The PGA has designated April as Club Fitting Month and fortunately for you many PGA & LPGA Professionals are offering free 15 minute club fittings. Simply go to www.playgolfamerica.com to find a participating professional in your area. Typically there is a professional fitting fee for this service that takes approximately an hour. The free fitting obviously will not be as detailed as a regular fitting but it will help you better understand how your clubs are affecting your swing and if changes could help.
Basically, there are three main parts to your golf club: the grip, shaft & head. There are many options within these three parts with literally hundreds of combinations to make the right club for you. Pick the wrong combination and the game will be harder than it has to be.
The grip is the body’s only connection to the golf club. You want a grip that sits properly in your hands. If you are a little or a lot arthritic, your grip should be adjusted for your comfort. In addition, it is so very important that your grips are still tacky. Smooth worn out grips will cause you to hold the club tighter; this creates tension and tension kills the golf swing. Before you replace old grips take the time to see if they are a proper fit for your hand size and physical condition. Once the proper size is determined, there are many material choices and color preferences to decide upon.
The club shaft is also a very important consideration. The proper length, material, flex and kick point are all considerations for optimum ball flight. What does all that mean? Again, golfers come in all shapes and sizes. We have different levels of strength and coordination and the shaft of the club should work for us and not against us. A word of caution here: be wary of someone who tries to sell you a golf club because of your gender or age. Some people are in better physical condition in their senior years than they were in their 40’s because they have the time to exercise and focus on proper nutrition. I think it is a major injustice to golfers when manufacturers tend to classify equipment this way. I know quite a few people who have been misguided in this area and their golf games are suffering because of it.
Clubhead composition and style are also key to improving your performance. Some club heads will assist getting the ball in the air and others are more forgiving to miss-hits, some are made to add to control and others distance. With the technological advancements you can find a product out there that will help you with your specific needs.
Remember the old saying if you need to purchase golf equipment: “Buyer Beware!” Be on the look-out for knock-offs. You may think you are getting a good deal, but if there is a big price difference chances are you are not getting the material or quality control that is associated with the major golf brands. In addition, how all of these components are put together is very important. The lie angle of the club, the weight distribution and swing weight all contribute to performance.
Club selection is important to your success as well. Rule 4 of the USGA Rules of Golf allows golfers to carry a maximum of 14 clubs. Just because you are allowed 14 doesn’t mean you have to have 14 clubs in your bag. I often suggest to new golfers that it is better for them to have a few properly fit clubs than to have 14 that do not match their swing style. Also, if you are trying to walk the course for exercise a lighter bag may make for a more enjoyable round.
If you are still debating the need to get fit for your golf clubs try thinking of it this way: if you were going to run a marathon you would want shoes that fit you. Imagine running that marathon in shoes that are 2 sizes too big or too small for you, too narrow or too wide, with an arch too high or too low. How would that impact your performance? Or how about using a bowling ball that is way too heavy with finger holes that are too small for your fingers? It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, does it? The same thing applies to people when they play golf with equipment that does not match their body type and range of motion. Golf is a game to be enjoyed for a lifetime, so take the time to select the golf clubs that will compliment your personal style!