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

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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41 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.

  17. How does the TrueSpec recommendation and setup compare to your current gamer? Why would you stick with the Fujikura Speeder IV, “in the bag”, if TrueSpec got you 28 yards more carry alone? Can you state what your TrueSpec recommendation/setup was as it seems like this even blew away your current gamer?

    • Matt Saternus

      Kurt,

      Because we’re not trying to “call out” the OEM that we tested against, I’m not going to share the exact set up. Also, the True Spec set up, while very good, did not “blow away” my gamer. That said, with the additional swing swing I’ve gained, I am testing new shafts. The shaft that True Spec fit me into was the LAGP Ozik Black Tie, 7X.

      Best,

      Matt

  18. Hi Matt,

    Love your work. PluggedInGolf is a daily check/read every morning! I apologize in advance for the lengthy note, but I appreciate any insight / response you can offer.

    Two questions regarding a Driver Fitting:

    1. I recently sold my Driver because it was performing terribly for me after a fall weekend at Sand Valley and I just needed it gone. For reference it was a Taylormade R15 with stock Speeder57 stiff shaft (Swing Speed 120+ so it wasn’t the right fit at all – not forgiving and the wrong shaft). I knew it was the end of the season so I didn’t mind not having a Driver during the Winter months. Does not having a “gamer” Driver right now make it more challenging to do a Driver Fitting? I am ready to invest in a brand new club and get dialed in and I know my previous tendencies quite well (Arccos user and been fit several times before).

    2. At what point would you jump from one fitting company to another? I’ve been fit several times at TrueSpec Golf in Chicago (Highland Park), but am finding the experience to be less than ideal lately.

    It started great (got fit into Z785 irons and love them with Rifle Frequency 7’s) but after they changed fitters and I’ve gotten more knowledgeable about equipment, I have become more frustrated with their process and selection. They certainly have some quality options but don’t have shaft options from a lot of the big names (Tensei, Ventus, HZRDUS, Graphite Design IZ or DI are all “not carried” by them). I also find their strategy a bit misleading – my Dad was recently fit into clubs with shafts labeled “Designed exclusively for TrueSpec” (Graphite Design AD but non-specific in the branding). Should I be concerned about that? It feels like they stock a few premium options but carry tons of stuff that I’ve never heard of or was “designed for TrueSpec” and I feel like I’m being sold crappy stuff.

    Anyway, this is a rambling note but I’m wondering what you might suggest? Move over to Club Champion? Will their selection be much better?

    Thanks in advance.

    -Jim

    • Matt Saternus

      Jim,

      1) I’ve been there – when you lose confidence in a club, it’s got to go. :)
      I don’t think that not having a gamer makes the fit more difficult, especially if the gamer is not a good fit. In my opinion, the primary reason to bring a gamer to a fitting is to set the bar – “If the new driver isn’t better than this, I’m not buying a new driver.”

      2) As with the driver, when you’ve lost confidence in your fitter, it’s time to get a new fitter. It sounds like you were happy with the person who worked at True Spec previously, so if he’s gone, there’s no need to be loyal to the building.
      With regard to selection, True Spec takes the approach (or they did when I worked with them) that they want shafts to fill out a specific matrix. That means they may not carry multiple low launch/low spin options if they feel that spot in the matrix is already filled. That can definitely be frustrating if you want to try a lot of different things. In contrast, Club Champion tends to carry everything.
      Finally, as to the “Designed for True Spec” shafts…I don’t know. I’ve never hit the “Designed for” stuff so I can’t speak to the quality. This leaves me to defer to my standard idea which is, “If you’re hitting it well, does it matter what it is?” The exception to that is, if the club is somehow eating away at your confidence, you may want/need to switch.

      After all that, my advice is to give Club Champion a try. It sounds like you’re unhappy with True Spec, so there’s no reason to stay on that track.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Matt – tremendous response. Really appreciate it.

