“Club Fitting Isn’t For Me”
I am an average golfer, if the term average is used loosely… very loosely. My road to mediocrity began in college, when I didn’t even play my own clubs. If I wasn’t “treating” myself to a set of rented clubs, I used my husband’s – yes, my husband’s. He is four inches taller than me, and I think he benches three times what I weigh. Needless to say, I wasn’t maximizing my potential on the golf course.
But then I saw the light. Aha! I needed women’s clubs! My very own women’s clubs! Off I went to the nearest pro shop and bought a shiny new set of pink Adams clubs. A putter, driver, and a smattering of things in between. What more could a girl want? My game improved. I was more comfortable on the course. I knew what I had, and I even knew what to expect out of a couple of clubs. Sure, my driver was wildly inconsistent, I was afraid to hit my 3w after a few bad experiences, and I never quite figured out how long my long hybrid was supposed to go. But that was 100% because I didn’t practice enough and wasn’t good enough. Right?
Wrong. It’s because I needed equipment that fit my body and my swing. OK, it’s partially because I needed to practice, but why not give myself a decent starting point by getting fit? No, I won’t be going on tour any time soon, even if I had bionic clubs for arms, but getting fit will reduce frustration on the course and provide a much needed confidence boost. In my opinion, it’s actually more important for a less-than-awesome golfer to get fit for those very reasons. We need confidence and ease more than anyone else out there. So suck it up, swallow your pride, and let someone help you out.
The PING Fitting Process
Going into a lesson, a fitting, or any situation where someone new is looking intently at your swing can be unnerving. The first thing Bob English, my fitter, did wasn’t to hand me a club and say, “Here, let’s see what you’ve got.” He took the time to ask me pertinent questions about my playing habits and my current set of clubs. The information he gathered proved useful later in the fitting when certain tendencies reared their ugly heads. This Q&A also gave me the chance to make excuses for the swing he was about to witness.
After getting some information from me, Bob took some measurements and briefly explained the PING Color Code Chart. At this point, and throughout the fitting, he explained the principles of club fitting in a way that was at my level – easy to understand, but not patronizing. Once some rapport was built and I was feeling more comfortable, it was time to start the dynamic portion of the program, aka swinging a club. I was ready. Lo and behold, I didn’t completely embarrass myself. Sure, I hit some shots here and there and everywhere, but it wasn’t anything that I hadn’t already shared with Bob in our discussion. We could skip the part where I pretend that mishit was an aberration, and I could take pride in my accuracy during the interview.
We began with irons, moved to hybrids, then fairway woods, and finally driver. Bob let me hit a few shots per club. I didn’t feel rushed, but I didn’t feel like I was hacking away for a painstakingly long time either. Most importantly, he commented objectively about my swing. It didn’t feel like a lesson, where someone is telling you what you’re doing wrong. And while he did help to shift some of the blame onto my clubs, Bob didn’t offer phony praise or encouragement. He was straightforward, and this elicited the most representative performance out of me. I wasn’t jittery. I wasn’t overconfident. I was just hitting balls.
During the fitting, we often discussed how the PING clubs compared to my old set. Two things I was quoted as saying are “That’s got some umph” (describing the PING Rhapsody hybrid) and “That felt like a mishit baseball bat” (old driver). Even with my unrefined taste in golf clubs and lack of swing consistency, I could tell the difference. If I had any doubt about the value of the fitting up to this point, it was now sufficiently squashed.
“Off the Rack? Never Again.”
For about an hour of time, there is little question that this fitting shaved a few strokes off of my handicap. I challenge you to find a pro, a method, or even a drug that would do that more efficiently. With minimal investment of effort, I can now hit the ball more consistently and drive it 30 yards further. Not to mention, my clubs simply feel better. Why? Because they fit my body and my swing. Period. Sure, I still need to practice, and there will undoubtedly be moments of frustration yet to come. But I have now eliminated an unnecessary barrier to my success on the golf course – ill-fitting sticks.