Tom Wishon: The Most Important Fitting Elements for Accuracy

zakkozuchowskizakkozuchowski GolfWRX EditorMembers Posts: 1,162 ✭✭
edited Jun 7, 2013 in WRX Club Techs #1
The Most Important Fitting Elements for Accuracy

By Tom Wishon

GolfWRX Featured Writer



Author’s Note: Based on many years of clubfitting research, my company has made it an ongoing project to identify the key clubfitting specifications which have the greatest effect on improving the five chief game improvement factors: accuracy, distance, consistency, trajectory and the elements of feel of the golf clubs. Within these, we have been able to isolate the fitting specifications which have the most effect on helping a golfer improve in each one of these five game improvement factors. This is the first in a series of five articles which will discuss the most important fitting elements for each of the five game-improvement factors for which clubfitting can offer a benefit to golfers.



Golfers don't enjoy the game when they struggle to keep the ball in play. There is no question the primary causes of inaccuracy result from errors in the golfer’s swing path and/or rotation of the club face back to the ball. However, through accurate clubfitting, it is possible to make changes in a number of specific fitting specifications of the clubs to visibly reduce the golfer’s misdirection tendencies.

It is also probable for changes in the some of the fitting specifications related to accuracy to be able to allow golfers to benefit more from lessons to more easily make changes in swing path and/or delivery of the face to the ball to result in accuracy improvement. Making swing changes in the path and face delivery change are much more difficult to accomplish when the clubs are too long and/or are the wrong total weight and swing weight for the golfer.



There is a limit to what clubfitting changes can do to achieve an improvement in accuracy. If the golfer’s slice or hook is too consistently severe, lessons to improve the golfer’s swing path and face delivery should always be the first priority. In general, if the golfer consistently slices or hooks the ball more than 30 yards of sideways movement, lessons should be always advised before a fitting change. But for golfers who slice, hook, push or pull the ball from 10 to 30 yards, accurate fitting for the specifications which do have a significant effect on accuracy will enable them to experience a definite level of accuracy improvement.



The fitting changes that can improve shot accuracy do not typically CURE or completely eliminate the inaccuracy of the golfer’s shots. They act to REDUCE the severity of the misdirection shots and tighten the overall range in shot dispersion for the golfer.



To do everything you can to improve shot accuracy through clubfitting changes, the following are the key fitting elements which have a bearing on accuracy. Through our research we have been able to identify which fitting specifications have a major effect ("A effect" specifications) and others which have a medium effect ("B effect" specifications). In addition, some of the fitting specifications show their effect for accuracy more with one segment of the clubs than with others. In the chart accompanying this article, we have identified which fitting specs have more of a major "A effect" on accuracy, which have a medium "B effect" and which have "no effect" on accuracy.

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The most significant "A effect" fitting specifications which have a direct effect on shot accuracy are:
  • Lie angle in the irons, wedges and putter.
  • Face angle in the driver, fairway woods and hybrids.
  • Club length, particularly so in the driver and fairway woods.
  • The shaft weight, total weight and swing weight.


The "B effect" fitting specifications which have a little less of an effect, yet which still can bring about improvement in accuracy are:
  • The face progression/offset, the center of gravity (CG) location.
  • Lie angle in the driver and fairway woods.
  • The torque, flex and bend profile of the shaft.
  • Grip size.
  • The set makeup selection of the clubs.


The A Effect: Fitting specifications for accuracy



1. Lie Angle



The higher the loft of the club head, the more the misdirection angle caused by an improperly fit lie to the golfer will translate into an off-line shot. The lower the loft of the club head, the less this is a visible factor for accuracy. Without question, every golfer needs to have each of their irons, wedges and yes, the putter correctly fit for lie angle for their physical stature, swing characteristics and posture/hands position through the ball. Without question, lie fitting must be done in one of the two dynamic lie fitting methods – either with the lie board or the ink on the back of the ball method. And the reason the putter lie is so important even though it has the lowest loft of all club heads is because the target for the putt is so small (4 1/4-inch small!).



2. Face Angle



Proper fitting of the face angle of the driver, fairway woods and hybrids is the number one most effective means to reduce the golfer’s misdirection tendencies with the driver, woods and hybrids to bring about visible improvement in accuracy. Using a more closed face angle to reduce the severity of a slice or a more open face angle to reduce the amount of hook is not a “Band-Aid” for the golfer’s swing path and face delivery errors. A change in the face angle acts as a direct 1:1 correction for the number of degrees the golfer leaves the face open or closed at the moment of impact. How much does a face angle change correct for a slice or hook? Based on a carry distance of 200 yards, a 1-degree change in the face angle from the face angle the golfer has results in a 4- to 5-yard reduction in the slice or hook. For a golfer with a 20- to 30-yard slice or hook, a face angle that is 2 to 3 degrees more closed/open THAN WHAT THEY CURRENTLY PLAY can easily be the difference between the ball being in play or out of play.



3. Club Length



The longer the length of the club, the higher will be its assembled club MOI. We’re not talking about the MOI of the head itself -- we're talking about the MOI of the fully assembled club. The higher the MOI of the club, the more load the club places on the golf swing for the golfer to overcome to be able to swing the club on the proper path and rotate the face back around to impact. The more load the club places on the swing, the more the weaker elements of the swing are subject to becoming more inconsistent.



For golfers with an outside-in path, a forceful transition move, a faster tempo and an earlier release, a longer-length driver and fairway woods will contribute to inaccuracy of the shot.

The reason that longer length is not as much of an accuracy problem with the irons is because irons as a group are much shorter in relation to the driver and fairway woods. In addition, few golfers play irons that are more than 1-inch longer than the old standard of 30-plus years ago. Not so with drivers where today's "standard length" is 2 to 3 inches longer than the driver length standard of 30-plus years ago. That means that few golfers end up playing with irons that are more than 0.5 to to 1 inch off from what they should be playing. Today’s 45.5 to 46.5-inch driver lengths and 43.5-inch 3 wood lengths seen on so many retail models are much longer than what most golfers have the ability to control.



