Club Fitting for Beginner Golfers

Nippon Shafts

Jman

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Go get fit.

Three of the most important words for golfers, and also three of the most intimidating, particularly for beginners to the game.

Let’s be honest, for those just getting into golf there are about a million different things to think about, starting with just making contact. How much thought is actually put into the clubs that they are using to try and do that though? For a great deal of people, it is usually a hand-me-down setup that they’re using to get their feet wet. With all that in mind, yes, the decision to go get fit is much more nuanced than many people realize, but the importance never really waivers, regardless of skill level or time in the game.

Continue reading...
 

Scorpion12

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You're right. Get fit! Great article!!

I'd like to get fit. I'd also like lessons. But I'm of the "older school" way of thinking... I want lessons before a fitting to give me the best chance of having a better game.
 

camden_kid

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Interesting read. Thanks.

As a beginner I can't see myself getting a fit for a full set in the first year. If I think golf is for me after that time I would seriously consider it. However, I think in that year I might get fit for a putter.
 

JB

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You're right. Get fit! Great article!!

I'd like to get fit. I'd also like lessons. But I'm of the "older school" way of thinking... I want lessons before a fitting to give me the best chance of having a better game.
Thats the beauty of it. They aren't mutually exclusive. Good luck with the journey of lessons and fitting.
 

kiwichris

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Interesting read. Thanks.

As a beginner I can't see myself getting a fit for a full set in the first year. If I think golf is for me after that time I would seriously consider it. However, I think in that year I might get fit for a putter.
Nice point, if you're starting a full bag of clubs is intimidating, it would be nice if company's actually targeted newcomers with half bag fittings, 14 clubs is sometimes too many for a long term player let alone someone wanting to start.
 

JB

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Wow, that's shocking that when you ask fitting companies and fitters if people should be fit, they would say yes!
We asked experts in the field of golf. In fact we asked a dozen people in golf and all of them said similar, including several teaching professionals.
Who should be asked?
 

NeverWiff

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As mentioned by @Jman, it is a daunting task to ask a new golfer to worry about "everything" all at once... and i also agree with @kiwichris that it's intimidating to go all in on a full set of clubs... "Back in the day" as kids, we'd get a half set (Sunday bag style) to get out there and get a feel for the game. We knew we didn't have "all the gaps" covered but it was a hell of a lot less intimidating than agonizing over what club to hit and THEN put a good swing on it too... If you have a limited number of clubs, you have a pretty good idea on what you need to pull to get near where you want to end up, and just concentrate on putting a good swing on the ball.

I might even recommend that to a friend that was getting into the game.... Go ahead, get fit.... purchase an array of clubs to get you started and then fill in the gaps as you become more proficient and decide you're going to stay with the game. Probably goes against popular thinking, but that's just my two cents...
 

Cruskater

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I think traditionally, a lot of people associate club fitting with professional golf or really good scratch golfers. Just as the myth that graphite shafts are only for weaker, slower speed players, a lot of work is being done today to help beginners understand the importance of fitting. Great idea @kiwichris about half bag fittings and the like. It is less intimidating and less of a financial burden. I think some people associate fittings with automatically purchasing new clubs. There is a chance one's current clubs are perfect, good, or fine for that person and could be tweaked slightly to benefit them. With recommendations from a good fitter, you could find used clubs on ebay, preowned websites, etc. that fit your specs. (That is one area I think a lot of people don't know about.)
 

captaincaution

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We asked experts in the field of golf. In fact we asked a dozen people in golf and all of them said similar, including several teaching professionals.
Who should be asked?
Change golfer to runner and all of a sudden it isn't unreasonable to expect a beginner to get fit for equipment.

Fitting for running shoes is free. Low cost golf fitting is available. No one is saying you have to go to the Club Champions of the world to get your first set of clubs fit for you.

