As someone who's worked as a club fitter since 2011, I cannot stress enough how important the right equipment is for your game. Getting a proper club fitting can literally take dozens of strokes off your game if it's done right! It blows my mind that people still don't know where to find these fittings, so hopefully this guide helps!
In the first blog post in this series, I'm going to cover Fitting Etiquette. Again, as someone who's given over 1000 fittings, there are things you can do to make our lives easier and make sure you're getting the best possible fitting you can.
Make an appointment!
Most club manufactures send 2 - 3 fitting techs to each event. In order fo that person to give you the attention you need and deserve before making a big purchase, they have to make sure their focus isn't being pulled in a million different directions. You can help by not being the guy that shows up and says "I saw the tent and decided to come down! What's new with (Insert Company Here's) driver this year?" Sure, we'd love to help you but in order to give an accurate fitting, we can really only be with one customer at a time. If you show up to play some golf and find out there's a fitting day - walk over to the fitter and ask "How long are you here? Do you have any available appointments left?"
This goes a long way. Even if the fitter doesn't have any appointments left, there have been dozens of times over my 10 years in club fittings where I've said "Unfortunately we don't have anything today, but I live close and would be happy to come back out and do a private fitting with you!" or "We're all booked today BUT I'm going to be really close to this course next week, you can always call them and make an appointment!"
Again, you deserve the attention to detail that a fitting takes and so do the people that scheduled the appointments. The pro will be more than happy to put your name down.
If you aren't sure where to find fitting days in your area here's some links to help:
TaylorMade - TaylorMade Golf Fitting Days
Callaway - Callaway Golf Fitting Days
Cleveland - Cleveland Golf Fitting Days
Cobra - Cobra Golf Fitting Days
Ping - Ping Fitting Days
Srixon - Srixon Fitting Days
Titleist - Titleist Fitting Days
Wilson Staff - Wilson Staff Fitting Days
PXG - PXG Fitting Days
XXIO - XXIO Fitting Days
Show Up Early & Get Loose
Plan to get to your fitting about 20 minutes before it starts. That will give you plenty of time to loosen up so when you walk into the fitting you're in the zone and ready to go! There's nothing worse than hearing "oh it just takes me a little while to warm up." Well now you're cutting into your own fitting time and not letting me put the best combination in your hand that I can to get you the results you want.
Also, don't show up so early that you swing yourself out before the fitting starts. Every golfer, especially amateur golfers hit a wall where they aren't making a good pass at it anymore and at that point the fitting is useless. If you were warming up and hit 35 drivers, by the time you step into your fitting your swing speed has dropped significantly and you may get fit into the wrong shaft just based off what the numbers are currently saying.
Everyone loves to hit the driver a lot but in a normal round of golf, you may hit it 13 times. If you step up on the range and machine gun your way through a bucket of balls, we aren't going to be able to make any progress towards improving your game.
Don't Be Nervous
Nerves can actually ruin a fitting. We want to see your natural swing but often times guys try to either swing really hard or try to steer the ball to hit it straight... don't do that. We aren't fitting you based off your idea of what a golf swing should look like, we're fitting you based off of your normal swing!
Trust me, no matter what you're about to do to that golf ball, I've seen it done before and I've seen it done much much worse. Also, if you're having a bad day - that's okay too. Guess what? I don't care if you top 10 in a row. You know the amount of times I went home after a fitting and told my wife "Some guy topped 11 shots in a row today while I was fitting him!"? Zero. It's never happened because when I leave that golf course the last thing I want to think about is work... I just want to get home, relax, have a beer and pet my dog. I don't care how good or bad you hit it on the range.
So take some deep breathes and make your normal pass at it. We'll adjust the club to fit that.
NEVER START WITH YOUR DRIVER!
Please for the love of God... DON'T START WITH YOUR DRIVER. In case you skimmed that last line let me say it again... DON'T START WITH YOUR DRIVER! Got it? Good. When your getting fit for a driver, I have about 15 - 25 good swings where I can actually find a combination that works best for you. If you step up and smack 35 drivers, by the time our fitting starts, you're already swung out.
The average golfer hits 10 - 14 drivers per round, yet when we get on the driving range we hit about 30, it makes no sense. By the time you've swung a driver 25 times, your tempo gets off, your swing speed decreases and you aren't getting the most accurate fitting. Start with a wedge or a 9-iron. That swing will tell me where I should start for your driver fitting.
