How to Choose a Club Fitter

Finding Your Best Club Fitter

It’s 2019, and almost every golfer recognizes the benefits of being fit for their golf clubs.  With a proper fitting, you’ll hit the ball further, straighter, and more consistently (learn more about that HERE).  The problem that many golfers have is choosing a good club fitter.  Every golf store, driving range, and pro shop offers some form of fitting.  How do you know which one to select?  The answer is surprisingly simple.

What to Look For

A Fitter Who Asks Questions

This is, without a doubt, the number one thing you should look for from a fitter.  You want a fitter to ask a lot of questions because there is no other way for them to figure out the best equipment for you.  Even if you don’t feel like you have all the answers, you want a fitter who will keep digging in with questions until he understands your game and what you’re looking for.

I’ll use myself as an example of the importance of questions.  Let’s say I went into a fitter with my current gamer irons.  My 6I carries about 175 yards.  If the fitter doesn’t ask what I care about, they might put me into an SGI club with super strong lofts and show me that my 6I now carries 190 yards.  They would think they’ve done their job, and I would walk out unhappy.  I don’t want to hit my 6I farther than I currently do.  What I want is a club that’s forgiving while still looking and feeling a certain way.  The only way a fitter would ever know that is by asking questions.

Adequate Technology & Resources

A launch monitor doesn’t make a fitter good, but a fitter without a launch monitor isn’t very useful.  Similarly, having access to a million different club heads and shafts won’t make a fitter knowledgeable, but a knowledgeable fitter without enough fitting tools can’t help you.  Before you go in for your fitting, ask the fitter to explain what technology they use, how they use it, and how many interchangeable heads and shafts they have access to.

Experience & Training

These two are self-explanatory.  All else equal, I would like a fitter who has been around the block a couple of times.  I’d prefer a fitter who has been through high level training with master fitters to stay up to date on current technology and research.

A Performance Guarantee

Especially if you’re getting fit indoors, you should want a fitter who will guarantee that their product will perform on the course.  If the new driver was twenty yards longer in the bay, it should be twenty yards longer on the course.  If it’s not, the fitter needs to figure out why and help you get into a better product.

Brand Agnosticism

You can say this is a personal preference, but I will argue there are tangible benefits to using a brand agnostic fitter instead of one who works for or is on staff with an OEM.  The argument is simple: being brand agnostic gives you more options.  Brand A might make the iron that fits you best, but that doesn’t mean their driver is also the best one for you.  Why limit yourself when you can take advantage of the best from each manufacturer?

What Doesn’t Matter

Arrogance

People tend to like someone who is confident, but arrogance is one of the surest signs of a Method Fitter (a term I coined HERE).  I’ve also found an inverse relationship between arrogance and asking questions.  It’s great for a fitter to be confident in his recommendations, but when it crosses the line into, “I’m going to tell you what’s best without listening to you,” it’s time to take your business elsewhere.

OEM Certifications

This point caused some disagreement with my friends at Club Champion (listen HERE), but let me explain.  To me, OEM certifications are A) more about product knowledge than fitting knowledge and B) a minimum requirement, not a validation of fitting competency.  If your fitter tries to sell himself by pointing to his wall of certs, you should start asking some hard questions.

Experience

“But Matt, didn’t you just say you wanted an experienced fitter?”  I did, but I have a final point to make.  Years do not necessarily equate to ability.  If someone has been fitting for twenty years but hasn’t learned anything since year two, I don’t want to work with them.  A question you might consider asking a longtime fitter is, “What’s something you’ve changed your mind about recently?” or “What’s something new you’ve learned in the last year?”  Anyone with the arrogance to believe they’ve figured everything out is a danger to your game.

Get Fit Now

My final, final point is this: don’t wait to get fit.  Unless you live somewhere truly remote, there is a good fitter within a reasonable drive of your home.  Don’t use this article as a reason not to get fit, use it as a way to figure out who the best fitter in your area is and go.

How did you choose your club fitter?

Share your tips in the comments section!