4. The Shaft Weight, the Total Weight and the Swing Weight



In combination together, the shaft weight, total weight and swingweight/MOI of the clubs can definitely be an "A Effect" for accuracy improvement. If the overall weight or feel of the clubs is too light or too heavy for the golfer’s transition force, downswing tempo, strength and individual perception for weight FEEL, more severe mistakes can be made in the swing path, release and on-center hit proficiency that will affect accuracy.



Of these, the swingweight/MOI (the headweight FEEL) is the most important contributor for effect on accuracy. The reason is because the swing weight/MOI can be increased to offset the effect of a shaft weight/total weight that is too light for the golfer. On the other hand, if the shaft weight/total weight is too heavy for the golfer, no swing weight/MOI adjustment can overcome the effect of a too heavy shaft weight/total weight on accuracy.



Remember, the weight of the shaft is the number one controlling factor for the total weight, so when you are fit for the shaft weight, you are covering 95 percent of the fitting for total weight at the same time. Hence from a fitting standpoint, shaft weight and total weight are considered the same thing. Only when an excessively heavy or extremely light grip is used does the weight of the grip show a noteworthy effect on the total weight of the clubs.



These combined “weights” of the golf club have to be fit to match each golfer’s unique combination of transition force, downswing tempo, strength and any personal preference for what the golfer perceives to be the “right weight feel.” If the weighting of the clubs is too light, either in total weight or head weight feel (swing weight/MOI), golfers with a stronger transition, faster tempo and greater strength can get too quick with their swing tempo and greater inaccuracy can result from the golfer not being able to achieve a consistent swing path and/or delivery of the face to impact.



Conversely, if the weighting of the clubs is too heavy in either the total weight or swing weight for the golfer's transition, tempo, strength or feel, the golfer's with the consistency of path and face angle delivery to the ball will also suffer. Either way, if the weighting of the clubs is matched properly to the golfer’s transition, tempo, strength and feel preference, the golfer can improve the consistency of the accuracy of the shot.



The B Effect: Fitting Specifications for Accuracy



The concept of the B Effect specifications on each of the game improvement factors is to say that on their own, each of these specifications may not bring about much more than a subtle improvement. However, if any of the B Effect specifications are poorly matched to the golfer in his/her current clubs, it then is more likely the change in the B Effect specifications can offer visible improvement. However, in combination, the proper fitting of several to all of the B Effect specifications can add up to be almost as important as some of the A Effect specs on a game improvement factor.



1. The Face Progression/Offset and the Center of Gravity (CG) location in the club head



The chance for the FP/Offset or CG to bring about any improvement in accuracy depends heavily on whether these elements were very poorly matched to the golfer's swing characteristics in the present or previous clubs. Less face progression/more offset as well as a lower CG can generate a slightly higher ball flight with more spin, which for some golfers may combine with an open or closed face at impact to accentuate the amount of hook or slice spin on the ball.



Conversely, more face progression/less offset as well as a higher CG can generate a slightly lower ball flight with less spin, which for some golfers may combine with an open or closed face at impact to slightly reduce the amount of hook or slice spin on the ball. Seriously though, these are slight factors at best which border on being no factor for accuracy for many golfers.



2. Lie Angle in the Driver and Fairway Woods



The higher the loft, the more an ill-fit lie angle contributes to misdirection on the shot. Even though the driver and fairway woods are hit farther than the irons, because of their much lower loft, there is so much less of a misdirection angle of the face that the longer distance these clubs are hit does not cause a less than perfect driver/fairway wood lie to contribute very much to inaccuracy.

However, it should be said that for many golfers, modern fairway wood lies are too upright and can affect the solidness of the shot as well as a smooth travel of the sole on the ground through impact. As such, if the hosel design of the fairway wood will allow the lie to be adjusted to better fit the golfer and allow the sole to travel level through impact, by all means that should be done as a part of the fitting process.



3. The Torque, Flex and Bend Profile of the Shaft



In modern shaft design, 98 percent of the time the torque is designed to coordinate with the overall stiffness (Flex) of the shaft. In other words, you’re not going to find a 5-degree or 6-degree torque in an X-flex shaft and you’re rarely going to see a 2-degree or 3-degree torque in an A- or L-flex shaft.



Shaft designers realize that a substantial part of the swing characteristics that cause a shaft to bend more (the transition force to start the downswing along with the club head speed) are also the swing elements that cause the shaft to twist (torque). Hence when the overall stiffness (flex) is fit correctly to the golfer, rarely will there be a case when the flex is fit correctly but the torque is far enough off to be a cause of misdirection for the shot. Occasionally with VERY aggressive swingers, but not very often. From a shaft feel standpoint, yes, there are golfers who can detect the stiffer feel that comes from a lower torque, but from a pure accuracy standpoint, 98 percent of the time the golfer is correctly fit for the flex and the bend profile of the shaft, he will also be properly fit for the torque from the standpoint of accuracy.



There are some golfers who swear that playing too stiff or too flexible of a shaft will have a significant effect on accuracy. It is true that if a golfer with a later-to-late release were playing a shaft that was two full flexes too stiff or too flexible for his swing, there would be a visible change in the flight shape of the shot -- higher and with a little more tendency for a draw. But even if a late-release golfer were to use a shaft that would be two full flexes softer than what he needed, the result would only be a visible increase in a draw only if the golfer’s natural flight tendency was to draw the ball. But rarely would the increase in draw be enough to hit the ball out of play.



The reason some golfers experience an accuracy problem playing with the wrong flex is chiefly because a feel-sensitive golfer’s perception of poor flex feel can cause the golfer to make swing errors/changes that result in a drop in accuracy. A bad feeling shaft can cause some golfers with a fine sense of perception to swing differently than they will when playing a shaft that feels just right. But this is not the case with the majority of golfers who do not have a specific perception of bending feel for the shaft.



The primary reason for properly fitting a golfer for the flex and bend profile of the shaft is to allow the flex/bend profile to combine with the loft of the club head to optimize the golfer’s launch angle, spin and angle of descent. In addition, as previously stated, proper flex and bend profile fitting is also important for fitting the golfer with the right bending FEEL that matches his preference for that type of feel. If the shaft flex and bend profile are fit properly for launch angle, spin and bending feel, it will have no significant effect on accuracy.



