Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Fit To Drive
You have the options to get fitted for a driver. Here’s how to go about it
YOUR DRIVER SETS the tone for the rest of your game. Stripe your tee shot down the middle, and you’re postured to score well. Mis-hit it, and your demeanor strays, which is why finding the exact driver for your unique swing is so crucial to a good game. But how you go about selecting the right model for your ability can be a daunting proposition—especially if you’ve never been fitted before. You need to find the proper clubhead, loft, shaft length, flex, club weight, brand, etc. to maximize your distance and accuracy.
Where to start? You have several options, depending on the level of custom-fitting you’re seeking. And getting adequately fitted shouldn’t cost a lot of money, either. Each type of driver fitting offers a unique experience, plus its own advantages and drawbacks. Only you can decide which venue suits you best.
Regardless, don’t go it alone. As much as you think you know your game, your swing and your specs, a detailed fitting analysis will likely show you a thing or two you hadn’t considered, and present options to you that will further improve your ballflight. You can, however, first visit the many shaft and club company interactive fitting pages on their respective websites. It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with the drivers and shafts available, and to get your ballpark specs. But to truly get proper equipment, follow up your online session with a real fitting through one of these venues.
YOUR LOCAL PGA PROFESSIONAL
If you belong to a country club or play frequently at one particular course, chances are good that your PGA pro is familiar with your swing—and would be a great person to fit you for your driver. But if you don’t know a pro, have no fear. There are many around who will give you individual attention and invaluable insight. The way a pro fits you varies, depending on if the fitting system he uses is from a club manufacturer—in which case the system is skewed toward that brand’s clubs—or from an independent fitting-system manufacturer, which provides data that can be universally applied to all brands. Many pros use sophisticated electronic launch monitors that spit out detailed swing data. Other pros prefer the old-school method in which they take static measurements while you hold the club at address, then watch you swing while using a lie board, clubface spray and sole tape to figure out where you’re striking the ball on the clubface. Either way is fine, but if you’re a “numbers person” who likes perusing statistics, find a pro with a launch monitor.
Next, the pro derives the right clubs for you by trial and error. You’ll probably be fitted at an outdoor range by hitting a driver several times, using a slightly different version from one shot to the next as the pro assembles club components from a fitting cart. Essentially, he places tape on the clubface to help see where you make impact and how the ballflight is affected by each component change. How much it costs you depends: Some pros offer clubfitting for free, but more commonly, they’ll charge a nominal fee to be applied toward any clubs you buy from them.
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