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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17 Comments

  1. Getting fit with Zachary at Club Champion in Palm Desert on Wed. Looking forward to the experience. Keeping this article on my mind

  2. I agree fitting is a must. But I could use your article as a reason not to. Too many variables! I got .fitted for a set of Mizuno irons by a Mizuno tech, indoors, on a computer. Bought the clubs for $1500, used them three times then sold them for $400. But you’re right he never asked any questions or changed any heads only went from graphite to steel shafts. I learned a lesson about finding a fitter. But once you’re in front of fitter you feel he or she knows what they’re doing and it’s kind of hard to walk away.

  3. I’m getting fit for a new set of irons in January at Club Champion in Las Vegas. Last year they fit me to a new driver (Ping G400). Wish I
    Had done club fittings years ago!

  4. I agree dialogue is a significant factor because the golfer and fitter can identify and facilitate goals, preferences, feel, and performance elements. The communication would include fine tuning the performance of the clubs that are ultimately purchased: returning to the shop to adjust specifications as needed (performance guarantee). Furthermore, the golfer can discover the fitter’s experience, training, and knowledge level. However, brand availability can be misleading since an independent club-fitter may not be able to carry many brands like the big companies. Furthermore, I believe carrying 2 to 3 brands and fitting for more than a 7 iron in an iron set, and fitting for multiple fairway and hybrid lofts would be more beneficial than brand availability. Additionally, on course demos (limited) and multiple fitting sessions will produce significant data and realistic experience for better decision-making.

  5. Used a fitter first to adjust my putter. (Taylormade Spider). Shortened and regripped it. Couldn’t believe the difference. Very pleased with his approach and knowledge. Next, I was in the market for a driver. Went to demos and hit the Rogue, Titelist and Taylormade. Liked the Rogue but went back to the fitter and after a session on the practice tee with my current driver (he used a monitor) he built me a demo driver. Hit in on the practice tee and he provided a draw head to try. Hit it better than any name brand driver I tested. Provided me a new one. Total cost was $100 less than the name brands. Have had it almost 2 years and couldn’t be happier. Only down side is if I want to upgrade in the future, the trade in on a “non name brand” clubs is virtually nothing.

  6. John Schroeder

    I am 78 yrs old. A public links player. 14.9 index. Have never been fitted for clubs, and would like to be fitted for one final set ( I think). But, I’m apprehensive about being overwhelmed by a fitter when I talk with him. Feeling inferior to his knowledge. Not sure what to ask, etc. Any suggestions?
    Thank you, John

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      Great question and one that many people have. It’s definitely easy to get overwhelmed by launch angle, spin rate, etc, and the mountains of product knowledge.

      My advice is to remember that the process has a very simple goal: for you to buy golf clubs that you like and that perform well. I would advise you (and everyone else) to maintain control of the process. That doesn’t mean you need to be rude or domineering, just remember that the whole process is about you. If you have a question, ask it. If you like something (or dislike something), say so. If something is unclear, ask for an explanation.

      Also, don’t allow yourself to be rushed. If a fitter is rushing you, they’re not the right fitter. A good fitter wants to build a long term relationship with you, and, to that end, they will take the time to make sure you’re confident in your decisions and in the process. If you feel like you’re just the 3:30 appointment instead of John, don’t be afraid to leave and find someone else to work with.

      I hope that helps. If not, or if you have more questions, let me know.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. My last fitting for a set of new irons was at one of the large big box retailers. I went in the store with the intent to “scout out the Fitters”. I stood back a distance away and carefully watched how they interacted with their customers. I could not hear what they were saying, yet I could see IF the fitter was asking questions – and when the customer was asking questions. It’s interesting what you can observe – one didn’t look like he was listening to the customer and the same one would interrupt before they finished their question. From the body language responses, you can tell how engaged both parties were.
    I also noticed that two of the three fitters had large Brand Logo Banners hanging in their bays. The third guy didn’t have any banners hanging and seemed to listen and interact with his customers the most. Then I asked a few generic fitting questions to Fitter #1, he talked mostly about his brand – Fitter #2, he talked mostly about his brand and Fitter #3 , responded to me with a follow up questions of my goals and what I wanted to attain.
    Needless to say, I went with Fitter #3 an independant fitter. We tested 5 brands and quickly narrowed them down to 3 and then to 2. After numerous adjustments I placed my custom order for a new set of irons.
    A few years prior to this fitting I went to another big box store that had a single fitter in the store. I should have listened to the feeling that I had – that “This person doesn’t know what they are doing”! Unfortunately I purchased a driver with the wrong staff stiffness for my swing. I vowed to myself, that I would never do that again. That’s when I got the idea to go to a store and observe and “interview” my next fitter. I learned a lot from my first experience that helped me find an excellent fitter for my irons. That was 7 years ago and I think that it’s about time for a new set of irons. Unfortunately the store fitter that I used has moved away.
    I truly believe that NOT being fitted for any club purchase is a wasted opportunity and a waste of your money. A very good to excellent fitter can place you into the right clubs for your swing – that can make all the difference to make the game a lot more enjoyable for you for years.
    Typing my comments here has reminded me to be very diligent as I select my next fitter. Thank you…

