Many beginner golfers wrongly believe that they are not good enough to get a club fitting. This could not be further from the truth, because beginners actually have the most to gain from using equipment that is suited to their swing.
Golf is a difficult enough sport without using clubs that are not suited to you. As a beginner it is easy to get disillusioned with how challenging golf can seem, but getting fitted for a set of clubs can go a long way to aiding your improvement.
In this article we will look at how beginners can benefit from fitted clubs, whether they are worth the cost and what to look out for when you are getting fitted.
What is a golf club fitting?
A golf club fitting is a session with a golf professional or expert fitter where they customize the clubs to suit your specific swing. As well as looking at your swing the fitting will normally involve the use of a launch monitor. This allows the fitter to analyse the specific data and show you the differences first-hand.
Good fitters will also spend time talking to you about your golfing goals and budget. This can help them to make a recommendation within your price range and that is most likely to last through potential improvements.
The fittings will take into account every element of the golf club. They will look at clubhead style, loft, lie, weight, shaft length and grips. The set-up of your clubs will be influenced by many factors including your height, technique, swing speed and skill.
Every golfer has a unique swing, so having clubs that match will optimise your performance.
How will fitted clubs help a beginner?
The number one reason that beginner golfers avoid getting fitting golf clubs is there is a misconception that they are only for better golfers. This could not be further from the truth. Beginners could actually have the most to gain from getting fitted clubs.
When you are a beginner the golf clubs that you start with are going to have an impact on your overall technique. Yet many beginners will use golf clubs that are off-the-rack or handed down to them. Chances are, these clubs are not going to fit. For example, if you learn the game with clubs that are too long for you then it is likely you will stand too far away from the golf ball and develop a languid ineffective swing. Badly fitted clubs can cause bad habits that then become muscle memory and harder to fix.
So, by using fitted clubs you are making it easier to develop good technique. Receiving golf lessons from a qualified coach should obviously be a priority for beginners, but properly fitted clubs can give you a headstart compared to most beginners.
Beginners also have most to gain from the use of modern game improvement technology. Manufacturers have developed clubs to maximize forgiveness and support for people new to the game. Getting fitted for these clubs will make a noticeable difference to a beginner compared with an old set of bladed irons designed for better golfers. Game improvement clubs are designed to lessen the severity of mishit shots, which are common for beginners. This is only going to make the game easier and more enjoyable when you are first starting your golfing journey.
Is getting fitted worth the cost?
There is another reason for many beginners to bypass a golf club fitting. Cost.
When first starting out the game it is common to try and spend as little as possible to get started. After all, why spend lots of money if you are not going to enjoy it?
Well, a reputable fitter could actually save you money. This might sound counterintuitive, but a good fitter is not going to rip you off and just sell you the most expensive golf clubs possible. They will recommend good value clubs within your budget that are suited to a beginner and your swing.
Golf is a sport that many people take up for life and club fitters have much more to gain from keeping beginners happy in the hope of repeat customers. They are more likely to get recommendations this way. Plus, many fitters are also teaching professionals, so they will be hoping to build a relationship to become your coach as well.
Many club fitters will also recommend beginners start with a reduced set of five-to-seven clubs. Therefore, you can avoid making an expensive mistake by buying the wrong clubs and you can save some money by not getting a full-set straight away.
On top of this, club fittings are generally much cheaper for beginners. There are a whole host of adjustments offered by golf manufacturers that are free when you buy their clubs and the club fitter will sometimes waive their fitting fee if you buy clubs from them. Additional costs come from purchasing premium shaft and grip upgrades. However, for a beginner golfer no good fitter will recommend these as you will not see the benefit.
Unless you pick the game up incredibly quickly it is unlikely you will need to change clubs completely for a while. However, as your technique improves it is likely your swing will change quite drastically. This means that you might need to consider adjustments in your shafts or club set-up. It is worth checking in with your club fitter after significant changes for their opinion.
What should beginners look for with their clubs?
Every beginner golfer is different, which is the whole reason club fittings are so important. However, there are some key factors that a club fitter will look at and some common traits that most beginners share.
Club fitters will look at the lofts of the clubs to choose. Most beginners will benefit from using higher lofted clubs to help get the ball airborne quicker.
This will be determined by your height. It is important for getting the correct posture and helping to make more consistent contact with the ball.
The flexibility of the shaft you are using is one of the most important factors to get right with your golf clubs. The club fitter will look at your swing speed and suggest the most suitable option. Any golfer playing with the wrong shaft is likely to struggle with their swing and performance.
Do not be deterred by the ‘label’ on the shaft, because many beginners could benefit from the most flexible shaft options when starting out. This might be a senior or ladies shaft, even if you do not necessarily fit into this ‘category’.
The design of the clubhead will be based upon your skill level and swing, but the majority of beginners will simply require the most forgiving model available. A modern game improvement clubhead will allow for the most support on mishits to make the game easier for beginners.
The grip should be appropriate thickness based on the size of your hands
The overall style of the club will be the most varied depending on your specific swing, skill and goals. In general, the majority of beginners will favor lighter clubs, with a larger appearance and avoid all long irons.
Beginners playing with ill-fitted clubs are far more likely to develop bad swing habits and struggle for progression. By getting fitted clubs, beginners are likely to find golf more enjoyable and will see the benefits in their results.
Golf is a difficult sport to learn and every beginner should take all the extra support available to them. Having fitted clubs is no substitute for lessons and practice, but it can certainly make the journey of progression that bit easier.
Hopefully this article has helped show you that golf club fittings are not just for better players and they are going to be of benefit to any golfer. They are also not as expensive as you likely think. But if you are still not sure, find a local fitter and have a discussion about your budget. Customer service is at the forefront for any good fitter and they will always do their best to help.