Going through the club fitting session with Glenn will ensure that the equipment you are using is actually helping you play well rather than hindering your performance. This is one area of your development that Glenn believes that you cannot afford to neglect. The fitting session is broken down into four components:
Part 1: Personal interview
Part 2: Current equipment evaluation
Part 3: Ball flight Assessment
Part 4: Fitting recommendations
Part 1: The Personal Interview
The purpose behind the personal interview is to get a clear picture of the players overall game, without a club in their hands. Conducted away from the course, Glenn tends to get a truer picture and more honest answers. During the personal interview Glenn assesses the golfer's height, weight, left/right hand, handicap, average score, best and worst rounds, number of rounds per month, amount of practice undertaken and attitude towards it, whether or not they are taking lessons or intend to and whether or not they hit practice balls prior to play. Glenn will also assess any physical limitations they may have, injuries past and present and/or any medical conditions that may affect mobility etc.
After gathering the general information he then dissect the shot pattern of the golfer's game, for example, are they a slicer, hooker, pusher, puller or drawer. Glenn closely assesses the trajectory they send the ball out with. This is completed for drivers, long and short irons. Sand play questions are also included to gauge skill levels. To ascertain the level of confidence a golfer has with certain clubs (particularly their driver) he will often ask questions like "what is your favorite wood and/or iron in your bag". Usually the driver and 3 iron are the ones most commonly spoken of as the most disliked.
If Glenn is fitting someone for a new set of clubs who intends to invest in lessons then it is important for them to have clubs that they can both use now but also have room to grow into as their skills improve. On the other hand, if a player is not able to improve a swing with lessons through a lack of time or inclination then the fitting session needs to be designed to find the best equipment that will cover up as many of the ball flight problems as possible. In other words the new clubs need to be tailored specifically to the existing game.
Part 2: Current Equipment Evaluation
Glenn then has a close look at the players set make-up consists of a driver, 3 and 5 woods and 3 iron though to sand wedge. These irons are more than likely steel shafted if he is looking at an older set of clubs. Glenn individually assesses the lengths, lofts and lies, grip types and sizes and the putter gets also get assessed. All specifications can be taken on the old set. Glenn looks for major differences in lofts and lies between clubs that may help determine troublesome clubs, he also looks for specifications that work for the player and may be transferred to the new clubs.
Part 3: Ball Flight Assessment
To get a true indication Glenn checks the players posture and measures how close to the ground the player's hands are. Tall people often need longer clubs however there are many tall people whose arms actually hang just as close to the ground as average size people. This measurement is only the starting point for the fit, however is very important for a player's comfort at address and solidness of hit.
The player now hits his or her existing clubs with impact decals in place. The impact decals will show the dispersion of the players swing mechanics. A wide spray across the face of the club indicates that the length is too long to control, so a shorter club may help. This test allows me to determine how often the sweet spot is hit and how solid an impact is being made.
Dynamic lie angle measurements can be taken at this time. This involves putting some tape on the sole of the club and having the player hit a few balls off a lie board. The tape has a hole scuffed in it and the distance from the centre of the clubface to the mark will indicate whether the lie angle is correct, too flat or too upright for the club.
There are a variety of tools used to ascertain the flight of a ball. A simulator will show the swing path, club head speed and face angle present just before impact. A photo based launch monitor will show a true trajectory of the balls motion via some interesting spin rate calculations based upon reading the actual spin on the ball. Laser launch monitors read the path the ball takes and are also very accurate.
Some fitters in the past have based fittings on ball carry distances alone. This kind of fit can be misleading. I have seen someone with a 125 mph swing speed hit a driver with a carry of 280 metres. He could then hit a 5 iron 180m with a swing speed of 80mph. Generally there is about 10mph difference between a driver and 5 iron swing speed. This shows there are exceptions to the rule of thumb and in this case the player had two different swing actions resulting in drastically different swing speeds.
The reason the golfer could hit his 5 iron so far is he never missed the sweet spot. However, he had been fitted with stiff shafts in both woods and irons. This made his iron ball flight far too low so he could not stop balls on greens. He needed stiff shafts in his woods and regular shafts for his irons to gain some trajectory for softer landing iron shots.
Individually assessing all the clubs from woods to wedges takes time and a great deal of information and feedback is collated. Questions asked along the way may include: Does the player find steels or graphite shafts more effective? Why? Does one feel heavier than the other? Does a longer driver allow for solid impact or does a shorter driver allow for an increase in the average distance of the drive by hitting the sweet spot more often? If the player is a slicer, does a 2 or 3 degree closed face straighten out the ball flight? This is where Glenn finds a good range of demonstration clubs very useful as I can even throw in varying lie angles to the mix to test the difference in real ball flight.
Part 4: Fitting Recommendations
Having gathered as much information as possible Glenn looks at making some experienced recommendations to the player. Options are important, as players will have their own mental ideas of what a good club looks like. For example, players either like a thick edge or a more traditional look to the top of their irons. They either like cavity backs verses a blade style. They may be predetermined to steels or graphite shafts and have a preference for grip styles also.
Do your game a favor and book a club fit today!