After more than a decade of custom fittings and building custom clubs I find there are a few questions most golfers ask me to determine what is involved in the process. Below I have answered the questions I have been most frequently asked by golfers over the years.
- Why do you fit Right Hand Golfers only and not Left Hand Golfers too?
Since I closed my retail shop for health reasons and I’ve had to limit how many fittings I do to a minimal number each week, and due to space limitations in my new fitting studio, it is no longer practical for me to carry the number of test heads and test shafts needed to be able to fit both right hand and left hand golfers. It was a choice of half a loaf or none at all.
- I’ve heard that only really good golfers need custom fitted golf clubs, is that true?
No, nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider that the average golfer after getting a fitting will improve their handicap by about 10% you can say that up to a point the higher your handicap the more improvement you will see.
- What kind of improvements can I expect to see with my new clubs?
Everyone is different and everyone experiences different degrees of improvement in different areas. Most who ask this are first concerned with distance. So let’s start with distance… Over the years I’ve seen as much as a 30 yard increase in distance in various clubs. We a few golfers whose clubs were badly fitting I’ve seen nearly that much increase in the length of their 5 iron. Almost everyone does get a noticeable increase in distance on nearly all of their clubs. But more importantly you will see improvement in consistency, and in accuracy. With fitted clubs you will make more solid impact more often. You will improve on the direction and accuracy of your shots and keep the ball in play most of the time and get rid of those shots that go wildly off line. You consistency in distance for how far you hit each clubs will improve also. Generally you will hit more fairways, you will hit more greens in regulation and closer to the pin when you hit the green.
- How much do you charge for a fitting?
I charge $125 per hour and require a $250 deposit to book a fitting. The deposit is non-refundable if you failed to show up for your fitting. You will have to pay an additional deposit to re-book. If you have something come up and contact me 24 hours in advance I will work with you to re-schedule
- Do you give a refund for the fitting against clubs purchased if I buy clubs?
No, I do not. The fitting is separate from buying clubs. The clubs are a separate purchase. Think of it as going to a doctor for a check up and the doctor tells you that you need surgery. You don’t expect to get your examination fee back when you have the surgery.
- How much do your clubs cost?
My clubs are competitive with the better clubs in your pro shop or golf store but may be slightly more expensive. Much of the cost of most golf clubs will be determined by the shaft used. Some shafts cost up to $1,000 each and many companies have shafts in the $300, $400, $500 range. I estimate that more than 80% of the golfers that I fit who have custom clubs made paid between $1800 and $3500 for their fitting and all their clubs. The average fitting time required varies between 3 to 5 hours per fitting.
- Are your clubs knock offs or clones?
No, definitely not. All of the heads I build for custom sets are designer brands made by designers who have Professionals playing their designs on Professional Tours around the world. Some of their products often find their way onto the Golf Digest Hot List. Tom Wishon alone has over 100 design firsts that many might think originated by the major brands. Most them were copied by the major brands. The components I use are of the highest quality and will stand up against any heads being made today for design, quality and more importantly performance.
- My Pro tells me he can fit me in 30 minutes, how long does a fitting take?
Technically your Pro is probably right, I can fit you in 30 minutes too. But, in a 30 minute fitting you will not get all of the benefits of a complete fitting. I call this the 80/20 rule of fitting theory. Any good golf pro or fitter can do 80% of the fitting in about 30 minutes. Unfortunately it is the other 20% of the fitting that generates 80% of the improvement to your golf game. For you to get the other 80% of the benefits a full fitting can provide, I not only look at you and measure your shots but I need to create test clubs and hit them to test the theories my observation allows me to make about your game. I have over 20,000 combinations of heads and shafts to test you with. I create a club that should fit you and we test it and make adjustments and hit it again. The testing and verification takes time because we have to test until we achieve the maximum performance possible with your swing. At that point you have usually have pretty close to the exact club I will build in your hand and can see exactly how much better you hit it before you leave. The vast majority of my fittings take between 3 and 5 hours. Some fittings may require two trips to complete. Much depends on your physical conditioning and your ability to hit golf balls over a long period of time, as well as how long it takes to zero in on your perfect club. You will likely hit between 50 and 100 golf balls during a typical fitting.
- When is the best time for me to come in for a fitting?
When you are playing a lot of golf and your swing is in good shape. Because I can only fit you for the swing you show up with, you need your best swing to get good consistent data from your shots. If you bring a rusty, out of shape swing you are likely to get a rusty out of shape fitting.
- Should I buy a new set to bring in to get fitted?
No, do not buy anything. I am not fitting your clubs, I’m fitting you for clubs. Your fitting will give me a prescription for the clubs you need and they will be built after the fitting. The design, flex, length, weight and other characteristics will be determined by the fitting. Bring your existing set of clubs when you come to me for your fitting. For the same reason you would not buy a suit at a department store and take it to a tailor you should not buy a set of clubs and bring them to me. You will waste a lot of money or you will have a half fitted set of clubs.
- What brand do you recommend?
