Sunday, November 18, 2012

Swing Type Plays a Huge Role in Club Fitting

From the desk of Tom Wishon: I feel like the quick answer to this question has to start by saying. . . . DUH!! Clubfitting is and always will be about tailoring the specifications of each golf club so they best match the various swing characteristics of each different golfer. Next time you head to the driving range when most of the hitting stations are in use, stop and look at the differences in how all the different golfers swing at the ball. Inside-out/square/outside-in swing path – fast/medium/slow swing speed – hitting down/swinging level/hitting up on the ball – forceful, aggressive to average to smooth, slower swing tempo – slice/straight/hook the ball – push/straight/pull the ball – early/midway and late release . . . And on and on. The vast differences in how golfers swing at the ball all translate into a requirement for different Clubfitting specifications for the golfers. This is precisely why the golf industry’s typical business model to build their golf clubs to one series of standard specifications for most of the fitting specifications is so utterly flawed. It is why so many golfers buy golf clubs off the rack and never achieve all they can be as a golfer. Now don’t get me wrong. Proper fitting is not likely to put you or me on the first tee of next year’s US Open. But it darn well can make the difference in whether a golfer plays to the best of his/her ability as well as how quickly a golfer can adapt to swing changes when they take lessons. Improperly fit clubs do get in the way of golfers being able to play their best. And not just a little. Let me tell you a few of the relationships between specific swing characteristics and proper fitting specifications: 1) Clubhead Speed: The clubhead speed is a critical part of shaft flex fitting. It is also an important element in determining what spacing of club lofts will deliver what amount of distance difference between clubs. Clubhead speed also affects the amount of backspin any golfer will achieve with any clubhead or shaft design. 2) Downswing Transition Force and Downswing Tempo: Golfers differ in how aggressively they start the downswing from very sudden/abrupt/forceful to very smooth/passive/gradual and all places in between. They also vary in their swing tempo from smooth/rhythmic to aggressive and in between. Downswing Transition force and the Tempo are major factors in choosing the right length, shaft weight, total weight, swingweight, shaft flex, shaft torque. 3) Point of Wrist-Cock Release: Golfers differ in when they start to unhinge the wrist cock angle from immediately after the downswing starts (early) to very late in the downswing (late) to also many different positions in between. The point of release is a big factor in choosing the right length, shaft flex, shaft bend profile, loft. 4) Swing Path: Again, you see golfers with swing path variations from very outside-in to square to very inside-out and paths in between. The swing path is a critical factor in determining the golfer’s best lengths and face angle for the woods and hybrids. 5) Angle of Attack: Whether the golfer swings downward, level or upward to the ball, the Angle of Attack is a key swing element in determining the best loft, best clubhead center of gravity design and clubhead sole design as well. So the next time you encounter a golfer who thinks he or she is not good enough to benefit from custom fitting, clue them into the fact that the more differences they have in their swing characteristics, the more fitting can step up to help them play better golf. And as always, to get the best clubs for your swing, work with a good, competent custom clubfitter – -Tom