No. 1: Do Your Homework
The biggest mistake golfers can make is not doing the research necessary to find an accredited club fitter.
We here at Preston are your ideal fitting centre. With so many brands and options to choose from, pop in to us and see how we can help you!
If you live further afield however, a great way to find a good fitter is to ask your friends, golf league members or even a good player in your area where they were fit and what their experience was like. You can quickly get some honest feedback and make an educated decision on whether or not that particular fitter might be a good option for you.
No. 2: Have Realistic Expectations
Before, during and after your fitting, remind yourself that there are no shortcuts in golf. It's not realistic to expect 30-or-40-yard distance gains just from changing equipment.
On the other hand, most first-time customers gain around one-to-two clubs of distance from a complete fitting, while also minimizing their common misses. As a result, most customers that do full bag fittings often find themselves hitting two clubs less into greens. Hitting a 7 iron into a green is a lot easier than a 5 iron, right?
No. 3: The Pro Can Wait
I think it's hugely important for golfers to take lessons to improve their games, but I wouldn't recommend it immediately before a fitting. Think of it this way: Would you take a lesson the morning of the club championship? Unfortunately, many golfers come to me for a fitting and say:
"Well I just finished my lesson, so I should be hitting it great!
I cringe when I hear them say that, because the golfer is typically going to be focused on their swing instead of producing quality shots. It's important to give your fitter an accurate representation of your game, which means you shouldn't try to mask your flaws with a lesson immediately beforehand. If you regularly take lessons, a good clubfitter will ask you about your golf goals and what you're working on. Depending on your situation, he might fit you to new equipment that allows you to grow into the planned advancements in your game.
No. 4: Play Your Game
A good club fitter has worked with golfers of all different abilities, from professionals to people who are just learning how to play golf. What I'm getting at is that they're not going to be overly impressed or discouraged about your skills, because they've seen it all. If you normally hit a fade and, don't try to use your "draw" swing during the fitting. All you're doing is getting fit to a swing you don't normally make.
Even if you think you're lousy, your swing is likely a lot more consistent than you think. Play your own game to see the most improvement from your new sticks.
No. 5: Gear Up!
A lot of our customers forget to bring their current equipment with them to a fitting, which can be a problem for a fitter. The intention is to find something that is better than your current equipment, right?
That's why it's important for a fitter to see the shots you typically hit with your old clubs, as well as the improvement you get from the new gear. Hearing you talk about the shots you hit with your old clubs is helpful, but it's nowhere near as valuable as being able to analyze the numbers the clubs produce on golf radar.
No. 6: What you see is what you get
It is extremely important when you get fit to make sure you have full visual ball flight whenever possible. Hitting indoors or into a net won't provide you with the necessary feedback to get a solid overall view of the club.
Golfers often tend to swing slightly different when hitting indoors due to the lack of feedback. Having four walls around a golfer will also change the sound of the ball at impact, which for many players is the main source of "feel." It often alters their ability to accurately judge if a certain club feels good or not.
Even in our outdoor hitting bays, I will often have players step out of the bay and onto the range to hit a few balls in order to give them an accurate measure of sound. In any fitting, half the equation should always be subjective measures like look and feel. Even if the golf radar results are great, if a golfer hates the looks and feel of the club it's likely not the one for them.
No. 7: Try The Exact Equipment You're Getting
It's important that golfers are able to try the exact club their fitter recommends for them.
Let's say a golfer wants to try different shafts for his or her driver because theirs is too "spinny." They head down to their local club fitter with their TaylorMade R15 driver only to find out that the custom fitter only has shafts with TaylorMade's SLDR driver tip. The simple solution is to try some shafts in the R15. Whatever shaft works the best in the SLDR should work well in their R15, right? Wrong!
The only way for a golfer to find out what works well for them is to hit the models that they intend to play. There are exceptions to this rule, like when a custom fitter doesn't have a specific grip, shaft flex or shaft weight, but avoid buying a head/shaft combo that you haven't tested at all costs.
No. 8: You Can't Try Everything
It's unrealistic to think that you'll be able to hit every club head and shaft combination. A thorough driver fitting session should last around an hour, and typically takes at least 60 balls to dial in the right head and shaft combo. That's a lot of physical and mental stress packed into an hour, and it's more stress for golfers who decide to get fit for other clubs on the same day.
That's why it's important for you and your fitter to be efficient. Let's say you wanted to test a Titleist 915 D2 on every setting (there's 16) and each of Titleist's six stock shaft options (there's six not counting the different flex and weight options). If you hit one ball on each setting with each of the different shafts, you'd hit 96 balls, and that's if you only tested one loft. Typically it takes at least five shots to get a dependable average, so now we're talking about upwards of 480 shots. If you wanted to try all the different lofts (there's five) that number swells to 2400 shots, and you haven't even tried the smaller, lower-spinning D3 model or any aftermarket shafts.
It's important to try things you're interested in, but trying everything just isn't an option for most golfers. Trust that your fitter can recognize what will and won't work for you, and will tailor your testing accordingly.
No. 9: Embrace The Fall
Getting fit in the fall is an option many golfers overlook. Around that time, the new equipment photos are starting to leak out on GolfWRX. That's why many golfers want to hold out until the spring, when they can swing the latest and greatest from the manufacturers. But getting fit in the fall actually makes a lot of sense, especially for golfers who live in cold climates.
Here's why: By fall, most golfer have a full summer of golf under their belt. Their swing is grooved and their game is as sharp as it's going to get that season. And the fact that the 2014 equipment has dropped significantly in price is another bonus.
Many club fitters' schedules also slow down in the Winter, which means he or she will be able to spend more time with you during your fitting and may let you sneak back onto golf radar for tuneups afterward. I know that new club releases are enticing, but how many of us are sharp for a fitting when there's still snow on the ground?
No. 10: Just Peg It
So you followed my advice, and now you have new clubs that have you hitting the ball farther, straighter and more consistent. Don't expect your scores to drop immediately, though. Regardless of how good your golf radar numbers were with the new clubs, it's going to take a little time to adjust.
A fitting will often allow golfers to hit the ball into places they were unable to reach in the past. Getting used to your new yardages, turf interaction, ball flight and course strategy may take some time. Don't surprised if you find yourself reaching some hazards or flying some greens you may not have had issues with in the past.
At the end of the day, golf is a game of hard work and patience. New clubs can be a huge help, but it's still up to you to execute the shots. Take the time to learn the distances each of your new clubs fly and do your best to trust those yardages. Be patient with yourself and your clubs, and you'll find that the game will start to become more enjoyable.
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