You will play better golf when every club in your set is properly fit for you. If you’re in the market for a new set of clubs, or just one special club, you owe it to yourself to get custom-fitted. It doesn’t take long or cost much extra if anything.
You’ll hit all shots more accurately. You’ll consistently drive the ball longer. You’ll have more consistent distance control. You’ll execute your short game with more precision. You’ll lower your score.
Every golfer is a little different, from the shape of their body to the shape of their swing. A custom fitting will result in clubs that are specifically built for your height, strength, swing speed, and swing characteristics.
Some golfers think they need to improve to a certain level before they get fitted. Actually, it’s just the opposite. The more of a novice you are, the more you will benefit from custom fitting. A novice using an ill-fitted club will compensate and groove a swing adjustment that will later limit his ability to improve. It’s best to groove solid fundamentals, knowing that when a ball is miss-hit, it’s the fault of your swing, not the club.
Off-the-shelf golf clubs are one-size-fits-all, designed for the average player, someone 5-foo-9 or 5-foot-10 who hits a 6-iron 160 yards. Even if you are of average height, your stance and swing characteristics might require a different club lie-angle. Even a player with a sound setup and swing will experience unwanted draws or fades if the lie-angle of his clubs is incorrect. He will lose distance, usually half a club length, even on a well-struck shot.
Teaching pros estimate that 90 percent of golfers would benefit from custom-built clubs.
There are several ways to go about getting custom-fitted. The easiest is static measuring, which involves your physical measurements. You measure your height with your shoes on. Then measure the distance from your wrist to the ground, again with your shoes on. There are custom-fitting guide charts available online that will take these measurements and indicate what your corresponding shaft length adjustment should be. Your gender, age, and strength can be used to estimate the proper shaft material, steel, or graphite. An honest appraisal of your swing speed (slow and easy, normal, fast, or extreme) will indicate the appropriate flex for your shaft.
The next step up is dynamic measuring, actually hitting balls using the same club configured in various lengths, lies, and flexes A club-fitting pro will have a cart filled with, say Titleist 6 irons, each configured slightly differently, from half-inch differences in length to single degree differences in a lie, from flat to normal to upright. Impact tape is applied to the clubs you’ll hit. Based on ball flight, impact marks on the club, and your own feedback as to which configuration feels best, the pro will make adjustments, and you’ll find the right specs for you.
A more high-tech fitting process involves computers and electronic body sensors, which some manufacturers use for their sponsored pros, and which they are beginning to roll out to fitting centers nationwide. But this approach may be more than you need and is costly and time-consuming as well.
Armed with your specifications, you can buy from the pro that fitted you or order from any supplier you prefer. Most shops will throw in the cost of a fitting if you buy from them. Otherwise, the cost is about $50. Custom-made clubs should cost no more than off-the-shelf standard clubs, barring any shaft or grip upgrade.
You can even order custom-fitted knock-offs and save money and strokes at the same time. Knock-offs are similar in appearance to other brands made within legal limits.
Most players think of iron sets when they think of custom-fit golf clubs. But you’ll play better when your putter, wedges, and woods are custom fit, too.
Custom-fitted golf clubs will enhance your enjoyment of the game, whether you’re a scratch golfer or a weekend warrior just looking for a few hours of fun with friends.
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