When is the ideal time for amateurs to get fit for golf clubs? How much experience should they have?
21 Professionals Contributed
Sooner rather than later
The answer to this question comes in two parts.
First, if the player is not of normal size, they should be fit as soon as they can. A player who is too tall or too short or has any other physical issue should be fit ASAP so that they have the best chance to learn a fundamental swing. This is especially true for juniors. I have spent years watching young kids try and swing their parent’s clubs and develop some bad habits.
If the player is “average” size, then they can play standard clubs for a while. The thing is, a good fitter will have the player try multiple versions and multiple brands of the same club to see what is best for the player. If the player can’t hit the ball semi-consistently in terms of just solid contact, then they won’t be able to tell which club is best for them. The player does NOT need to be hitting straight, or a draw to get fit. They just need a semi repeatable pattern. Once that happens, they can get fit any time.
I think it all depends on how long they have been playing and what kind of priority golf is in their life, as well as financial situation.
I believe beginners should get a quality box set. I have had a lot of success with beginners getting the Strata Ultimate box set from Callaway. The Strata Ultimate comes with a real Titanium driver, not a Titanium composite type driver. I believe it sells somewhere between $400.00 and $500.00. The way I explain it is they are taking proven technology from a couple of years ago and putting into their box set.
If you are an avid golfer playing and practicing multiple times a week you should consider getting fit, especially if you can afford it. Whether you get lessons or not, if you have played a long time you probable have a swing that is repeating. For some people that may not be a good thing, maybe get some lessons. However what I mean is if you are going to take the time and spend the money your swing needs to be somewhat repeatable. This is what the club fitter is looking for.
If your swing is all over the place it will make it very difficult for the club fitter to zero in on what your tendencies are. If the toe of the club is digging on one swing and the heal of the club is digging on another swing it is going to be difficult for the club fitter to zero in on what you need.
I also don’t recommend getting fitted for clubs before you start taking lessons. You may need some swing corrections and that can change how your clubs interact with your new swing.
It depends. In my world of junior golfers, the right fit is key because trying to play golf with clubs that are too long and too heavy usually creates a non-golfer. Almost completely gone are the days when dad takes a hacksaw to his old set so that they are close the right length but way to heavy & stiff. However, we still see kids show up for lessons with “Junior” clubs that don’t fit. Use this analogy when thinking about your kids golf experience…Let’s say the child wants to run track or play soccer. Would you ever consider giving him your shoes because they’ll grow into them or because they are clearly a better quality shoe? No, they would trip, stumble, fall down and eventually kick them off so they can run. We fit by height and use the U.S. Kids Golf Ultra Light clubs to get our beginners started right. They have 9 sizes so you can fit any kid between 39″ tall and 63″ tall with the right size, right shaft flex, and right weight for an inexpensive price.
For beginner adults, especially women, it’s also important to get some clubs that are the right length, weight & shaft flex for the same reason. If you use some old clubs lent to you by your well meaning friend, chances are you’ll reach the conclusion that this game is just too hard for you. However, get a few clubs that are the right specs and the game will come much easier.
For the avid adults & juniors, a complete fitting session is well worth the trouble and expense. A good fitter can optimize your ball flight, distance and control by piecing together the right head, shaft & grip size. An avid golfer would be one who plays more than once per month. A set of clubs, custom fit for you will last several years. The only club you may want to get re-fit for every couple of years is the driver because the advancements are worth a few extra yards, every couple of years.
So, for beginners; Get clubs that make the game easy. Focus on light weight, right length, and shaft flex. The grip should be the right diameter too. In fact, it’s a good idea to get your first club with a training grip installed.
For the avid golfer; Get a fitting. It will save you a few shots per round and perhaps give you reason to play more.
Senior Director, Academy Development
U.S. Kids Golf, Longleaf Golf & Family Club
Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Southern Pines, NC
I’ve been fitting golf clubs for over 25 years. My experience has shown that anytime you are investing in 1 club, or a set of clubs, it’s absolutely in your best interest to be fit for the club your purchasing.
Hey, I get it, fitting is more time and possibly more investment into just 1 club. But why would you use a club if it did not fit you? Doing so is like wearing a pair of pants that are way too small or way too big for you. The difference is golf clubs have such smaller level of tolerances than wearing a 32 inch waste pant versus say a 36 inch waste. You can tell the difference in the pants. Can you, the amateur golfer, really know the difference between a 2 degree upright iron and a 1/2 standard lie iron? Can you really tell the difference in your spin rate between a driver set at 8 degrees and one that is set at 9 degrees?
