Custom golf clubs: will getting your golf clubs fitted improve your game?
There are a lot of moving parts in a golf swing that can either make a shot go straight towards an intended target or off to never, never land. When it comes to custom golf clubs, you may or may not benefit from a custom fitted club. There is no club fitter in the world that will guarantee you lower scores with a golf club that is custom fitted to your specifications.
How do custom fitted golf clubs differ from off-the-shelf golf clubs?
When golf club manufacturers build a golf club to sell off-the-shelf, they are building it to suit people that are 5'7" to 6'1" with a wrist-to-floor measurement of 34 to 37 inches. The standard club length is chosen such that when a golfer addresses a ball, the bottom edge of the golf club is entirely touching the ground.
If you are outside of the standard height or have a wrist-to-floor measurement below 34 inches or above 37 inches then you may benefit from a custom fitted golf club. A club fitter will choose a proper length of shaft that fits your height and wrist-to-floor measurement.
How much do custom fitted golf clubs cost?
When shopping for custom golf clubs, you have two options to choose from. You can either buy a set of clubs and have a club fitter modify the clubs for you or you can buy a custom set of clubs that are built from scratch to match your swing. Before you commit to buying a new set of clubs, check with a club fitter on your existing set. You might be able to custom fit your existing set of clubs and save some money from buying a new set.
Basic club fitting services vary from free to $350 for the whole bag. This does not include club assembly or alterations.
Where can I find a good club fitter?
Most brand name manufacturers have their own performance center and club fitting facility (see below for list). If you are researching the topic and wish to find out which brand name clubs best suits you, it is best to attend a Demo Day and try out various clubs. You can visit each club manufacturer and try out their golf clubs. When you have found the club that you feel the most comfortable with, ask questions about custom fitting. They can either help you there or refer you to their performance center.
You can also find local club fitters in your town or city. Most club fitters are also club assemblers. After fitting you, they will offer custom built clubs using head components sourced from a club making supplier. These components are usually non-brand names and costs less than the brand name heads that they resemble.
Will custom fitted golf clubs improve your game?
Custom fitted golf clubs are not for everyone. If you are between 5'7" and 6'1" and your wrist-to-floor measurement is within 34 to 37 inches then you can probably play reasonably well with off-the-shelf golf clubs. It is only beneficial for golfers who are shorter than 5'7" or taller than 6'1" because the club length will either be longer or shorter.
Another consideration is your golf swing. How consistent are you? Do you swing the club the same way every time? Or is your swing shallow at times and steep at other times? How you swing your club is important when you are being fitted. The club fitter will get you to hit a lot of balls to measure certain things in your swing. If you are not a consistent ball hitter, the club fitter will not be able to measure you correctly.
Some of the things your club fitter wants to determine for you include:
If the grip is too thin or small, a golfer can get too 'handsy' and the ball flight is affected. A grip that is too thick will cause the hands to be too passive.
Taller golfers will require longer lengths than shorter golfers but it is not always the case. It is more accurate to measure the wrist-to-floor then determine if the club lengths need to be non-standard.
Depending on your power and speed on the downswing, the club fitter can determine the proper flex of the shaft for you. Also the transition between back swing and down swing.
Club Lie Angle
This is the angle between the base of the club and the shaft. If it is too upright then the toe of the club could catch in the ground and cause a severe hook. If it is too shallow then the toe of the club could be high in the air and the heel will plant every time you swing the club down. This will cause a slice or the ball to peel left for a right hand golfer.
Depending on some golfers, the club loft can be adjusted so that the ball's trajectory is lower. This is for golfers who pop the ball up frequently and want to hit the ball for a more piercing flight.
It is important for the club to be balanced during the swing. The club fitter may want to ensure that the grip is not too heavy or it will be hard for the golfer to lift the club on the back swing.
Depending on your club fitting session, you will either get a report detailing the specifications for golf clubs or advice for some golf lessons. If the latter is recommended, don't get disappointed. It simply means you are not a consistent ball striker and you are not ready for custom fitted clubs. Golfers don't realize it but it may be blessing to be told that they may need a few golf lessons to improve their swing.
Custom fitted golf clubs will improve your game but only when you are hitting the ball the same way consistently. If you change your swing or employ a new technique that changes the club head speed or attack angle, your custom fitted clubs may have to be readjusted. It can be expensive if your golf swing changes from season to season. My advice to you is to wait until you hit the ball the same way every time and you are happy with your game. Once you've attained that, you can then proceed to the next level and treat yourself to a custom fitted set that is yours and only yours to play with.