4. Grip Size



It is simply not true that all golfers who play with a grip that is too small will pull or hook the ball more, and all golfers who play with too large of a grip will push or slice the ball more because of the way the ill-fit grip size affects the golfer’s release. However, it is true that if the grip size does not feel comfortable to the golfer, this can translate into adversely affecting the golfer’s swing tempo, swing path and release, which in turn can affect the accuracy of the shot. Bottom line: Fit every golfer for a comfortable grip size and any possibility of the grip affecting the accuracy will disappear.



5. Set Makeup



How could the set makeup have an effect on accuracy? By replacing hard-to-hit clubs the golfer may be hitting more off line with clubs that are easier to hit by virtue of their design. That will result in better accuracy for the same distance.



For example, it is not uncommon for a golfer with an outside-in path and fast swing tempo to hit the fairway woods with some degree of inaccuracy, but be able to hit hybrids the same distance and more accurately because of the shorter length of the hybrids.



Conclusion



For the driver, fairway woods and hybrids, the key elements for maximum accuracy in the fitting process are the length, face angle and the combination of the shaft weight/total weight/swingweight (MOI) of the clubs. Within these three fitting elements, many golfers who presently suffer from misdirection problems most definitely can achieve a visible improvement in accuracy.



For the irons, the key elements for maximum accuracy in the fitting process are the lie angles along with the combination of the shaft weight/total weight/swingweight (MOI) of the clubs.

Get these fitting specifications perfectly matched to the golfer's swing characteristics and pretty much everything that can be done to maximize the golfer's shot accuracy will have been done.



After that, if the golfer still suffers from a significant misdirection problem, the remedy will be lessons to work on improving the golfer's alignment, posture, swing path and delivery of the face to impact.



See more articles from Tom Wishon: Selecting Shafts
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Comments

  • Sean2Sean2 #TheWRX (Callaway Trip) Members Posts: 30,826 ✭✭
    Thanks for the article Tom. Informative, interesting, and thought provoking.
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  • esketoresesketores Members Posts: 2,069
    Some time and effort put forth.

    Thank you.



    How long did it take to complete the article? The editing and configuration time alone had to be significant.
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  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    esketores wrote:


    Some time and effort put forth.

    Thank you.



    How long did it take to complete the article? The editing and configuration time alone had to be significant.




    When you are 62 with as many years in club performance and fitting research as I have and continue to do, and when you can type 120wpm which I can do thanks to having written 10 books and many hundreds of technical articles in my career, it does not take very long at all to bring all the information up to the surface and convey it !!!



    But it does represent what I have learned over many years and many, many hours of fitting research - and continue to learn. Much of this was also in my 2006 book, Common Sense Clubfitting. But it also represents some definite changes in what we have learned since then to bring it all up to date based on all our latest research work.



    Thanks,

    TOM
  • MadGolfer76MadGolfer76 Admiration is the state furthest from understanding. Members Posts: 19,900 ✭✭
    More gold from Tom!
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  • pmcukpmcuk Members Posts: 5,552 ✭✭
    Second all the positive feedback. I've been doing performance psychology and written 6 books on it for 25 years but never got near 120wpm! I'm jealous. But I agree that when you've been researching and writing about the same thing for a quarter of a century or more, there seems to be an almost infinite number of things you want to say. And as Tom says, it changes every day, every week, every month.
  • AUDufferAUDuffer ClubWRX Posts: 2,926 ClubWRX
    Tom, should fitters use a standard lie angle based off one club or go through each individual club to determine its lie angle. I've heard from some people that changing the lie angle in the wedges to match the set isn't necessarily the best thing. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
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  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    AUDuffer wrote:


    Tom, should fitters use a standard lie angle based off one club or go through each individual club to determine its lie angle. I've heard from some people that changing the lie angle in the wedges to match the set isn't necessarily the best thing. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!




    Technically speaking with the Nth degree of precision in mind, all irons should be dynamically lie tested and then bent to ensure the perfect lie for each iron for the golfer. The reason is because it is very interesting to see how all golfers do not come into the ball with the same posture, same hand position, and same shaft droop for each iron. We golfers can and do swing each iron a little bit differently in terms of how that lie angle travels to impact.



    Ask any veteran clubfitter who does lie test for every iron for each golfer and they will tell you if you write down the golfer's final fitted lie specs in order for each iron, rarely will the lies progress in that nice, neat 1* incremental change from iron to iron. ANd that's for a tour player all the way to a 20-something handicapper. That is again because of the fact we golfers do not come into the ball with the same posture, same hand position, and same shaft droop for each different iron.



    Now that can be very time consuming, not just for the clubmaker but for the golfer who has to hit each iron 3, 4, 5 times to come up with the conclusion for where to bend each iron. So at the least, we like to see the clubmakers dynamically lie fit every other iron, then extrapolate the lies for the ones in between. This way you can't be very far off for the in between tested irons, and everything works ok. But if you are talking about Mr. Tour Player or scratch to plus handicapper, all irons should be lie fit one at a time.



    For us regular golfers, being within 1* of perfect for the lie for the irons is not going to cause any real misdirection problems because we regular golfers will have variations in our posture and hand position from swing to swing. not a huge amount but enough that getting within 1* on all lies from what is perfect is not going to cause problems. At 2* off on the lie, no, this is where it starts to cause some problems.



    We also teach the clubmakers that a lie test iron is fine to get a ball park idea where the golfer is going to be. This also finds the situations in which the golfer might have a lie requirement that is too difficult to hit with a 17-4 cast stainless body, so the clubmaker can see if he can find a suitable iron design for the golfer's ability that would be more bendable (431 stainless or a carbon steel). But this is fairly rare because most golfers do fall in between lies that range from 2 flat to 2-3 up, so most iron bodies will be able to be bent for that.



    But ideally so everything is as perfect as can be, we teach the clubmakers to go through the whole fitting, deciding on everything in the club for the golfer - head model, lofts, lengths, shaft, total weights, set makeup, swingweights, and grip. Then build the full set with each determined fitting spec and then bring the golfer back for the dynamic lie fitting on the irons as the very last step in the fitting process. This way the effect of the actual lengths, shaft flexes, shaft bend profiles, and swingweight on the final dynamic lie is already there in each iron. If you go with a test iron for lie fitting, it might not be the right length, with the right shaft, the right swingweight so the result of the lie test can then be wrong for the golfer compared to what it will be when he is lie fit with his corectly fit irons.



