If you are one of those golfers who live in an area where there is no qualified custom clubfitter and you want a set of custom clubs I think I can help you with my online fitting form.
After over a decade of custom clubfitting in Columbus, GA, and helping hundreds of golfers play better golf by building them custom fitted clubs, I developed a form to help me fit those who cannot come to me in person for a fitting. My form has been developed over the years based on my experience in fitting golfers of various skill levels in my shop. It is based on the tendencies of golfers I have fitted over the years. It has been tested and improved many times over the years and I continue to improve it as time goes on. As I do more long distance fitting and get feed back from the golfers. The fitting form is the first step in a process that will take a bit of time and require an on going question and answer session via email and phone until we have all the data needed to build you a set of custom fitted golf clubs.
The History of my Online Fitting Form
Over the years I’ve had many, many requests to help golfers far away who could travel to Columbus Ga to get fitted in person and had no facility near them close enough to travel to. In the beginning I did not do long distance fitting because I tried to be a purist and only fit those who could come to me in person so I could observe them swinging the club and measure their data. Later I was too busy between my golf business and the AGCP to have time to spend helping golfers who could not be here. But, several years ago I got an email from a ship’s captain from Australia asking for my help. He read my web site and watched my testimonial videos and wanted me to help him because I had a set of Maruman irons in my shopping cart he wanted custom made for him. After a lengthy exchange of emails I agree to try and help.
I made up a form asking him questions about his game and asked him to fill out the form and send it back for me to study. Upon receiving the form and reading it through I realized there were things I might do if he were in the shop that would be very helpful in determining how to fit him properly. He had mentioned that at times he put into port in Sydney and other places that had big box golf stores but their employees were not qualified to help him. He was a pretty good player and judged his knowledge to be greater than the employees in these stores. So I asked him if these were stores where he could go and hit test clubs of various make up and report the results back to me. Over time I sent him specifics of what kind of clubs to hit and send me the results to analyze and we worked on his profile.
I would email him what shaft types to hit at what weight and what lengths to hit, what flexes to hit, etc. He would hit the various shaft types and report back to me what the ball flight was and/or how it changed from one test club to another. Since he was able to get the store clerks to measure swing weight and he could tell me what the shafts were so I could analyze stiffness and shaft profile slowly we got enough data that I could put together a set of clubs with reasonable comfort that he would hit them quite well.
At this point my Australian friend Wayne purchased the Maruman iron set to be built to the specifications I had arrived at over the time we worked on them. He asked if I could ship them to Virginia to his brother in law and he would pick them up there. A short time after he picked them up I got a wonderful email thanking me and telling me he loved his clubs and had never played better.
The following Spring I got an email that he would be back in the States visiting his family and wanted to come down from Virginia with his brother in law and meet me. They did and we had a great day in the shop and I worked with his brother in law on the launch monitor and tried to help him with his game. A few weeks later I got a box of Omaha Steaks compliments of the brother in law and a thank you note for helping him.
Why I believe in my Form and Process for Online Fitting
Since then I’ve worked with a number of other golfers when I had the time and put together successful sets for them also. So far the results have been very satisfying although not as good as the improvement shown when the golfer is live and in the shop in person. As a result of this success I’ve continued to work on my long distance fitting form to improve it and I believe for most golfers I can be of significant help even if they can’t be here in person. Over the many years I’ve been doing this I’ve learned that there are a number of changes that when made to a golf club produce predictable results from the golfer swing that club. By making a series of tests and making several of these changes over time it is possible to produce a set of golf clubs far better than one can buy off the shelf. This is partly possible because of the way the clubs are constructed also.
Why the Construction of the Clubs is Important
Mass produced golf clubs like you buy in a golf shop or golf store are made to industry standards set by the manufacturers of the various components used in building a golf clubs. Like any mass produced product they are subject to manufacturing tolerances on the plus or minus side of perfection. The typical plus versus the typical minus could be enough to dramatically change the playing characteristic of any club or clubs in the set to the extend that you have several different custom builds for several different swing all in one set of clubs. Some may work good for you, and some may not work so good for you.
The typical standard for mass produced golf clubs is plus or minus 1 swingweight. That means if your swingweight should be D-0 you may have clubs that are C-9 and clubs that are D-1 in your set, if the set is built accurately within those tolerances. Over the years I’ve found they rarely are. Why is this important? I’ve discovered through testing with launch monitors and slow motion video that as little as a 2 gram difference in the weight of a golf club will change how most golfers swing the club. I also discovered as little as a 2 cpm difference in flex can alter the way a club is swung. To translate, 2 grams is equivalent to 1 swingweight and 2 cpm in flex is equivalent to approximately 20% of a flex value between an R300 and an S300 in stiffness.
How does that translate to your golf shots? Using the C-9 to D-1 cited above you might see that you are hitting your C-9 club with a slight pull or slight draw and the D-1 with a little push or a little fade if you are sensitive enough to feel the difference when you swing. In spite of the fact that you may not consciously feel it just by wiggling the club pre swing, you might very well feel it sub consciously during the swing as it may affect your balance to some degree during the swing. Some golfers alter their swing path, swing plane and face angle with very little weight change to the golf club. It is almost imperceptible but can be seen with a good swing analyzer or launch monitor like a Flightscope or Trackman and with video if plotted with golf swing software. It is almost impossible to build a set of clubs that are perfect in every way but we can get a lot closer than plus or minus 1 swingweight. But we can build inside a half swingweight and we do.
Manufacturing tolerances are good but not perfect and we regularly see in shafts that the weight may vary in a set, the flex may vary in a set and when shafts in a set of irons are randomly thrown together it may make that set very difficult to hit consistently. Our process of flex and tip equalization take the random selection out of shaft sorting for a set by a process of measuring all the shafts in a set at the butt of the shaft, in the mid section and at the tip for flex and sorting them based on all 3 sections to get the optimal shafts in the longer clubs and the optimal shaft in the shorter clubs to give you far more consistency in your shot pattern. This sorting techniques improves solid contact in the center of the face, it improves distance dispersion and it improves side to side dispersion of shots. This means more greens hit in regulation and shorter putts for birdie when you hit the green. Misses are on the fringe and not off the green area so much as in the past.
Most shafts are sorted by weight. A typical run of shafts might vary in weight up to 20 grams due to wall thickness in the shafts being slightly thicker or thinner. This group of shafts will be sorted by weight to obtain R flex and S flex shafts from the same manufacturing batch of shafts. This means to get a custom set shafts have to be weighed and sorted as well as flex sorted and this usually requires extra shafts to get all of the shafts in a set to the acceptable tolerances for a custom set of clubs. This take a lot of time and extra expense to bring in more shafts than needed for the build.
Most iron heads are manufactured to within plus or minus 3 grams in weight for each head. This means that those heads are about one and a half swingweights off and that is within tolerance. The tolerance for heads I use for custom clubs is a little tighter and are within 2 grams. Many of our custom brands have weight cavities to accommodate custom builders to get head weights into exacting tolerances. Sometimes heads have to be drilled to remove weight and sometimes weight is added in various forms from weights designed for the cavities or using lead or tungsten powder.
Grips too are important to achieve the same balance on each club in a set and they too must be weighed to get a set of grips all with the same weight so that all clubs will balance the same when shafts and heads are weighted properly.
A typical set of mass produced clubs on an assembly line can be assembled in an hour or a little more. A typical set built to my exacting standards takes 5 to 8 hours due to the various steps used to equalize weights and flexes and tighten tolerances to acceptable standards for consistency shot after shot.