You've probably been fit to incorrect clubs, and this is why.
It seems totally logical, it’s widely accepted. Mr. Fitter stands staring at a screen while switching clubs till he finds the one that produces the best ball flight on the day. Entirely plausible and widely accepted. The trouble is, it ignores you and the club itself.
As golfers, we find a way to make clubs work. We don’t know we are doing it but we all do it. I have never seen a golfer who has a matched set of clubs, unless he or she has been to a handful of fitters. Golfers are having to learn to make different clubs within their set work, either dynamically (shaft, weight and lie angle) or by manipulation to create the flight they want.
So, what if all fittings were to start at a deeper level?
Start with a simple question. With what type of stick are you going to be able to wallop the ball best? I call this the dynamic specification of the club and it’s made up of:
Shaft weight and shaft flex
Lie angle and;
Weight measured by moment of inertia (MOI) – never swing weight
These are all wallop factors. They are also the factors that make a club feel great.
Shaft profile is so misunderstood in terms of its function, most fitters simply use different profiles to create the type of launch they are looking for. They don’t understand the way golfers interact with profile dynamically.
If you took one hundred golfers and sent them to the range every day for a year with no lessons they would learn one skill even though all their swings would look very different. They would learn to use the club (through the shaft) to generate power (speed and pressure). They would load and unload the shaft and this would be called their load profile. Once a golfer has established their load profile, and assuming it’s reasonably efficient, it rarely changes. It’s like their swing DNA. Some shaft profiles will compliment their profile and some will make it very hard for them to make consistent contact. So, shaft profile is about maximizing a golfer’s ability to load and unload the shaft effectively. Getting it right will result in better ball striking, more centered hits and more wallop. Ball flight is a secondary consideration and can be perfected through other means.
The perfect weight (MOI) is the place where speed and energy transfer meet. More head weight equals more energy transferred to ball. Too much will reduce the golfers ability to control the club and generate speed. When golfers are looking at a club they usually waggle it, to assess the weight. Everyone has an MOI sweet spot and every club in the bag should be on it.
Assessing lie angle using tape and lie board is one of the most misguided things a fitter can do. Golfers will adjust to lie angle in around three shots. For all late release players its best to see how flat they can go before they lose strike quality. Many early release players are only early release players because they’ve been using clubs which are too upright.
Once we know where we are at on these things, we can produce a matched set of clubs providing the same player interaction through the set. This takes away the moving goal posts and makes every club in the bag the only training aid you will ever need.
James Day – Urban Golf founder and Urban Custom Clubs master fitter
For more info, head to the Urban Custom Clubs website.