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How good do you want to be?

You’ve read stories about what properly fitted clubs can do for your game, so why are you (like most golfers) playing those “off the rack” clubs? Fittings have largely been focused on drivers, but playing your best will only happen if the entire set is properly fit. As you plan to improve your game, here are thoughts on how to address each of the major segments in your golf bag:

  • Driver – High usage per round and driver distances (and the potential trouble that can result!) make driver fittings crucial for any golfer. Ability, swing speed, tempo and strength are all considerations in fitting the player with the right head shape, loft, flex, weight, and length. I recently did a fitting on a scratch player who gained 25 yards by achieving the proper combination of launch angle and ball spin. You may not gain 25 yards, but a properly fitted driver will help any golfer.
  • Fairways – Is your 3W hard to get off the ground or is your 5W just a bit short? Is your face depth right for the conditions in which you normally play? For many golfers, a single fairway club – a 4W? – is the best choice. It’s easier to master one club and improve consistency, and you’ll see only a minor impact on distance. A 4W also makes room for one other hybrid or wedge, and it saves money!
  • Hybrids – A shape that looks good and lofts that evenly fill the gap between fairways and irons are primary considerations. Some hybrids are now available with a bendable hosel, allowing the lie angle to fit you perfectly. Finally, I frequently find that hybrids are poorly matched to the set in terms of flex, swingweight and shaft weight.
  • Irons/Wedges – Head shape, forgiveness, and lie/loft angles are important factors in choosing irons. Do you know the impact of a poor lie angle? Do your wedges have the right bounce angle for your game? Are the grooves in good shape? Do you have a wedge “set” that is well matched and also matches up well with your iron set? I see pitching and gap wedges all the time that are entirely different even though they are just one club apart and are intended for similar use.
  • Putter – Are the loft and lie of your putter a good fit for your stroke? Length and weight? Grip size? Have you tried a chest or belly putter and given it the right amount of practice time? Putters are typically very poorly matched to their owners and this one club accounts for nearly half of your strokes.
  • Shafts – Along with head design, shafts are the most critical element of club fitting. Are your shafts the proper flex and weight for you? Do they have the right weight progression throughout the set? Are the flexes well matched? If you have mismatched shafts (which means mismatched clubs) you will unknowingly vary your swing to fit the club. A good clubfitter will minimize the differences from club to club and allow you to focus on your game.
  • Grips – Use the proper size – larger grips promote a fade and smaller grips a draw. Beyond that, pick the feel you like and keep them in good condition. And, grip all your clubs the same! It sounds simple, but most of the sets I analyze have multiple grip types. Grips are the only part of the club you come into contact with – make them right for you!

Most golfers rely on manufacturer designations to match their sets, but there are virtually no industry standards when it comes to length, flex, swingweight, loft, etc. And don’t assume that all clubs from a particular manufacturer will match up well either – these are mass produced items. Your objective should be to have a well matched set in each of these areas:

  • Shaft weights should gradually increase from the driver through the wedges.
  • Actual flex values (not the shaft label!) should be consistent or perhaps be flighted (stiffer as the clubs get shorter).
  • Swingweights should either be consistent or gradually increase (especially in the irons and wedges).
  • Lofts should provide the best distance coverage possible from your 13 clubs. Don’t leave large gaps and adjust your swing as a result.

Take your set to a clubfitter who can provide you a complete analysis of these elements and you will likely be surprised. In the hundreds of sets I have checked in the last few years, I have had perhaps two that were well fit and matched throughout the set. The cost of doing it right is not as high as what you might imagine – there are often inexpensive ways to fix what you already have.

Be as good as you want to be in 2012 and beyond! Contact Dan Today

Dan Weitzel
Weitzel Golf LLC
9981 Wyecliff Place
Highlands Ranch, CO, 80126