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Fittings: Science or voodoo?


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I'm a ho. But I try to be scientific about it.

 

Thus, over the past five years or so, I've done a bunch of fittings.

 

Most at the consensus premier fitter in my town (Sydney Australia), a couple at a dealer, and now a couple at another upmarket fitter.

 

Fortunately I have a very launch-monitor friendly driver swing and my numbers have been basically the same with a driver.

 

But the recommendations for irons have ranged from insistence that light graphite shafts are best to equal insistence heavier steel shafts are the go.

 

Lie angle recommendations have ranged from 2* flat to 4* up.

 

Heads have ranged from thick soled GI to thin-soled 'player' irons.

 

So whilst I subscribe to the theory of fitting, if it were scientific the recommendations should converge and be repeatable.

 

When they are not I suspect expensive guesswork.

 

Am I too cynical?

 

 

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when i was a fitter -- i did it b/c i genuinely enjoyed helping people get better through getting better equipment that fit them properly. i quit the industry b/c my ethics were proper fit before p

This is why for many a static fitting, such as Pings color code chart, isn't such a bad idea.  It will get you in the ball park, and as an amateur and probably inconsistent player your swing may chang

I was going to post the exact same thing. It's far more important to be in the correct ballpark than to agonise over e.g. shaft A vs shaft B and which one is performing 1% better because tomorrow the

A club fitter's opinion is mostly subjective IMO.  Some of them fit you strictly by numbers.  Others try and up sell you into their most expensive clubs and try to justify it by telling you that it's the latest and greatest and your numbers look great so you need to get it.  I'm surprised at how much variance there is for specs especially lie angle and iron shaft choice.  They seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum to the extreme.  Club fitting is going to be expensive.  I myself go strictly by the numbers tend not to care too much about the other things such as feel, sound, etc.  Other golfers will do just the opposite where numbers are important but gravitate towards the other factors.  You are not too cynical, but rather cautious and rightfully so.  I would too considering that fact that it could cost hundreds of dollars just for the fitting itself.  FYI, I've been fitted many times over so I understand your situation.  

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Lie angle fitting is simple. One (or both ) of your fitters may just be not very good.

 

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1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

Am I too cynical?

 

No, you just need to accept the fact that there are a lot of bad fitters out there and that doesn't invalidate the concept of fitting or that it is not scientific in any way.

 

Fitting is both a science and an art - but it's much more of a soft science - like psychology - not a hard one like physics.   But in any case the result of a fitting will only be as good as the individual doing the fitting.   

 

Just my opinions.

 

1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

But the recommendations for irons have ranged from insistence that light graphite shafts are best to equal insistence heavier steel shafts are the go.

 

If any fitter tells you that anything is "the go" - walk away.   The only way to figure out what will work for you and what wont is to try it and validate it with better results from your swing (not anyone else's).   On top of that, they should also be listening to your interpretation of how they feel.

 

1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

Lie angle recommendations have ranged from 2* flat to 4* up.

 

Most fitters are still in the stone age using a lie board which can be very inconsistent BUT to be fair different heads have different base lie angles (and lengths) so some variation should happen.  Other aspects of the equipment can effect the fit for lie angle as well.   So any relative lie angle adjustment is only valid for the head, shaft, length combination for which is was done.  That's one reason it should always be done near the end of the fitting.

 

1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

Heads have ranged from thick soled GI to thin-soled 'player' irons.

 

There is no one single concept of optimal or ideal with the irons like there is with the driver.   So it's hardly surprising that you'll get different opinions about it.   Most players will have very specific opinions on what they do and don't' want to see in an iron at address.   So in most cases the style of head is dictated by the player, not the fitter.   Outside of that it's all a matter of different trade offs and opinions.

 

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1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

Am I too cynical?

 

Not too cynical, but maybe not assertive enough.

 

If you go into a fitting and just tell the guy "hook me up with whatever you think is best" you could get very different results.

 

If you give him some guidelines and feedback during the process then you'll be much better off and probably end up with something that lasts longer.

 

Driver is probably the easiest club to fit since it has one purpose, maximum distance while keeping dispersion under control. Irons are different. You need consistent distance and gapping. They are also a much different swing than the driver.

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I don't think I could do a fitting.  I wouldn't swing the clubs the same way I swing my own.  I know that clubs are designed to take a beating, but I'd still be timid about breaking something not my own.  I know it's extremely unlikely, but my brain would automatically force myself to be too careful, lol.  Besides, equipment experimentation is half the fun of golf (at least for me anyway)

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No matter how many high-tech tools they use, what you're getting in the end is strongly influenced by the subjective opinion of the fitter. If he or she is truly excellent then you'll almost always get clubs that suit you very well. If they're mediocre then it's hit or miss. If they're a know-nothing who is bs'ing you just to make a sale you'll get worked over.

 

I could write those same three sentences about swing coaches or teaching pros. They might use video or force-sensing pressure mats or launch monitors but ultimately they'll use that information along with their subjective judgements about how to get you swinging better or meet your golf goals. If they're excellent that's just what you want, the benefit of their insight and experience. If they're an idiot, you'll get worked over and waste your money and a lot of time and effort.

 

There is no technology that can objectively determine the best clubs for you or the best way to improve your swing. It all comes down to the individual you hire to make those subjective judgements. 

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On 4/21/2021 at 11:00 AM, sfdoddsy said:

I'm a ho. But I try to be scientific about it.

