Author: Gillian Barnes/Monday, September 25, 2017/Categories: Golf, Golf Academy
When it comes to golf, it’s important to utilize all advantages that are available to you. However, less experienced or new golfers may not be aware of the advantages of proper club fitting. The right fit can give you the competitive edge you need to up your game, which is why we sat down with JT Dowd, one our professional instructors at the Willowcreek Golf Academy to learn more.
First and foremost, why is proper club fitting so important? Well, JT explains it in the following way:
“Club fitting is important for several reasons: First and foremost, a club fitting will allow a golfer of any ability to get the most out of his or her swing. People are all built differently, and with different strengths and weaknesses in their games. Through a club fitting, we can match a golfer’s skill set, physical build, shot preferences and budget with a set of golf clubs that helps them achieve their goals and play their best.
Different players may want different things out of their clubs, too. A tournament golfer who likes to control shot shape and trajectory will most likely prefer something much different than the casual weekend golfer who only wants more distance and forgiveness. And every manufacturer offers something for a variety of skill levels and budgets. Many players just don’t know where to start when choosing equipment, and going through the club fitting process can simplify their selection.”
We realize that some interested golfers may not know what fitting entails, so we asked JT to flesh out the process as it and how it works at the Willowcreek Golf Academy:
“I prefer to start by having a player hit their current equipment while watching and recording their swing on a launch monitor. I will also try to find out if the player has any physical limitations that could affect the swing. Also, I will talk with the golfer to try to find out what they’re trying to achieve with their clubs.
When we have some data (swing speed, spin, height etc.) I can start putting some clubs together for the player to try. Using the data we collected from the launch monitor, I can determine what type of club to start with, and what type of shaft and shaft flex might get us the best results (playability, consistency, tight dispersion etc.) From there, the golfer will hit different clubs to see what he or she likes best, and what gives us the best result.
We also use things like a lie board and impact tape to help determine things like shaft length and lie angle. These methods are considered ‘old school’ compared to the data we get from the launch monitor, but are vital in getting the clubs fit to the players height, arm length, swing profile and any physical issues or needs they might be dealing with.”
According to JT, a correctly fit club should result in confidence, comfort and better gameplay:
“Through a club fitting my ultimate goal is to give a golfer clubs they’re comfortable with, confident in, and that allow them to play their best. I expect quantifiable improvements in distance and dispersion, as well as improvements in control and playability. With a fit set of irons, I want golfers to be able to hit shots into a green that land soft and hold, and have consistent distance gapping between clubs. With drivers and woods, I want them to be able to hit fairways and control their ball flight.”
Club fitting is a skill that golf professionals hone over years, that is ever-changing with technology. JT has been fitting clubs since 2011, but his interest in equipment started long before that. When it comes to how he learned about fitting, JT said, “I learned about club fitting by training under experienced golf professionals, through trial and error with my own game, and through learning the ins and outs of launch monitor technology. I did, and continue to do, research on equipment and ball flight laws. Especially with equipment, there is always something new coming out that can help golfers play better and have more fun. It’s important that any club fitter or pro knows what’s available, what it’s designed to do, and how it can help or hinder different players.”
When it comes to club fitting, it’s best to deal with experienced golf professionals. When it comes to finding the right fitting facility, JT noted:
“Many facilities offer club ‘fitting’—especially big sporting goods stores—but very few offer what we can provide at Willowcreek Golf Academy. At many facilities, a club fitting would take place in a simulator or by hitting balls into a net, and would be done by a part-timer who has limited experience. Here we see real ball flight, we use Trackman, which is the Cadillac of launch monitors, and we work with the best manufacturers. We’re trained and experienced in helping golfers play better.
My ultimate goal isn’t to sell someone a set of clubs and send them on their way. I want to help them put together a set that they’re confident in, and one that helps them play their best. A fitting may take multiple sessions, or I might have to try to get something from a manufacturer that we don’t have in stock, but I want players to ultimately know they’re using the equipment that’s correct for their game. I want to develop a relationship with the golfer and provide them with an experience that’s above and beyond what they would get at warehouse store or in the mall.”
If you’re on the fence as to whether to get fit for clubs or not, consider this advice from JT: “My best piece of advice is to simply get fit. I hear from so many golfers who think they’re not good enough to get fit and nothing could be farther from the truth. A tour player could take a rental set and still play well, but the golfers who can gain the most from a fitting are the ones who are still improving.”
Are you ready to find your fit? Contact our team of golf professionals here.
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