The Top-10 questions about club fitting
1. What is Clubfitting?
Clubfitting is the art of building golf equipment custom fit for the golfer taking into consideration physical characteristics of the individual.
2. How important is your equipment?
Equipment can make a tremendous difference to any golfer. Most people play shafts that are too and too heavy stiff for them. These shafts also vary in flex. That is why most people hit the ball to the right and are inconsistent. They subconsciously compensate with their swing for the differences. Trying too hard to square the clubhead at impact can lead to numerous swing faults as well as fatigue and back problems.
3. How are clubs made?
Manufacturers build clubs by the thousands. They buy case lots of shafts that fall within general parameters of weight and stiffness. Then starting with the standard length of a 3-iron at 39 inches they proceed to tip cut every shaft 1/2 inch down to the wedge. Common sense tells us that when an item is cut shorter it is now stiffer than the original Therefore, every shaft varies in flex. Grips, lie and loft are standardized to fit the general population. What we have now are clubs built for an average population that fit nobody specifically.
4. What is frequency matching?
Frequency matching is measuring the cycles a shaft flexes over a set period of time. We know that shorter is stiffer thus it becomes the clubmaker's task to build clubs with a specific frequency. Some clubmakers use clubhead speed as the determining factor. However, if a golfer swings a longer, lighter club, the clubhead speed generated will be increased. Conversely shorter, heavier clubs mean lower speeds. By trying to match shaft flex to clubhead speed we may have clubs with a closer range of frequencies but still different from one club to another.
5. Why Straight Line Frequency Matching?
STRAIGHT LINE frequency matching takes the process to another level. We begin by determining the one constant in the swing, the speed of the hands through the swing. We know clubhead speed varies with length so we need to find a constant that can be tested, hand speed. This is done by hitting test clubs to determine the individual's proper frequency. This becomes the frequency that is needed in the entire set of clubs.
Each shaft is then fitted to the chosen clubhead and tested on a frequency analyzer at the selected length that the club will be when complete. The shaft is then cut to size keeping the same cycles per minute constant with every shaft. The golfer now has a set of clubs that have the same shaft stiffness throughout. Only now can we reproduce the same ball flight with the same repetitive motion. The results are more solid ball striking and more consistency.
6. Why do you have a favorite club?
Many golfers have a favorite club in their set. Usually it's the club they hit the best. Most often this club's shaft frequency is the one closest to what their flex should be. Simply, golfers hit it best with the club that fits them the best.
7. What's the best way to buy clubs?
The only way to assure that you are buying the right equipment is to be clubfit by a professional This is done by having the golfer hit identical clubs on the driving range with the only difference being the frequency and length of the shaft. The trained clubfitter studies the flight of the ball and where the ball flight begins. If it starts out right then the shaft is too stiff and vice versa. The process of elimination will bring us to the shaft that starts out straight.
8. Are grips important?
Grip style is a matter of personal preference as opposed to size which can be crucial. Some manufacturers use glove size as the determinant for custom grip size but this doesn't necessarily show the relationship between finger length and palm size. Only by fitting ones hand to a grip can we tell where the fingers meet the palm. Improper grip size can lead to tension, one of the most common errors in the swing.
9. What about lie and loft?
Standard lie and loft assume that every one is the same size and has the same swing. Loft has to do with the angle of the clubhead and lie with the angle of the shaft and clubhead. Stronger or weaker lofts can lead to higher, lower, longer, or shorter ball flights. The standard loft on manufactured clubs varies from brand to brand, leading to the claims of longer hitting irons. Loft is more of a individual preference.
Lie reflects where the sole of the clubhead is grounding out. To properly fit a golfer it is necessary to have one hit balls from a lie board. The marks on the sole and the imprint on clubface tape show the proper relationship between lie and length. Both can now be adjusted for more upright or flatter swings, or unusually tall or short golfers, giving them the best possible chance of making solid, consistent contact.
10. What do swingweights mean?
Swingweight is the relationship between the weight of the clubhead, the shaft and the grip. Larger grips, heavier heads and shafts all play a part. Small grips with a heavy shaft and a standard weight clubhead can produce the same swingweight as oversize grips with a lightweight shaft and a heavier clubhead. When clubs are fitted to the individual then proper swingweights should be the result.
Courtesy of Classic Swing Golf School