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Monday, June 30, 2014

Free Club Fitting? Remember, There's No Free Lunch

Free club fittings at retail golf chains sound like a can't-miss deal. But, like the proverbial free lunch, it may not turn out to be what you hope. A 22-handicap golfer (who wishes to remain unnamed) recently went to one of the new golf stores for a custom club fitting three different times and got three different suggestions.  Huh? Where's the "science" in the process?

Woody Lashen
“Having an ill trained, inexperienced club fitter can have serious effects on your golf game,” said Woody Lashen, co-owner of Pete’s Golf Shop on Long Island.  The fitter has years of experience and brings an engineering degree to the fitting studio. “An experienced fitter recognizes swing flaws from ill fitted equipment," he says. "Counter to what these chains push on golfers, our philosophy is that a brand neutral approach is the best way to find the best clubs for your game."

Lashen says a proper fitting should start with an earnest discussion between the golfer and the club fitter.  The conversation should reveal what the player is looking to accomplish with their golf game and include how often they play, their handicap, and the problems they typically encounter on the course. This will help provide a base line with their current clubs.  Lashen adds that it may be determined that you can't do better, so there’s no need for new clubs.

The available technology to help determine the many elements of a set of clubs, is tremendous.  But if the fitter does not have a full understanding of the technology, it doesn't help.

Compounding the problem is that certification of club fitters is inconsistent and unreliable, which leaves word of mouth as a key resource to find a reliable one.

“Club fitting is part technology and part art," Lashen says. "We have found that for the men and women who come to us, their club fitting goes a long way to help them increase their enjoyment of their time spent with friends and business associates on the golf course."

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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