        1. Makes sense. The issue with the previous driver wasn’t the times it was performing good. When it was “on,” it was as good as anything I’d find I’m sure. This actually came up the first time I was fit at TrueSpec – Mike G. (the fitter at the time) couldn’t beat my gamer so I didn’t buy anything. I was surprised at the result, but my gamer that day was putting up averages of 175 ball speed, 9 launch, 2,600 spin and 300 carry so I was like… OK! But those good times were too fleeting and it just felt like everything had to be perfect to get that out of the club. 20% great, 80% terrible. I’m looking to reverse that. Maybe the new PING stuff!

        2. Not that I expected anything different, but your explanation about stocking certain shafts for the matrix makes a lot of sense. One of the downsides of that approach, in my opinion, would be it seems TS is leaning on feel being less relevant to their target buyer. If you have a customer who needs X, you may have a few options for them but you are hoping they like the feel of the limited choices you have. For me, I’ve definitely noticed feel / load / profile differences between many shafts despite all being labeled as “low launch/low spin” or the like. I prefer to have a wider selection to narrow that down then.

        I would also say, and I can’t confirm this, that sometimes it feels like they push more of the “made for TS” shafts as first options. Maybe there’s some financial incentive there (more margin on those shafts?) and, yes, they’ll get around to testing everything if needed but they’re going to try to get you into that stuff first if they can.

        – Your comment about materials / shaft quality is well taken. I think that’s mostly true – if you’re hitting it well, you should be confident in it. I think my experience being a bit of a “range / monitor hero” has left me a bit jaded on that subject. In other words, I can usually look great on the range or on the monitor if I’m just whacking balls with no fear and no stakes, but I need to know that a shaft is going to perform when I’m standing on 18 needing to hit the fairway because my match is all square with one to play. Sometimes that means knowing the materials are premium versus knowing I hit it well in the bay that one day months ago. It’s like the whole “VeloCore vs. Non-Velocore” Ventus shaft thing.

        Anyway, this has been a bit of a grind for me lately so I really appreciate the insight! Keep up the great work. PIG is the best.

      • Matt – Wanted to let you know as a follow up to this thread that I had a fitting today at Club Champion in Willowbrook. While it wasn’t night and day, there was definitely a difference in approach and I was able to try a wider range of shafts than I probably would have at TS. That said, I ended up in something that I know is available at TS because I’ve had success with it in the past! Fujikura Speeder TR 757. Best head was Callaway Epic Max LS which was surprisingly forgiving for being a “low spin” offering and the fade bias construction matches up with my hooky tendencies. Anyway, thanks for the advice!

        • Matt Saternus

          That’s great to hear!

          Best,

          Matt

          • Matt – I appreciated your response last time so I thought I would send a follow up note now that we are really into the season. My fitting at Club Champion back in January has proven to be spot on which I can back up with some basic data. I used to keep track of one basic number for my Driver which I called “Decent Shot %.” This was essentially any time a drive was “decent,” which for me was “not a penalty” or “not a substantial mis-hit” like a top, snap hook or off a tree. I hit it a long way so I’m less worried about fairway % but being “in play” off the tee is huge. Anyway, the “old” gamer was “decent” 53% of the time which is HORRIBLE. For reference, that was my last 180 tracked shots with 24 (13%) penalties and 61 (34%) big mis-hits. Just terrible. The new driver (Epic Max LS and Speeder TR 757X) is hitting “decent” drives 91% of the time! So far I’ve tracked 111 shots with it and have only taken 3 (2.5%) penalties and had 7 (6%) big mis-hits. It has made a huge difference for my whole game. I actually hit the same number of fairways and the good shots are not any longer than the old club, but I no longer dread the tee shot and can play confidently off the tee. When I sold my old driver my handicap was 6.8 and had been that for a while (actually had gone up slightly last year). So far this year I’ve dropped to a current 4.8 and trending downwards. Just feels like the floor has been raised. Anyway, thanks for the great advice.

          • Jim,

            Awesome improvement! Thanks for the follow up!

            -Matt

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