I have owned many different items of clothing over the years, I have always kept the ones that fit me well. I somehow walk differently and I am more confident when I wear them. I also wear reading glasses and would never dream of not being tested for the exact prescription I need. I would apply the same principles to a good fit for a set of golf clubs. It makes sense.
I am 5’ 5” (165cm). On a good day, my arms hang proportionally to my torso and my swing speed with a 6 iron averages 75 mph. I wear a ladies size small glove that fits slightly on the short side for my fingers. My swing is fairly consistent with a slight draw. I play less often than I would like and practice occasionally. I teach more than I play. The reason I mention all this is because they matter, they matter a great deal to the makeup of the clubs I play with. I have been professionally fit, using the latest technology, to ensure all my variables are matched to my set.
As my swing has changed over the course of my career I have had the privilege of being fit by some of the best companies and individuals in the world, from TaylorMade’s “The Kingdom” just outside Atlanta in the United States to individual companies across the United Kingdom. I have experienced what makes a good custom fit.
So where do you start? With all the technology at your disposal, it can be overwhelming to know what it all means for you. If you have never been fit for clubs, or even if you have, I would make sure you start with your instructor, PGA or LPGA Professional. Talk to others who have been fitted, do your research and find the fitter who will be the best match for you.
There are certain parameters that are basic to a proper fitting: length, lie, shaft flex in combination with appropriate head weight matching your swing. I see far too many people with clubs that are too long or too heavy and as a result, they have made swing faults to compensate.
The weight of the clubs can help or hinder your swing. Everyone has a different swing tempo. Ask yourself do you like the feel of a heavier weighted clubhead, which can help with tempo and feel during the swing. Or are you more comfortable with a uniform weight through the entire club? This is where personal preference comes into the equation and can work together with technology.
Lighter shafts and head weights can help increase clubhead speed and in turn increase distance. Lighter clubs can also help you hold the position of the club during the swing. It all depends on what feels most comfortable for you. Don’t forget to ask yourself what the clubs will feel like towards the second half of the round when you may have a little less energy and strength.
The environment you are fit in is important, variables such as temperature and wind, if outdoors, can affect how you see the ball flight. If you are indoors you have a sterile environment and never see this. The type of golf ball you are hitting plays a part in both feel, distance, and spin.
Which is right for you?
There are many different tools out there, which measure: Club speed, Club Path, Ball Speed, Spin Rate, Attack Angle, Face to Path, Launch Angle, Lie Angle etc.. the list goes on. The technology which gives the fitter this information comes on launch monitors such as Trackman, Foresight’s GC2 with HMT and Flightscope, among others. This is all invaluable to a certain point. The feel factor in combination with data must play a large part in the final decision. Ensure the fitter can disseminate the numbers in relation to what you are experiencing.
One particular aspect of the GC2 with HMT or the newer GCQuad is the placement of the dots or markers on the club face. They essentially reflect what is happening to the face of the club at impact. If they are not positioned accurately then the reading of numbers can be way off and if adjustments are made to clubs with those inaccurate readings then the fit can render useless and in some cases worse than taking a set off the shelf.
Be aware, read reviews on fitters, make sure they are looking at the whole package, not just blindly reading numbers and trying to make a sale.
Ultimately and most importantly the final decision must come from the player. If you aren’t comfortable, no matter what the numbers say, you will never feel happy hitting them out on the course.
Lizzy Freemantle Schremp has been coaching golf for over 15 years. After receiving a scholarship to play for the University of Louisville in the United States she subsequently went on to become a PGA Professional at Oxmoor Country Club in Louisville Kentucky. Lizzy has worked with a number of other professionals and coached clients of all skill levels, ranging from beginner to professional.
Lizzy completed certification in all 6 areas of the PGA certified professional program in 2007. She was honored to receive Kentucky Section Assistant of the year, 2007, Created and developed the Oxmoor Golf and Fitness Academy and received the Titleist Scholarship Award in 2006.
Lizzy now spends most of her time coaching and fitting in the United Kingdom as one of the Professionals with Adam Bishop Golf.