Hitting the Lottery: A Hacker's Guide to Golf Club Fitting

Philpug

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This thread is for the general discussion of the Article Hitting the Lottery. A hacker's guide to golf club fitting. Please add to the discussion here.
 

Jim Kenney

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I ought to do this.
When it comes to golf I am like the old guy you see on a $5000 ski vacation using beat-up beginner skis. This is despite the fact that I play about 20 rounds per year with my crap clubs.
 
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Philpug

Philpug

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I ought to do this.
When it comes to golf I am like the old guy you see on a $5000 ski vacation using beat-up beginner skis. This is despite the fact that I play about 20 rounds per year with my crap clubs.
Yup. While I cannot wait to play and get adjusted to the new clubs, I could immediately feel the difference just striking the ball.
 

crgildart

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I see more used golf clubs at thrift stores than all the other kinds of sports equipment combined. Is that the equivalent of trying to buy a turn. buying a swing??

All for modifying what you got if possible. I do remember the first time I hit a metal wood though. then oversized metal woods.. WOOT WOOT!!
 

dbostedo

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Is that the equivalent of trying to buy a turn. buying a swing??
Absolutely. I know folks who buy clubs frequently, thinking "this will be the one". Unfortunately, there's a real effect, be it from confidence, attitude, focus or whatever, where buying new clubs tends to make you play better, but only for a little while (there's an old Golf Magazine or Golf Digest article/survey that indicated that probably 10 years ago). Then it's off to buy new clubs again.
 

crgildart

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Absolutely. I know folks who buy clubs frequently, thinking "this will be the one". Unfortunately, there's a real effect, be it from confidence, attitude, focus or whatever, where buying new clubs tends to make you play better, but only for a little while (there's an old Golf Magazine or Golf Digest article/survey that indicated that probably 10 years ago). Then it's off to buy new clubs again.
Hawthorne effect
 

dbostedo

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Hawthorne effect
Maybe? Hard to say. From what I recall, it wasn't like they only had people golf with/for the researchers. I think it was more of a survey/study of folks who had bought new clubs before the season, and how their scores progressed/changed from last season through the current one.
 

Living Proof

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@Philpug and I happened to be in a phone discussion, he told me of his upcoming golf club fitting with Cobra golf. He told me the goal was to get clubs something like the K2 Recon, I took that to mean "not real high tech, something usable by casual golfer". I smiled to myself and thought "Right?", this most technology oriented ski dude is going to settle for the ordinary, the mundane.? When pigs fly. I checked out some Cobra gear, one type of 2021 irons got great reviews for game-improvement clubs, sent him some suggestions. Following the fitting, Phil sent me a list of what he bought, no surprise...the LTDx irons are much higher tech than the K2 Recon. I still smile at that analogy!

Of the fitting options, going to a manufactures local area fitting specialist, and, hitting outdoors has some major benefits. It's akin to being at a ski demo day and having your brand rep there with a full inventory of skis, ski them until you are happy with the pair that pleases you most. Golf manufacturers reps are very knowledgeable, they want to get you into whatever it takes to makesthe flight of your golf ball appealing to you. They will have electronic golf ball flight technology and will know, within a few swings, about what should work for you, by looking at the numbers your swing generates. Data rules. How you choose the specific brand to demo is a discussion for another day. Check with your local golf club, the have manufactures demo days periodically.

The more common fitting is going to an indoor golf shop fitting range, and, having multiple brands available. Your results are all computer generated. Doubtful that the tech who does the fitting is equal to a manufactures rep, but, there are specials shop exceptions. Expect to pay for fitting, perhaps get it refunded if you buy.

A quick mention, modern golf iron sets advertise greater distance as a selling point. The downside can be lower flight shape that lets the ball run through the green. It's not all about distance.

Phil's fitting is unusual in that he got a complete set. Most golfers focus on being irons and drivers at different times. Finances may be one reason, just figuring out one equipment change takes a fair amount of time.

So, I'm looking forward to getting updates soon when the new gear gets tested. A common thought in golf is gear upgrades are warranted about every 5 years from a technology standpoint. The Cobra's should bring a periodic smile to Phil's face, while his swing will produce many more frowns.
 

Jim Kenney

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LP, can you give us some pricing guestimates for this kind of service? For fitting and for clubs? I am playing with a five year old set of Orlimar clubs I got through a military exchange for $200 new. :P Cheap as Orlimar is, they were a big improvement over my 1990 clubs that they replaced.
 

VickieH

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@Living Proof -- you and I are typing at the same time and touching on the same topics! I'm sharing my recent experience, but I'm new at this. Please correct me if I'm represented something incorrectly.

I ought to do this.
Yes, you should. Though I did not.

I tried golf about 30 years ago and then gave it up. Last summer, I dragged out my 30 y/o beginner clubs and headed into some group lessons. Went to the range 5 days a week to get the basics going. Then out onto the course. I played 9 holes 2-3 times a week.

