OEM Fitting vs. True Spec Custom Fitting

A Big Umbrella

The term “club fitting” covers a huge range of possibilities.  Just like “footwear” describes everything from hiking boots to high heels, “club fitting” captures everything from a salesperson at a big box store eyeballing your swing to a process that incorporates 3D motion capture.

I recently had the opportunity to have two different fittings for the same club: one with the OEM and their fitter and one at True Spec Golf, Chicago.  In this piece, I’ll discuss the differences, share my results, and offer some suggestions for how you should be fit.

The OEM Experience

Before I get too far, it should be noted that there can be significant variance between OEMs and different levels of OEM fitting.  TaylorMade, for example, has fittings like I’m going to describe but they also have their Kingdom facilities which are much more in-depth.

My recent OEM fitting occurred on a typical driving range at a course in the Chicago suburbs.  A tent was set up with all that OEM’s fitting components, a Trackman, an iPad, and a barrel of range balls.

I met the fitter, and started hitting shots with my current driver to establish a performance baseline.  After we captured a few good shots, the fitter started handing different drivers to me, changing the head, shaft, and adjustment settings.  There was some discussion of the changes as they were being made but not much.

I was hitting a lot of pulls, so he got me into the stiffest shaft that he had available.  This helped the directional issue, but he said that the spin was too low, so he put me into the highest lofted head – 11.5 degrees – that he had.  We turned the loft down to 10.5 so that the face would be open, but the loft was still higher than I had expected.  After nearly 40 driver swings, the fitter settled on his recommendation, and we called it a day.

The True Spec Golf, Chicago Experience

Walking into “The Studio” of True Spec Golf Chicago and Movement 3 Golf, whether for the first or fortieth time, is quite impressive.  The walls are lined with shafts, there are cabinets full of club heads, and there are tools all around to measure every aspect of a golf club.  My fitting started by discussing my game with my fitter, Michael Glauberman.  While we talked, he measured my current driver’s CPM (shaft stiffness) and noted the make and model.  Then we went into the bay and started hitting shots with it to establish a baseline.

There are already two important differences to note.  First, True Spec Golf, Chicago measured my gamer rather than relying on the flex written on the shaft.  Since there are no industry standards for shaft flex (learn more HERE), this is a big deal.  Second, we hit shots using new Pro V1 golf balls, not range balls.

Just like at my OEM fitting, I started out hitting pulls.  Mike switched me into the agreed-upon OEM driver head and got a stiffer, heavier shaft.  The shaft felt great, but didn’t completely solve the problem.  This is where True Spec Golf, Chicago really flexed its muscles.  Rick Silva from Movement 3 Golf stepped in and made a small tweak to my takeaway.  My club head speed jumped by as much as 11 MPH, and the ball started flying straight.

After the successful intervention, Mike and I worked to dial in the numbers.  Because we had predetermined that we would only use a certain OEM’s heads, he wasn’t able to experiment outside of loft adjustments, so we quickly settled on the head.  We tested a few other shafts, but ultimately his first selection for me was the best.  To highlight another important difference, True Spec Golf, Chicago has access to over 60 driver shafts where most OEM fittings are limited to three or four for a driver.  It’s also noteworthy that True Spec Golf, Chicago was able to let me test drivers with my preferred grip size.

The Results

After completing both fittings, we compared the driver from the OEM fitting to the driver that True Spec Golf, Chicago fit me for.  This is not a comparison of the data from the two sessions but rather a head-to-head test in the same hitting bay, using the same balls, on the same launch monitor.

The final numbers are pretty staggering: I gained 18 yards of carry and 28 yards total.  The True Spec Golf, Chicago fit carried as far as the OEM fit went in total.  It was also straighter and had a more consistent flight.

How were these improvements achieved?  First, as you see, the spin is much lower.  This is a result of a heavier, stiffer shaft and a lower-lofted head.  I was also able to get more ball speed because of the shaft True Spec Golf, Chicago recommended.

Finally, it’s worth noting that True Spec Golf, Chicago could have potentially gotten even better results if they had been free to use their full range of driver heads.  They got these results with one hand tied behind their back.

The Takeaway

The purpose of this is not to discourage anyone from getting a fitting at an OEM but to highlight that it’s not likely to yield optimal results.  An OEM fitting limits your choices of both heads and shafts.  Also, depending on the setting, you may not be using the same golf ball you play with.

If any OEM fitting is the only thing available to you, it’s far superior to buying blindly off the rack.  However, if you have the opportunity to get a world-class fitting, even if it involves some travel and cost, I would suggest you do it.  As great as the yardage gains may be, you will benefit equally from learning about your game.

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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.

29 Comments

  1. Matt,

    Was their a difference in the “out-the-door” price for each driver? Obviously the True Spec fitting cost something extra, but I’m more interested in the actual component pricing (upcharge for shaft, grip, etc.).

    Thanks.

    Joe

    • Matt Saternus

      Joe,

      The driver from True Spec would cost more. The OEM fitted me for one of their stock shafts, so that cost would just be the cost of the driver. At True Spec it would be the fitting, the driver, and the shaft.

      Best,

      Matt

      • So what was the cost? This is a very important part of the entire story. If you chose, for example, a Rogue, which is $500 retail, what was your out the door cost with True Spec Golf? Head, shaft, grip, & fitting? We should also know what driver & shaft are you comparing.

        • Matt Saternus

          I don’t know the exact cost. I believe the fitting is around $150 and the shaft would be somewhere around $300 on top of the $500 for the driver.

