Golf club fitting - is it really necessary?
I’ve been playing for more than 10 years now, I started fairly late in life which is one of my regrets, but now I’m hooked - and occasionally sliced! but always back for more each week.
I was given my first driver by my friendly neighbour who had it since he was a youth, and not trying to be rude, but that was clearly a while ago. I bought a set of second hand irons and I was good to go. My game improved, of a fashion, my handicap shrunk and I needed more from my clubs, so I bought another set of irons and even a 3 and 5 wood and a driver - and yes you've guessed it - they were all second hand. I didn’t just pop into the golf shop and say I want those because they are nice and shiny and match my bag, I did go in the net and hit a few balls, but to be honest, I had no idea what I was looking for or what it should feel like - except I did know that when I did catch the ball right, I didn't feel a thing a bit like a hot knife through butter - all these clubs gave me that in the main.
So here I am 10 years down the line and wondering what the hype is about having clubs fitted.
I’ve had lessons with Tim Hall, one of Nike specialists. Tim is my pro and he has helped me enormously, despite me being a bit of an irregular golfer, he perseveres with me and me with the game. Talking to Tim about club fitting he suggested I tried the new Nike Vapors when they came out early 2015.
So here I am in Tim’s ‘lab’ The lab is amazing, fitted with all sorts of gadgets and wizardry to read everything but your inside leg and Tim is in control, he knows what is going on, me - I just hit balls with whichever club Tim gives me.
Lines on the screen start to appear in similar directions a bit like a spider dipped in ink. They soon tell the tale about my golf and whilst some spiders do take an alternative route, most are heading in the same direction.
Tim makes notes, and passes me another club. He doesn’t grumble or pass judgement, even when I mess things up he just smiles, encourages me not to worry and goes about his analytics passing me club after club to hit.
I have to say, the Nike vapors are easy to hit, they do feel comfortable and I felt as though I was getting along just fine I was fitted for the A flex shafts - a mens seniors shaft seems to suit me. The suite of clubs consist of a couple of hybrids 23 and 26 degrees which equate to a 4 and 5 iron, a five wood and a driver plus irons ranging from 9 up to 6. Measurements are made from general ball striking.
I’m done - it took an hour, an hour of Tim making notes and me happily chatting hitting balls.
So what of the fitting?
Well girls I can only liken it to one thing - bra fitting. I’m sorry chaps, but bear with me on this one. You can buy a bra, you can wear that bra and it will do what it needs to do, but go for a bra fitting and all of a sudden you’re in Dolly Parton country, and Im not talking singing! Everything you wear looks good in your new DP bra. Club fitting is the same; yes you can buy the golf clubs ‘off the shelf’ you can even buy them off internet auction sites and they will do the job, but go for a fitting and you’ve got your own clubs just for you. But, from my personal experience, having clubs fitted by your own golf pro - the person you turn to when you start to hit a massive slice, can’t putt for toffee or a quick chat about golf and he can help you ten-fold. In short he knows you, your game and how you strike a ball and come in with unbiased suggestions or alternatives.
Should I have been fitted from the outset?
Yes is the short answer, it could have helped me sooner, most likely would have given me more confidence sooner too but, like most people I have been under the misunderstanding that I only need a club fitting once I’m at a decent level to warrant it -Wrong….
I’m looking forward to playing with my new Nike Vapors over the next few weeks and after a couple weeks of play, I pop along to Tim and get tweaked - I think thats a bit like buying a new bike and going back after a few weeks to have the chain tightened back up?
So move over Dolly, Nike Vapor is in town.
Next posting - how I actually got along with the Nike Vapors and what Tim says next!
p.s. everyone needs a Tim.