Categorized | Gear, Lifestyle

Get Fit!

By: Wandy Wauran

Just exactly what is clubfitting? Think of a tailor shop for your golf clubs. More often than not, you would have to make some kind of alterations to the dress, shirt or pants that you bought at the mall. The term is buying off-the-rack. When you buy golf clubs off-therack, the odds are very slim that those clubs will fit you. A good clubfitter can help you find out if your clubs fit you.

Get-FitWhat constitutes a good clubfitter? First and foremost, their shop should have a launch monitor to gather data on your shots. It’s also important that their shop has someone with knowledge that can explain to you what the data means. Their shop should also have a technician on hand to work on your clubs. Of course this technician will have the proper tools to work with, similar to a good car mechanic shop. A good clubfitter will become an excellent clubfitter if they have demo clubs and shafts for you to try. A lot like test-driving a car.

Visiting a clubfitter without a launch monitor is like using the Walkman when there is an iPod available. There is no denying that technology has left a big imprint in golf. A proper launch monitor (Trackman) will give the golfer an accurate reading of his or her club speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, etc. This data will greatly help the clubfitter in determining the proper club specifications for the golfer. On the other hand, the clubfitter should have qualified knowledge so he can explain to you what the data means and how it affects your golf game. Otherwise the data will be just a foreign language to you.

Important aspects of the clubfitting process:

  • Club Speed is how fast (in miles per hour) you swing your club at impact. This will determine what flex shaft you should use. Higher club speed will need a stiffer flex, conversely, lower club speed will do better with a softer flex shaft.
  • Ball Speed is how fast the ball is going after impact. The ball speed should be 1.5 times faster than your club speed. Anything less means you are not hitting the ball as solid as you can.
  • Launch Angle is measured in degrees of the height of your ball right after impact. Imagine a cannon tilted at various angles to launch the ball.
  • Spin Rate is the revolutions per minute your ball is spinning after impact. Too much spin will have a ballooning effect on your ball. Not enough spin will have the opposite effect. General rule of thumb is high launch with low spin will make the ball go further.

Lie-AngleDRIVER FITTING

We will cover the driver first because it is the club that golfers are most fascinated, infatuated, obsessed and frustrated with. I would bet a lot of Rupiahs that there is not one golfer out there that does not want more distance with their driver. I personally know many golfers who have shelled out some serious cash on the latest and greatest drivers.

If you are currently using a driver that is more than four years, it’s time for you to invest in a new one. The driver technology is so good these days that you would be a fool to not take advantage of it. The design of the head and shafts are light years ahead now. Club companies employ some of the best brainiacs (engineers, physicists, computer specialists) in the world to come up with better product designs. Golf shafts now use the same material used on satellites in out of space.

A little footnote on shafts: there is no industry standard as far as flex is concerned. One company’s stiff flex could be another company’s regular flex. The best way to know a certain shaft’s flex is to get its CPM (Cycles per Minute). An excellent clubfitter should have the CPM machine where the shaft is clamped on, bent and released. The shaft’s motion will determine its CPM. More cycles means more resistance. More resistance equals more stiffness.

My second advice is getting the right loft and shaft flex combination. The best way to do this is to actually try different head and shaft combinations. The launch monitor will show you which specific combination gives you the optimal result. Another important factor is the look of the driver when you set it down. If you don’t like the look, you will have to trick your mind into liking the club. Not a good start in fitting a driver.

The next and also X-factor is the feel and sound of the driver at impact. Every golfer has a different idea of what feels and sounds good. One might prefer a muted sound, while the other likes a more “tin can” sound. In any case, the golfer will most likely make a better swing with a driver that suits their senses.

IRON FITTING

All the advice on driver fitting applies to iron fitting. There is just one more very important process that goes into iron fitting and that is getting the lie properly fit to your swing. A proper lie angle will give you a much better chance of hitting your ball straight to the target.

A good clubfitter can give you a static fit where they measure how far your hands are from the ground. An excellent clubfitter will give you a dynamic fit where the golfer hits from a special plastic lie board. A static fit is fine and dandy, but it is not as effective as a dynamic fit. The clubfitter will put a sticker on the sole of your iron. After a couple of hits, he will know what to do with your lie angle.

To conclude, there have been countless magazine articles and books devoted to theories of clubfitting. Theories are one thing, but theory without practice is not enough. How will you know if that driver you just bought offthe- rack is giving you the optimal results? The answer is you go to an excellent clubfitter as opposed to a good clubfitter.

About Wandy Wauran

Wandy Wauran is a part time golfer, full time golf enthusiast, owner of Big Fish Golf Indonesia and Performance Clubfitting. You can get in touch with him by email: wandy@bfgindonesia.com

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