Take the extra time to get fit. It’s worth it. And if you are going to invest a sizeable amount of money in a new driver or set of clubs, why not hire the services of an expert fitter to insure the golf clubs you’re investing in fit you properly?
PGA Master Professional
President, North Florida Section – PGA of America
John Hughes Golf, Kissimmee, FL
Fit time is as soon as possible when thinking about new clubs or a first set. It’s virtually impossible to develop a consistent golf swing without the right equipment. Poor posture develops from the wrong length, poor path and face position from the wrong lie, poor grip from the wrong grip size and all kinds of issues from the wrong shaft, not to mention the problems with the wrong club head and set make up.
Experience is not necessary. Even if a golfer can’t hit 2 shots in a row the same, a good fitter can put something in their hands that will fit. A good fitter needs to have some teaching skills too and can make suggestions to help the less than skilled player. As the player improves minor adjustments can be made.
You wouldn’t walk out of a clothing store with a suit that needs to be altered. Don’t buy a stock, off the rack, set of clubs.
Do Your Research!
This is a topic that customers and students ask all the time. Someone who is new to the game usually doesn’t need to get fit. However if they are tall or shorter they should definitely look for clubs that are a appropriate length. Also a important component even for beginners is finding a proper shaft that will allow them to develop proper fundamentals right from the beginning. I see too many beginners that start with clubs that are too heavy, particularly women, and they fight the weight and start using the wrong set of muscles. Conversely I will see a beginning male golfer who lets say is a construction worker or a strong athlete and they find a set that is too light and they cannot control the club. There is such a abundance of great used clubs available that they should go to a reputable store and asks questions on what would be the best way to get started. In regards to when its time to get fit, I believe when a golfer begins to see a fairly regular pattern of solid contact and ball flight and they now have established the initial awareness of swing concepts then it is time to get fit. When a golfer gets to that point they should do a fair amount of research as to what all the different aspects of fitting entails. I have fit many different golfers and it is amazing that they don’t know what lie angle, shaft flex, kick point in the shaft is. Also a very underrated part of the fitting is what size grip would benefit them the most.
Clearly there is an endless amount of information on the internet, so I would recommend to any amateur that has developed to the point where they can strike the ball reasonably well that they research the elements of fitting online or go into a store that is known for being expert fitters and ask questions. Too many golfers just walk into a store and they are sold clubs that don’t even belong in their bag. For example I see way too many amateurs carrying a 3 wood and they haven’t developed enough clubhead speed to launch it high enough into the air from off the turf to get any carry distance. The majority of recreational golfers are much better off carrying a 5 wood which will launch it higher and they will hit it farther than a 3 wood. So my biggest suggestion is work on your game to the point you can hit it solid about 60-70% of the time then do some in depth research about the fitting process. After that they go through a fitting with a understanding of the language and will be able to ask questions to the fitter.
At what point is club fitting necessary
When a beginning golfer starts to play the game, they often don’t think they want to invest in a good set of custom fit clubs. They aren’t good enough. Well, I’d say at the very least they should take a lesson or two and have their professional check to make sure the equipment they have is suitable. Chances are they are using hand me downs, and while they can be just fine, I know of one individual who “inherited” a set of Hogan irons–I bought them off him–that were all 6 degrees flat in lie angle. In other words, completely unplayable except for Ben himself. Another student was “hitting from the top” with a standard ladies’ set, and when I properly fit her that move vanished without comment or instruction because the new club did not have a built in slice for her.
A good fitter can also save you money by eliminating the purchase of “useless” clubs which can come with a standard set. For example, a beginning golfer often can do just fine with a two lofted woods, five irons, two wedges and putter.
When to get fit ?!?
I think anyone that is using clubs that are an obvious misfit. I.e. too long , too short , too heavy, too light, lie angles are extreme, etc. and have developed some decent fundamentals and reasonable consistency to there motion, and shot pattern !!
80% of golfers have never been fit according to the NGF. Even beginners need to be fit in a static fashion, taking measurements and using an educated guess by a knowledgeable fitter. To truly fit someone we need a somewhat repeating swing motion. Best done on grass outdoors where ball flight can be seen and all clubs hit from turf that are meant for that use.
