Custom Fit only if you are serious about your game
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
Why Custom Fitted Clubs?
There is a major distinction between custom clubs and custom fitted clubs… Custom clubs are those clubs purchased at a golf store and then having adjustments made to the clubs such as length adjustment (shorter or longer), added wraps to the grip and different shafts being inserted as to the original shafts.
Custom Fitted clubs are those clubs made to an individuals’ specific needs determined during a fitting session with a qualified club fitter.
Take a walk up and down the driving range, and a few things immediately are observable:
Fact: In today’s market there are NO major golf companies manufacturing precision fit, precision manufactured sets of golf clubs that have been precisely tuned to the individual’s swing! Only when you can put the same swing on every golf club, can you compete at the highest level and achieve results truly commensurate with your ability.
Probably the best example of this commitment to precision tuned and precision manufacturing, was when the great Ben Hogan invited Jack Fleck to the Hogan factory in Fort Worth to be fitted for a set of precision Hogan golf clubs. The difference to Jack Fleck’s game resulted in his winning of the 1955 US Open over none other than Ben Hogan himself in a playoff.
“Science is entering golf and the game can only benefit from this… optimizing the performance for specific individuals is expected to be a result of the introduction of science.” Frank Thomas, former Technical Director of the United States Golf Association.
Manufacturers spend a great deal of money extolling the virtues of their latest equipment, but it is doubtful you will play your best golf with Tigers clubs or even those of Greg Norman unless, of course, you too have a 30 inch waist, do 1,500 sit-ups before breakfast every day and routinely drive the ball 300 yards. Getting the correct clubs is as important to your golf game as getting the right prescription for your eyeglasses or having your suit tailored.
Today all tour players are precisely fitted and most equipped with precision golf sets. On the other hand, the majority of the general golf public is stuck with off the shelf, mass-produced, inferior sets of clubs that do not match their swings.
Just getting “custom fit” without doing it the correct way may actually do more harm than good if the recommendations condemn you to a poor set-up, posture, or swing fault. For example, changing to a hooked face driver to combat a slice swing or poor set-up may temporarily help your driver, but it could end up as a crutch that can make it difficult to hit your other woods and irons.
The purpose of a good fitting system is to eliminate expensive trial and error, guesswork, and to cut through the smoke and mirrors often associated with the selection and purchase of golf equipment.
To be sure, distance is a tremendous opiate and almost everyone wants to hit the ball further. But distance alone, at the expense of accuracy and consistency, can be a hollow victory. Taking it deep isnt much value if youre meeting the neighbors along the fairways.
Another benefit of using a professional club fitter is that you would just like to make sure prior to purchasing that new driver that it will actually benefit your game, and that you are getting the right model, loft, and shaft combination. .
A professional golf-fitting program is a 5-step process.
The majority of professional golf club fitters are so confident the individuals will be happy with their clubs, that they usually offer an exclusive guarantee in which they will re-adjust the clubs, rebuild the clubs or give the individual their money back. A club fitters primary mission is to produce a set of clubs that will enhance the players performance.
Amongst the numerous systems Ive experienced first hand, by far the most accurate and most sophisticated professional club fitter is Max Out Golf owned by former US Amateur Champion and current Senior Tour T.V. commentator, Mitch Voges.
Operating from fixed base performance labs located in Woodland Hills, California, they feature ultra high-speed cameras, lasers, and strain gauges to capture the physics of your swing. Although the 1 ½ hour fitting session has the feel of taking your game to NASA, the process is as enlightening as it is practical and easy to understand. Simply put, regardless of your level of skill or expertise, you will be fitted for the right equipment, as well as gain the knowledge and application techniques to play better golf.
Mitch Voges is very clear and concise in explaining that most golfers seeking additional distance should become more familiar in the understanding of their specific swing fundamentals, and that most players are playing with shafts that are too stiff and frequently too long. They should be playing with the longest and lightest club they can control.
Perhaps the least understood distance theory is that to gain the maximum distance you need to match your ball speed (not club head speed) with your launch angle and spin rate. In a broad sense, the key to distance is a high launch angle with low spin rate. The Max Out analysis equipment will even advise you which ball is the best for your game!
Max Out Golf is not affiliated with any particular manufacturer. They do have their own brand of clubs that may be purchased but are never forced on to the golfer being tested.
Their proprietary Integrated Golf Measurement System (IGMS) compiles such factors as: launch angle, initial ball velocity, club head speed, spin rates (including side spin), and shaft load profiles. Sophisticated computer analysis and subsequent performance testing identifies the optimum shaft (including length, gram weight, bend profile, and tip stiffness), club head type (including center of gravity), loft, launch angle, and ball selection for any player. Since golf clubs dont come with instructions, it is significant that Max Out Golf incorporates well-known and respected PGA instructors to both fit and explain the diagnostic process, as well as make corrective recommendations that can be instantly verified.
The cost for the personalized fitting session is $195.00. Any adjustments and alterations made to your clubs are usually at standard industry pricing. (www.maxoutgolf.com)
So remember that custom fitted clubs is the way to go to improve your game. Do not get caught up with those club manufacturers offering “Golf Fitting Carts” found on ranges and country clubs. This is a band-aid. Most major metropolises have professionally trained club fitters. A club fitter has the advantage of working one-on-one with the player through all steps of the fitting process. Fitted clubs cost about the same price as off the shelf clubs, therefore, it would be well worth ones time and effort.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his current book, “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf” is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list.