Ask any good fitter about how to prepare and one of the first responses will undoubtedly be about the importance of being honest. Any good club fitting should begin with a questionnaire or interview regarding your game, your biases, and how they can help you get the most out of the equipment.
Understanding the importance of the fitting interview led us to Club Champion, one of the premier fitters in the country. Before diving in, we wanted to know where this came from? This is what Club Champion had to say.
“We call the interview the “sit down” portion, prior to the fitting itself. We also have a pre-fit questionnaire that every golfer gets via email before they come in for their fitting. We implemented this process from the start because one of the biggest determining factors in a successful fitting is our ability to meet and exceed a golfer’s goals (both for the fitting session, but also for their game as a whole). We want to know who you are as a golfer, what sort of challenges you face in your game, what your expectations of the fitting are, and what we can do to help you not only lower your scores, but also get the most out of the equipment you choose to have in the bag. This portion is one of the first steps in building that fitter/golfer relationship that’s sort of like doctor/patient — we hear you out, test and diagnose, and continue to keep your golf game at its peak health as you progress.”
Exceeding goals should never be considered a negative, but it is important to note just how crucial this aspect is of the fitting. Let me start with the idea that you should never fear your skill level being an issue, but more importantly the fitter understanding your skill level and goals before you begin. If you were to explain that you average 280 off the tee and then during the fitting are hitting it 60 yards shorter, it is only going to make it more complicated for them to provide an accurate service and find you the best equipment possible.
The flip side is also true. If you normally play a small fade, but in the bay are drawing the ball consistently, it is important for your fitter to have this information ahead of time so that they can help maximize your equipment to your normal game, not just on the swings during the time with them. This is also why it is so important that places like Club Champion offer a perfect fit guarantee, so you can go back and continue work.
Equipment changes over the last couple of decades have been astronomical as shaft technology has evolved, the golf ball has changed dramatically, and of course each club head is designed to offer maximum performance. How has the Fitting Interview portion changed? Club Champion offered this.
“The sit down portion of our fittings has certainly evolved. We added a pre-fit questionnaire for golfers to fill out before they come in so we’re armed with basic info like handicap, dexterity, home course, etc. and can dive right into the meat of the discussion. As we’ve added brands to the demo matrix, technology to our process, more skills to our team’s arsenal, etc., the interview portion has become more tailored to the individual customer because we’re better able to address their specific needs. An interesting double-edged sword has become more prominent in recent years as well: As more info becomes available online, golfers ask more questions (which we love) but we also find that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. People may read that a shaft is great for their specific swing speed but not understand that there are so many more factors that go into a proper fitting, so they’re shocked when that item isn’t the best option for them. More info is always better than less but we find that biases (subconscious or otherwise) have the potential to lead a golfer down a path that isn’t right for their game, and it’s our job to bring them back to the road to lower scores and more enjoyable golf.”
An area of the fitting interview often completely overlooked is bias. This sounds like a complete negative, but in reality it isn’t meant to be. Most golfers have favorite brands. Period. Despite what is commonly posted, that is okay. In fact, it lends itself outside of golf as well, be it cars, restaurants, cell phones, or any other consumer good category.
Whether that comes from interaction from the people within the brand at things like THP Events or customer service that was handled appropriately to your standards or anything in between. With the in-depth lines offered by many companies now, having a favorite is part of the process. Does it mean it will be the best thing for you? No, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be, and in the end, the equipment is yours and you have to love it. Club Champion offered more insight.
“Brand bias is a real thing for golfers and it can be tough to overcome. In nearly every case, the brand a golfer comes in thinking they’re going to end up with is actually NOT the brand that performs the best for their game. That said, there are some people who are just brand loyal — we’re happy to help find the best option within those confines for those people since, at the end of the day, they need to be happy with their equipment. But our job is to show you the data in real-time and recommend the BEST option. We’ll always recommend the best performance and from there, it’s up to the golfer to decide what is most important to them.”
Circling back to the fitting interview and why it is so important. The goal with any fitting is to maximize performance of either your equipment, or new equipment, and find the best for you as a golfer. This is probably a really long way of saying, take that portion of the fitting seriously, be honest with your fitter, and let the results shine through to enjoy better golf.
How did you handle the interview or questionnaire at your last fitting? Were you able to convey any favorites along with your golfing abilities? Do you think it helped with the process? Drop a comment below or join us in the THP Forum for further discussion on the subject of the fitting interview.