For heavens sake, even get your wedges and putter fit. It will make a world of difference.
Once You Groove A Swing
You shouldn’t get custom fit for clubs until you’ve actually grooved a somewhat efficient swing, hitting the ball consistently in the air with distance and somewhat straight. Experience isn’t quite as important as long as you can hit the ball somewhat efficiently, since everybody learns at a different pace.
Instruction before clubs
Amateurs need to get their swing closer to where they want it before getting fit for new clubs. Find a quality instructor and at least get some advice on the proper grip set up and pivot. Then a club fitter will put you in the clubs that will fit.
Best time amateurs should get fit...
Hello golfing world,
The best time for amateurs to get fit for clubs is, as soon as they are committed to playing golf. Utilizing your own equipment while practicing and or playing makes such a difference in your dedication to improve.
I would say as long as #1 they are at least a high schooler or older, mostly because of strength purposes. And they are consistently shooting 90’s or below. Most golfers might not realize how big of an impact a set up properly fitting clubs can have on their golf game. It is a must for the ones that are serious about making improvements in their game.
PGA Golf Professional
Director of Instruction
Canyon Crest Country Club, Riverside, CA
Genuine beginners should start out with a simple set. 3 wood, 7, 9, pitch, putter. Work back from green to tee. If you set a realistic goal (par) for each player…could be anything from 36 to 86…keep them enthralled!!! Talk to your students about what they want to achieve…and guide them to their experiences and goals. You must encourage them to seek improvement. That is our goal’s as PGA PROFESSIONAL’S!!!
PGA Golf Professional
Chris Rudi Golf Services, Mishawaka, IN
Drive the Best Piece You Can
I think once a player has some kind of consistent move in their golf swing that puts the club face on the ball, it’s time to get fit. If you’re driving a 72 VW Beetle and I’m in a 2020 V8 BMW, I’m blowing you away every time and it’s not even a contest. If a player’s clubs aren’t somewhat fit, they may give up the game before they even know what they are doing. They don’t need the entire set but just 6 clubs that are built to their specs will make a world of difference and I’m talking putters, wedges, irons and woods, any clubs they use should be correct for them. Let’s keep players in the game with the proper equipment!
PGA Golf Professional
Director of Instruction
Westin Mission Hills Resort, Rancho Mirage, CA
As Soon as they start
Students should be fit with golf clubs from the first day they play.
It is important that all golfers began with proper grip size shaft length shaft flex head weight and club set make up.
Many players develop bad swing habits because of incorrect starting equipment.
During the players development the coach can add clubs as necessary change clubs as the swing and golf skills develop and help the player to understand what the equipment is for and how to best use it.
Fitting Clubs for amateurs
This question comes up all the time during the initial interview with my students. The short answer is this: if you have played some golf and have clubs currently after a lesson or two I would suggest getting fit. If it is a brand new player, I recommend that we work the swing through 4 or 5 lessons and then get them fit. As we all know, clubs that fit us are exponentially better than clubs that do not. That said, the absolute beginner just needs proper swing mechanics before spending money on the correct fit.
Immediately. Don’t overthink it.
Similarly to the search for instruction, a Golfer should keep in mind that the fitter needs to see ‘The Miss’. Every Fitter I have met in the last year, be it Callaway, Taylormade, Mizuno, Titleist or the Instructor at a Green Grass Property has seen so many swings that they could fit you correctly based on any two sets of data points; impact tape, sound, ball flight, launch monitor metrics, slow motion video. If you like clothes that fit correctly, you’ll love clubs that fit correctly. It’s really that simple.
Club Fitting for Whom
So whom benefits from a club fitting?? Advanced, Intermediate, or Beginner and the answer is Beginner. By explain the benefits of having the Right Lenght, Lie Angle and Grip Size you sort of break down any barriers that a client may have. Though most in this case wait to take golf lessons I try to do it before hand so they have the right golf equipment.
Being fit for your golf clubs is one of the most important things you can do to help improve your game. Technology has come so far that we are now able to find the proper loft, lie, length, grip size, shaft, and head design in order for you to maximize the centenderness of the shot and give you the best playability. I use the TrackMan 4 and all the data points to accomplish the fitting process.
To answer this question best I use a formula, PGA Instruction + Club Performance Upgrades = Game Improvement
These two components work together, get fit soon so that wrong clubs will not have a bad influence on the swing, create bad habits and also frustrate you with your lesson experience.