    TOM
  • AUDufferAUDuffer ClubWRX Posts: 2,926 ClubWRX
    Thanks, Tom!
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  • CheckJVCheckJV Male Model Members Posts: 2,107 ✭✭
    I see my problem...all my clubs are rated "C" for accuracy.
  • nbg352nbg352 Members Posts: 8,320 ✭✭
    Thanks Tom,

    easy to read and undestand, precise and concise!
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  • CwingCwing #TaylorMade TwistFace Experience 2018 Go Big Blue!!! 8x Champs. Who Dey !!! Go Bengals,Members Posts: 8,063 ✭✭
    Good stuff. Thank you!
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  • Johnny TJohnny T Wait for me guys! Members Posts: 3,942 ✭✭
    Very good info Tom, thanks!
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  • kloyd0306kloyd0306 Members Posts: 1,106
    edited Jun 10, 2013 #14
    TW's findings and conclusions are based not only on experience but also on pure common sense, which is a commodity that is slowly becoming scarce.



    The major OEMs can largely be held to blame for the lack of care in fitting their customers.



    Regarding irons, Ping have made an attempt to be accurate re fitting but their system has some major flaws (mainly that their emphasis is lie angles at the expense of length) and Mizuno has made huge advances in de-mystifying shaft flex and shaft weight questions.



    When the major OEMs recognise that ALL golfers are different even in small ways, then the consumer will get what he/she truly needs to benefit their golf game.



    The major OEMs are ONLY concerned about product whereas the likes of TW and other like-minded fitting professionals are more concerned about the physical dimensions and athletic ability of PEOPLE.



    Sadly, too many golfers buy on price and what happens to be in the store (on the rack) at that time. When the club does not do what was promised, they often blame the club when in reality the problem is poor sales advice and likely NO fitting advice.
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    kloyd0306 wrote:


    TW's findings and conclusions are based not only on experience but also on pure common sense, which is a commodity that is slowly becoming scarce.



    The major OEMs can largely be held to blame for the lack of care in fitting their customers.



    When the major OEMs recognise that ALL golfers are different even in small ways, then the consumer will get what he/she truly needs to benefit their golf game.



    Sadly, too many golfers buy on price and what happens to be in the store (on the rack) at that time. When the club does not do what was promised, they often blame the club when in reality the problem is poor sales advice and likely NO fitting advice.




    Kloyd, it's clear from your post that you do have a depth of insight into the business.



    I believe the OEMs do want to and do try to offer great golf clubs for golfers. But they are limited in how much they really can do this by their business model. As long as the big OEMs have to bring in 9 figures in revenue each year to make their numbers, they will always have to pursue a primary business model of making clubs to be sold off the rack in all the retail golf shops. It's simply impossible to do 9 figures in business if you want to sell custom fit clubs fit for all of the key fitting specs for all the clubs in the bag, one set at a time for one golfer at a time.



    It's also unfortunate that the fitting offered by the big golf companies cannot determine and deliver all the key fitting specs for each one of the clubs in the bag. For fitting to have the greatest chance of delivering game improvement to the greatest number of golfers, each one of the 12 key fitting specs has to be fit ACCURATELY for each one of the 14 clubs in the bag by someone who truly has the knowledge and experience. Not 2, 3, 4 fitting specs in a handful of clubs in the set. So it's not surprising that many golfers who undergo this limited type of fitting walk away thinking that fitting is overblown.



    Let's look just at fitting for Accuracy, since that's what this first installment of this series on fitting for game improvement covers. Can you go get all of the A effect and B effect specs for Accuracy customized for your swing in a typical retail golf store or pro shop that stocks and sells all the OEM clubs off their racks? You can get a few for some of the clubs, but you can't get them all for all the clubs in the bag. And who's making these decisions for what each of those specs needs to be for each different golfer's size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics? Few who work in the big golf stores know this stuff very well, because the primary business model of the retail stores hampers it.



    Once again, I will clearly say that not all who say they can fit can do it well. I've said many times that it takes some work to find those who really do know how to accurately fit and deliver all the right specs for all the clubs in the bag for each different golfer. And you won't find a skilled fitter in every area. But they are out there, they do exist, and every day they help a few more golfers get a little more from what they bring to the first tee.



    All I've ever tried to do here is share what I have learned in many years of digging deeply into this stuff so that if a golfer wishes, he or she can find a way to end up with the best fitting specs that will help them have the best chance of playing a little better. It's simply a fact. For fitting to do what it can do, it needs to be done on the basis of fitting all the key fitting specs for each club in the bag to each different golfer by someone who has trained themselves through their own passion to learn it.



    If golfers want to play with clubs bought off the rack, they certainly can do that. It's just that the facts are there to say that most golfers will play a little to a lot better if they go get fully fit by someone who is good in the craft.



    TOM
  • PixlPutterman PixlPutterman Look At My Lefty J33R(hey I can wish) Members Posts: 8,258 ✭✭
    I like this Tom Wishon guy image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />



    So nice to see these articles, now I can reference a poster here when they tell me that torqe and flex are the "things" to get fitted for in a shaft
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  • kloyd0306kloyd0306 Members Posts: 1,106
    Tom, thanks for your response to my comments re OEMs.



    I agree that the major companies' business models are the reason that consumers miss out on solid individual fitting info. As I mentioned, Ping tries even though they fall short and Mizuno's shaft analysis is also a worthy addition to the fitting jig-saw puzzle.



    My question is: If those two companies can bring something worthwhile to the table, where are the others? That's why I continue to believe that the major OEMs (Ping and Mizuno excepted) simply don't care.



    The accepted (not by me) business model is perpetuated by the way big box stores operate. So, the consumer is first being short-changed by the manufacturer and then short changed still further when he/she visits the big box store.



    What's missing is that the information that you possess is not being shared. In fact I'd go further and suggest that the major OEMs stifle attempts to get the most important info out there. I expect it doesn't fit their business model!



