Nine Things You Must Know Before Buying Custom Fit Clubs (End)
Don’t be fooled by impressive facilities
A reputable fitting centre will generally have a launch monitor, a range of fitting clubs and an experienced clubfitter to take the fitting session. Nowadays a launch monitor is essential in order to study ball flight and the player’s swing dynamics. Only with a launch monitor can you measure key parameters such as swingspeed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, etc. This data can be stored and the performance of different clubs can be compared so that the player and the fitter can determine which club is performing best.
No matter how impressive the facilities, it is the expertise and knowledge of the professional fitter which ensures a successful fitting session. He/she needs to be able to interpret and analyse the launch monitor data whilst at the same time knowing how your swing dynamics are impacting on the shot. Experienced fitters will also have a good understanding of the various shafts and heads used in the fitting system.
You can be confident that national fitting centres for the major brands have suitably trained staff on hand to fit you properly. However some fitting bays in golf shops may seem well equipped but if the fitter is an inexperienced sales person, you may not get the quality fitting experience you are seeking. Think of this analogy. You can go out today and buy a stethoscope. You may even know that one end goes in your ears and the other end goes on the patient’s chest to listen to a heartbeat. But that doesn’t mean you can do the job of a doctor. It is the doctor’s experience and wealth of medical knowledge which allows him/her to make the diagnosis. Only then does the stethoscope become a useful medical tool. Same applies to launch monitors and the various other tools used in clubfitting.
You don’t always get the specified club(s) you ordered
OK so you have been custom fitted for your clubs and placed the order according to your fitting spec. Job done you would think. Unfortunately even with some of the major brands you will be sent clubs which don’t match your fitting specs. “How come?” you might ask.
Well like most other industries, the golf industry works to tolerances and these must always be taken into consideration. For example heads being supplied from reputable foundaries may have a loft tolerance of +/- 1 deg. So if you are expecting a 5 iron with a loft of 27 deg. and a 6 iron loft of 31 deg. you may end up with the 5 iron at 26 deg. and the 6 iron at 32 deg. The yardage gap between these clubs would then likely be too great. It would be nice to think that equipment companies would be checking for this before the clubs are sent to the dealer/customer but this rarely happens. So ideally club specs should be checked when they are received from the supplier to ensure that they match your recommended fitting requirements.
Niche clubfitting centres can provide high end premium product built to exacting specifications
There are niche clubfitting and clubmaking centres which offer a level of club customisation and club building far superior to that being offered in golf discount stores. They have the time to build custom clubs to a very high spec. using tighter tolerances and meticulous attention to detail. Here at AGT, shafts are aligned, weighed and frequency matched. Loft and lies are adjusted to +/- 0.2 deg. and swingweights adjusted to +/- 0.5 swingweight points. Grip sizes are checked with micrometers if necessary.
The clubs you find in a general golf store will not be built to such a high spec. You may think the cost of all of this would be prohibitive but you might be pleasantly surprised if you just ask for a quote.
Remember custom fitting is an ongoing process
If you are buying new custom clubs based on a fitting you had several years ago then keep in mind that clubfitting is an ongoing process and that the spec. which suited you then may not suit you now.
When getting fitted for new spectacles most everybody will undergo another eye check. Reason being that we all know our eyesight changes over time and we want to make sure that our eye prescription is correct before spending more money on a new pair of glasses.
Same thing applies to golf clubs. As your physical ability and golfing ability changes over the years, so too will your clubfitting requirements. So to be on the safe side make sure you book a fitting session each time you purchase new clubs.