I’ve played golf for, jeez, 30 years now. In 2018 I had my first driver fitting. I’m an idiot.
There’s always been a struggle between those that freak out over golf equipment, constantly tinkering and buying the next new big thing, and those that are still swinging their Tommy Armours and spouting the ‘it’s the native-american not the arrow’ sermon. I’ve always been sort of in between – I understand that technological advancements in clubs will certainly render better products, but I never thought my game was worthy of being labored over in an expensive manner.
Cut to 2018… I was fitted at a proper facility for a new driver (‘proper’ meaning has Trackman and a PGA professional at the helm), and my entire game changed for the better. You may already be rolling your eyes, expecting me to yap about how we started with finding the right clubhead for me, then narrowing down the shaft options, all in an effort to maximize distance and accuracy. Well, damnit, that part is true. And of course, better distance and control on its own is plenty of reason to spend $75.00 on a fitting, but I am here to tell you that the benefits don’t stop there.
DISCLAIMER: The below diatribe is not to say that I’m smarter than you. I’m extremely dumb, I just happened to decide I would part with $75.00 one day and was ushered into the light.
First off, there are some nuances that get overlooked when people talk about improving distance and accuracy via clubfitting and they are as follows – once you get fitted, you have a reliable club that handles the many varieties of your swing proficiently, and you have a club that you completely trust. I would argue that this results in two key benefits:
- your number of wackadoo drives is drastically reduced, as the shaft chosen helps keep your shots within a tighter range.
- If you do pump out a complete clownshow of a drive, you know damn well that your swing was way off. No reason to question the stick.
Sounds simple and obvious, but think about what it would be like to have complete faith in your driver every time you step up to the tee. Again, not every drive is perfect, but you’ve eliminated one variable from the mindf-ck that is golf.
Makes sense, right? Okay, follow that logic a bit further for the second main benefit of getting fitted. Imagine seeing ads for Taylor Made’s newest driver, or getting an email from MyGolfSpy about Cobra’s new driver, or seeing a great looking (or cheap) driver at a store, or reading Golf Digest’s Hot List, etc. and not giving a flying fook about any of it. Here’s a hint – it’s quiet. No more of that noise. You have the driver that is best suited for you, and you want for nothing from that point forward. You also realize that judging a driver by its looks or brand name is a silly waste of time. AND, when you’ve completed a fitting process with a professional, you know damn well that all that noise is complete BS. It’s just marketing. No one driver is longer than others – if that were the case, the others would sell zero units.
I know there are some folks that like to tinker, buy and sell drivers, and maybe play 2 or 3 over the course of a season. I gotta go with an arrogant tone here… they think they enjoy that, but it’s asinine. I bet they’d like playing better much more, and while they will spend $400.00 on the new driver they are fitted for, they still might save some cash over the long-term after they’ve made all their moves and shakes.
And then there are the guys that don’t think it’s worth the money to get fitted. That was me, and again – asinine. We are all spending plenty of dough on this game, between clubs, balls, greens fees, etc…. I promise it’s worth $70-$100 to get fitted and get at least one part of your game on track. Would you skip two rounds in exchange for playing better for the next 3- 5 years? I would.
Sticking with just the driver fitting for now, here’s a bonus – when you get fitted, you tend to get a mini-lesson wrapped in as well. The fitter wants to work with your swing, sure, but if they can tweak that car wreck into something more manageable, they’re going to do it. I’m not sure if I want to admit this, but early on in my fitting process the instructor asked “do you want to hit the ball, or just keep doing that?”. Oof, that hoyts. But, he pointed out an issue with my setup, we determined the best clubhead/shaft combo for me, and my game changed drastically for the better in that one hour.
This is a given… once I became a believer, I didn’t waste much time heading back for an iron fitting, wedge fitting, and eventually a putter fitting. If forced to rank the value of each, I’d have to go with the following:
- Driver- hands down, forget about it, it’s driver all day.
- Tough to say between irons and wedges, but I have to go with irons. Would be pretty dumb to try and play with irons that aren’t right for you, with crucial factors such as lie angle, length, clubhead, shaft flex, shaft weight, etc. I can’t believe how many avid golfers are probably still doing this.
- Wedges – commence eyeroll #2. I am not good enough at golf to care about my wedges as much as Zach Johnson or Dustin Johnson, and I certainly don’t carve my wedge shots into the green like a true artiste. So at first I figured the wedge fitting wouldn’t be all that helpful. But of course, I was wrong. What I learned was that it’s all about distance gapping. If my PW goes 125-130 yards and my gap wedge goes 110, then having my next club be a 56 degree that goes 75 or something is kinda pointless. So not only is the pro making sure you have the best club and shaft in play, he/she is also making sure you have the best arsenal to tackle all of the yardages you will face in a round. In my example, after talking about my game – strengths/weaknesses – we went with a 53 degree, a 58 degree, and a 62 degree(!). So now if I’m 50 yards out and I’m not feeling so hot about my little half-swing low wedge deal (meaning… sober), I can just reasonable-pound a full swing 62 and know I’ve got the right distance. Not necessarily the ideal shot, but I can rely on a full swing when most folks have to cook up something cute. I should also mention – my wedges were fitted with the same exact shafts as my irons… holy sh-t! What a concept.
- Putter – This isn’t super-fair of me, because I’m a lefty and there’s typically only like three putters to choose from at a fitting, so I didn’t leave thinking I had found Excalibur per se. I did get a good analysis of my stroke, however, and learned that my game is not worthy of a blade… I was written a mallet-only prescription as it would be a more stable, consistent option for my shaky stroke. But again, the fitting session had a little lesson tucked in, as the instructor could not resist pointing out my alignment issues.
- Fairway woods/hybrids – At one point I asked my fitting pro if I should make sure my 3 wood and hybrids are the same clubhead and shaft as my money driver. He said “do you hit those clubs alright?” I said yes. He said “I don’t think you’ll see enough of a gain in performance on clubs you don’t hit too often to justify another $600.00”. Do with that what you will, but I’m inclined to believe the professional.
All in all, I spent $280 or so over the course of a year getting all my gear custom-fitted to my game. And yes, I bought all new clubs at rack rate pricing, so my bag costs about as much as it could. But in the 2-3 years since, I haven’t paid one second of attention to all the noise about other clubs, newer clubs, cool-colored clubs, and whatever the hell else so many golf addicts are still wasting their time on. Haven’t spent another dime on equipment since then either, which I think is more money-saving than most of us would like to admit. And most importantly, I have the right clubs for my game… you gotta do it!