Who Benefits the Most from Professional Custom Fitting?
No doubt, this is a valid question for any golfer who has been playing to the same handicap for years with several different sets of clubs. After all, full specs professional custom fitting hasn’t yet become a household term and most golfers believe the reason their handicap never drops is because of them, not the clubs.
On top of that, the term “professional custom fitting” can leave a connotation of a much higher cost – as in the cost of a fully tailored suit vs one bought off the rack in a department store – so any golfer is justified in wondering “is it worth it for me to go get professionally custom fit versus just buying a well known brand name club at the big golf store?”
In a nutshell, damn right it is. But then you’d expect me to say that. So let me tell you some of the results I have observed based on 40+ yrs of fitting research along with teaching more than 3000 clubmakers and communicating with and counseling thousands of clubmakers in my career.
In general, the higher the handicap of the golfer, the more the golfer will experience definite, visible shot improvement results from professional clubfitting. For golfers with a handicap between 12 and 26, it is safe to say in the area of 80% will walk away with one or more forms of visible, measurable shot improvement from a professional fitting session. If wedge and putter fitting are included, it’s not out of line to say that 80% of all golfers with a handicap between 12 and 26 will see their average score improve by between 3 and 10 shots.
What about the golfers who break 80 or shoot over 100?
For the low handicappers, the most frequently seen form of improvement comes in the area of shot consistency, improved ball flight shape to better control the shot in different conditions, better overall feel and a higher level of confidence. Yes, some single digit players do walk away hitting the ball a little longer and more accurately for sure, but most low handicappers already hit the ball as far as they’re going to and more accurately simply because of their higher level of golf athletic ability and swing characteristics.
Among the golfers that shoot 100 or higher, golfers that are much better fit for elements such as length, lie, face angle, total weight, swingweight and grip size find that when they take lessons to improve their faulty swing characteristics, their level of swing improvement comes sooner, which in turn results in a lower handicap.
And you know what? We’ve found in working with a lot of teaching professionals that when they start their beginning golfers out with clubs that are shorter, lighter, higher lofted and with a more comfortable grip size, the beginning golfers accelerate their learning curve.
So, the next time you think you just aren’t good enough to benefit from custom fit clubs, or question the possibility of improvement through professional fitting think again. You can spend your money to buy clubs off the rack and keep playing the same or you can find a good, experienced clubmaker and spend the same amount of money and have a very high level of probability that you will walk away hitting the ball longer and/or straighter and/or more consistently and enjoy this great game a little more.