Did you know that getting a club fitting is a conversation, much like going to the doctor?
I’ve seen in online forums people wanting to know what to talk about if they should talk to the fitter, what to ask them… so I came up with these 13 questions to ask your clubfitter!
But why bother asking your fitter questions?
Simple; you want to have a back-and-forth conversation with him/her. By doing so, you’ll:
- Let the golf fitter know exactly what you like and dislike.
- Help the fitter understand what you want to accomplish with your new clubs.
- Be able to pinpoint exactly what you want with your new sticks.
Let’s consider each of these individually.
Letting the golf fitter know exactly what you like and dislike.
When you have a real conversation with your golf club builder, you’ll bring up what you like and dislike about golf clubs.
As a fitter, there’s no real reason to pursue a thread that ultimately ends up being something the customer (you) ends up disliking… or outright hating. By having this conversation at the beginning, you save both of us grief. It’d help the fitter pinpoint clubs that you want to hit, clubs you’ll be happy and proud to use.
Helping the fitter understand what you want to accomplish with your new clubs.
Are you looking for distance?
Do you want more control?
Or, like the girl in the taco shell commercial, think “why not both?”.
The fitter needs to know these things. If, for example, you’re looking for more distance, s/he might recommend a lighter golf shaft with a heavier swing weight. If you want more control, a heavier shaft/swing weight combo might be considered.
It helps narrow down the number of possible demo clubs. That’s kinda nice for both you and the fitter; you don’t want to be there all day hitting clubs, do you? Neither does the fitter, even though you’re paying by the hour.
Being able to pinpoint exactly what you want with your new sticks.
This isn’t just a numbers game. It’s nice to see how far you carry a particular 7-iron… but what if you hate how it sounds, or how it looks? When you ask golf questions of your fitter, they should be based around what specs do what, and how that affects your swing and overall game.
The following questions will help with that context, for when you’re getting fitted for golf clubs (which you should!!!). You can shoot the shit, you can know about aesthetics, but with these questions, you’ll be well-prepared to get the most out of your experience.
Question 1: Why do you recommend this particular grip and grip size?
The grip may be the most ignored part of the golf club. People freak out about head style, shafts, even what color to use for their ferrules… but no one questions the grip, particularly the grip size.
The grip needs to be the correct size for your hands.
It used to be thought that a grip too small would cause a hook, and a grip too big would cause a slice, but that’s not true. Miss-hits can go either way, regardless whether the grip’s too big or too small. You’ll know if the grip’s the right size for you if two conditions are met:
- Your longest finger isn’t digging into the heel pad of your thumb,
- There’s no more than a 1/8″ gap between your longest finger and thumb pad.
Some people do like an oversized grip, like a JumboMax. Don’t be afraid to bring that up if you’re curious.
Grip material is a personal choice. Find what feels good to you. Some, like cord-style (rubber with strands of cotton running through it), can help if your hands sweat, but some find it too rough. With all the different styles and materials used, there’s something for everyone.
Question 2: How do you determine the correct lie angle for my irons?
Question 3: How does the iron lie angle affect ball flight?
These should be answered at the same time.
Lie angle is important because it’s the biggest determining factor in accuracy with your irons and wedges. Look at this:
The more loft you have, the more lie angle effects the ball flight. Here, you see (left to right), what happens when the lie angle’s too flat, correct, and too upright with a PW. That’s why this is such a critical spec to get right.
There are two ways to get this done. Traditionally, lie angle tape is placed on the sole of the club, and balls are hit off a lie angle board. Like this:
Click the pic to buy (affiliate link- thanks if you do!).
The board creates a hole in the tape, and the lie angle is determined by how far away the center of the hole is from the center of the club head’s sole.
It’s .25″ for every degree, so, if the hole is .25″ on the toe side, the lie angle is 1* too flat. If the hole is .5″ from the center, the lie angle is 2* too upright.
The other way to measure the lie angle is to make a line on a ball with a Sharpie.
You then hit balls with face impact tape, similar to what you do when finding the correct length. The line transfers onto the tape. If the line slants towards the toe, (“/” for righties), the club’s too upright. If the line slants towards the heel (“\” for righties), the club’s too flat.
Whichever way your fitter uses, it’s critical that it gets done. Solidness of contact, directional control- those are too important to skip.
Question 4: What is the real difference between graphite and steel shafts?