Bring Your Own Clubs!
This is another MUST. The amount of times people show up to a fitting without their own sticks blows my mind... don't do that. Your golf clubs are my baseline. I need to see what your current clubs are doing so I know where we've made an improvement.
When getting fit golfers are often looking for a few things: Distance, Accuracy, Forgiveness, More Speed, etc. Without your current clubs to compare, I have no way to know if we're actually making progress. You can come up to me and say "I hit my 8-iron 160 yards" but unless you show me HOW you're hitting your 8-iron 160 yards, I don't know if that's a good thing or not.
Sure you may hit your 8-iron 160 yards but it may be launching at 10 degrees with no spin... yes, it's going 160 yards but it has no chance of holding the green when it gets there.
Bring your own clubs and make sure your fitter shows you the key numbers so you can see whether or not the new set is better.
Trust The TrackMan
If you're lucky enough to be at a fitting where there's a TrackMan, cherish it. This is the same equipment the PGA pros use to measure their shots and it is as accurate as advertised.
For me, the TrackMan is my lifeline and my best salesman. I don't have to convince you that you're hitting it better with the new product, I can show you. As a fitter we look for a few key metrics on the TrackMan, they include: Ball Speed, Spin Rate, Launch, Swing Speed, Angle of Attack, Angle of Descent (for the ball), and a few others.
What many people don't understand is ball speed, launch and spin are the three things that will equate to more distance over your current club. I'm not trying to change your golf swing, I'm just trying to make the energy you're putting into that swing as efficient as possible. Without changing your swing speed, if I can make the ball speed come up (based on face technology) the ball will travel farther. Typically about 1 mph more in ball speed will equal 3 yards.
Listen to the TrackMan and ask the fitter to show you the numbers. If they aren't willing to show you the numbers don't trust them. I'm happy to share the information with you - it's how you know the process is working. If they are hiding the numbers, chances are, you aren't gaining anything but they still want to sell you the product.
Don't get fit off a mat.
Mats are fine for warming up before a round but at a fitting they can be very detrimental. Mats often correct mistakes in club angle and can mask a bad shot. Mats don't let you dig in properly to the turf... instead, they bounce. So you may hit a bad shot that actually looks good because the mat corrected it.
Mats also affect ball flight and spin rates. It's very difficult to get turf interaction and proper numbers while hitting off a mat. You're about to (potentially) make a big purchase. Make sure you're getting the best information you can.
The same goes for simulators. You can't truly see ball flight in a simulator and there are some tricks to jack up the yardage so that 250 yard drive on the course looks like a 285 yard drive in the simulator! Don't get duped. If available, always get fit outside on grass where you can get the most realistic possible fitting.
Don't Pay For A Fitting
I have never understood people who pay for fittings... There's no reason. As mentioned in the first section, you can find where your favorite golf companies are going to be doing their fittings and they are always FREE. Some people think you're getting more bang for your buck or a "more exact fitting" if you pay but that couldn't be farther from the truth.
Every company trains their tech reps on how to precisely fit their products. They train them on the technology benefits of the brand and how to get the most out of the club. Whereas these big club fitting companies ask their fitters to learn every club on the market and its benefits. It doesn't always work.
To put it into perspective - when you buy a car, you go to a dealer who specializes in one type of vehicle. Why? Because they know the brand and the product inside and out. You wouldn't go to Chevy dealer and ask them what's new with Ford... but when you step into a big box store or a chain fitting company, that's exactly what you're doing.
Go to free fitting where you're getting the information directly from someone who's been trained by that specific brand on how to fit their product. The results will be astonishing.
Support Your Local Club
So you did it. You got fit, you followed all the rules... now what? You ask the rep to "write down what we did today so you can have the information". Well, unfortunately, I never give out our fitting sheets to a customer and here's why... Your local club that put this event on is doing this as a way for you to improve your game and a way for them to generate more sales. If I give you the information, you could easily go eBay and try to find the same product at a discount... but what if you order the wrong shaft, or the wrong head and now you hate our company because the demo club you tried wasn't as good as the one you bought.
No. Support your local club. Do you like how new the carts are? Or how smooth the greens are? Well, every time they sell a club, that profit can be used to help improve your course. Why would you want to take money away from them just to buy it online?
Support your local clubs. They deserve it for giving you the opportunity to get a professional fitting at NO COST.
Whatever the case, go get fit and make 2022 your best year of golf yet.