    The gradual shake out of golf companies (they've been disappearing for years) means that the big companies (the ones that are not interested in fitting) are getting proportionately bigger which in turn means that the fitting message is harder to hear.



    I'll leave you with this gem: I was visiting a web site of one of the big golf manufacturers and chose to use the "SEARCH" feature on the home page. I typed in "FITTING" and was promptly transported to a page of hats.



    These same companies offer as many as 12 shoe sizes and 5 or 6 apparel sizes but golf clubs?



    No, they don't care.
  • Tour50Tour50 Members Posts: 200 ✭✭
    For the irons, the key elements for maximum accuracy in the fitting process are the lie angles along with the combination of the shaft weight/total weight/swingweight (MOI) of the clubs.

    Get these fitting specifications perfectly matched to the golfer's swing characteristics and pretty much everything that can be done to maximize the golfer's shot accuracy will have been done.




    How does this relate to whether or not a 15 HDCP should play 'game-improvement' or 'better-player' irons?



    Regards,

    Dan
  • MadGolfer76MadGolfer76 Admiration is the state furthest from understanding. Members Posts: 19,900 ✭✭
    There should be WAY more posts in this thread by now.
    Mizuno ST-180 @ 8.5
    Mizuno JPX 900 @ 14
    Mizuno CLK @ 18, 21
    Mizuno JPX 900HM 5-Lw
    PING Sigma G Tyne
    Srixon Z-Star
    WITB
  • UpgrayeddUpgrayedd Members Posts: 1,222
    Thank you very much.



    I have resorted to clubsmithing some on my own, some from local professionals. Thirty years ago they told me I was crazy if I wanted extra long clubs. I knew, knew, knew, even back then the lie angle wasn't right either but never "got crazy" with a pipe wrench. I wish I had. Even today people dismiss you as a crackpot if you want anything that deviates from standard very much. I don't even dare come on here and tell about my setup because most would think I am crazy even though I am scoring better now than I did when I was younger. It takes a lot of patience to fit people who know nothing about fitting, it would take infinitely more to deal with someone who knows exactly what they want and it is "totally out in left field". I commend you for your effort.
  • chasmchasm Members Posts: 549 ✭✭
    edited Sep 5, 2013 #21
    I really appreciated this article and was going to relate it to my most recent fitting experience. Normally I am rather sceptical of the OEM only fittings but this was by far my best experience so far and a real revelation. I 'upgraded' my G15 to an R1 this year, based on an extensive fitting session hitting various heads and shafts. It definitely gave me the best numbers on the Trackman and the fitter knows my game well. I only swing at about 92-94 with the driver and it is getting slower as my back gets worse each year! Anyway, I have really not got on well with the R1 on course, so being a good WRXer went in search of something new (couldn't have been a swing flaw....)



    To cut a long story short, went to Callaway and hit the RFE and Optiforce. The main revelation was trying a head with a much heavier shaft than ever before - Matrix Black Tie 7M3 (R1 has a White Tie, G15 had a Motore F3) - so a good 10g heavier than I was used to. Totally transformed my accuracy for the loss of maybe 5 yards total. I was much, much more consistent and the balls I hit with this were (again, according to Trackman) within a 10 yard circle of each other right in the centre of the fairway. The other, secondary, revelation was how much extra ballspeed the Optiforce had over the RFE. I haven't had a chance to go ahead and try it on course - not been able to play at all since then irritatingly - but I was really surprised by this result as it was totally counter-intuitive. Of course I am now second guessing whether I did exactly the wrong thing by putting graphite shafts in my irons.....
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    Tour50 wrote:




    How does this relate to whether or not a 15 HDCP should play 'game-improvement' or 'better-player' irons?



    Regards,

    Dan




    Following are all the reasons why golfers would consider buying one iron head model over another from a performance related standpoint:



    1. Some iron models are made with a higher COR face which will generate a higher ball speed than a conventional thicker face iron to then offer the golfer more distance with each iron than what he currently uses. If distance is a big priority for the golfer with his irons, this is a major factor in the selection process.



    2. Some iron models are designed to offer better off center hit forgiveness than others, either through being created with a higher MOI or being created with a well designed variable thickness face. If the golfer knows he hits more shots off center with his irons than he would like or knows he has been losing shots due to too many off center hits, then using an iron with the highest MOI and/or variable thickness face will most definitely help.



    3. Some iron models are created with a little different sole design that may be more suitable to the golfer's angle of attack or more suitable to the type of grass/turf conditions the golfer plays on.



    4. Some iron models are made with a lower or higher center of gravity so as to offer a LITTLE difference in the launch angle and height that the shot is hit.



    5. Some golfers have specific preferences for the various APPEARANCE characteristics of the iron head model they wish to play. Chiefly we are talking about appearance elements such as head size, head shape, offset, topline width, toe shape, leading edge shape - things that they SEE when they set the clubhead down behind the ball which form their preferences. When a golfer has such specific preferences for the look of the iron head, no matter how good the distance or forgiveness of the iron may be, if the golfer does not like what he sees when he sets the iron down behind the ball, he won't play as well with that iron model that does not have all the various shape/style/looks preferences that the golfer wants.



    Of all these, #5 tends to end up being more important for a whole lot of golfers than all the other selection factors. And none of these 5 iron model selection factors has anything to do with ACCURACY - other than it can be said if the golfer gets an iron he totally loves the look of, a psychological benefit can be the fact that the golfer then has more confidence which turns into him making more consistent swings. Believe it or not, this does happen. And conversely, if the golfer with distinct preferences for the appearance of the iron head ends up playing with an iron model that has shape/style elements he really dislikes, the opposite can happen from a psychological standpoint - a greater number of poor swings simply because the golfer does not like something(s) about the look of the head.



    But speaking from a pure performance standpoint, none of these 5 iron model selection factors has anything directly to do with accuracy. Accuracy in an iron comes from having the right lengths, right shaft, right total weight, right swingweight (headweight feel), right lies, right grip size/feel and not really any of the specific iron head design features.



