By Leonard Finkel
Custom clubfitting is all the rage. A 2017 study by Golf Magazine at Club Champion studios confirmed that virtually any golfer will improve their game after a custom fitting. Contrary to popular belief, it also confirmed that high handicappers showed the greatest improvement. Club fitting myths? What’s real and what isn’t? I went to Nick Sherburne, founder of premium club fitter Club Champion, to learn the answers.
Myth #1: Longer shafts produce longer shots - Not true.
In Club Champion studies with Golf Magazine and other outlets, where golfers swung 44-, 45- and 46-inch shafts, it’s a fact that 99% swung a longer driver faster. But they didn’t always hit it longer. According to Nick, they weren’t always as efficient in delivering the clubhead to the ball or controlling it via center contact. A longer shaft is more difficult to control and thereby creates more off-line shots. The idea is to get the longest shaft possible that allows you to swing faster, while still controlling and delivering center strikes more often. At Club Champion fittings, they stress smash factor, which is ball speed divided by clubhead speed. That statistic shows how well you’re delivering your energy back to the ball. The length of the shaft should maximize your ball speed by more consistently hitting in the center of the face.
Myth #2: Stiffer shafts are more accurate - Not true.
Sherburne stated, “You might think that stiffer isn’t going to kick as much and should go straighter, but there is a human element to the golf swing. Your body reacts to everything it’s given. Your muscles sense that stiffer is heavier, stiffer is harder. That could make you swing harder, wilder or more over the top. There’s certainly a time where there’s an appropriate stiffer shaft that gets you hitting it straighter, but it’s different for everybody. That’s why clubfitting is so important. There’s a right weight and stiffness that works for each individual golfer and that is what’s going to get you to hit it straighter.”
Myth #3: There’s a magic number for launch angle and spin rate - Not true.
Said Sherburne, “If you’re a club manufacturer, you believe that a 17° launch and 1,700 RPM spin would maximize a driver for most everybody. But for average golfers outside of the physics laboratory, there’s no magic number. There’s an ideal launch and spin for each individual golfer. Swing speed, angle of attack, smash factor, club path, launch angle; all these measurements and more factor into how the ball is going to perform.” That’s what a competent clubfitter is going to look at. If you attack down on the ball and your buddy attacks up on it, each swing will result in different outcomes. As opposed to PGA Tour launch angles and spin rates, amateur golfers are going to be different, depending on their swing and how they deliver the clubhead to the ball.
Myth # 4: Game-improvement clubs are only for high handicappers - Not true.
Sherburne commented, “When you look at a golf club, look at the core components that impact performance. Does it have the right sole grind, ideal offset or perfect forgiveness level for you? Does it look right to you, does it feel right, does it sound sweet? The look, feel and sound are up to you, but they have nothing to do with performance. Game-improvement clubs often get a bad rap because of their look, feel or sound. Could you overlook that if you hit the ball 10 yards farther and 7 yards closer to the pin?” He further recommends keeping an open mind. Look more at the components of a golf club and whether they’ll improve your game. There’s enough data and validation, even on the PGA Tour, that game-improvement clubs, particularly in the long irons, can help even more advanced golfers. Why not have forgiveness in irons that are harder to hit? Understand that it’s going to look a little different, but it’s going to help you in the long run.
Sherburne concludes, “At the end of the day, Club Champion clubs get built superior to a player’s ability. You can go to a Demo Day and hit a driver 10 yards farther than any another. You go online, buy that driver; but never hit it like you did on the range. Understand that it’s hard to create two cloned golf clubs. Manufacturers can’t. That’s part of the special sauce at Club Champion, to make sure whatever happens in that hitting bay translates onto the golf course.”
Whether you’re looking to buy new clubs or just fix your current set, premium club fitting is the answer.
With more than 35,000 custom hittable clubhead and shaft options, Club Champion will find the perfect fit to match your unique swing. Experience the Club Champion difference! Call us at 888-340-7820 or request an appointment online at clubchampiongolf.com.
About the Author: Leonard Finkel is the author of The Secrets to the Game of Golf & Life and former editor in chief of Golf Journeys Magazine. His work has been featured in almost 200 publications including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Golf Illustrated, Golf Tips and Player Magazine. He has written more than a dozen cover stories for Golf Today Magazine. He has written extensively about golf and travel and added poker to his writing repertoire and also works as a marketing and public relations consultant.