  8. The issue I have with fitting is using a 6i. I am the only one of the guys I golf with that has a 4i, everyone else is 5i/6i or less. My wife who uses senior flex and hits it farther than most ladies has 7i and then goes to hybrids.
    Tim
    Wyoming

  9. I would like to see your Top list of fitters by region. You are correct about brand loyalty, my home course only pushes Wilson. The rest of the fitters in the area have no long standing reputation.

    • Matt Saternus

      Rick,

      The one blanket recommendation I can make is for Club Champion. I know their training process very well, and I know it creates very good fitters. With their current expansion, they have a location that’s near almost everyone.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. Tom Duckworth

    My experience being fitted went like this, started off telling him what clubs I wanted to try out I had hit Ping 210s and liked them and wanted to try Srixon Z565 and 765s as well as a few others.
    The fitter obviously loved the Z565 irons and we never got around to the other irons. He would brush it aside when I asked about something else he just wanted to test different shafts in the Srixon . After hitting different shafts he wanted me to change my grip and I tried it. That completely blew my mind and I could hardly swing after that I was already feeling nervous about my first fitting and them embarrassed because I had lost any feel for my swing. He just plowed through and wanted me to get the Srixons. The next spring I took some lessons from a teacher
    and figured things out after the grip change. The fitter never said a word about the problems I was having after he had me change my grip but for me it was a horrible experience that I never want to go through again. I really wanted to buy from this guy because it’s not a big box store but I just felt rushed through the mill.

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      I’m sorry to hear about that. I understand that it can be very difficult to retain control of the fitting process. Sometimes the best – though not satisfying – option is to walk out.

      Best,

      Matt

      • How do you choose a fitter? Most fitters charge for a fitting, so it’s hard to walk after you already payed for the fitting. I’m thinking of trying club champion based off of a couple of recommendations on a golf forum. $175 for a full bag fitting, and then I’ll buy from somewhere else since they are way to expensive to buy through. If I don’t learn anything from the fitting I’ll just buy a set of Cobra Fmax from somewhere, and be done with it. Been wanting new clubs for three years, but got so confused that I’m still playing my very old clubs.

  11. Tom Duckworth

    Just wanted to follow that up by saying that I would try fitting again. I think fitters need to remember how hard this is for some of us. My wife was very sick at the time and I was already stressed about that. When he pointed out he thought my right hand was too strong I tried it and suddenly lost control of my right arm or the feeling of where it was in the swing.
    I do feel there is value in fitting trying different clubs and shafts should be fun I don’t know if it should be a place for lessons. I also should have been able to stop things and say this isn’t working I need to work out this swing change you gave me. So some blame is on me.

  12. I hate it when the fitter wants to give you a free lesson. It’s nice, but yet it’s hard to get fit properly with a new swing. This happened to be once when I was just trying a driver out. Wasn’t being fit, just hitting some drivers. Guy tried to change my swing and I completely lost my swing and couldn’t even make good contact anymore.

    • Matt Saternus

      Al,

      Yes, that’s a big problem that you’ll see, especially with big box fitters, in my experience. A good, experienced fitter knows to focus on the clubs and let the player worry about the swing. This is also another reason why the player needs to control the process and be willing to tell the fitter, “No, I don’t want a lesson, focus on the fitting.” Doing that can be awkward, but it’s critical.

      Best,

      Matt

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