Fit to a Tee

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By Scott Kramer

Buying golf clubs is a lot like purchasing a new suit: They probably won’t fit directly off the rack. But get them tailored, and you’ll turn some heads. After all, each golfer has a unique swing requiring distinct club characteristics, with respect to loft, lie angle, clubface angle, shaft flex, grip size, clubhead weighting and more. Using playing clubs with standard specifications, golfers will likely miss out on potential distance and accuracy. But with customized clubs, they can swing away with the confidence that they’re squeezing the most from every shot. “Custom-fit clubs will simply help you have greater control of ball flight, promote more solid shots and increase your distance,” says Glenn Deck, Director of Instruction at Pelican Hill® and Oak Creek® Golf Clubs, who is also a GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teacher. “So if you care about your scores, get clubs that fit you. I’m a
big proponent of clubfitting.” Most golf retailers will have at least one professional clubfitter on staff who will take customers through several steps to ensure they are getting the best fit for their swing. The clubfitter first will ask about their game, where they play most, course conditions they typically face and what part of their game needs help. Then, they will take some static measurements—height, arm length, hand size, distance from the fingertips to the ground as the golfer stands up straight, etc. Next, come dynamic swing measurements to determine what club length, lie angle, grip size, shaft flex and clubhead design are needed. Golfers will hit balls with various club makeups, while a computer tracks and analyzes ball flight. The fitter also might evaluate the wedge bounce and sole, as well as measure for a putter. Depending on the fitter’s thoroughness and the number of clubs being fitted for the golfer, the process can take between 45 minutes to three hours. Most clients believe it’s time well invested. Golfers who know which brand of clubs they want to play also can visit one of the company’s certified fitters. Or, they can go to a professional independent fitting center, such as CoolClubs, which operates locally at Oak Creek® Golf Club’s practice facility in Irvine, a sister property of The Resort at Pelican Hill.® “We represent all of the major brands,” says Mark Timms, CEO of CoolClubs. “We have 12,000 club combinations at our Oak Creek facility, and you will walk away with the exact clubs you need. A big advantage you have getting fitted at our Oak Creek set-up is that it’s outside, so you can see your exact ball flight. Basically, there are tens of thousands of different clubs to buy, but only a handful will work best for you. And trying to find those clubs yourself is just nearly impossible.” Timms says a typical driver fitting can result in distance gains of up to 15 yards, as well as straighter shots. Inevitably, that translates to lower scores.