We live in a customized society. Custom houses, custom cars, custom clothes and, of course, custom golf equipment. While many things don’t actually need to be customized, golf clubs should be customized. The old adage, “it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian”, is true, but only if the Indian has arrows that fit him properly.
Most educated golfers in our day have realized the importance of custom fitted golf equipment, but the question is: Who should do the customizing?
All too often, I see people waste money on golf equipment that yields no better result. Properly “fitted” equipment can have a very positive effect in someone’s play; however, there are two distinct ways to fit golf equipment. The most common in the industry is to fit a player for how they swing on the day they are fitted. That type of fitting is called “fitting for compensation”, which is a mistake if a player is trying to improve. If, on the day a player is fit, they are coming over the top and the fitter is not a teaching professional, the player ends up getting fit into specifications that match a poor swing. Ultimately, when a player is fit to match a poor swing, they are being rewarded for a poor swing and end up worse.
Another problem in the industry is that many people are buying credibility through technology. Just because you can buy an x-ray machine doesn’t mean you are a radiologist. Last summer I had a student who was in the process of improving, who was fit using a launch monitor during a demo day. The “fitter” told him his launch angle was too low and wanted to sell him a 12° driver; fortunately, he called me first. I told him not to buy the driver because presently his down swing was too steep, which in effect was de-lofting the face of his driver. As we shallowed his approach, the 12° driver would launch the ball too high in the air. Again, the wrong fitting would have rewarded him to continue to make a poor swing. Today’s fitting technology is valuable if someone knows how to read and apply the information to the player.