Misconceptions about fitting at Club Champion
Just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t make it true. We know this, right? Yet for some reason, myths and misconceptions about every corner of the golf industry continue to crop up and propagate, including those about Club Champion and the club fitting process.
Given the guy writing this blog reads all your comments online, positive and otherwise, I thought it was time to address some of the most common misconceptions that have found their way into the club fitting narrative.
FALSE: We don’t fit female or youth golfers.
It’s wild that in 2022, anyone could think that technology isn’t advanced enough to help EVERY segment of the game, including women and children. When we say we can fit everyone, we mean everyone.
While it’s true that not every brand makes specific models for younger golfers or women, there are some considerations that need to be taken. For juniors, it really depends on height and strength — there’s a chance they fit into modified “adult” clubs. If not, programs like US Kids Clubs and PING Prodi-G can account for the youngster’s specific needs, and even allow for extensions to the shafts as the mini golfer grows.
For women, it’s a much simpler solution. **ALL** clubs are women’s clubs if they fit the woman’s swing. While some brands do make models or versions of their current line that are marketed to women, the difference is usually a paint job and a lighter swingweight. When you consider that custom club fitters like Club Champion can modify swingweight, and that there’s no such thing as a “standard” women’s flex, you begin to realize that the marketing is just that — marketing. Take it from this Golf Digest article if you need more data to support the notion.
FALSE: Club Champion only carries exotic shafts.
It goes without saying that we have the most available options out of anyone in the industry.
50,000 combos from over 60 brands — that’s a LOT of options and no matter how tuned into the industry you are, there’s a chance we carry something you haven’t heard of previously. That said, those high-end exotic shafts with names you don’t recognize aren’t the only thing on the wall.
The distinction here is more about the material than the brand or model. Club Champion fitters rarely suggest a stock build because stock shafts are mass-produced, low-quality options that leave performance on the table in favor of cost savings. Now, if a golfer has a budget and a stock shaft gets them 70% of the way to their ideal game, great! But in almost no instance will a truly stock shaft beat the aftermarket options we have available because they aren’t built to take YOU into consideration.
And before you start typing, “WAIT, there are Fuji/Aldila/Mitsubishi/Oban/other random shaft OEM options available online as a stock option with no upcharge!” — yes. And in almost every case, they are not the true aftermarket or small batch option you receive from a custom fitting. They are a version of the mass-produced assembly line shaft, intended to look like a duck and walk like a duck, but created from lower-quality, less duck-like materials. They definitely don’t quack like a duck where performance is concerned. If you don’t believe us, just peek behind the curtain.
So no, we don’t ONLY carry or suggest “exotic” shafts, but we do carry an array of options and we do favor the shaft with the best results. The good news is, those results are backed by data, right there on the screen in the fitting bay. If the data doesn’t support the shaft, neither will we for that golfer’s set.
FALSE: Custom fittings/Club Champion fittings are too expensive and you can get the same clubs online/at retail.
This may be the most common misconception out there. There are people who truly believe custom fitters like us charge extra for funsies and/or that charging for a fitting is ridiculous.
*knuckle crack* Let’s get into it.
Outside of love and friendship, the best things in life aren’t always free. Sure, you can go get fit with that local guy in his garage or even go to a country club and learn from the pros there for free. But once again, for the umpteenth time, nobody has access to the sheer number of brands that we do. Nobody else in the industry can offer you over 50,000 hittable combinations; you’ll be lucky to have more than two staff bags at that country club. Those garage fitters aren’t trained by every OEM directly to understand all the intricacies of the product. They don’t have access to the fitting and build tech that we do in every store. They don’t have calibrated machinery. They don’t have a Perfect Fit Guarantee.
I could keep going, but I won’t.
Long story short: you get what you pay for. Yes, a free fitting is better than no fitting at all. If you’re a value seeker first and a performance seeker second, that’s a great option. But if you’re investing time, energy, and money into your golf game, why go for a band-aid instead of the complete treatment? Our demo matrix, our highly trained fitters, our fitting technology, our incredible build facilities/builders, our post-fitting guarantees, etc. all add a value beyond “just a fitting” that incurs a cost but guarantees a better golf game.
Now let’s talk club pricing.
We’ve talked about this before, and some things have changed since then, but the crux of the argument is still the same. No, we do not take in fully built clubs, pull the shafts, and then charge you for the aftermarket replacement. We do not throw out stock shafts. And no, we do not mark up the cost of the clubs for margin’s sake.
Firstly, we have a component account with our OEMs. That means all the heads, shafts, and grips come separately. We weight sort and do all that fun stuff before the components ever make it into the shop. From the start, we’re working with separate pieces, not built clubs. Putters are a bit different, but even those come ungripped in most cases so we can work our magic for golfers who need something specific.
OEMs always tell their retailers what they can charge for their clubs, based on the clubheads. It’s called MAP (minimum advertised pricing), and we must adhere to it. So, if an OEM says their iron costs $175, that’s the cost we must charge for the clubhead, since we cannot go below that minimum. There’s no “component” cost for clubheads.
OEMs pay pennies on the dollar for stock shafts and even grips in some cases, because they are ordering mass-produced items in massive quantities. That $175 price tag is based on the clubhead materials and technology (and probably some room in there for the OEM to make a fair profit), not necessarily the fully assembled club, even though that’s how it’s presented online.
There ARE costs associated with our services, like any other service-based business. When you get an oil change, you don’t just pay for the oil. You pay for the labor associated with the expert service. When you go to the doctor, you’re charged both for the prescription and the doctor’s time. At Club Champion, there are charges associated with club assembly, including (for some orders) SST PUREing services to make sure the shaft is aligned perfectly in the clubhead.
These are not upcharges; they are associated with the time and expertise required from our master builders who are hand-building your order to your custom specs. If you want to skip those fees, the option is an assembly-line set with tolerances that vary dramatically (regardless of what you ordered) because quality control is tough at that level of production. We’re able to offer our Perfect Fit Guarantee because we know every step a club takes between a fitting and your bag, and that sets us apart from the competition.
FALSE: SST PUREing is snake oil
Out of all the things we write about, SST PUREing might take the cake for the most digitally mentioned subject matter.
We’ve mentioned it before but we’ll reiterate briefly that SST PUREing is a shaft alignment process that analyzes and ensures a golf shaft is installed in a clubhead at its most stable orientation. For golfers specifically, this means more consistency in your swings. Consistency means more repeatable successes (and a better understanding of your misses) which leads to better performance.
Golf shafts are like fingerprints; no two are the same. In the manufacturing process, any little thing can create the smallest irregularity in a shaft’s straightness, roundness and stiffness. Structural imperfections may give a shaft its personality, but they can also lead to inconsistencies that your body needs to overcome during a golf swing. SST PUREing pinpoints imperfections and finds the perfect point of oscillation so that the shaft performs its best.
It’s an optional part of our services, but it’s something that can make your set perform better. And that’s what we do.
Suffice it to say, we’ve heard it all online, in forums, on social media, and even in person when golfers ask us why we do or don’t do something. But there’s more to the story than @golfguy44 or his counterparts want you to believe (or know themselves) so always ask questions. You never know what you might find out!
To learn more or to book a fitting, head to clubchampiongolf.com.