Published on July 23rd, 2012 | by Jeff Shelman0
The Key to Good Club Fitting? An Open Mind
I, like many golfers, tinker with my equipment. I want to try the newest and allegedly greatest clubs. Especially drivers.
With each golf season, there are several models that I want to try. I will hit demo drivers at my club. And in recent years, I have ended up making multiple driver purchases each season.
Too frequently these purchases have been of the trial and error variety. And the results aren’t always great.
Earlier this year, I blogged about getting fit for a set of new Ping i20 irons. The results with the irons have been very good. While it took a bit of time to adjust, the irons have delivered everything that I had hoped. Through the combination of the technology in the irons and clubs that are a better fit for me, I’m hitting the ball straighter and longer. It’s a really good combination.
Like many golfers, I want the magic driver combination of distance and control. Not exceptionally long off the tee, I have found myself hunting for five more yards, sometimes at the expense of hitting it straight.
I have enough of a driver problem that four different drivers have found their way into my bag this season for at least a steady run. That’s why last week I said enough was enough.
I went back to the 2nd Swing in Minnetonka and again got on the launch monitor with Scott Johnson. My goals were pretty simple: Find a driver and shaft combination that would allow me to hit the ball straighter and at least no shorter than the others I have tried this year. I also wanted to find a club that allowed me to take one side of the golf course out of play. I wanted to quit hitting it right-to-left and left-to-right. Nothing makes me lose confidence quicker than standing on the tee and having no real clue where it is going.
My issues with the driver are pretty clear. I often launch the ball too high and with too much spin. It’s a combination that means that I hit the ball so high that it can sometimes balloon and I get very little roll.
I told Scott that I would hit anything he wanted to try. Unlike with my irons when I had a very good idea of what I wanted, I would hit any driver head with any shaft as long as it would deliver results.
Over the span of 90 minutes, I hit around a dozen driver/shaft combinations. Most were at least decent, but Scott wanted better than just decent. He continued to look for a combination that would bring down the ball flight and would be straighter.
Toward the end of the fitting, he brought over a TaylorMade RBZ with an extra stiff TP shaft. I understood the thinking behind the TP shaft as the additional weight would likely help bring down my ball flight. But extra stiff? I would have never found that through trial and error.
Let’s be honest, I’m not really an extra stiff guy. I take a smooth swing at the ball and don’t rip at it like the young kids.
But the first time I hit it on the launch monitor, the ball was straighter than anything and longer than anything I had hit. Then I hit a second ball. And a third. The results didn’t really change.
Even after getting the club on the golf course, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Would the results from the launch monitor really translate? Or would I be unable to get the club to turn over because the shaft was too stiff?
It turns out that the science doesn’t lie. I have 54 holes in the books with the new driver and I have hit more good drives than I have in a long time. I’ve hit more fairways, kept it out of trouble and, as a result, had easier shots into greens. Easier second shots mean more opportunities to hit greens, make birdies and shoot a better score.
So the lesson in all of this is that fitting works and fitting works better when you are willing to experiment. If you go in with the attitude that only one or two options are going to work for you, you may miss out on a club combination that is very good for you and your game.
Let the experts take their knowledge and find something that will work. My advice is to take whatever is handed to you and hit it. Don’t fixate on the make or model of the club, don’t worry about the shaft or the flex.
Just see what happens and be willing to be surprised.
Read More from Jeff at his golf blog, OnlyGolfMatters.com