Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to get the most out of your fitting

Club fittings are meant to get your hands around the best technology for your game.  In the modern golf-scape, everything from shaft material, length, weight, color, grip size and material, club head weight, and top line look can be selected from a wide range of manufacturers' offerings. It's enough to make a sane person's head explode!  Good thing I'm not sane, right?

What you get out of your fitting is equivalent to what you are willing to put in and accept. If you go in and say "I don't want to spend any money and I'm happy with what I play with now" then there's no reason to even have one done. If you're just going to get some numbers because you're curious how fast you swing, I have a package for 30 minutes on the range with a launch monitor where you keep all your data. Hit me up. On the other hand, going in with the idea that what you play now is completely incorrect isn't a good idea either. After all, you didn't get where you are by playing the complete WRONG equipment, we're just trying to find out if there's something better or a tweak that will make them better.  The best thing to do is keep an open mind about all avenues. Maybe the difference between 30% fairways and 70% fairways is the grip on your driver, or even making all your clubs 1/2 inch shorter, or bending them 1degree upright will have you hitting more greens.  Fittings don't always have to mean buying new clubs. They should never be a sales pitch. They don't always mean an expensive fix either. That's what most places want you to believe though  - which is why they comp the fitting if you buy new clubs.  Awesome, I'll save $50 if I buy this brand new $699 set!  Don't get me wrong, I do that too.... IF you NEED a new set or new club.

So, step one.  Have an open mind.

Step 2:  Leave your ego at the door. It's not going to help you to swing as hard as you can during a fitting.  Remember, you're going to PLAY these clubs, you're not just going to HIT them. Always warm up and use your normal on-course swings. If at the end of the day you are in a S flex instead of X, or R - it's OK because you're hitting it better.  We're comparing apples to apples here, it's not about letters or brands, it's about how they compare to each other. You know how your club performs on the course already - you've been using it for a while. Compare it by the numbers and look for the improvement. Above all, its OK if you don't hit the new stuff better than your old stuff. There are other things to look at for improvement.
Play the game, don't HIT to FIT.

Step 3: Talk about what you want vs. what you heard you should have.  A good fitter will listen and provide feedback. If you want someone to just tell you what you want - that's ok too, but dialogue is key to getting something that ultimately fits you and your game.  Sure, you're not a tour pro and you may not be able to feel the difference between one shaft and another but you know what you like. "ooh, that felt really good" or "This feels too light for me" are perfectly acceptable and will help the fitter dial in what you need. If your fitter doesn't want to hear it, then find another fitter.

Step 4:  Don't try new techniques. A fitting is not a lesson and it should never be. There are quick fixes like teeing the ball higher or moving it back or forward in your stance but don't try new things that you don't normally do like: inside take-aways and different grip techniques. Don't try "picture perfect swings" either. If you have injuries that don't let you take the club more than half-way back, then it's something that needs to be taken into account and it's nothing to be ashamed of. JB Holmes, one of the longest guys on the tour, doesn't even make it NEAR parallel at the top.

In my fittings, if I see something early that CLEARLY needs to be fixed we don't normally continue, there's no charge, and I refer the player to one of my trusted pros to get the help they need - THEN they can come back for the fitting and get it right. Equipment can help a lot but it can't fix a bad habit, and fitting a bad habit will not help the golfer improve his or her game. Did I waste my time? No.  Not if I've helped point you in the direction of a better game.

Always remember, getting fit for clubs is the same as getting fit for anything else. You don't go to buy new pants and suck your gut in to get them buttoned and say "wow these fit great" when you can't sit down. You don't wear the thickest socks you can find to buy summer shoes.  Same thing with clubs. Come as you are. Show off that home-grown swing. Most importantly, if it ain't broke - don't fix it.

Contact me to learn more or to schedule a fitting session. Sessions are usually 45 mins to an hour and there's a little paperwork to fill out beforehand - just the normal stuff so I can get a good sense of where you are in your game and what you currently play and are looking to improve. Actually it's more conversation and I'm doing the writing.

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