not a final recommendation.
As always, happy golfing.