What is custom club fitting and why is it important?
Custom club fitting helps you maximize your playing potential by matching equipment to your distinct swing, ball flight tendencies, body type, physical strength, and ability. The equipment that you use has a big influence over the kind of shots you’re able to hit on the course.
Professional club fitting could be compared to getting a suit or a dress custom-fitted as opposed to buying off the rack. Let’s face it, golf is a difficult game but it is rewarding and a life-long sport. By playing with clubs that are professionally fit the game becomes easier and more enjoyable.
Watch Tom Wishon (below) explain custom club fitting benefits.
Tom is recognized as one of the industry leaders in the research of golf club design, performance, and club fitting technology.
Let’s talked about what professional club fitting is NOT…
- Professional custom fitting is NOT a cart filled with different golf clubs sitting in a pro shop or on the practice range.
- Professional custom fitting is NOT attending a demo day at your local driving range and hitting clubs until you find something you like.
- Professional custom fitting is NOT something that can be accomplished from start to finish in 30 minutes or less, regardless if you are hitting balls on a launch monitor.
- Professional custom fitting is NOT done by altering a limited number of specifications of an existing set of golf clubs.
- Professional custom fitting is NOT buying a driver with an adjustable hosel that can only alter two of the thirteen key club fitting specifications within a very limited range of options.
- Profession custom fitting is NOT the domain of the salesperson in a retail golf store.
Let’s talked about what professional club fitting IS…
- Professional custom fitting IS working one on one with a trained custom clubmaker to analyze all of your individual swing characteristics to accurately determine each one of the 13 key club fitting specifications on ALL 14 golf clubs in the bag.
Professional custom fitting for maximum possible game improvement IS having all 14 of your golf clubs custom fit and custom built from scratch –the same manner in which a tailor makes a custom suit — with every one of the key fitting specifications fit your size, strength, athletic ability, and swing characteristics.
It IS the domain of the serious, professional clubmaker who lives, eats and breathes all of the technical information available. That allows him or her to accurately match each golfer’s swing to the best fit set of golf clubs so the golfer can play his or her best.
AT YOUR FULL FITTING…
Be prepared to spend 1 to 4 hours for a launch monitor fitting, dynamic fitting, and static fitting depending if you are looking for one club, a few clubs or a full set.
Yes, but I’m not good enough to get custom fitted!
Custom clubfitting is more beneficial for mid-high handicap than low handicap golfers.
One of the most common misconceptions about custom clubfitting is that most middle and high handicap golfers believe they are “not good enough to be custom fit.” Even worse is the condescending ill-informed attitude of good players to believe the same thing. Here’s an absolute fact about custom fitting – the less skilled the golfer, the MORE they need to be accurately fit to play to the best of their ability and the more improvement they can achieve.
Because of their superior athletic and typically more precise neuromuscular skills, low handicap golfers can play almost as well with quite a wide variety of different golf club specifications. They may not like the clubs to play permanently but their superior ability will enable them to make the adjustments necessary to keep their swing under control with the clubs and play reasonably well.
On the other hand, middle and high handicap golfers do not have the same level of athletic coordination or control over their swing motions to be able to adjust to ill-fit clubs. With less skilled golfers, very poorly fit clubs especially for the length and weighting will force them into more swing mistakes.
As a result, professional full specs custom fitting stands as a way for average golfers to:
- prevent the clubs from forcing them into much worse swing motions,
- gain immediate benefit in their shot-making performance, and
- benefit more from swing coaching advice because clubs that are professionally fitted to the golfer can make it easier for the golfer to make swing changes advised in a lesson.
Following is a list of the custom fitting parameters that are extremely important for middle to high handicap players to investigate to get the most out of their games:
The length of your clubs is one of the most critical fitting parameters that can mean success or failure in hitting the ball solid and on center. Being able to successfully hit longer length clubs requires a very high level of athletic and swing ability. It is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE that middle and high handicap players are properly fit for the right length which will result in their ability to control the clubs more easily, and from that, increase their percentage of solid, on-center hits.
Iron Lie Angles
If all golfers were the same average height, had the same average arm length and swung the club the same way, the standard lie angles designed on the clubs bought “off the shelf” would be fine. But golfers are very different in their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. If golfers want to eliminate the inevitability of an improperly fit lie angle causing off-line shots, every golfer must be custom fit for the lie angle of the irons and wedges. Every golfer. Beginners too.
Woodhead Face Angle
Middle and high handicap golfers typically cannot deliver the clubface square to the ball as often as a low handicap player. Custom fitting the face angle of the woods to counteract the golfer’s off-line tendency for the driver and woods will reduce misdirection tendency and definitely allow the middle to high handicap golfer to keep the ball more in play a much higher percentage of the time.
Driver and Wood Loft
The lower your clubhead speed AND the more downward the angle of attack into the ball, the higher the loft of the driver has to be to get the ball up high enough to maximize carry distance. It is estimated that at least 90% of all middle and high handicap golfers are not playing with enough loft on their driver to fully maximize their distance off the tee. If your driver swing speed is under 90mph, 90% of you are going to need a driver loft of 12, 13 or 14 degrees to be able to achieve the launch angle that will keep the ball in the air long enough to carry the ball as far as your swing speed will allow. See the accompanying chart for a very general recommendation of driver loft vs swing speed.
Driver Swing Speed Driver Loft
50 mph 15 – 17 degs
60mph 14-16 degs
70mph 13 – 15 degs
80mph 12 – 14 degs
90 mph 11-13 degs
100mph 9.5 – 11.5 degs
110 mph 8 – 10 degs
Ranges are offered because of differences in the angle of attack of the clubhead into the ball. When the angle of attack is more downward, more loft is required. If the A or A is more upward, less loft is needed for any given swing speed.
Swingweight and Total Weight
If all golfers had the same physical strength and swung with the same tempo, rhythm, and sense of swing timing, then all golfers could play with one standard swing weight and total weight. But golfers range from weak to very strong, backswing lengths vary from short to past parallel, downswing transition force ranges from smooth with a pause to quick and forceful, and swing tempo exists from smooth and passive to very quick and aggressive. All these variations in the swing require different weighting in the clubs to enable each golfer to achieve as consistent of a swing as possible. No middle or high handicap golfer can hope to develop any level of consistency in their swing unless the total weight and the swing weight of their clubs are properly matched to their individual strength and swing tempo tendencies.
Shaft Flex and Bend Profile
If any golfer uses a shaft that is too stiff for their swing speed and swing mechanics, they will suffer from a lower launch angle, loss of distance, and a less solid feeling of impact. Thus, it is very important for middle and high handicap golfers to be properly fit to the correct shaft weight and shaft bend profile (overall flex design).
No golfer can hope to achieve a level of swing repeatability unless their hands can securely hold the club with the least amount of grip pressure so the forearms are relaxed when they begin the swing. The grip size is a key element in allowing all golfers to be able to feel as comfortable as possible holding on to the club, and from that, to be able to keep the tension in the hands and the forearms at a bare minimum from the address position to the execution of the swing.
If you are a mid to high handicap golfer and want desperately to take your game to the next level, don’t hesitate one more year, go and find a clubfitter and you will see dramatic improvements in your game!
Tom Wishon possesses unparalleled expertise in clubhead and shaft design, with the greatest depth of knowledge of club fitting research technology.
Tom Wishon has been called the ‘most prolific golf club designer in the 500 year history of the game.’
With more than 50 clubhead engineering firsts, over 350 different clubhead designs, ten books, numerous videos and hundreds of articles to his name, it’s safe to say that no other person in the game of golf knows more about the design, production and fitting of golf clubs than Tom Wishon.