Custom fitting: how it can help

Why custom-fitted golf clubs could make all the difference to your game.

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 18 Oct 2016

custom fitting how it can help

 

Time, money and effort are typically three things holding many of us back from a trip to the custom fitters.

A private session with a certified club fitter takes at least an hour, and the clubs built typically cost around £100 more than the comparable set.

But is being custom fitted for new clubs really necessary?

We spoke to some UK club fitters and instructors to provide answers.

Why get custom fitted?

In many ways, golf club custom fitting is like buying a new pair of shoes. Would you ever consider buying an expensive pair without trying them on for size first?

Perhaps it is now time to start applying similar logic to golf clubs.

“You could go out and spend hundreds of pounds on the latest driver on the market, but if the club is not set up to suit your swing characteristics, you could very well hit it worse than your previous driver that was custom fit,” said Grant Guerin, PGA qualified instructor at World of Golf in New Malden.

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The key to the process is the launch monitor, where the numbers do not lie.

“The golf ball tells you everything and it’s as simple as that,” said Tom Godwin, TaylorMade Performance Lab golf academy manager at Wentworth. 

“You could have the most beautiful swing in the world but if the ball is being told to go 50 miles left, it will go 50 miles to the left.”

How does golf club fitting work?

The club fitter will start by learning more about your handicap, height and shot preferences, and then watch you hit a few shots with your current set.

Factors such as face angle, launch angle, spin rate, ball speed, angle of attack and club path are then examined using the launch monitor.

The fitter is trying to discover the best head-shaft combination that optimises distance and consistency, and will advise on the correct grip, shaft flex, shaft, club length, loft and lie through the bag.

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“The shaft is the engine of the club,” said Jon Woodroffe, World of Golf master professional.

“Whilst the head and grip are also important factors, an incorrect shaft can cause you to hit a poor shot even with a good swing.”

What difference does custom fitting really make?

With irons radically improving with faster and more forgiving faces, and drivers packed with more power and adjustability, new technology is becoming of little value unless it is custom fitted.

“Technology is changing all the time so you have to make sure that new technology mirrors your impact - your thumbprint - to back of the ball,” added Godwin.

“If you move the CG, you are changing the whole structure of the club - and this typically happens with newer golf clubs. So what you had last year as a loft is quite different to what you had this year.”

Following a recent custom fitting with an off-the-shelf 7-iron (standard lie, KBS regular shaft) and custom-fitted 7-iron (standard lie, KBS Tour stiff shaft), the difference in our yardage and ball speed appeared minimal, but there was greater distance control and additional spin with the custom-fitted model.

The club was essentially working better with our swing and the result was more consistent ball striking. 

Custom fitting: how it can help

We still won't be giving Rory McIlroy a game anytime soon, though. 

“A custom fitting will not cure a swing fault,” added Woodroffe.

“Only coaching will do that, but it will ensure that when you make a good swing the golf club will do it’s job properly.”

Custom fitting: how it can help

Who is custom fitting for?

Custom fitting is for everyone.

It will help improve ball striking, no matter the ability, although Godwin admits he typically custom fits players with handicaps from about nine to 18.

Trying to figure out a golfer's swing where ill-fitted clubs do not match the body often encourages players to make unnatural compensations that prevent them from developing proper swing mechanics.

Custom fitting: how it can help

So are off-the-shelf golf clubs now a thing of the past?

“No, it is still possible to achieve better results, in the same way an off-the-rack suit can fit someone perfectly," said Woodroffe.

"However, it is always best to get a second opinion and make sure the clubs are right for you.”

World of Golf's Guerin believes the decision to splash out on a custom fitting rests solely on how seriously the golfer takes the sport.

He said: “You have to ask yourself, do you want a set of clubs that are actually going to help you get better or not?

“Golf clubs are a hefty investment today, so it makes sense to ensure they are the best possible set for your game.”

How much does a custom fitting cost?

Prices can range from about £20 to £200, depending on the manufacturer and type of fitting you want - from individual clubs to the full bag.

Some brands such as Mizuno even offer personalised stamping on wedges to make your clubs feel that extra bit special. 

All brands in the UK now offer custom fitting, so if you have a favourite golf club on the market you can get it tailored to you.

Some club fitters will take the price off your purchase if you place an order for your new club or set of clubs, while others will charge a set fee for the session, regardless of whether you place an order.

We all know we have chosen an expensive game to play, and custom fitting does not make things any easier.

Yes, it takes time and yes it takes some effort, but you cannot put a price on shooting lower scores.

Where can you go for a custom fitting?

There are many different golf club custom fitting facilities dotted around the UK, so just visit your preferred golf brand's website to learn more. 

You can also drop in to see your local professional or visit the likes of Direct Golf and American Golf who will offer free expert advice.

A world of lower scores awaits. 

Have you ever been custom fit for your golf clubs? What difference has it made? Or are you content with a set off the rack? Share your thoughts in the GolfMagic.com forum or join us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages.