Are You Fit to Be Fit?
When it comes to clubfitting, I get my dander up when I see the specs that some golfers ask us to match. Since "dynamic fitting" was pioneered by Henry-Griffitts 20 years ago, the trend has been to fit golfers long and upright almost every time. We even got a request the other day for a set of wedges 2" long and 2* upright. I called the golfer, and found out that he was only 6'1" tall, and had no physical infirmities that prevented him from taking a normal athletic posture at address. I also found out that he was a 20 handicapper. Hmmmmmm. So I was candid with him and expressed my opinion that he was making a severe over the top move, straightening up at impact so that is what the lie board would show. He agreed.

Understand that lie board isn’t a golf coach, and it would be wrong. Very wrong. Equipping him with a set of clubs like that would “trap” him in a fundamentally incorrect golf swing and prevent him from every learning to stay “down” through impact and release the hands properly in a rotational move. If he did that, he’d stick the club into the ground a foot behind the ball!

The reason I get into this is because of the question posed by reader Isaac H., who asked about getting fitted. His inquiry read:
"I have a question regarding getting my clubs fit for me by a professional. I have been playing for just over a year with an off the shelf set of clubs. I'm still working on my swing trying to get it more "inside out". My question is, is it too early to get fit for clubs since I think (at least I hope!!) my swing will change in the future. Or will getting fit help in refining my swing."
Well, Issac, getting fit will not help refine your swing, unless you are fit to the swing you want to make. But fitters are going to fit the swing you are making now, so the clubs – theoretically – will produce solid impact with that one, not the one you are trying to learn. In my opinion, you are not yet “fit to be fit”. That is, unless you are just trying to improve your impact but are satisfied to never make any real progress in learning a solid fundamental golf swing. It doesn’t sound like that is the case at all with you.

The fitting of golf clubs to amateur golfers constantly poses the question to the fitter: "Do I fit it . . . . or do I fix it?" The fitter should begin by asking you about your goals and commitment to learning a better golf swing. If the answer is “not interested”, then he can fit what he sees. If the answer is “yes”, then he should suggest a postponing of the fitting while you work on those changes. Or possibly, if the student is willing, work the fitting in increments of lie angle adjustments as the student learns and adopts their swing changes.

Here’s something about fitting that puzzles me. If you survey all the bags on the PGA Tour – players from the tallest like Phil Blackmar and Bob Tway, to the shortest like Jeff Sluman and Cory Pavin, you don’t see a very wide range of specifications in length and lie. You don’t see top players with irons that are an inch long and 2* upright out there. That’s because these guys are good (like the ads say), and they know that a sound golf swing for a 6’2” guy produces an impact position not that far from the 5”8” guy.

That six inches in height doesn’t translate to more than a half inch and 1-2 degrees in lie angle at impact. Tall guys cannot assume the same set up posture as shorter guys. Watch them on TV. The taller guys flex more at the knees and bend over more from the hips. Their hands at address (and impact) are not that far from the same distance from the ground and ball as the shorter guys.

And the simple fact is that shorter clubs are easier to handle and swing accurately than long ones. You’re straighter with the 9-iron than the 5-iron, right? More accurate with the 3-wood than the driver? That’s because of the two inch difference in shaft length, not the loft.

Sorry, I got off on a soap box there, but this trend to overlong and upright really gets me. How can you improve your ball striking with an 8-iron if you make it the same length as a conventional 5-iron, and give it the lie angle of a pitching wedge? Until someone on the PGA Tour starts winning events with oddball specs like that, I’m sticking with my opinion that it just won’t work.


photo source
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[ comments ]
SingleDigits says:
Very informative post. Question: why is that drivers are never adjusted for lie? As the longest club in your bag, they would seem to be the most affected by the height of the golfer. i.e. a short golfer is much more likely to have the toe of his/her driver off the ground (i.e not parallel to the ground).

For example, that some of the shorter LPGA players play with 46" or 48" drivers to gain length. Shouldn't the lie of their driver be adjusted for their height?

p.s. I'm 5'8" and have never been fitted and have always played with a std loft / lie set. I think this has actually helped me develop a draw on my irons & woods.
3/30/10
 
scottland says:
SingleDigits: It's because the driver shouldn't even come in contact with the ground. If you like to play your driver off of the deck, only then do you need to consider lie.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Terry - I'm 6'4", not 6'1", and my handicap is an 18. Way to leave out all the praise I heaped on your company as well. After reading this, maybe it wasn't necessary/deserved, especially considering I placed my order weeks ago and still don't have any clubs. By the way, you also left out the fact that the person who actually builds your clubs said that getting them 1.5" and 2 degrees upright isn't all that crazy, and someone who is 5'7" has no idea what someone of my size feels comfortable playing. If you really don't want to make the clubs, then just refund my money. I'm amazed that I have to even write this, but I guess someone has to stick up for tall, high handicappers. Don't forget, you weren't always the scratch golfer that you are today.
3/30/10
 
theghost25 says:
How would we go about adjusting a driver anyway?? Hard to bend Ti, yes?
I know nothing about club building but titanium doesn;t exactly bend, but i would love to hear about it!
3/30/10
 
Agustin says:
Not to defend Terry but he answered a question about if someone should get fitted or not while still working on his swing. He never said the person whose question he selected to answer is the same one from the example he makes at the beginning of the post.

I also must say that I agree, fitting clubs to a flawed swing will only make it more difficult to fixed the flaws in the swing. If a golfer is satisfied with his current swing then he should get fitted. If he is still working on improvements to is swing or is not yet consistent then I suggest to hold of on the fitting and keep working on the swing.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Not to defend myself but he provided his opinion and a number of untrue facts about a discussion that he and I had. He never told me I came over the top, I told him, and while I agreed in principal to what he was saying, he should have mentioned that the gentleman who makes his clubs (who is incidentally 6'4" as well), told me that he plays clubs, and Eidolon wedges specifically that are adjusted pretty close to the specs that I asked for.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
I also didn't particularly appreciate the tone of his 'example,' which was basically saying that I'm a schmuck for playing clubs that are made the way I have them made. I realize that he is a very good golfer, and I'm sure Eidolon is a good company that makes a good product, but to think that he has my swing all figured out because of a 5 minute conversation we had is presumptious and personally offended me. And, I don't know if you are reading the same article that I am but all he is really saying is that fitting is bullshit. I'll continue to play clubs the way that I play them, and my swing will likely change over time. Big deal. I'll go get fitted again.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
And, just to make sure it's perfectly clear, I've got no beef with Agustin and I reached out to Terry personally for clarification...especially since his clubbuilder told me he would make the clubs to the specs that I ask for. I didn't particularly want to have this discussion over the oob boards, but I felt it necessary to comment on the example that was obviously me and obviously not what we talked about.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Andrew - if you are going to delete it when I curse, can you also check my spelling? I bricked on presumptUous.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
I talked to Terry and all is right with the world. I'm still looking forward to playing my wedges, and the bottom line is that after discussing it with Terry and Tom (Eidolon's clubbuilder), they are going to make the clubs to the specs I originally requested. So, now I'll get off MY soapbox.
3/30/10
 
Ward says:
this is some funny stuff right here!
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Yeah, things got a little out of hand there for a minute.
3/30/10
 
KVSmith59 says:
lol
3/30/10
 
wedgeguy says:
Just for clarification, Twues17 and I had a conversation with regard to this, and I believe he now understands that I was not even thinking of him when I wrote this post this morning. For the record, we discussed his needs last week and we are, in fact, building his wedges to the specs he defined earlier. The story was rhetorical, and today's post was to address the specific question from Isaac, and to make the point that to fit a swing flaw . . . if that is what a fitter does . . .locks the golfer into that flaw. We do build clubs outside my general parameters that I mentioned in the post, as we did for him, but only after we have a chance to have a personal conversation with the golfer. After all, we can't "fit" over the phone or online, only guide our customers.
3/30/10
 
wedgeguy says:
For clarification, I write this post to entertain and hopefully help some of the thousands who read it. I will never "attack" a customer of EIDOLON's relate rhetorical stories. I will not use an actual customer experience without clearing it with that person first, and I think you all will agree that I do not use this blog as a constant sales pitch for our wedges. What I'm trying to do is offer insights from my experience as a lifelong student of the game and 30-year veteran of the golf industry. There are few "rules" when it comes to golf clubs and fitting, but there are many when it comes to the proper way to strike a golf ball. Our challenge at EIDOLON, as it is at many niche golf companies who really care about our golfers, is to figure out how to help each customer play better.
3/30/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Let me apologize to everyone for my outburst. I incorrectly assumed that the example in the article was me, simply because I had a similar conversation with Terry. Terry and Eidolon have shown me nothing but the utmost respect and have gone above and beyond in regards to customer service. It's actually a testament to the quality of the company to know that they would even bother to follow up with me when they saw the specs I was requesting. So, I didn't mean to offend anyone or fly off the handle, I simply misinterpreted what Terry was saying and blew things out of proportion.
3/30/10
 
birdieXris says:
i feel like hugging.
3/30/10
 
Agustin says:
Please accept my sincere apologies if my comments upset anybody or added any fuel to this fire. I'm happy all is well now.
3/30/10
 
JDoughMO says:
uh.......Hey did you guys hear that Tiger is going to play the Masters?
3/30/10
 
69ssrat says:
eidolon won't return or try to solve problems with anyone dissatified with them
3/30/10
 
SingleDigits says:
@scotland. I probably didn't ask my question very well... my sense is that irons are bent to a certain lie so that the grooves on the face are parallel to the ground when striking the ball. If that is important for irons, why doesn't the same reasoning apply to drivers, where the length of the shaft will create a greater deviation from parallel than, let's say, a wedge.
3/30/10
 
svj says:
lol, jdough... wedgeguy, i been wondering about fitting for long time and it did clear up some stuff and for that im grateful.
3/31/10
 
brianshaffer32 says:
Hopefully I can get some feedback on this but what about shaft fitting? Would that be better to get fitted for including irons?
3/31/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@69ssrat- don't know if you're just looking to stir up more trouble, but if this mess of a comments proves anything, it's that EIDOLON does in fact care when someone is dissatisfied.
3/31/10
 
wedgeguy says:
69ssrat,

Please contact me today so that I can explore your issue and problem and get it fixed. If your "fell through the cracks", I personally apologize, and will fix it today. Email me at terry@eidolongolf.com and I'll respond with a phone call.

Terry
3/31/10
 
Banker85 says:
Twues: no one would have known it was you if you didnt say anything. On the other hand i know the feeling of fitters making you feel like you suck, saying "why fit you with that awful swing?" how about because i am paying you jag off! and Terry, sorry not that i have a problem with it but you are always using this blog to push/sell Eidolon wedges. Its all good.
3/31/10
 
Bryan K says:
Back to the original issue...

I had myself fitted for a driver over the winter. The guy who fitted me seemed more concerned about the shaft than any other aspect of the club, and he even asked me if I was comfortable with my swing before we started assembling. After reading Terry's post, the questions he asked now make a lot more sense. It seems that the seller of my club built a club that I will have to learn to use properly. Meanwhile, the shaft is the one part of the club that can be tweaked to make my inconsistent swing as consistent as possible. My swing speed was too fast for a flex shaft, and not fast enough for a stiff shaft.
3/31/10
 
TWUES17 says:
Yeah, sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain can process what I'm saying. In a way, just because I knew it was me was enough to say something. But, to reiterate, I talked to Terry and he is a good, honest guy and we came to an agreement, so I've got no hard feelings and my posts were never really meant to be a criticism of Eidolon, more of a counterargument to Terry's thesis...although you wouldn't have known it based on how negative my responses were.
3/31/10
 
Agustin says:
Having the proper shaft for your swing does wonders for all golfers (novice to accomplished). It is the one aspect that varies the most as the swing develops. Length and lie should remain pretty much constant once a golfer develops a consistent swing they are happy with. The proper shaft however will change over time as we adjust our swing tempo and speed and our bodies age.
3/31/10
 
georgelohr says:
I'm a 20 handicapper...I play with guys ranging from scratch to 36. We use a wide variety of clubs, but they are all standard lie (one guy does have his irons and wedges lengthened by 1"). None of us have been "fit" to use what's in our bag. My question is...how much money are people willing to spend to NOT be a better player? I'm not against finding a set of clubs that works well for you, but "fitting". What's to say you spend $1,000.00 to get "fit" for that set of Pings that look so swell, just to find out you'd hit the off-the-rack Clevelands better for less money. But you never thought of getting fit for the Clevelands/Titleists/Mizunos. How do you truly know what club "fits" you best? I guess in the back of my head, when I have a bad round, I'd be wondering if I was really "fit" properly.
3/31/10
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Brian Shaffer, @bjohn13, and @Augustin: Amen.

