Welcome back everyone! What a wonderful start to the golf season.
After enduring a long but rather mild winter, golf courses are opening their doors and the sun is shining with a reasonable weather forecast for the upcoming days.
Therefore I am sure you are as excited as I am to dust off your equipment in preparation for your first round of the year.
The winter months are a great time to rest up and re-energize from the previous golf season.
Many of you throw your golf clubs in the darkest, loneliest corner of the garage in disgust as your trusted tools of the trade (golf clubs) did not perform up to your expectations.
This so-called equipment punishment is justified since they simply did not perform.
Next year will be different.
Well, its next year and it’s time to be one with your golf clubs.
Having said this, have you ever considered that the equipment you have fallen so deeply in love with is simply not the equipment that is fitted for you?
That this could be the reason that your golf clubs do not perform to the level and — more specifically — the consistent level that you expect them to?
It’s true. Golf equipment has to be professionally fitted to suit your golf swing.
In most cases, purchasing equipment off the shelf without being professionally fitted to suit your golf swing could directly affect your distance, direction and ultimately your consistency.
Not every golfer can be fitted to the true sense of the term.
New golfers who have not established a consistently balanced golf swing can in many cases purchase a set of clubs straight from the shelf.
This is, of course, assuming that they are of average height and their arm length is of average length.
Having said this, special attention must be given to these individuals to the speed that they swing the club, as the shaft flex becomes the most important factor (but not limited to) to fitting any golfer of any experience and ability.
There are many different manufacturers to choose from. Some of these include Cobra, TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist and Ping.
These five manufacturers are generally considered the top five club manufacturers in the golf industry. What makes these club manufacturers the best is the research and development that they dedicate to developing their equipment.
Each of these companies spends millions of dollars with their research team engineering not only new designs but improved manufacturing processes.
These processes ensure that equipment that reaches the shelves is of consistent quality (designed to go further and straighter) from club to club. This may not sound that important, but believe me, it is.
In addition, millions of dollars is spent in marketing each line.
These companies recruit some of the best players in the world, paying them loads of money to play their equipment. In turn, it is these players (your favourite players) who assist in the marketing and ultimately driving the sales of the brand.
The bottom line (when it comes to the top five manufacturers (in my opinion): one brand is as good as the next.
Therefore, the first step to choosing a golf club is to find one that not only suits your eye (you need to like the look of it) and one that is in your price range. Golf equipment certainly varies in price, but when it comes to the higher end brands, they are all similar.
From here you need to choose the club that best suits your playability.
This is where your professional club fitter comes in and the first thing that you should inquire about when looking for a new set of golf clubs. Your CPGA golf professional will be able to walk you through choosing the style that best suits your playing ability.
Once you have chosen the style, it is all about the shaft. Each manufacturer will offer many different types of shafts for you to choose from.
For many players, this becomes an extremely complicated process. But for those who have access to fitting carts, the process becomes quite simple. It becomes simple because all you have to do is swing the club and watch the flight of the ball.
Your fitter will have the ability to switch out shafts on the club to create the optimum trajectory, increase your distance and improve your overall consistency.
Sometimes it is as simple as going from a stiff to a regular shaft flex, but sometimes you need a shaft that has different playing characteristics, such as overall gram weight and different kick points.
Your fitter will understand this and direct you into the shaft that best suits your swing.
The next step is to ensure that you have the proper lie on your club. Fitting for the lie is only done with the irons as the drivers, fairway woods and hybrids come with a pre-determined lie.
The lie is important as it can directly influence the direction the ball travels.
The lie is best explained by noticing your divot in the ground. You want to ensure that the divot is consistent in depth and length as it cuts through the ground.
Although not a perfect science (it depends on how a player’s swing forms), ensuring the club enters the ground evenly from toe to heel will assist you in hitting straighter shots. If the toe of the club enters the ground first the ball has a tendency to travel to the right or a slice (for right-handed golfers; the opposite is true for left-handed golfers) and if the heel of the club enters the ground first, then the ball tends to go to the left (for right-handed golfers).
As indicated earlier, your swing forms can directly influence how your club enters the ground and ultimately the direction the balls flies. Fitting for the lie angle can minimize either a slice or hook.
Lastly, the length of the club and the grip size needs to be fitted to suit your overall stature.
It is unrealistic to assume that a standard length golf club — be it for men or women — should fit each of us the same. A club is designed to fit the masses but in many cases — due to physical stature — we simply need to increase or decrease the size of the equipment to suit the player.
Custom-fit golf clubs will certainly improve your consistency, increase your distance and ultimately improve your overall enjoyment of the game.
Be sure when looking at equipment that you ask about their custom fitting program. I guarantee that you will find a happy place to store your clubs at the end of this season.
Scott Bergdahl is the teaching pro at Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake.