Clubfitting 101

There’s more than one way to get perfectly fitted clubs

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TaylorMade offers a high-tech fitting experience, too, via sophisticated motion-capture technology at seven TaylorMade Performance Labs around America, plus some international locations. The two-hour experience encompasses all your clubs. Using nine high-speed, synchronized cameras, technicians capture the motion of reflective markers on strategic points of your body and club. A moving image of your swing can be viewed from any angle (above, below, front, back or either side). You’ll also receive measurements of clubhead path, swing planes, body lines, X-factor, clubface angle, target line, effective clubhead loft at impact, ball speed and spin, launch angle and much more.

Some manufacturers offer ball fittings, as well. Bridgestone stages its roving Golf Ball Fitting Challenge throughout the year at courses all over the country. “Selecting the best ball for your game is important, because it’s the only equipment used for every shot,” says George Sine, Acushnet Company’s vice president for golf ball marketing and strategic planning. “Ball selection should take into account your entire game, green through tee, and for most golfers, a priority should be placed on scoring performance into and around the green. Ball fitting should be conducted from green to tee, rather than solely rely on launch monitor data derived with a driver. Tee shots with a driver represent approximately 14 of the (many) shots hit per round. Maximizing driver distance demonstrates only what ball you hit longest off the tee. It will not, by itself, assist you in lowering your score.”

Independent custom-fitting studios, like major manufacturers, work on all 14 of your clubs, plus the ball. Many use the latest high-speed video equipment, launch monitors and software, making precise measurements of everything pertaining to your swing and ballflight. Additionally, special software determines your optimal shaft flex, weight and kickpoint—to fine-tune your accuracy, ballflight and trajectory. With putters, studios can show where you’re aiming—as opposed to where you think you’re aiming—and if you square the putterface at impact. They can then match a putter to your stroke style.

An advantage: You generally have the option to either buy customized sets of name brands or get your current clubs’ lie and loft angles adjusted. Costs vary, but expect to pay roughly $250 for a three-hour fitting session—that cost typically is applied to clubs you buy from the studio.

A consideration, however, is that many private studios are indoors, where you can’t follow ballflight (some national chains, such as Cool Clubs, have outdoor options, so check first). Regardless, the technology accurately predicts where shots would have gone. But it’s not the same as looking up and seeing real flight.


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