A player should be fit to the swing they *need* to make, by a man or woman who is capable of recognizing what swing a student *can* AND *needs* to make to begin playing reasonably well. Had I had someone even remotely competent at doing this when I purchased my first "real" set of clubs in 1988, I might not have given up the game for eight years not only because of the frustration over having purchased completely ill-fitting clubs. The same is true for the @#$%--- incompetent advice I got years before from a person who had no *&%$--- business masquerading as an even remotely trustworthy high school golf coach. (Stick to teaching geometry!!! @#$%!!!)

For ANY beginner, it is worth spending a little extra time to try to get it as close to "ideal" as possible -- ESPECIALLY if the new golfer is a kid or a woman who might otherwise dislike the game.
4/1/10
 
SteveS says:
Shaft is the ticket. How much of a difference can a fitting make when we are talking about 1* difference in lie and 1/2" in length. I believe you have more than that of a variation during the swing. C'mon - why do most OEM increase the length of graphite shafts over steel; I know because of swingweight, but the lie angle is the same; so what gives there. Also, a golfer can make that 1* of difference just in their stance-as Terry points out by bending more at the hips. Taller guys always seem to have longer arms - don't they. Also these clubheads are made with lie angles of +/- difference in angle, and this can even change after hitting the club for some time especially using softer steel clubheads. I believe the only real benefit in clubfitting is getting the right shaft; since the speed of your swing, transition to the downswing, and where one releases the clubhead is most critical.
4/1/10
 
Matt F says:
@69ssrat - My experience with Eidolon was nothing but good. There was a hiccup with the ordering system that resulted in ordering 6 clubs instead of 2. They were on the phone to me the next day to confirm how many clubs I wanted and made sure the refund on my CC went through quickly. They absolutely bent over backwards to help me, so, as far as I'm concerned their customer service is beyond reproach.

Matt
4/1/10
 
bortass says:
Terry, got scenario/question for ya. I got a 'fitting' many years ago. They basically looked at me and said what I needed because I was tall.My swing at the time was garbage. My scores ranged from 60 - 70 per 9.

I've started to seriously take lessons and work on my swing, so it's getting better over the last 2 years. I also realised my fitting wasn't really much of a fitting. I saw a different fitter over the winter and he looked over my clubs and swing for no charge. He felt my shafts were ok but he pointed out I didn't need +1 inch shafts that I had be 'fitted' to.

Now my question. I just started to mimic the grip and setup that Hogan has in his 5 lessons book and I started to hit the ball fat. Your comment about the +2 inch shaft possibly cause a fat shot 1 foot behind the ball with a more correct swing made me wonder if that is what I saw last night, granted I was 6 inches or so fat. Is that a possibility? I don't normally hit the ball fat BTW.
4/1/10
 
ipv6freely says:
Great article. I always wondered about this. People kept suggesting I get fit, but is getting fit to a bad swing a good idea? Probably not.
4/1/10
 
SingleDigits says:
p.s. I think ball fitting is frequently overlooked. A good fitter will look at your swing speed, your spin rate off different clubs and how much sidespin you generate and then match you to a ball that gives you maximum distance while also performing around the green. I'm guessing that very little science is applied to ball selection by most golfers -- there are folks who buy ProV1s when they could get better performance from a Noodle and vice versa.
4/1/10
 
sierra164 says:
everyone just hug it out
4/1/10
 
sepfeiff says:
I would just try to put balls over the netting all day in that picture above.
4/1/10
 
Eric Duquene says:
Who actually pays for club fittings? The range I go to has professionally trained fitters (they get flown out to ping, nike, etc to learn how to fit their clubs) and usually spends a couple hours when you want to buy a set or a driver. This is all complimentary as long as you make the purchase.
4/11/10
 
69ssrat says:
well I am just stating fact and resorted to this post to get Terry to respond to the problem
4/12/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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