          Best,

          Matt

  2. True Spec’s fitting wins based on distance numbers however the OEM’s fitting resulted in a more playable launch/spin.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      What in the world is “playable launch and spin” with a driver? Whatever it is, there’s no way it’s worth nearly 30 yards of distance.

      Matt

    • At 113 swingspeed, the True Spec fitter produced a better launch with a much better spin than the OEM. The OEM’s 2700 rpm of spin is quite high at that speed, and it killed carry, as did the lower launch. Remember when TM launched Rocketballs and said ideally it’s 17 launch and 1700 of spin for a certain swing speed – True Spec was on the money. Bottom line – 30 yards is 30 yards and more on line.

  3. Matt,
    Good article, thanks. How would you rate (if you can) getting club fit at a Golftec. Any opinion?

    Thank you,
    Mike

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      I haven’t been through a fitting at GolfTec in a long time, so I don’t feel confident speaking to their process. That said, I am fairly confident in saying that True Spec would compare favorably.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Matt,
    great reading, thank you!!! What was your swing speed at the OEM testing? You mentioned that during True Spec, a tweak in swing increased your swing speed by 11mph. If you were swinging at OEM at around 103mph, do not you think that they fitted you for 103mph swing? 11mph is a huge difference in swing speed, so maybe they (OEM) would offer you less loft and one notch stiffer shaft, if you were swinging 114 there too… so head to head comparision was not quite fair to OEM….
    In case also at OEM fitting you were swinging 110+, then please disregard my comment as irrelevant…

    • Matt Saternus

      Peter,

      Great point. I was swinging a little faster at the OEM fitting – average 105 – but not the full 114. So there are two sides to that: 1) perhaps the OEM would have gotten slightly better launch and spin than they did but 2) Without True Spec Chicago, I never would have unlocked those 11 MPH.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Wayne Talsky

    I would like to see this type of challenge test between TrueSpec and ClubChampion? I think that would give readers a better understanding of which company could potentially provide the best club fitting service.

  6. Have you ever been to True Spec for an iron fitting? I’m in the market and live 1/2 way between Chicago and Indy. A review like this could certainly send me north…

  7. On the launch monitor data comparison it shows a swing speed of 114 for the OEM and 113 for True Spec. So where is the 11 mph?

    • Matt Saternus

      Howar,

      As I explained, those numbers came from a head-to-head test conducted after both fittings were done. If I posted the results from the time of the OEM fitting, my speed would have been 105 and the distance gap would have been even larger.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. Great results. My iron fitting experience had a different result. My swing is too much in to out and I also shut the face at impact. Result, low trajectory. Fitting resulted in 2 yards more carry with 300 rev’s more spin. I didn’t get the Pro’s advice, which would have greatly helped. Was fitting worth it? Yes, got info about my current clubs, able to compare clubs, learned a great deal about my swing. Did it result in buying clubs? It did not.

  9. Great article Matt. Too bad I cannot afford a fitting from True Spec. I just cannot justify the cost even if I want to.

  10. Great article on the comparisons from a “demo day” fitting versus TrueSpec fitting. Was also wondering if you could talk about the “tweak” in your takeaway that helped you gain that extra swing speed. That point in the article has me curious!

  11. Lloyd Hackman

    What really make the difference in the two clubs is the frequency of the club. I would like to know the frequency of each club before I make further comment.

  12. Brad Shepard

    For whatever reason, I do not hit well in an indoor setting. If I can’t see the actual ball flight, as opposed to a computer projection, my swing is off. As a result, my fittings at Club Champion have had to be fixed when I get outside. Are there any places in the Indianapolis to Chicago corridor that have TruSpec/Club Champion like equipment, but with real ball flight? I’m fine hitting off an indoor bay with an opening to a real range so I can see real ball flight and adjust accordingly.

    • Matt Saternus

      Brad,

      The only place I know of is Mistwood in Romeoville, IL. I can’t speak to the quality of their fitters, but they have indoor bays that open onto the range.

      -Matt

  13. You buried the lede here… Your fitter found a single takeaway change that added 11 mph? That is…insane. Was the change that you took the headcover off?

  14. Hi Matt,

    Good review. This resonates a lot with my experience. OEM’s only have about 4 shafts models that corresponds to 4 categories of players and they try to force fit you into this category but by looking at launch and spin and adjusting with loft, stiffness and shaft launch.
    OEM’s just push the shafts that comes with their drivers and if you play it well good, if not too bad. They don’t have time on demo days to perfectly fit you. They’re just here to sell clubs. Everyone serious about their games should visit a proper fitter.

  15. Hey Matt

    I went and got fit by Michael on Saturday and the experience was incredible. My results were exactly the same as yours. They dramatically lowered my spin compared to my gamer. After trying 4 heads and about 8 shafts, we really dialed in the correct head and loft
    After it was done I picked up 15 yards carry and 30 yards total on average. I play to a fade so I’ve been used to higher spin and less roll, plus launching too high….with their recommendations my fade is very very minimal, mainly straight now, but the increased carry and roll was incredible!

  16. Chad Hershberger

    Great article. I’m one of those idiots that spends way too much money buying new drivers as soon as they come out and then buys shafts off eBay to try in them. I finally decided to do a paid fitting yesterday and the results were awesome. I gained 20 yards off my current gamer with much better dispersion with the Tour AD TP shaft. I was like an eureka moment. A quality fitting is definitely worth it.

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