    While some iron head models most certainly are designed to be aimed at players of different handicap and ball striking ability and different swing characteristics, there is no rule that says this golfer has to play with that head model. OK, common sense certainly says that a typical 6+ hdcp is not very smart to play a blade muscleback because of such iron models' lack of forgiveness. But on the other hand, if a scratch player loves all the appearance factors of a super game improvement iron model and loves the performance, then by all means he should use that model, work his tail off to be well fit for all the fitting specs of the whole club and then go play that model and not worry about anything.



    At the end of the day, we teach clubfitters to guide a golfer's iron model selection by telling them this . . . . . .



    "Within all the iron models that satisfy the golfer's preferences for the specific looks and appearance of the head in the playing position, select the one that has demonstrates distances with which the golfer is comfortable which also has the best off center hit forgiveness and a sole design that is compatible with the golfer's angle of attack and turf on which he plays most of his golf. And then do your best to make sure the lengths, lies, shaft, total weight, swingweight, grip size/feel are all properly fit to the golfer's size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics."



    In a nutshell, if the golfer follows this above advice, he will end up with the best set of irons he has ever played.



    TOM
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭


    There should be WAY more posts in this thread by now.




    Yah, I agree because these really ARE the facts about everything one can possibly do to get clubs with which he can be as accurate as possible.



    I also think with a lot of golfers, if an article is more than 3 paragraphs, their attention span tunes it out. Product of the internet generation!! HA!
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    Upgrayedd wrote:


    Thank you very much.



    I have resorted to clubsmithing some on my own, some from local professionals. Thirty years ago they told me I was crazy if I wanted extra long clubs. I knew, knew, knew, even back then the lie angle wasn't right either but never "got crazy" with a pipe wrench. I wish I had. Even today people dismiss you as a crackpot if you want anything that deviates from standard very much. I don't even dare come on here and tell about my setup because most would think I am crazy even though I am scoring better now than I did when I was younger. It takes a lot of patience to fit people who know nothing about fitting, it would take infinitely more to deal with someone who knows exactly what they want and it is "totally out in left field". I commend you for your effort.




    Well said. The best fitting sessions are those in which BOTH the golfer and the clubfitter go into the fitting open minded and willing to consider all possible options to end up with the best fit for the golfer.



    When either the golfer or the clubfitter go into the fitting with the mindset of "don't confuse me with the facts because my mind's already made up." then the result can be less than what it could be for the golfer. Golfers have to be open to try whatever the fitter deems from his knowledge and experience to be a possible better fit, and clubfitters have to be open to realize that sometimes a golfer doesn't always fit into a particular "pigeonhole" of fitting specs.



    TOM
  • jaskanskijaskanski Members Posts: 9,250 ✭✭
    TomWishon wrote:

    Upgrayedd wrote:


    Thank you very much.



    I have resorted to clubsmithing some on my own, some from local professionals. Thirty years ago they told me I was crazy if I wanted extra long clubs. I knew, knew, knew, even back then the lie angle wasn't right either but never "got crazy" with a pipe wrench. I wish I had. Even today people dismiss you as a crackpot if you want anything that deviates from standard very much. I don't even dare come on here and tell about my setup because most would think I am crazy even though I am scoring better now than I did when I was younger. It takes a lot of patience to fit people who know nothing about fitting, it would take infinitely more to deal with someone who knows exactly what they want and it is "totally out in left field". I commend you for your effort.




    Well said. The best fitting sessions are those in which BOTH the golfer and the clubfitter go into the fitting open minded and willing to consider all possible options to end up with the best fit for the golfer.



    When either the golfer or the clubfitter go into the fitting with the mindset of "don't confuse me with the facts because my mind's already made up." then the result can be less than what it could be for the golfer. Golfers have to be open to try whatever the fitter deems from his knowledge and experience to be a possible better fit, and clubfitters have to be open to realize that sometimes a golfer doesn't always fit into a particular "pigeonhole" of fitting specs.



    TOM




    Ain't that the truth. I've said on many occasions that the best thing to take to a fitting is an open mind. Unfortunately, a lot of golfers get hung up on pre-conceived ideas, brand loyalty and eye candy - not to mention the odd ego trip too. It's a sad fact that even though a golfer has been fit to a particular club and shaft, they will often opt for something less than optimal because they have delusions of grandeur, are scared what the guys will think of them, are trying to put money in front of common sense, or are just convinced they like the colour and brand.

    It's no secret that advertising works and a bucket load of clubs are sold each year on the basis of "what the pros play". Roll back a few years, a certain T.Woods was using a Diamana Whiteboard shaft - a great shaft in it's own right but suitable only for a small spectrum of players. If I had a penny for every golfer that wanted this option for their driver/fairway based on no other evidence than "it's what TW uses" then I'd be a rich man. At our club fitting centre alone, it probably fitted only 50% of guys requesting it. It's fair to say that their judgement was somewhat clouded by a pre-conceived idea of what they aspired to and what they could accomplish. Their loss I guess - both financially and playing ability wise. The pattern remains the same with the latest and greatest golfers and equipment to this day I'm sad to say.

    If I could offer a simple piece of advice to anyone wanting to get fitted, it would be to first and foremost find a certified fitter who knows their stuff. Secondly, check your ego and pre-conceived ideas at the door. Thirdly, listen to what they have to say - don't be afraid to try something out. Lastly, look at the results - you may surprise yourself just how wrong you were, or better still, how much better your game could be.
  • animalgolfsanimalgolfs FL & OK Members Posts: 1,956 ✭✭
    Years ago, I walked into said big box store and walked out $1500 happy. But found out that hard earned $1500 was spent for not because nothing seemed right. Luckily Joe Powell lived close by.....those $1500 blue dot Pings we're so wrongly fit, my game suffered. Never since have I bought any iron or wedge off the rack.



    Good read Tom....but what would expect from a true fitter! I got 27 years in this game but still learn daily
    G400 Max 9* Tour 65
    G400 14.5* Attas 4u
    G400h 19* Tour 85
    G410 Crossover 23* Tour 85
    i500 6-UW{pwr spec} Recoil 110
    Glide Forged 54* Steelfiber i110
    Stealth 2.0 58* Steelfiber i110
    Vault 2.0 B60 Stealth WRX 390g
  • Dom4419Dom4419 Members Posts: 63
    jaskanski wrote:

    TomWishon wrote:

    Upgrayedd wrote:


    Thank you very much.



