The importance of proper length in clubfitting
Fitting length isn’t as simple as it may sometimes seem. Physically we know that a longer club if swung at the same speed will have a greater arc therefore the head will be moving faster and the faster the head is moving the farther you will hit the golf ball. But… To get the benefits of a longer shaft that physics tells us is there, this assumes that with a longer club you can
- Maintain the same swing speed,
- Hit the ball in the center of the face,
- Hit the ball in the fairway.
Therein lies the rub…
When you increase the length of any club you do a number of things that the golfer has to adjust for.
- A longer club changes the spine angle, swing plane and angle of attack of the golfers swing
- A longer club with all else equal will have a higher swing weight or MOI
- A longer club using the same shaft will decrease the stiffness of the shaft
- A longer club is harder to control, thus less accurate
- Being harder to control is is harder to hit the ball in the center of the clubface and off center hits will loose distance.
Over the years I’ve learned that the driver that best fits the golfers physical ability to swing the club consistently, with the highest speed will ultimately increase his ability to control the drives and score lower. Sometimes this can be a longer club, but more often than not a shorter club than you can typically buy off the shelf will be better suited to most golfers. The average length of drivers on the PGA tour is 44.5 inches long, shorter than the typical driver you can buy in your pro shop or off the shelf. The elephant in the room here is “if the touring professionals can’t control a longer driver how can you expect to control a longer driver”?
When you come in for your fitting you will notice that I use both impact labels on the face of clubs and a spray that will allow us to see where on the face you are making impact. You will find that an off center hit can cost you from 7% to 15% of the ball speed (distance is determined primarily by ball speed) of a center hit. The importance of a center face hit cannot be over emphasized.
The length of the club because it will alter your swing path and swing plane will also alter your face angle at impact and face angle at impact is at least 85% of the direction the ball will go. So, the length of the club has a lot to do not only with distance but also direction.
The goal in fitting a driver is to find the longest possible club you can control and hit consistently in the fairway for the most possible distance. Club length is an important fitting factor in finding the right driver for you. Along with the best possible loft, weight, shaft flex and shaft flex profile. With my interchangeable shaft and head fitting system we can find the best possible combination of shaft and head design at the right loft for you. The photo shows only one wall of my fitting studio that is lined with various shafts and heads for testing. Woods and irons I have over 25,000 possible combinations to test with. One of them will fit you.