How much would you spend if I told you that you could drive the ball 20 more yards, hit more consistent iron shots, and get the ball on the green every time from 100 yards and closer? Now I can’t offer you these promises, but I can tell you that you can buy yourself a better golf game. That’s the premise behind several articles I’ve read this past winter in both Golfweek and Golf magazine, and the real focus is on getting properly fit for your new golf clubs.
For those people who play golf more than 12 times a year, the clubs they are using are important. In reality, most average golfers are not using the proper clubs. But are they more important than their golf swings? More important than their mental approaches? More important than strength and conditioning efforts?
I don’t have the answer to the questions that I posed, but I can tell you that one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve your game is by getting clubs that are custom fit. “It’s the single best way to get better at golf as soon as possible,” said Josh Talge, vice president of golf club marketing for Titleist in the Golfweek article.
Before we get into custom club fitting, let me remind you that taking lessons from a certified golf professional, practicing more than once a month, upgrading your conditioning program, and spending hours on the putting green to improve your golf games are not worthless. Just the opposite, they go hand-in-hand with custom club fitting. But buying clubs that fit your swings is the easiest way to get better. The others take a lot of hard work. Club fitting, on the other hand, is fun.
If you are buying clubs off the rack, you’re cheating yourselves, according to David Leadbetter, a renowned golf teacher. He tells players to get custom fit clubs, which are readily available at thousands of retail locations, such as the PGA Superstore, Dicks, Golftec, and Golf Galaxy, at club fitting centers operated by club manufacturers, such as Callaway, Taylormade, Titleist, etc., and at club fitting stores, most notably Club Champion whose mission is to provide you with the best combination of components to lower your scores.
Choosing the right club fitting is a question of research, estimating your time commitment, and most importantly, figuring out cost vs. benefit. Getting fit is something that can range from a few dollars to more than $500. And there’s no guarantee that the more you pay the better the fitting. On the other hand, you get what you pay for when it comes to club fitting. And some people even question its real value.
All too often, I hear fellow golfers tell me that club fitting is “overrated.” They tell me they aren’t good enough to benefit from custom fitting. They argue the only reason for getting fit is to line the pockets of golf club manufacturers by enticing golfers to spend more money on golf clubs. They add that they don’t want to spend the time and/or money on club fitting.
Two things to note: First, people buy new clothes, and they want to be custom fit. Doesn’t the same thing apply to buying golf clubs? Second, technology helps the touring pros discover the clubs that will help them shoot better scores. Why don’t average golfers use this same technology to improve their golf games? They can do this through custom club fitting.
When it comes to custom club fitting, go to a fitter that can help you with not just your driver, not just your irons, not just your wedges, but with all you clubs. Just because Phil Mickelson plays a Callaway driver doesn’t mean it’s the club for you. In fact, it’s not the club that’s most important in the fitting, it’s the shaft. I would add that there are other factors that show up on the launch monitor and are important to selecting the rights clubs, even grips.
If you are convinced that you want to play brand name irons, don’t just go to a store, pull a set off the rack, and put them in your bag. Head to a club fitter or at least go to a place that has a launch monitor, so you can see for yourself which combinations of shafts, heads, lengths, grips, etc. deliver the highest ball speed, most controlled spin, and greatest distance.
In short, a custom club fitting is one of the quickest ways to improve your golf games. Is it the only thing? No! So, if you can buy yourself a better golf game by getting custom-fit equipment, don’t hesitate to do so.
Jerry Koncel is a freelance writer, who has been playing golf for 60 years. He welcomes your comments, concerns, questions and suggestions
for future columns—email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.