From the beginning, I was ready for new clubs. Technology has changed. My coach was not ready. He discourages people trying to buy a better round vs getting out on the range and putting in the work. But after seeing my commitment, he was ok with talking about clubs. Either that, or I wore him down. :roflmao:

I considered a custom fitting -- researched it, talked to fitters. But I don't have the consistency I think I need in order to benefit from it, or even for a fitter to be sure we were heading in the right direction. This season is about building and refining my swing. It felt as if I'd be getting custom-made ski boots just before having foot surgery. So I decided to take an intermediate step and purchase the Callaway Reva:

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These clubs should support development for quite a while. The Callaway fitter at the demo day said I'll never need another set of clubs. "Need"? Whatever does that mean?

The Callaway demo day was interesting. There were up to 6 people demoing clubs at one time. The rep/fitter was watching everyone, recommending changes and swapping out parts. It was fun to hear the accolades of the men ... wow'd by the changes they were seeing as the result of her recommendations. She really knows her stuff.

That demo day was at a local course and was strictly for Callaway (though the pro shop let me take out their Ping demo iron). They have demo days for other brands later this month.

There are also a couple of other avenues for custom fitting -- (1) box stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, etc and (2) companies like Club Champion. I did some research as I was trying to determine the best next step for me.

Club fitting at box stores starts with the 7 iron. They go through the various brands and components they have and recommend a set based on those findings. They may do the same with the driver before settling on a recommendation -- I'm not sure. You pay a fitting fee up front. 100% of that is applied to your purchase. There may be time constraints or other conditions for getting that discount. Other people advised me that the recommendations may be influenced by stock the company is trying to promote or rotate out.

Club Champion is more brand-agnostic. They also start with the 7 iron, but IIRC, they take you thru more clubs. The clubs are built to order. Their service fee was about the same as the box stores, but it is not applied to your purchase except during promotion periods. During those promotions, I believe they apply 50% of the fitting fee to your purchase.

I assume all of these fitting services are willing to work within people's budget constraints, but I will verify that before I go for a fitting when the time is right for me. OTOH, I suspect golf club brands are much like ski brands and that I could pick a brand and work with that brand's rep and get a great solution for me.

The Cobra's should bring a periodic smile to Phil's face, while his swing will produce many more frowns.

Same here with the Revas! My holiday gift to me was prepaid private lessons -- on range and on course -- this year. Maybe I bought a few more smiles!
 
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Living Proof

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LP, can you give us some pricing guestimates for this kind of service? For fitting and for clubs? I am playing with a five year old set of Orlimar clubs I got through a military exchange for $200 new. :P Cheap as Orlimar is, they were a big improvement over my 1990 clubs that they replaced.
Jim,
The East Coast Big Box Store for clubs is Golf Galaxy, I know they are in the DC area. Their iron fitting rate is $100, and is fully credited to the purchase price. Top line 2022 irons (Ping, Callway, Taylor Made, Cobra etc., like Phils, ballpark around $1000. (UGH!). My last 2 purchases were 1 year old new sets, can be had for abut $600.
 

VickieH

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Golf Galaxy here (Denver area) is $100 for driver fitting, $100 for irons fitting, $300 for whole bag fitting (includes a 30-minute lesson).

Club Champion is $175 (driver), $175 (irons), $400 (whole bag).

I expected to be paying $2-3K for a custom-fitted set.

Manufacturer demo days at my local course are free. The golf course then gives 10% off on the purchase.
 

chip inderhol

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First off, Vickie, DON"T pay 100 dollars for a driver fitting. They are stealing from you. There are pro shops / driving ranges that will have a proper fitting area and not charge you. You're paying hundreds for a driver already. The reality of proper fitting is that it's not just the club. The shaft plays an important role as well. As well as the grip size. The great thing is, a proper shop will have all the heads, and then you can try with different shafts. And different lies. It takes some time, and in my opinion multiple trips. Also, I never hit balls into a net. Trajectory and shape tell a story. And Phil, good for you for getting a good fit, if I make it down there this summer I would love to slap it around with you.
 

Jim Kenney

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good stuff.
btw, i'm a hacker, have played golf casually since age 10, never too frequently until retirement age, then more rounds. best was about 30 yrs ago when i was a bogey golfer. now i'm lucky to break 100.
 

Living Proof

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@VickieH , thanks for contributing your insights and experience, you did very well in expanding the purchase options. I like the your Reva entire set make-up that combines irons, hybrids and woods in a single purchase. This past fall, my local club was selling off their rental top-notch complete Calloway 14 club set for $1500.

My thought in golf is the archer is more important than the arrow. Ok, substitute golfer and club. Any pro I took a lesson from could pickup my club and just pure it. I am working on my swing all the time, I think I enjoy the learning process more than playing. Perhaps like skiers, we are over-equipped and under-techniqued.

@Jim Kenney
Just as a point of reference, like a golf website My Golf Spy. In 2021, they had the Cobra F Max iron set rated as top game improvement club, it's available for less than $600 now. If you might be interested in Taylor Made M4 irons in Sr. flex, maybe we could deal. I find them too light.
 

scott43

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*Looking AWAY from this thread....*
I just keep hitting my 1990whatever muscle back irons and a Callaway driver that someone gave me because they sliced it all day long. I have to open it 30 degrees in my grip to not hook it!! Nice working the ball with those irons though..
 
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