Benjamin Franklin once said that “the best investment is in the tools of one's own trade”. In the context of golf, if you have intentions of becoming (or currently are) an avid golfer, then you should definitely consider investing in a set of fitted clubs, to get the best out of your game.
Why Golf Club Fitting is Important
While club fitting is a bit more expensive than buying an ‘off the rack’ golf clubs, if you were to divide that incremental cost to have your clubs fitted over the number of rounds you play each year - for the next 10 years - there’s no doubt that you could justify the cost. Because we all know that playing a great round of golf is priceless.
If you’re still not on the fence on whether getting your clubs fitted is worth it or not, consider the below process, rationale and benefits to your game below to help you make an informed decision.
The Process - Getting your golf clubs fitted
Once you decide that you want to proceed with custom club fitting, the first step is to find a place that will be able to facilitate and guide you through the process. Most sporting goods or golf equipment stores typically have a club fitter - someone who is experienced in the art of golf club fitting - on staff that will be able to help you. Also, many public and private golf courses have pro shop staff or on-site golf pros that will be able to fit you as well.
Once you’ve found your fitter, the first thing they’ll likely do is take your measurements. The two key measurements will be your height, as well as the distance from your wrist (where the top of your club would be) to the ground. Using these two measurements, the fitter can then determine the first step of your club fitting - club length.
You’ll start with a “standard” club length and try a few swings. Based on these swings, the fitter will be able to determine the angle your club sits, as well as whether or not you need a slightly longer or shorter length than the standard club size.
Now that you have your ideal club length (which will be used for all clubs in your set), you will then either go hit a few balls on the range or more likely, in a simulator, where the fitter will analyze key components of your swing (like form, grip, stance, etc.) and the simulator will track other elements that are less apparent to the human eye (like your exact swing path, club head speed, ball distance and spin).
By having all of these attributes of your swing catalogued and professionally or mechanically analyzed, you can bypass a lot of the guesswork around what club type is ideal for your swing. From here, you will be able to find the right set of clubs that will help either compensate for weaknesses in your game or enhance areas where you’re already strong.
Ultimately, the clubs you choose will then come down to personal preference (grip, shaft, clubhead, brand) and budget. But you can rest assured that whatever make and model you end going with will cater to your swing and other distinctive aspects of your game.
The Benefits - How fitted clubs improve your game
The myth in golf is that there exists a ‘perfect swing’ that all golfers need to perpetually aspire towards. However, the truth is, while there are certain empirical mechanical principles that will help you hit the ball further, straighter and cause less wear and tear on your body - there is no one perfect swing.
Given the above, every golfer should be aspiring to achieve the best swing given their natural baseline swing action and form - i.e. how you naturally and most comfortably hit the ball, based on your body type, height, athleticism, old injuries and a slew of other factors.
Since each swing is comprised of a set of unique factors, it stands to reason that no one set of golf clubs works well for everyone. By going through a proper club fitting, you can improve a number of different areas in your game.
For example, the right length of club will ensure that you are in your most athletic posture, giving you the best chance at hitting the ball with consistent power and accuracy, as well as reduce anatomical anomalies that can lead to fatigue or injury.
The ideal shaft flex and weight, along with your preferred head selection, can help generate a more consistent swing in terms of how your clubhead impacts the ball. This in turn affects a number of important parts of your game such as a potential slice or hook, as well as improves the likelihood of hitting the ball a consistent distance, so you can start to standardize your club distance.
Other elements such as customized grips that cater to your hand size and how you naturally hold the club, ideal lie angle of your clubhead to help improve your club moving through the ball to reduce harmful misses and an intangible “feel” for the the perfect set of clubs, will undoubtedly improve your game and take some (potentially many!) strokes of your scorecard.
The Evolution - Reassessing your club fit over time
Finally, it’s important to remember that as your game evolves (and hopefully improves!), so too will your club needs out on the course. Club fitting pertains to the characteristics of your swing, body and athletic level at a moment in time. As you get older and/or more experience on the course, your swing will likely evolve and the club attributes that work best for you may differ from your original club fitting.
After playing a lot of rounds in a year, you may also find that you're missing a few club options in your bag that would fill gaps in your game (as well as some clubs in your bag that you rarely use). As your game gets better, part of proper club fitting is also customizing your club set make-up (i.e. the combination of clubs in your bag), so that you have everything you need for your particular type of game.
A proper set of custom fitted clubs can not only improve your game, it can make your time out on the course much more enjoyable. Regardless of whether you want to spring for a custom set, it’s worth taking the first step by having your swing analyzed (which is usually free or minimal charge) and you can decide what fits best for you from there!If you'd like to learn more ways you can level up your game. Check out Back2Basics today.