    I have resorted to clubsmithing some on my own, some from local professionals. Thirty years ago they told me I was crazy if I wanted extra long clubs. I knew, knew, knew, even back then the lie angle wasn't right either but never "got crazy" with a pipe wrench. I wish I had. Even today people dismiss you as a crackpot if you want anything that deviates from standard very much. I don't even dare come on here and tell about my setup because most would think I am crazy even though I am scoring better now than I did when I was younger. It takes a lot of patience to fit people who know nothing about fitting, it would take infinitely more to deal with someone who knows exactly what they want and it is "totally out in left field". I commend you for your effort.




    Well said. The best fitting sessions are those in which BOTH the golfer and the clubfitter go into the fitting open minded and willing to consider all possible options to end up with the best fit for the golfer.



    When either the golfer or the clubfitter go into the fitting with the mindset of "don't confuse me with the facts because my mind's already made up." then the result can be less than what it could be for the golfer. Golfers have to be open to try whatever the fitter deems from his knowledge and experience to be a possible better fit, and clubfitters have to be open to realize that sometimes a golfer doesn't always fit into a particular "pigeonhole" of fitting specs.



    TOM




    Ain't that the truth. I've said on many occasions that the best thing to take to a fitting is an open mind. Unfortunately, a lot of golfers get hung up on pre-conceived ideas, brand loyalty and eye candy - not to mention the odd ego trip too. It's a sad fact that even though a golfer has been fit to a particular club and shaft, they will often opt for something less than optimal because they have delusions of grandeur, are scared what the guys will think of them, are trying to put money in front of common sense, or are just convinced they like the colour and brand.

    It's no secret that advertising works and a bucket load of clubs are sold each year on the basis of "what the pros play". Roll back a few years, a certain T.Woods was using a Diamana Whiteboard shaft - a great shaft in it's own right but suitable only for a small spectrum of players. If I had a penny for every golfer that wanted this option for their driver/fairway based on no other evidence than "it's what TW uses" then I'd be a rich man. At our club fitting centre alone, it probably fitted only 50% of guys requesting it. It's fair to say that their judgement was somewhat clouded by a pre-conceived idea of what they aspired to and what they could accomplish. Their loss I guess - both financially and playing ability wise. The pattern remains the same with the latest and greatest golfers and equipment to this day I'm sad to say.

    If I could offer a simple piece of advice to anyone wanting to get fitted, it would be to first and foremost find a certified fitter who knows their stuff. Secondly, check your ego and pre-conceived ideas at the door. Thirdly, listen to what they have to say - don't be afraid to try something out. Lastly, look at the results - you may surprise yourself just how wrong you were, or better still, how much better your game could be.




    I agree with everything you say, but there are people that are specific for certain reasons other than what you mentioned. For example, if i were to get fit i would demand callaway clubs not because thats what's "in" or cuz of Phil but because it's what i've always played, looking down at my club and seeing the callaway branding just brings a sense of security because that's what i'm used to seeing. Do i think that other makes are no good... no, but i just don't get that same comfort. I've tried different makes (adams, cobra, nike, taylormade) but just ended up putting them aside and going back to the callaways because i just felt awkward and uneasy with them.



    Is it possible that with so many offerings out there, someone can be fitted to different clubs from different makes and multiple shafts? So if i would say i want callaways, it won't really prevent me from being fit properly.



    A question regarding launch monitors, i went to a club fitter and he had my swing speed at 97mph, six months later i went to try some new drivers out at my local golf store and he had me at 78mph. One thing i noticed was that the store kept on entering 6i as club being used on the computer, i mentioned it to him and he said it doesn't make a difference. Is this true?



    The club fitter fitted my own 5-9i irons (lenght and lie only) and said that the rest was pointless cuz i basically wasn't good enough to get fitted. he didn't even make me try any other offerings he had. He just looked at my clubs and determined they were fine by just looking at them. Didn't even try different shafts. Is this normal? I never went to get fitted again, even at another place cuz i just felt like it wasn't worth it.



    Would anyone know any trust worthy club fitters in the montreal, canada area?



    sorry for all the questions, i'm rather confused with all this. If you haven't determined by now, i'm a high handicapper.



    Thanks for the help
  • whiteretrowhiteretro Members Posts: 264 ✭✭
    Tom



    Many thanks for this great article - the information is invaluable



    Could you comment on length progression/MOI as it relates to accuracy?



    Wouldn't a lot of players benefit from 3/8",5/16" or even 1/4" length progression with MOI matching as opposed to 1/2" progression with swingweight matching?



    It seems that if one could determine the optimum 6 or 7 iron ( length,lie,weight,MOI,clubhead design) - why not build a 1/4" progression MOI matched set?



    My guess is that the small loss in distance would be made up many times by superior accuracy and superior repeatability.
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    Dom4419 wrote:




    I've tried different makes (adams, cobra, nike, taylormade) but just ended up putting them aside and going back to the callaways because i just felt awkward and uneasy with them.



    Is it possible that with so many offerings out there, someone can be fitted to different clubs from different makes and multiple shafts? So if i would say i want callaways, it won't really prevent me from being fit properly.



    A question regarding launch monitors, i went to a club fitter and he had my swing speed at 97mph, six months later i went to try some new drivers out at my local golf store and he had me at 78mph. One thing i noticed was that the store kept on entering 6i as club being used on the computer, i mentioned it to him and he said it doesn't make a difference. Is this true?



    The club fitter fitted my own 5-9i irons (lenght and lie only) and said that the rest was pointless cuz i basically wasn't good enough to get fitted. he didn't even make me try any other offerings he had. He just looked at my clubs and determined they were fine by just looking at them. Didn't even try different shafts. Is this normal? I never went to get fitted again, even at another place cuz i just felt like it wasn't worth it.



    Would anyone know any trust worthy club fitters in the montreal, canada area?






    First of all, 100% of the time, the reason that one club performs better than another club for any golfer is not about the name on the club. it is about what the specs of the length, loft, lie, face angle, shaft, total weight, swingweight, grip size/style, head design elements of that club you hit well versus what they are for the club(s) you have not hit well. PERIOD.



