I am aiming this particular article towards those who are ‘Veterans”, and by ‘Veterans’ I mean those who bought a beginners all-in-one set and have been playing for a few years.  I’m also referring to those who have never had a proper club fitting, or have used the “height & wrist to floor” method to calculate their fit. Essentially, I am writing this from my experience. The last fitting I had preformed was in 1996, the year I made the varsity team for my high school. I have gone through many clubs in that time, as you can imagine, yet I have not had a proper fitting or evaluation since. Many of the traditional methods of fitting are the same, but as I found out, the process has changed quite dramatically since 1996! This is in large part due to technology, both in the equipment, as far as makes and models of clubs available, and in the way computers and analytics are used. The 8 pages of numerical data I was given at the end of the session would be any golf geek or statistician’s fantasy. The use of those numbers coupled with your desire to hit it farther or straighter is great for any golfer. You can even be provided with a list of the best balls to better your game! The entire process took roughly two hours and cost about $80, but it was well worth the time and money spent.

I took my entire bag into Golf Galaxy with me, which turned my “fitting” more into an evaluation of what I was already hitting. When I had my first fitting preformed, I had the standard measurements taken. This is usually your overall height and the distance from your wrist bone to the floor of your leading arm. To a large degree, those two measurements work rather well. A good example is the “calculator” used on GigaGolf.com’s site. However, a proper and precise fitting or evaluation must be done in person with a professional. The PGA professional that assisted me is named Jason Krier, and based out of the Golf Galaxy in Langhorne, Pa.

The first clubs that Jason wanted to evaluate/fit were my irons. For that he used the traditional “sticker method”, where a measured sticker it affixed to the sole of the club and one on the face. Then you strike a ball off a plastic “board””, you will then get instant feedback, as shown below…

As you can see here my 7-iron’s (left column) toe is significantly pitched upward, causing me to strike the ball either on or very near the hosel. But after bending to a total of 1.5 degrees flat, my strike was almost dead center, removing the word PING from the sticker! Jason did this with every iron in my bag. As it turned out, only three needed adjustment.

At my request, Jason also provided me with this…

This was rather vital and enlightening. It not only gives me precise figures on what my ideal specs are, length and lie angle, but also showed there to be a significant gap in loft between my 9-iron and PW. So, with these numbers, I can go to any dealer or retailer of any make/model iron set and give them specs that are tailored just for me. That pretty much ensures a perfect “fit”.

As seen below, Jason made a point of writing a note intended to recommend and prompt me to find a wedge (scoring club) to fill that gap between the 9-iron and PW…

The last order of business for the irons is the shaft material. Jason put it rather simply, Steel for your wedges (he said that without hesitation and rather emphatically), and 7-iron up, comes down to personal preference. From that I gleaned, unless you are on tour and have very specific needs, it is somewhat irrelevant.

Now, it was on to the woods. Jason took to his PC and asked me for the make, model, and specs of my three woods. In my case, I have a GigaGolf.com Gx 3 & 5 Wood, both modeled after the Callaway X-Series fairway woods, and the TaylorMade R9 set to 9.5 degrees and neutral with a “M” flex shaft.

Jason set up the camera, or “eye” if you will, behind me that captures and records the data that then gets fed into their computer. This tool is able to capture the following:

  • Consistency of each club (measures how “on target” each club is.)
  • Club head speed. (Mph.)
  • Ball Velocity. (Mph)
  • Launch Angle.
  • Ball Spin.
  • Carry Distance.
  • Total Distance.
  • PTR – Power Transfer Ratio. (sometimes referred to as “smash factor”, it is the percentage of your ball speed divided by swing speed. For some reason Golf Galaxy moves the decimal point to the right two places.)
  • Deviation. (How many degrees Left or Right you have hit the ball. Zero degrees being dead strait.)

  • He had me hit each wood as many times as necessary to record three “solid strikes” for both the 3 and 5 woods and six for my driver.

    Below is the “Consistency Report”, again basically measuring how strait you hit each club tested. I found it rather interesting that I hit my R9 “Taylor” straighter than the GX 3 Wood!…

    Next, you will see the “Club Gapping Report”, which shows the distances achieved with each club. You will find your worst strike, best strike, and the average of all strikes recorded…

    Finally you see the “All Shots Report”, which provides you with the ultimate in golf “geekdom”! These are the all the figures I made reference to earlier. These are the numbers that I obtained with the woods I am already using. However, one could hit every wood in the store, and with these figures, and the Pro’s insight, buy the club best suited to them…

    In my case, I was admittedly a bit surprised to see that my average swing speed was around 73Mph. I won’t lie that took a bit of a hit on the ‘ol “Macho Meter” for sure. However, that confirmed for me that the M-Flex shaft was the right choice for me. I was also comforted a bit knowing that after a few moths of regular play (or a few beers!), I can expect to see speeds more in the low 80Mph range. In fact, I intend to redo the evaluation in the later part of this season to see if I am correct.

    Take note of the highlighted line on the bottom of the “All Shots Report”. This is used, along with your preference/needs for distance and/or accuracy to determine the best ball for you. You choose what ball you are hitting currently (if you wish to see where it ranks), and enter your preferences via a “slider” icon on their PC. As I have always been a very strait hitter, and thus very accurate in my long and short game, I opted to go heavy on the distance portion, and leave the short game percentage at the default of 50, and the following is what printed out…

    I got a chuckle when I saw that the #3 recommended ball was a Precept Lady IQ Plus… there goes that “Macho Meter” again! But Jason suggested the #6 on the list, the Callaway Big Bertha Diablo, was most likely the best of both worlds for me.

    Again, even though I knew, with some certainty, what is involved in a proper club fitting, I wanted to go through the process myself prior to writing this article. My intention was to not only make the article as informative as many other articles out there, but share my experience with you to make it more personal and entertaining for you. Additionally, after reading this, my hope is that see the value a proper club fitting can provide once you have progressed passed that “standard” set.

    Again, I’d like to thank Golf Galaxy, and especially, Jason Krier for his hospitality and patience, not only to complete this article, but to have helped my understand my own game that much more!