We test most of the new equipment if we can get one into our possession.
Everyone should get fit for clubs, yes even the higher handicap golfers. The fact is, when it comes to golf, some of us are not as skilled as others. So, for an example, if you only make 10 good swings in a round, why would you want any of those to be ruined by ill fitted equipment?
THE PROPER WAY TO GET FIT FOR CLUBS
We are trained as fitters for Callaway, Cleveland, and TaylorMade. The first step is always to choose the head you like best, the one that fits your eye, whether it be the Callaway, Cleveland, TaylorMade, or Adams or Ping or Titleist. Once you find the head it is a matter of finding the shaft that fits your swing and gives you maximum performance. At times this is a lengthy process.
Here is a tip on the proper length. We don’t use the “wrist to the floor” as a measure for length or lie when fitting irons. If two golfers both have the same “wrist to floor” measurement and one has more knee flex than the other, or extends his arms more than the other, then the measurement for each golfer will be different.
We are a small shop with limited inventory on the numerous shafts that are available today, but we fit a lot of golfers. One of the things we do for all of our custom fittings is we Performance Align the shafts on both metalwoods and irons. If the fitting requires we order a new club from the manufacturer, when it arrives we test the shaft for the proper flexing performance. If it doesn’t move in a straight line both horizontally and vertically then we remove the shaft and perform the Lag & Droop Align & Balance.
We work on a lot of shafts, cheap ones, and very expensive ones. We don’t have the ability to test every nuance of a given shaft. But here is the question, if two shafts are of the same weight, same flex, same flex point, same tip stiffness, same torque, etc., is the cheaper one as good as the expensive one?
Grip size is very important. Get the fitter to help you find the right size and you will be able to swing the club better. The standard test is to grip the club with your left hand, if your index finger barely touches your left thumb pad the grip size is correct. When you put your hands on the club you will know when it feels right. Some senior golfers or those with hand problems will usually use a larger grip size.
Ladies, if you use out of the box standard ladies clubs, getting fit for grip size is especially important for you. We don’t know why, but most all of the out of the box ladies grips are too small. See your club maker, get the right size grip, and you will play better.
LOFT & LIE
The loft and lie on stock sets of irons are per the specifications of the manufacturer, and they do vary from vendor to vendor. You can ask for non-standard lofts and lies if you custom order your clubs. Since there are slight variations in golf shafts the loft and lie should be set dynamically, not statically. Set the loft for each iron for the required distance (sometimes the loft gap will not be the standard 4 degrees) and the lie for proper ball flight.
Golf shafts are designed with stiffness, weight, torque and weight distribution. There are thousands of combinations of shaft weight, flex, bend profile, weight distribution, and torque. And there are thousands of golfers with different combinations of swing tempo, transition timing, release points, feel and club head speed. Finding the perfect shaft is when you can get all of these things to match up. Tough job.
Frequency testing requires an electronic device called the frequency analyzer. The frequency analyzer is designed to count the oscillation rate of the shaft and display the reading in the form of “cycles per minute” (CPM’s – a numerical value) on the LED display on the machine. The shaft is clamped into the analyzer at the grip end, the club maker pulls the shaft down, lets it go, and the shaft begins to oscillate up and down. The stiffer the shaft, the faster the rate of oscillation (high CPM’s); the more flexible the shaft, the slower the rate of oscillation (low CPM’s). When testing a raw shaft a static weight of 205 grams is attached to test driver shafts. If the club is assembled, the grip should be removed for proper testing, although it can be tested for with the grip on. Frequency matching must be used in conjunction with the other factors to work properly.
Soft stepping and/or hard stepping of the shaft, especially in the irons, can also be performed to tune in the playing characteristics and getting the stiffness correct. Soft stepping is using a 8 iron shaft to shaft the 9 iron, making is less stiff. Hard stepping is the opposite, using a wedge shaft in the 9 iron to make it stiffer. The bore of the hosel makes hard stepping more difficult in the short irons. If the iron head hosel bore is .370, accommodating a parallel tip shaft, the process is much easier. It’s the iron head hosel bore of .355, taper tip that makes it difficult.
There is also no correlative rule between swing speed and required flex/frequency of shaft to be played. A high swing speed player who is smooth in transition may be perfectly comfortable with a “softer” flex shaft than a slower swinger who has a faster transition.
Lastly, stiffness of the shaft’s tip and butt section have a tremendous impact on how the shaft plays as well as the way it feels to the player. Low bend tips will hit the ball higher and conversely high bend tips will hit the ball lower.
Golf shaft torque is a major component in how a shaft FEELS, much more than flex. A XX-stiff shaft with high torque might feel “smooth” or even “whippy.” Conversely a senior flex shaft with low torque can feel like a board. Torque is a major factor on where the ball ends up. As an example: All things being equal, for a right handed golfer a shaft with higher torque will lead to a club face that is pointed further left. So in fitting torque combined with the other factors is extremely important.
The most important thing to do is to find a good professional who will fit you into the proper shaft/head combination to achieve the results you need.