Stop Chasing Perfect
It’s important for me to say this up front: I’m not anti club fitting. In fact, I may be the most pro club fitting person you’ll find. With that said:
There’s no such thing as the perfect club fitting.
In this lesson, I’m going to explain why that’s true, and why that shouldn’t stop you from being fit.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You’ve been fit but are second-guessing the results
You haven’t been fit because you’re waiting for “the right time”
You change equipment constantly searching for perfection
What Is Perfect?
Let me be clear about what I mean when I say that there is no perfect club fitting. I’m saying that there is no club fitting that will eliminate all your bad shots. There is no club fitting that will last forever. There is no club fitting that will eliminate all the doubt in your head about what might have been if you had picked Club X instead of Club Y.
One More Note
As I say all the time, there are a million different ways to enjoy golf. If equipment is the part of golf that revs your engine, that’s awesome. Buy all the clubs. Get fit every week. Just understand that what you’re doing isn’t about playing better, it’s about having fun with gear, which is totally fine.
The Perfect Club Fitting Doesn’t Exist
There are five reasons why there is no such thing as a perfect club fitting. Here they are, in a rough order of importance.
#1: Golfers are inconsistent and dynamic
Everyone complains about their game is inconsistency, so we’ll start there. Every golfer on the planet is capable of hitting a beautiful, pure, center-of-the-club face shot. We’re also capable of moving a couple inches over and hitting one off the hosel. Most shots are somewhere in between. With this level of variance, how can you expect a fitting to be perfect? You might make your best swings with Club A whereas Club B gets some mediocre chops. Is that you or the club? Who’s to say?
An analogy: when you get a suit tailored, you are consistently one size. Your chest isn’t shrinking and expanding, your belly isn’t popping out and flattening. Because you stay the same size (at least during the fitting), you can expect a perfect fit. If you were shrinking and swelling, the tailor would have to do his best to capture your average size and leave a little room on the margins, which is what the club fitter does.
Then there’s the fact that humans are dynamic. The game and body you bring to your fitting aren’t the exact same as what you’ll bring to your round a week, a month, or a year later. You will get stronger or weaker, you’ll have injuries, growth and setbacks, improvements and losses of skill. All these will affect the way that you interact with your clubs.
#2: Preference is important and variable
There are two people whose preferences will impact the fitting: the player and the fitter. Preference is personal, and it’s a completely valid part of the fitting process, but it’s not scientific and thus confounds our ability to find perfect.
A fitter’s preferences impact the fitting in a myriad of ways. First, every fitter has preferences for certain brands or products that they’ve seen players have success with. This isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, this is exactly the kind of knowledge and experience that we are paying the fitter for! If 8 of the last 10 slicers that they fit ended up with Product X, they would be doing a disservice to the next slicer if they didn’t hand her Product X.
Additionally, every fitter has preferences for the kind of results they want to see. Some fitters are more swayed by the average performance of a given club. Other fitters may see more value in highlighting your best swings. Fitter A may value iron distance and Fitter B may prefer stopping power. All of these views are defensible. There is no one right answer. There is no perfect fit.
The player’s preferences add another layer of subjectivity. You may like certain looks, sounds, and feels that I think are total turn offs, and vice versa. There’s also a question of how much you’re willing to give up in one area to get what you want somewhere else. Will you sacrifice five yards of distance to hear a better impact sound? What about ten? Finally, is there one shot you can’t stomach [more about that HERE]? A good fitter can probably eliminate it, but at what cost?
#3: You can’t try everything
Club Champion is the best club fitter around. They have well over 40,000 possible combinations of heads and shafts. But even they don’t have everything; no fitter does. If I want a 100 gram senior flex driver shaft, I’m out of luck. Ditto for the 30 gram X flex. Every fitter carries as much as they reasonably can, but no one has every single thing.
Additionally, there’s a physical limit on how many swings you can make. Even if Club Champion had every shaft in every weight in every flex, your body would give out before you could try every one.
#4: You can always blame your clubs…
…and you won’t be entirely wrong! If you had a stiffer shaft, that hooked drive might have ended up in the fairway. Now if we’re being fair, the slice you hit earlier may have been worse and the three good drives you hit might have been OB, but, yes, a stiffer shaft might have saved that one hook.
No matter how good the fitting is, no matter how much we spend on our clubs, no matter how much we practice, we will hit bad shots. And, in theory, those shots could have been saved by different equipment choices. But those different equipment choices would have produced different bad shots at other times.
#5: There are a lot of similar clubs
Within any given category – let’s take game improvement irons – most clubs will perform fairly similarly. In one sense, this is great: it’s hard to make a huge mistake. The downside is that, in trying to decide between two GI irons, you may really be splitting hairs. The scales may tilt toward whichever one you swing a little better.
This is the kind of thing that leads to buyer’s remorse and second guessing when you play a bad round with those new clubs. But remember, as I said above, bad shots and bad rounds are going to happen no matter what choices you make.
So Why Bother with Club Fitting?
The short answer is that perfect is not the enemy of good.
There is no alternative to a high quality club fitting if you want to play your best golf. Period. Full stop.
If you get your clubs fit by a high quality fitter, it will raise the floor and the ceiling of your game. Your worst shots will be better. Your best shots will be better. A higher percentage of your shots will be good shots. You will be more consistent.
Great equipment is important to playing good golf. There isn’t anyone on Tour who is choosing to play clubs that aren’t optimized for them. You shouldn’t either.