There are only two real differences:
- Graphite shafts have an inherent vibration-dampening property
- Graphite shafts can be made lighter
Other than that, there’s no real difference. For example, if you need a 120-gram shaft in S-flex, would using a graphite shaft make your ball-striking better compared to a 120-gram steel shaft with a similar flex profile?
Unlikely, especially when something like a Sensicore or ProSoft insert can be used in the steel shaft to dampen vibrations.
What happens if you need to go lighter?
But let’s say it’s found that you need a 70-ish gram shaft in your irons. There aren’t many steel models that are that light, so you’ll really need to make a decision here.
Make no mistake, though: you can buy whatever you like. If you find a steel shaft and a graphite model that both help you, but you want to spend the extra money on the graphite (for whatever reason), that’s your decision to make. It’s only the wrong choice if you’re buying it for vanity reasons.
Question 5: Why does shaft flex matter and what flex is best for me?
Shaft flex works its best “magic” when it matches your swing speed, transition, and release point.
A properly-fit shaft will “feel” good to you. Too stiff and it will feel like swinging a telephone pole; too soft and it’ll feel “dead” at impact.
On its own, the shaft flex doesn’t affect performance. For example, if you’ve been using R-flex shafts and arbitrarily decide to switch to X-flex, that won’t make your shots longer or straighter.
If anything, it could make them worse.
But when you have a shaft flex that matches your swing, your timing will be better. Your tempo will be smoother. Your release will be better. All that adds up to better impact conditions. Another bonus: your consistency improves.
Of course, you need the other specs to align with your swing, but when the shaft flex matches your swing style, the results will be better.
Question 6: How do you determine the correct shaft length for me?
Shaft length, which means overall length, is vital to finding the sweet spot. Most clubs are sold too long… but it helps with selling distance.
But think about this: what good is swinging a club 2-4 more mph faster, if the ball’s flying all over the place?
Not only that, misses away from the “sweet spot” will always fly shorter, because you don’t enact the club face’s COR (coefficient of restitution, or “springlike effect”).
The easiest way to determine the correct length is to hit test clubs. The way I do it for drivers, I have multiples of the same shaft. They’re all cut to different lengths:
Some go longer, but for now, I’m holding off on that, since I haven’t found anyone that would require it.
We’d start off finding your “wrist to floor” length. From there, we’d find a test club to start with. Here’s an example of a wrist to floor chart:
Remember, this is only a starting point. That’s why there are multiple lengths.
We’d start by applying face impact tape or, if we’re in a pinch, sunscreen, and hit with the initial test length. If it looks like this:
We’d need to find a shorter club. If they’re focused around the “sweet spot”, we can try a longer length. We’d go to as long a length you can handle while still hitting the “sweet spot”.
Question 7: Why do some golfers replace some of their irons with hybrids?
Question 8: Why do some golfers use high-lofted fairway woods instead of hybrids?
These are another couple of questions that can, or rather, should be answered together.
Hybrids are considered long iron replacements. There’s an old club fitting rule: the 38/24 Rule.
What that means is, for many golfers, if the club’s >38″ long and has <24* of loft, the club will be harder to hit. That’s where many 2, 3, 4, and sometimes 5 irons fall.
By switching to a hybrid, they gain more help. What I mean is, the bigger head of a hybrid has more MOI. Moment of Inertia, or its ability to resist twisting about its center axis on shots hit away from the “sweet spot”, is what people talk about when they mention forgiveness in a golf club.
They also have more COR than their iron counterpart, so people that might have trouble getting the ball in the air and out there would see a big benefit from switching.
But that’s not the only option. Some people just aren’t comfortable with hybrids. That’s why there’s higher-lofted FWs that can be used.
There are notable differences between a hybrid and fairway wood of the same loft:
- FWs are commonly longer
- FWs, because of the shaft, are generally lighter
Rankings for Distance (longest to shortest):
- Fairway woods
- Long Irons
Rankings for Accuracy (most to least):
- Long Irons
- Fairway woods
See how they’re inverted? That’s a function of their build style… but this is very much generalized for the average golfer. You may find that the long iron is neither the longest or most accurate; that’s why you have two other options available to you.
When building your set, you don’t automatically have to go 1:1 with loft. Because the builds are different, the fitter needs to ensure that the yardage gap is consistent from club to club. There’s no point having two clubs that carry the same distance!