    I understand completely how you come to the conclusion you have about the Callaway clubs. That is a completely normal reaction to both the effect of the brand marketing WITH the fact that the vast majority of golfers do not know what it is precisely within all the specs that makes one club work better for them than another.



    As long as you duplicate the length, loft, lie, face angle, shaft, total weight, swingweight, grip size/style, head design elements of any club you hit well in any other club with any other name on it, you will hit that other club just as well - as long as you can let go of the effect of the name on your brain.



    You said you are a higher handicap player. Unless you typically shoot well over 100 all the time, can't get 90+% of your shots airborne and you slice or hook the majority of your shots more than 35-40 yds with a driver or 3 wood - then the fitter who told you that you are not good enough to be fit is, 1) an idiot, 2) doesn't know squat about fitting, 3) should be in another line of work.



    In many of my posts on WRX, I do keep trying to state facts that dispel this myth that a golfer has to be good before he/she can benefit from fitting. Many, many years of fitting research as well as decades of listening to tons of clubfitters talk about their fitting experiences proves without a shadow of doubt that golfers who shoot in the 80s to high 90s benefit more visibly and sooner from PROPER fitting than do golfers who shoot in the 70s. Golfers who shoot in the 80s to high 90s certainly do make more swing mistakes than golfers who shoot in the 70s, but the 80s to high 90s players still do demonstrate a level of consistency within their swings for which proper fitting can step in to REDUCE (not cure) the severity of the poor shots.



    Golf is and will always be a game of percentages. No one hits all the shots perfect. Improvement comes when we can hit 2-4 more fairways per round, hit 2-4 more greens in regulation, hit the ball 5-10yds farther, reduce our slice by 25-30%, hit 20-30% of the shots more on center, get the ball up and down 1-2 more times and get around in 3-4 fewer putts. Fitting does not CURE lesser quality swings. Fitting won't eliminate all the poor shots. But it darn well reduces the severity of bad swings, narrows the range in good to bad shots, and improves the percentage of shots that are either good to OK - and increases the number of "good misses".



    From it the 97 shooter can become a 92 shooter overnight, or the 89 shooter becomes the 84 shooter overnight. No, if the 98 shooter wants to shoot 82, lessons are going to have to be included along with properly fit clubs. But improvements of 3 to even as much as 10 shots are possible and have been seen many times WHEN THE FITTING IS DONE BY SOMEONE WHO IS GOOD AND EXPERIENCED.



    And of course, therein lies a problem with fitting today. Not all who call themselves fitters are competent. Same with any trade like a mechanic, carpenter, or even in professionally trained areas like medicine, law, accounting, etc. So you have to perform some due diligence to find a good fitter.



    Speaking of that, in the Montreal area is one of the better fitters that I know and with whom I have had the chance to work and know his skills and knowledge are first rate. Jean Francois Robert at JR Golf in Ste Julie. Unfortunately for the Montreal golfers who get hot to trot in the winter time, he spends his winters in Peru. He's married to a lady who is from Peru, so to escape your winters, he heads south to his wife's home area. But if you can wait until spring, you and any other golfers in the Montreal area would be well ahead to work with JR for your club needs. Send him an email and ask him when he is going to be back in Montreal to re open his shop - [email protected]



    TOM
  • TomWishonTomWishon Sponsors Posts: 3,653 ✭✭
    whiteretro wrote:




    Could you comment on length progression/MOI as it relates to accuracy?



    Wouldn't a lot of players benefit from 3/8",5/16" or even 1/4" length progression with MOI matching as opposed to 1/2" progression with swingweight matching?



    It seems that if one could determine the optimum 6 or 7 iron ( length,lie,weight,MOI,clubhead design) - why not build a 1/4" progression MOI matched set?



    My guess is that the small loss in distance would be made up many times by superior accuracy and superior repeatability.




    You are right. Even if standard off the rack golf club companies stayed with constant swingweight and went to a 3/8" length progression, there would be a certain percentage of golfers who would automatically see some level of shot consistency improvement, and with that a level of accuracy improvement as well. Any golfer who finds himself feeling that he has to bend over more, crouch more with the 7, 8, 9, wedges could immediately benefit to a certain extent, even if the 3/8" increments were not accompanied with MOI matching. Also any golfer who sees a substantial change in his vertical swing plane numbers (TrackMan shows this) down through the short irons can benefit from 3/8" increments, even 1/4" increments.



    1/4" increments has been done before, though only for a short time by a company that never really gained much traction in the industry. Tiger Shark golf clubs from the 80s did this. However, with 1/4" increments, now you start to mess with the effect of length on distance FOR SOME GOLFERS to the point that you could not expect as high of a percentage of golfers to like the 1/4" increment change vs the 3/8" increment change. But most certainly there would be a segment of golfers who would do very well with 1/4" increments.



    But the real benefit of MOI matching lies not so much in the 3/8" or 1/4" increment as in the real science of what MOI matching does. It makes all the clubs require the golfer to use the same, exact amount of effort to swing each club - not a different amount of effort for each club. And that is the main element that can offer more consistent swing repeatability which then can result in more shot consistency and from it, better accuracy.



    Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that MOI matching is THE most important contribution of custom fitting. It is a more subtle thing. Most golfers who change to an MOI match set don't notice things being markedly better from day one. Where they see it is after 5, 10, 15 rounds as more of a "huh, I am hitting the ball a little more consistently."



    Things like getting the right lengths to begin with, the right total weight and MOI weighting, the right face angles, the right set makeup, the right shaft (for higher speed/later release/fee oriented players), etc - will always have the chance to light that bulb of WOW more brightly and more sooner for many golfers who presently are playing very poorly fit clubs for these fitting elements. No doubt there are players who play very well with swingweight matched clubs. But with us having now 10yrs in teaching MOI matching and offering the equipment to do it such that 600-700 clubmakers around the world now do it and have been doing it for a good while - well the statistics mounting up from it do point to the fact that MOI matching is a little to sometimes a lot better for a very high percentage of golfers than swingweight matching.



    TOM
  • bstringbstring Members Posts: 541
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