If you’re like me and have gone a while with your trusty troop of irons and woods, some days you may find yourself thinking, “I feel like I used to hit that club a little bit longer.” The truth is, you’re likely not wrong.
Over time your clubs are depreciating just like anything else you use. Your shoes have lost their tread from the miles of pavement you’ve pounded. Your car engine is making a weird humming noise and that light just flicked on again. And your sand wedge and six iron have lost their groove, literally and metaphorically.
I’ve been playing since I was five years old and had never been fit for clubs in the past. I did some research and felt that as a 3-handicap I could take my game up a notch with an upgrade from my decade-old technology to new clubs that were actually fit to my swing mechanics.
Recently, I decided to undergo a full-bag fitting at a Club Champion that opened in my Bluffton, S.C., neighborhood. Here’s what I learned about the club fitting process.
1. A personalized approach
Before going into any detail about what I might be looking for or my swing, my fitter wanted to learn about me. He asked about my background in golf, as well as other sports, to get an idea of my experience level and the way that I approach the game. We both determined that I am very much a feel player—something that would be important in determining ideal club selection.
From there, we were able to establish what my goals were. I knew I was missing distance and had an overall consistency problem in repetitively making good contact. This phase may have been the most important part of the fitting experience—we established a good rapport and it put me at ease, to where the rest of the day was about having fun and seeing the fruitful results of properly fit clubs.
2. Bring your game to the shop
To get an understanding of where your game can go, you want to know where it currently stands. Which is why it’s important to bring your clubs, wear your golf shoes, and approach the fitting how you would your typical round of golf. We used a TrackMan to get an idea of my shot-making ability and the areas where I could use improvement. That helps expedite the science experiment that is club fitting—using your current clubs as the baseline, then finding a new model of the same club (or similar), and finally introducing new variables first in shafts and followed by clubheads until you have your ideal fit.
3. Be prepared to hit a lot of balls—or split up the days
If you’re going to go through a full-bag fitting, be prepared for a long day. In my experience I hit somewhere between 150–175 balls, and we spent a lot of time talking on the side about the process as I went through each club portion. I was in and out the door in about four hours, and that excludes what extra time a putter fitting would have taken.
For anyone that doesn’t play semi-regularly, one suggestion would be to see if you can split up your fitting into two days. You want to make sure you can give your best effort on every swing to maximize your results and earn a fair assessment with each new club. Even as a regular player I was feeling worn down during the tail-end of my fitting.
4. Don’t set expectations
Most club fitting companies offer an agnostic fitting approach, meaning that they have no allegiances when it comes to their club recommendations. When you go through your fitting, you should take a similar approach. Sure, you may have an idea of what would look great in your bag, but in reality there may be a brand that gives you extra distance or consistency that you might not have previously considered. Keep an open mind—remember, you’re doing this because you want the best clubs for your game, not the ones that will give you the most “clout.”
5. Prepare for a big purchase decision
At the end of the day when you get your specs and recommendations, you won’t have an obligation to make a purchase. What you really need to decide is if you want to put in the customized shafts that are tailored to your swing and produced the best overall results during your fitting. That’s where you’ll run into a more expensive endeavor—otherwise, you can buy your favorite clubs with the stock shafts that come from the manufacturer. It’s up to you to decide if the ends justify the means for your golf game.
My old clubs lasted a little more than 10 years and the way I see it, I’m making a purchasing decision for clubs that will last at least 10 more. As a regular golfer, I want the most bang for my buck in that regard and believe that going with the extra expense here is worth it.
Has this been helpful? Comment below on your fitting experience and what others should know about the process.