Get. Fit!
 

kiwichris

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I think traditionally, a lot of people associate club fitting with professional golf or really good scratch golfers. Just as the myth that graphite shafts are only for weaker, slower speed players, a lot of work is being done today to help beginners understand the importance of fitting. Great idea @kiwichris about half bag fittings and the like. It is less intimidating and less of a financial burden. I think some people associate fittings with automatically purchasing new clubs. There is a chance one's current clubs are perfect, good, or fine for that person and could be tweaked slightly to benefit them. With recommendations from a good fitter, you could find used clubs on ebay, preowned websites, etc. that fit your specs. (That is one area I think a lot of people don't know about.)
Appreciate that @Cruskater , oem want more customers so why not build a long term brand loyalty at the beginning, the next bag will be a full one
 

Doubleb21

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Golf is a hard game. Getting fit helps eliminate any doubt you have the right set up. There are so many options and places to get fit i see no reason not to get it done. As my golf journey continues i will always buy clubs from going through a fitting. Good article @Jman
 

GolfMT36

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We asked experts in the field of golf. In fact we asked a dozen people in golf and all of them said similar, including several teaching professionals.
Who should be asked?
It's cool. All totally unbiased. Of course, you write for a website who derives the vast majority of its income from advertising by club and shaft manufacturers and fitting companies. But still totally unbiased.
Perhaps we should maybe say 3 of the most important words to golfers are Lessons, Technique, Practice.
 

fuffle master

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Nice article, but the second question that I haven’t seen asked or answered is “how often”?

I agree that one should get fit despite their handicap and level of skill. I just wonder how often in years or skill level should one get fit again.

Do you get fit a second time as your handicap decreases, new equipment comes out in a couple of years, your swing may have changed a bit due to age or other factors, all of the above and more?

I had an iron and putter fitting two years ago, but scheduled a full bag fitting this May and I wonder how things will change or not change at all from before.
 

captaincaution

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It's cool. All totally unbiased. Of course, you write for a website who derives the vast majority of its income from advertising by club and shaft manufacturers and fitting companies. But still totally unbiased.
Perhaps we should maybe say 3 of the most important words to golfers are Lessons, Technique, Practice.
There are fairly low-cost fitting options available out there. Is it not reasonable for a beginner to use one of these options?
 

mtbloco

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When I got back into golf after 16 years, I did not get formally "fit", but I did go to a box store and get on a launch monitor. They used the Ping measurement system to choose initial length and lie. then I hit 5-7 different makes/models of irons. Once a winner was determined, they had me test some different shaft weights. THe only real factor was grouping. One iron stood out that i could swing it much more consistently than the others.

I felt that even that level of "fitting" was one of the smartest things that I could have done at that stage of my return to golf. It greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the game.
 

DaBuckBoys

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I took my son for a general iron fitting before his sophomore year of highschool golf. He was 6'3" and already grown out of my old set of irons. Ended up getting him a set of TaylorMade Speedblades + 1/2". He loved them and definitely benefitted.
 

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Is it the golfer or is it the clubs? As a beginner I found this recent video very interesting.

 

Parrot

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Maybe this is already out there. I'd love to see a video of a fitter taking a beginning player who has a somewhat repeatable swing with hand me downs or a boxed beginner's set and seeing the improvement the fitting brings.
 
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DG_1234

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Wow, that's shocking that when you ask fitting companies and fitters if people should be fit, they would say yes!
I consider the "go get fit" mantra to be a marketing angle aimed at selling clubs. But to be fair, most players do find the fitting experience to be something fun to do , and there is value to having some fun.
Yesterday I spoke with my 6 handicap friend who about 10 weeks ago did a 45 minute fitting (major OEM) for a driver and three wood. After receiving the clubs he played about a dozen rounds before having a 1" shaft extension applied to the driver. I asked him why he had his recently fitted driver altered and he said that while the fitter selected the best launch monitor head-shaft combination numbers on the day of the fitting, he found that on the course his shot trajectory was too often ballooning, spinning, soft landing.
Now after a few rounds with the inch longer shaft he is seeing a consistently better trajectory with some bounce and roll after landing, which is what he wants. I asked him why the fitting day numbers, recommended specs, were faulty and he said he thought it was because his swing is not exactly consistent day to day. He did say the fitting was a fun experience and that he was glad he did it.
My opinion is that if one has the disposable income to spend on a fitting then there is likely no harm to being fit and it will probably be a fun experience. If one has a limited budget then I believe the money would be best spent on lessons from a PGA pro and lots of range balls.
 

