Find Your Fit
Everybody should get their clubs fitted, right? Two GT editors test that theory out. Read how their experience can help you.
Custom clubfitting is the real deal.
For a while, it seemed as though getting your clubs custom fit was reserved for Tour players and those who take their golf game extra-seriously. But now, custom fitting is made available to everyone, thanks to a new era of golf clubs that feature all kinds of equipment geared for various types of golfers. Also, clubfitting has exploded beyond simple tape measurements and basic shaft flexes. Doppler radar, launch monitors and laser-guided devices (stuff rocket scientists use) are used by clubfitters to help make sure you have the absolute best equipment for your swing. In our case, we were lucky enough to explore two different kinds of clubfitting experiences with the guys at Hot Stix in Denver, Colo. Our resident smooth swinger, Charlie Schroeder, went through the standard fitting, which is designed for golfers who want their current set looked at and a few recommendations on how to make it better. Fellow editor and big hitter, Ryan Noll, opted for the tour fitting, which included an even more in-depth look at his sticks. Here’s how it went down for both editors and what kinds of things you can expect to learn from each fitting.
The Regular Guy Fitting
By Charlie Schroeder
For some people, golf clubs come and go, but not me. I got my custom-fitted irons when I was 14. They helped me win a couple junior golf tournaments and take on courses like Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No.2 and Lahinch. They served me well. I could never imagine getting rid of them. But late last year, I caved and finally got a new set, relegating my old ones to the corner of my office where they give me something to bump into when I vacuum. (Yes, I do the cleaning.)
My new irons didn’t immediately perform like my old ones. Sure, I gained about 10 yards with each stick (a result of improved technology and shafts that hadn’t been repeatedly beaten into the ground), but my patented draw had morphed into a sweeping hook. Rather than starting the ball at the middle of the green and curling it left toward the pin, I was often forced to aim at the right bunker and (on a good day) tug it in to the heart of the short stuff. “You need to get those adjusted,” friends would tell me, “they’re way too upright.” They were right. My new irons came “off the rack,” and when I addressed the ball, only the heel touched the ground, while the toe pointed skyward like a 747 taking off.
Last summer, my colleague Ryan Noll and I flew to Denver to check out the newest branch of Hot Stix, the high-tech clubfitting studio with headquarters in Scottsdale. Located at Green Valley Golf Ranch and adjacent to the McGetrick Golf Academy, the new facility was built just for equipment geeks like you and me. Although I was a tad nervous when Hot Stix fitter Rob Wample intercepted my clubs on arrival, I relaxed when I found out why.
“Don’t worry, we’re just going to take them away to analyze them,” he said. Freud couldn’t have said it better himself.
After a thorough examination in which Rob checked the shaft frequencies, lofts, lies and swing weight of my clubs, the two of us hit the range. Even though it was pretty chilly, I left the fleece in the car. If I was going to pound balls for these guys, I wanted my launch monitor readings to be as accurate as possible. “Better break out the radar gun, I don’t want to get busted for speeding,” I said to Wample. He looked at me like I was an idiot. Which, coincidentally, is what I am when it comes to clubfitting.
First Rob took some standard body measurements (including the distance from my knuckles to the ground), and then I hit a few wedges to warm up. Shortly thereafter, he asked me to pull out my six-iron and “hit a few.” I promptly striped five in a row. This is easy, I thought as I watched the ball fly 175 yards into the thin Rocky Mountain sky. “Alright, let’s take a look,” Rob said and summoned me to his computer monitor.
The data wasn’t pretty. My spin rates and launch angles were way too high and, to my surprise, I swung, well, like someone who has a desk job. There would be no speeding tickets today. “Try this one,” Rob said, trying to lift my spirits. He handed me a random 6-iron from a pile of clubs with heads and shafts that were mixed and matched. I hit one, then another. It quickly became apparent which clubs were matched to my specific “swing DNA,” as the Hot Stix guys call it, and which ones weren’t.