The age-old question: when to get fitted for golf clubs.
Actually, it’s more like two questions rolled into the one. We need to ask ourselves:
1. Do we get fitted as a beginner, or some point afterwards?
2. Do we get fitted on a good day, or a bad day?
When to Get Fitted For Golf Clubs: a Beginner’s Guide
There are two schools of thought working here:
One, don’t bother getting fitted in the very beginning, because it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Two, get fit for your sticks, even in the beginning.
I’d like to think that I’m not an inflexible stick in the mud. Stop laughing. To be perfectly honest, I’m completely in the “get fitted, even in the beginning” camp… but this is where the flexibility thing comes into play.
You see, I really think that even given a new golfers inconsistencies, finding the right basic specs (loft, length, swing weight, total weight, etc.) will only help the newb out.
The reason is, if a new golfer is trying to swing a club that’s too long, has too little loft and/or the lie angles aren’t right for their swing, s/he’s just going to get frustrated and not enjoy themselves. That is unacceptable if we’re trying to get people to not just start playing, but keep playing this great game. By getting the basics nailed down as it applies to the new golfer, they can see better results more often. That encouragement will only grow their confidence, help them enjoy the game more and keep them coming back.
This is where lessons come in. It’s also the flip side of the equation: instead of wondering when to get fitted for golf clubs, learn to play the game first. Chances are, you’re playing with a hand-me-down set, or something not completely brand new. That’s fine, because honestly, in the unfortunate event that you decide golf’s not for you, at least you didn’t invest too much in the beginning.
I don’t plan on letting that happen, however.
So lessons. Keep in mind that many of us didn’t start golfing when we were kids. Many of us started when we became adults. Or late teens at the earliest. It wasn’t like our formative years playing Little League baseball where we just hacked away with our bats or threw the ball wherever. We didn’t fear failure.
As adults, we may not acknowledge our fears on the course, but they are there.
We’re afraid of failing.
Afraid of hitting a piss-poor shot. The ball just sits there… so why can’t we be more like Rory, Tiger, or whoever? Well, we’re not.
We didn’t have any “formative training” like Tiger and Rory did when they were swinging golf clubs barely out of diapers. They’ve had a head start on us by a long shot.
So get lessons to give yourself your own head start on building a more consistent swing. When you get to the point where you feel comfortable with your swing, then consider getting properly fitted for golf clubs. For all intents and purposes, it’s just the opposite of getting fitted first. Either way, lessons should not be skipped.
When to Get Fitted For Clubs Part Dos
The other way to ask about when to get fitted for clubs is when we question how we’re swinging. Do we get fitted on a good day or a bad day?
Personally, I wouldn’t want you to come see me at either extreme. Neither is a good representation of your average ability. If you have a bad day and can’t really hit the ball to save your life, you’re just going to get frustrated, which sucks the fun out of the experience.
If I were to err on the side of caution, I’d err when your swing is really grooved. I’ll definitely be asking if this were normal, or close to normal, output. The catch would be if this is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing. If so I may have to tweak some things, but if this is just a little better than “normal”, everything should turn out alright.
Going back to the Bad Hitting Day: if you were to see a fitter and you were having a bad hitting day, there’s no real point in trying to force things. If you’re at a fitting session and it’s a bad day- take a break. Ask to look around, or hit a different club; not to be tested, but to “reboot” your brain.
We Interrupt our Normal Programming for a Quick Mental Tip
This is a tip I learned many years ago. It was originally about putting, but it’ll work in any situation; in our case, getting properly fitted.
When you’re putting and having a hard time, switch grips. If it’s conventional, switch to the Claw, or Left-Hand Low. If you brought a second putter with you and left it in the trunk, go get it (only if it’s very different from your current gamer).
What that does is, it sends different signals to your brain. It “reboots” it to a time before you started to go into your funk. It works for putting, but it can also work if you’re having a bad swing day.
The easiest way is to ask to demo a club. Most of the test clubs are going to be different than what you have in your bag, so hit some balls with it. When you go back to your regular club, your head should “reset” and you and the fitter can then get some good baseline numbers to really get the fitting session going.
It’s a quick, relatively painless way to maximize your time with the fitter, to come away with real data and real recommendations.
Hopefully, this clears some air about when to get fitted for golf clubs. There’s really no one way to do it, and everyone has their preferences. The real point is to make sure you’re doing things that can lead to improved performance… the order you do them in can vary.