 

Thus, over the past five years or so, I've done a bunch of fittings.

 

Most at the consensus premier fitter in my town (Sydney Australia), a couple at a dealer, and now a couple at another upmarket fitter.

 

Fortunately I have a very launch-monitor friendly driver swing and my numbers have been basically the same with a driver.

 

But the recommendations for irons have ranged from insistence that light graphite shafts are best to equal insistence heavier steel shafts are the go.

 

Lie angle recommendations have ranged from 2* flat to 4* up.

 

Heads have ranged from thick soled GI to thin-soled 'player' irons.

 

So whilst I subscribe to the theory of fitting, if it were scientific the recommendations should converge and be repeatable.

 

When they are not I suspect expensive guesswork.

 

Am I too cynical?

 

 

No, Naive. Most fitters have an agenda before you ever enter the door.

 

The only way all the fittings would come up similar is if it were science alone (and the same software). 😜

 

BT

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VOODOO! - much of the time. 

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when i was a fitter -- i did it b/c i genuinely enjoyed helping people get better through getting better equipment that fit them properly.

i quit the industry b/c my ethics were proper fit before profit; and in that industry it's more profit/sales driven than making sure the golfer is properly fit; rather, fit 'well enough' to make the sale.

 

there are a LOT of snake oil salesman out there -- and there are definitely a bunch that think and fit with the same mindset like i did -- i knew and became friends with those guys; the latter not so much. 

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This is why for many a static fitting, such as Pings color code chart, isn't such a bad idea.  It will get you in the ball park, and as an amateur and probably inconsistent player your swing may change day to day anyway, so getting a set of clubs that is close, is probably close enough.  Also, do you want clubs that fit your current swing, or clubs that fit your stature?  It's just a decision you should consider, there is really no right or wrong on how to approach it.  I know people who play really good golf who have never had a fitting, nor will they ever.  

 

If you play alot, you will naturally experiment and build bias to certain clubs and specs, you can then fine tune and make decisions on what works for you going forward.  

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I had a great fitting a year ago, at PGATSS of all places, for my irons and there wasn't a lot of discussion of metrics.  The guy let me try what I wanted to try, made some suggestions, was responsive to my feedback when I told him I hated the way KBS shafts felt, and after deciding that I really liked PX rifle shaft, he kind of said "hey, humor me on this, and try this club" and that's how I wound up with my Apex pro 19s. I was just hitting the center of the clubface well and ball flight looked good.  Even put me at 2* upright and that has also turned out well.  I think that I got really lucky in this instance.

I want a new driver/fairway, but the part about this that bothers me is I just can't see how one session that lasts an hour or so could really lead me to the best match up, especially since you have to think about things like "Do I like the 9 or the 10 with this shaft or that shaft?" and "do I want to loft up close face."  I think the ideal thing would be if you could go in, try to zero in on a head and maybe narrow down to a few shaft options, and take a couple demo shafts with you to try with a head for a few days.  I understand that this isn't practicable.

 

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6 hours ago, dlygrisse said:

This is why for many a static fitting, such as Pings color code chart, isn't such a bad idea.  It will get you in the ball park, and as an amateur and probably inconsistent player your swing may change day to day anyway, so getting a set of clubs that is close, is probably close enough.  Also, do you want clubs that fit your current swing, or clubs that fit your stature?  It's just a decision you should consider, there is really no right or wrong on how to approach it.  I know people who play really good golf who have never had a fitting, nor will they ever.  

 

If you play alot, you will naturally experiment and build bias to certain clubs and specs, you can then fine tune and make decisions on what works for you going forward.  

 

I was going to post the exact same thing. It's far more important to be in the correct ballpark than to agonise over e.g. shaft A vs shaft B and which one is performing 1% better because tomorrow the result could be flipped.

 

E.g. the first time I went for an iron fitting I was playing a GI iron with a ton of offset and super light regular shafts and I was all over the place. Being fit into something heavier, stiffer and with less offset was a game changer. Several fittings later I know my tendencies and requirements and can easily enough fit myself into something appropriate.

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13 hours ago, dlygrisse said:

This is why for many a static fitting, such as Pings color code chart, isn't such a bad idea.

 

Static fittings for golf are like picking a shoe size based on your height.   The chances of getting a good fit might be better than making a totally random choice, but not by much.

 

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On 4/22/2021 at 5:16 AM, NHenson815 said:

I wouldn't swing the clubs the same way I swing my own. 

This.  I have hands that basically take a midsize grip at minimum.  And, I'll discuss in a separate thread, my feeling I need to go all in with Jumbomax XL.

Fitting clubs are all standard grips, so out of the gate, I'm screwed.  I can't believe I will get a good fitting with a grip I would never use in a million years.

 

 

 

 

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1) it's a guess at best. Some are better guesses than others 

 

2) it depends on many factors 

 

3) yes

 

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I think fittings can be good to get most people in the right ballpark for length, lie angles, shaft weight/stiffness.  I think it's a better use of time to get these aspects correct vs. testing a dozen driver heads because the driver heads are dependent on strike, and I find it hard to believe that the results are repeatable.  Now for the very good players who know their preferences and can find the center of the face, they can go ahead and test more clubheads out because their results are more repeatable.

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Stuart, the Ping Fit ,im red dot, too me, i can grab any set, quick reshaft,regrip and play my best.....now that is a saving in cash and, right now,90 days wait time...so right now,that Colour Code can be a great Baseline!

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