JB

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It's cool. All totally unbiased. Of course, you write for a website who derives the vast majority of its income from advertising by club and shaft manufacturers and fitting companies. But still totally unbiased.
Perhaps we should maybe say 3 of the most important words to golfers are Lessons, Technique, Practice.
Actually no. That is the three most important lessons to golfers that want to improve.
Millions just want to enjoy the game.

And you know nothing about where the majority of our income derives from. But it is becoming par for the course, and if this place isn't for you, there are others out there that might be.
 

Stemmy66

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Nice article @Jman.... as someone who was fit a few years ago and have changed equipment a couple times since that fitting, I realize I'm really using old data to influence my club selections, but I also know my swing has changed. I do have a plan for a fitting later in the year which I intend to embrace. I have data outputs from previous fitting so I'll be interested to see how numbers change and how this impacts equipment selected.
 

xcman04

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This is an article that hits close to home, as last year was my first serious year picking up golf again after a 15 year layoff. I knew I wanted to play again, but the only clubs I had were from back in 2002, and they were incredibly difficult for me to hit, compounded by the fact I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up getting fit towards the end of 2019 - before taking lessons - because my family offered to get me a new set of clubs for the holidays...and it was both a good and bad experience.

It was good in the sense that the fitter and I ended up agreeing on what clubs would be great for me - I went with my current gamers, the Cleveland HB Turbos. I did a ton of research beforehand and determined I wanted SGI clubs that were some of the easiest to hit from a company that had a great reputation making such clubs...and the Cleveland HB Turbos fit that to a T. It was bad, however, in that during the fitting I did not hit the ball well at all, and I became extremely nervous and embarrassed as a result. Other people around me clearly knew what they were doing and why they needed X, Y, Z...but I did not, and I shudder to think about what would have happened if I had not done preliminary research on clubs. I had a similar experience with the same fitter for my driver - although I ended up in a good spot, the fitting was very awkward and I didn't feel very comfortable or confident the entire time.

If I could do it all over again, I would have taken a few lessons first so that I could feel more comfortable hitting the ball during my fitting. I found fitting was helpful, and everything did work out in the end - I feel like I made the right decisions for my game, which has slowly but steadily improved over time. I can, however, definitely attest to the negative side, or at least the negative feelings, of getting fitted as a beginner.
 

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Thanks for the write up! Count me in as a beginner who regrets not getting fit earlier on. I had the same mindset the last 2 years that I needed to improve before getting fit. After a year or two of trying to self fit clubs and teach myself golf through youtube I have made few improvements to my game. I was scared that fitting would be pointless as my swing evolved and now 2 years later and I have probably been playing equipment totally wrong for me.

This year is the year for me to get fit and take lessons. I have had my first 2 lessons ever the last few weeks and I'm so mad at myself for not doing it earlier on. I'm planning to save up for a fitting later this year and expect similar results once I get into the right clubs. I recently had a friend get his first properly fit set after playing for a decade. He was in old GI's with 65g graphite shafts and didn't even know his secondhand clubs were 1/2 inch long. He loved his fitting experience and is loving his new set.
 

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I'm a newer player, I'll be getting fit this weekend. Lots of reasons, but I made a post about getting new gear and my wife decided I'm just going to go get fit and we'll see how that goes on Saturday hopefully.
 

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