Warning: This blog is way too geeky about golf specs
Earlier this week I had my first “real” club fitting.
The fitting was done by two local Nike fitters and we did the session at Tualatin Island Greens driving range so that we could hit off grass and use a FlightScope to track the spin and ball flight as precisely as possible.
For those of you who are not familiar with this, a club fitting is the process in which you figure out exactly what club head/shaft combination fit your swing. There are so many options out there it can be overwhelming if you just go to a golf super store and try to pick out a set for yourself. If you golf at least a couple of times a month, though, you should have a professional size up your swing and put you in the optimal gear. I’m excited to get the new sticks next week and see what happens with my shots and game.
The fitting started with a 6-iron. We tracked 4 shots with my current “gamer club” (which is a Nike VRS forged blade with Dynalite Gold shafts) and then tested a couple of different shafts in the Pro Combo set until we found one that both went straight, had the right RPMs of spin and good distance. At this point, I’m not exactly sure what the final shaft was, but I will post all of the specs of the new gear the day I get it. What was interesting was that my average with most of the shafts was 170 yards total, but with a couple of them I was getting 185 yards total after 175 carry. This bump in distance will go through all of the clubs, so the new potential will be an additional 15 yards to each iron, changing the pitching wedge from my 130 yard club to my 145 yarder and so on. The best part of that is that I will close a previous gap I had in my set at the 200 yard mark. 200 yards will now be right between a 5 and 4-iron, whereas I could never seem to get that out of my previous 4-iron. Not exactly PGA distance, but the swing speed is getting better and so is the yardage.
After the irons, I tested out some fairway woods through the same process. I’ve had a huge issue with my current fairway woods’ shafts being too flexible. When I had my first fitting for the driver and woods I had (to that date) never swung any of those clubs nor did I have a clue how you were supposed to swing them. The fitters back then made an educated guess as to what I would need in my bag, but I have developed a much better swing since then and have gotten stronger in my core, producing more velocity in the swing, hence this being my first “real” fitting. They had me swing a few stiff shaft choices until the right one came up. With this new shaft I was getting about 20 more yards in my woods and 3-hybrid, which is desperately needed distance when trying to reach the longer par 5s in two. In my current set, I have never felt comfortable with a fairway wood in my hand because they feel like noodles when swinging; having the stiffer club in hand made it so that I could just swing away and trust that the club head would be where it is supposed to be at impact. Confidence in your clubs is crucial. If you feel like something bad will happen with one (or more) of your clubs then it probably will. Grip it and rip it, just make sure you trust it.
The driver fitting was last. I swung a handful of different drivers. Some hooked, sliced, went high, shot out low. They were all over the place even though I was putting the same swing on the ball. I was amazed at how much discrepancy there was between the different shafts. Even with the same club head, the shafts produced dramatically different trajectories. There is truly a combination out there for everyone. After giving them all a shot, we found a combo that was sending the ball the right height and distance. I’ll post the specs soon, but I do know that is was a Nike VRS 9.5 degree. What I have been using is a Mach Speed Black 10.5, but I hit the ball too high with my current driver and it has too much spin so lands and actually rolls back instead of releasing. The new one was sending the ball off at a nice level and then releasing with 10-20 yards of roll. Very positive signs. I was hitting the range balls 275 yards total. Not sure exactly how much more distance a good ball will provide, but I’d take 275 down the middle any day. My swing speed, though, is not near where I want it to be. I was swinging the same way that I do in an actual round (not swinging out of my shoes, but rather at 80 percent) and the speed was between 100-105mph. PGA Tour average is about 113mph, so there is a 10 percent increase that needs to happen over the next few years. The good news is that my smash factor was 1.50, which is pretty darn good.
It will probably take a couple of weeks to adjust to the new sticks, but there is nothing except excitement about their arrival. Again, anyone serious about golf needs to get fit for clubs. I think it will make a huge difference down the line and am glad to have gone through the experience. I know more about both my gear and my swing now. You know what they say about knowledge..
Has anyone else had a good or bad experience with a club fitting? Had any major improvements or setbacks?