Golf club fitting

To fit or not to fit?

Since I began playing golf again, a question keeps coming up in my mind: “Should I get fit for clubs?”

In the past, it isn’t something I ever seriously thought about, since I didn’t believe I played enough for it to make a difference. But as I began to play golf more and more, it was easy to see that maybe the right tools would help. I started to think about being fit for clubs.

A few weeks ago an instructor showed me the difference between clubs fit for me and those not fit to me. I have to admit that at first, I was skeptical — yes, the people who sell clubs would want you to get fit. As I learned more about the process, it really began to stand out how important the tools are.

And maybe my thoughts about not get fit if you are not a good enough golfer weren’t right …

As Bob Van Sweden, TaylorMade’s 2009 national club fitter of the year told Golf Digest: “The higher the handicap, the more necessary it is for that player to get fit.”

And even if you are not looking for the “smash factor” it could be a good idea to have clubs fit you, according to “On Par,” the New York Times’ golf blog.

I always was curious about how much time and how it is done. As this golfadvisor.com article points out, it usually takes two and half hours, and includes talking with the players about his or her needs. The fitting process remains pretty much the same for woods, irons, and wedges.

While I haven’t bought any Callaway Golf clubs I do regularly listen to their podcast on fitting. I find it another interesting part of golf that you can tinker with the equipment to find what is right for you. The Callaway Golf website also has a good look at answers to the question “Why are you resisting club fitting?

And golfer Chris DiMarco explains the importance of club fitting in this video from The Golf Channel.

If you have young kids interested in the game like I do another question is should kids get fit for clubs? This video has some interesting answers about giving them equipment with which they can grow in golf.

I still haven’t decided about club fitting, but I’m getting closer. The right equipment can make a big difference as I have seen for myself. And as I mentioned, the idea of making the equipment fit your game is another interesting part of the golf I’ll be exploring. I’ll let you know how it goes!

More about club fitting

Driver

Woods are the golf clubs that propel the ball the farthest (from 200 to 350 yards, when used properly). At one time, the head of this type of golf club was actually made of wood (e.g. persimmon or hickory), which gave the club its name. Nowadays, however, woods are made of metals, such as steel, titanium, and other alloys. The head of a wood is large and rounded, with a flat bottom to glide over the ground during the course of a shot. The club face is big, and the typical wood has a degree of loft, measured at a right angle to the ground, lower than other clubs. The driver, or 1-wood, is the least lofted and is employed to hit the ball the farthest. Woods with higher numbers are generally known as fairway woods. These are more lofted, and as the name suggests, are designed to hit the ball in the fairway or when on a tee. — Golfsmith

Long Irons

Irons have club heads made of metal and are typically used by golfers when their ball is fewer than 200 yards from the green. Numbered 1 through 9, the irons possess a higher degree of loft than the woods, with the 9-iron having the most. 1-, 2-, and 3-irons are called long irons and have little loft, meaning they can send the golf ball the farthest. The 4-, 5-, and 6-irons are known as the middle irons and are used when the ball is about 150 to 170 yards from the hole. The short irons are the 7-, 8-, and 9-irons and get the ball in the air quickly due to their loft. A normal golf set contains 3- through 9-irons because the 1- and 2-irons are the most difficult to master. — Golfsmith

Hybrids

Hybrid clubs combine the features of both irons and fairway woods. The hybrid’s club face is similar to an iron, but the head is rounded like a wood. Hybrids are built with a center of gravity that is further back and lower than in an iron, making them more “forgiving” than either an iron or a wood for many players. Hybrids are among the most versatile clubs any golfer can use and generally come in lofts of 16 to 26 degrees. Ideally, your lowest-number hybrid should provide a distance of 10 to 15 yards shorter than your highest-number fairway wood so there’s no gap in distance coverage. — Golfsmith

Wedges

Wedges are used to strike the ball and make it fly high into the air before landing on the putting surface. These clubs are lofted much higher than the others; for example, a pitching wedge has a loft between 46 to 51 degrees, and a lob wedge’s loft can be as high as 64 degrees. Golfers usually select a pitching wedge when the shot is as far as 130 yards to the green, and a sand wedge to escape from bunkers and very tall grass. A gap wedge allows the golfer to take a full swing and hit the ball about 110 yards. The lob wedge is chosen when the ball needs to rise quickly to clear a hazard, but not have to carry a great distance. Golf sets generally come with a pitching wedge; other wedges must be purchased separately. — Golfsmith

Putters

The putter is the club that gets the most use. It is utilized to roll the ball along the green toward the hole. Putters come in different sizes, with the standard putter about 33 to 35 inches tall. The belly putter and broomstick putter are much taller clubs and are used to give the golfer a better putting stroke when the player has problems using a standard putter. The heads of putters can be in the form of a flat blade or a mallet with a flat surface. — Goldsmith