Other than the fact that over the years I’ve eliminated all but a few proven brands I do not recommend any particular brand. My fittings are performance based and your set of clubs will be the ones that you hit the best during the fitting. I use connectors to build clubs during your fitting and add and subtract weight to determine the best weight for you as well as change shafts and head designs to find what you hit best. When I first started my business I had a full service golf shop with OEM brands and accessories, soft goods and a lot of clubs on the rack. I had the OEM heads in my fitting system along with my component brands. I’ve never had an OEM head out perform all of my component brands so I dropped them from my system and also began to eliminate all the component brands that never out performed the others. What I have left is the two main brands that produced 98% of the clubs I have produced over the years and a few that I try from season to season as I see new designs that look good.
- I see a lot of advertising about famous brands and how they go farther. Are these clubs better than yours?
The best way to answer that is to point out that pure physics will dictate how far you will hit the ball. The club you have will not change physics enough to make a significant difference if you make a good swing and hit it solid. A 44 inch club with 10° when hit in the center of the clubface at the correct angle of attack when going 100 miles per hour will carry approximately 250 yards. If all is equal with all clubs this will be true regardless of the head or shaft you use. The key part of that statement is “if you make a good swing and hit it solid”. That is where the fitting part comes in. If your cubs is too heavy, too light, too stiff or too flexible or the balance point is too hight or too low you cannot consistently make a good swing and hit it solid. The purpose of the fitting is to find those variables for your swing and build a set so you can consistently make a good swing and consistently hit solid shots with every club. Then we determine how far you can hit your longest club and how far you hit your shortest full swing club and make sure you have a club that covers the gaps between lofts for every distance between your longest and shortest club. If really doesn’t matter what number is on the bottom of that club as long as you hit them consistently solid and straight.
- How do I know if I’m hitting the ball as far as I possibly can with my swing?
Physics. We know from physics that there is a finite amount of distance per each mile per hour of swing speed for each degree of loft on the club. I have to find the club that allows you to swing as fast as possible while always hitting the sweet spot on each swing. With the USGA limiting COR to .830 there is a limit to how far you can hit any driver. New technology cannot change this regardless of how much advertising anyone does. The distance you get will be determined by your swing speed, angle of attack, loft on the club, spin and how precisely you hit the ball on the center or desired part of the club face. For a rough approximation use 2.5 yards per 1 mph of ball speed (2.5 x 100 mph = 250 yards) for maximum potential carry distance. Roll up will be determined by trajectory and angle of decent and how wet or dry the fairway is.
- Can I get more hybrids than irons? Do I need more fairways or hybrids? etc.
Set Make up is possibly the most important thing we will achieve in your fitting. Just exactly what clubs do you need in your bag? First, I do not have a “standard set of clubs” that I build for anyone. There is no standard set just as there is no best wife. Everybody is different and everybody needs something different. No two golfers are just alike. If you hit hybrids better than irons I would say you will have more hybrids. If you hit irons better then you will have more irons. Same for fairways and hybrids. Depending on which one you hit better how many of each you might have in your bag. Again, I cannot over emphasize how important it is to have each distance between your longest shot and your shortest full swing shot covered. With that in mind it doesn’t matter if those clubs are fairways, hybrids, or irons as long at they are the ones you hit best.
- How many wedges do I need?
Much like the question above, it depends on your game. If you miss a lot of greens and have to pitch, chip and one putt for pars it might make sense to give you as many scoring tools as possible for around the green. This we will determine during the course of the fitting based on your game and your golf course.
- I hear people talking about bounce, what does this mean and how does it alter what clubs I need?
Bounce it that angle on the bottom of the sole of each club that keeps it from digging into the ground too deeply. Look at your sand wedge versus your 9 iron and you can see it easily. From front to back of the face how much does it angle down? A golfer playing on a lush course with deep rich grass under the ball can use more bounce than the golfer playing on a desert course with very thing grass and hard compact soil where the club bounces off the turf at impact. Also the type sand in your traps will determine how much bounce you need on your sand wedge too.
- How do I know which grip I should choose?
This again will be determined during your fitting. The size of your hands and the way you grip the club will determine the best grip for your game.
- How long will it take to get my clubs after my fitting?
Generally about 2 weeks depending on where I have to order your heads, shafts and grips from. If anything comes from California it takes a week to get them here so add a week and make it about 3 weeks. In the current economy we are seeing more instances of companies being out of stock and having to wait for heads. This is beyond my control but we try and find heads when this happens in the club making community.
- Do I have to pay for the clubs in advance?
No not fully. You only have to pay for the fitting time and a 50% deposit on the estimated cost of your new clubs. That is all that is required at the time you order. The balance is due when you pick up your new clubs or before they are shipped if you are having them shipped.
In addition to the above, plan on coming in to pick up your clubs if possible so we can fit the lies to you and make sure they are set correctly. If you have your clubs shipped this critical detail may not be correct on your clubs. If this is the case I will instruct you how to get someone locally to do it correctly for you.
I have been a huge fan of Coach Paul W. (Bear) Bryant since I was in high school. I followed his career, I and know some of his players and I’ve tried to live up to his standards. This video of Jack Rutledge pretty well sums up, better than anything I can type, how I try to live my life and the standards I try to adhere to on a daily basis.