Question 9: Do I need a 3 wood?
The short answer is “no”.
You need the 2nd-longest club to be something you can comfortably use from both the fairway and tee. It’s not always going to be the 3 wood. For some, it’s a 5 wood. For others, it might be a 7 wood.
Anthony Kim carried a 19* hybrid during his pro days. That’s not necessarily going to be the case for you, but with the help of your fitter, you need to find what that club is.
Question 10: How do you determine the correct loft for my driver?
By finding your swing speed and angle of attack.
The slower you swing, the more loft you need. The two pictures above show carry distance for a 90mph swing and level angle of attack. In the top pic, the driver’s loft is 10.5*, while the bottom pic is 14*. That golfer found 11 more yards per drive by increasing the loft of their driver!
The faster you swing, the more upward (positive) your “angle of attack”, the less loft you need. The converse of each is true for slower swing speeds and downward (negative) angle of attacks.
Between those two, you’ll find your correct loft. Too many don’t want to use anything higher than 10.5*, because it isn’t “manly”, but in all honesty, slower swingers (<90mph) should seriously consider nothing lower than 12*.
Who cares what others think? Use the tools that help you play better. This driver buying guide might help you with that!
Question 11: Do I need an adjustable driver?
If you know what loft is best for your swing speed and angle of attack, you can buy a fixed-hosel model.
The adjustability is good from a fitting standpoint. There are less inventory and tools to lose/break in the shop. Fitting can be more efficiently done (though, if you require something >12*… good luck).
But as far as you’re concerned, as soon as you find the right loft for your driver, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you suspect something’s wrong, go see your fitter.
Question 12: Would I hit the ball farther with a longer shaft?
We touched on this earlier, but to get more in-depth: no.
Length is what the OEMs sell you. They can slap their 46″ driver into the metallic hands of their trusty swing robot and prove without fail that a driver that long hits the ball farther.
The problem is, it’s a robot. It’s set up to hit the “sweet spot” every time.
Physics dictates that a longer length will result in longer distances, but the catch is that you’re not a robot. There is a point where a club will be too long for you to control.
There’s a reason why the PGA Tour average driver length is 44.5″. They can generate the swing speed they need to get the ball out there, so the shorter length gives them the control they need.
Question 13: Why would a fitted putter help me putt better?
Just like a fit driver helps you hit the ball longer and straighter, a properly-fitted putter will help you make more putts.
There are some specs to look at:
- grip/grip size
- lie angle
A putter’s length is such that you stand in a comfortable position at address. If you’re uncomfortable, your body will fight you, which means you can’t focus on making a proper stroke on the ball.
Most putters are made with 3 or 4 degrees of loft… but where your hands are located in the stroke could dictate a change. Someone that forward-presses their hands (hands well in front of the ball) would benefit from more loft on their putter, while someone that has their hands in line with the ball or behind it would need less loft.
The right amount of loft gets the ball rolling at the right time. It’s going to rise up out of the impression it sits in, skid for a bit, then get rolling. If the loft’s too low, the ball can’t get out of the impression effectively. Likely, it’ll bounce offline as soon as it leaves. Too much loft puts too much backspin on the ball, which will always leave putts short.
Don’t forget the grip!
Grip and grip size is a comfort thing. Some like bigger grips, like the Super Stroke 3.0, or the”pistol”-styled Golf Pride Tour SNSR‘s. There’s nothing wrong with using something slim, like the Ping Blackout (affiliate links; if it helps, I’ve used all three grips), though.
A prevailing thought is that the heavier the putter, the more the big muscles are used, which helps create a consistent stroke. That’s true for some, but not for everyone. Some people, especially those that like to use their hands, would be better off with lighter putters.
Lie angle is different. Unlike with irons and wedges, a putter’s lie angle isn’t so important. Some people can putt very well with an upright lie angle on their putter.
This is more like a “better safe than…” type of deal. If you find that you’re consistently off-line, or have to get into a funky position to make the putter head look “normal” at address, the lie angle is something to get looked at.
Use these 13 questions to ask your club fitter what’s best for your game.
This will ensure that you’ll get clubs that work for you- not against you!
How about you? Are you gonna try these out?
Take these questions with you!
Ready to get a truly fit set of clubs? Take these questions with you to your next fitting session and see the difference!