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

ARL67

Invisible Airwaves Crackle With Life
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As you get into the season and need a few tips, might I suggest perusing the pearls of wisdom from Club Pro Guy channel on Youtube. Here are some valuable tips on dealing with slow players in front of you:

 

locknload

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I've been trying to apply the same focus and effort into golf for the last few years as I do to skiing in the winter. Somehow, I've been able to not get sucked into buying new clubs and partially that's because I got fit for irons and woods and feel comfortable that they are a good choice for where my game is right now. My clubs are probably 4. yrs old now. I finally found the right instructor and done my investing in lessons and my swing and it has made a big difference.

While its great to be a good putter, for me, it was more important to be able to get off the tee with some consistency and hit my irons well to get down the fairway reasonably well. My short game needs plenty of work, but my fun factor goes way up when I can get on/around the green without it being a struggle. For all the speed and rush of skiing, I love the slower tempo and mental grind of golf. It is a vicious and beautiful game and anyone who plays it for any length of time will learn humility. Very few people are naturals and even fewer can take that talent and work hard enough to be a really good golfer..you know it when you see it. There is very little room for error with the small, flat face of a golf club and it makes it so darn difficult. I came close to quitting many times..but I'm glad I stuck it out. Golf, like skiing, is likely going to be a lifetime journey.
 

dbostedo

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Somehow, I've been able to not get sucked into buying new clubs
I see two primary differences between skiing and golf that get me to buy new/multiple skis, but not buy more golf clubs:

1) You generally wouldn't have multiple clubs for different conditions. I.e. I wouldn't have a set of wet weather clubs, hard pack clubs, etc. But I certainly have different skis for that reason, and sometimes think about getting more.
2) Skiing is MUCH more about the feeling/response of your equipment, than the end state, for recreational skiers (i.e. those not actively racing). So I may have different skis just to have different performance and feeling as I'm acutally using the equipment; different turn radii, width, camber profiles, etc. all that are fun to play with. In golf, for the vast majority of people, the clubs that generally gets you the best final result (best score) are the best clubs. I'm not likely to say "I'd probably score a little better with those other clubs, but I like how the swing feels and the ball trajectory better on these other ones." ... Or "I know this course will be harder with these clubs, but I like the feedback they give me." I might - and do - say something like that with skis.
 

ELDoane

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So, to pursue the skiing metaphor, when are you good enough to benefit from a fitting? I would never tell a rank beginner to spring for a custom boot fitting, I'd at least wait until they were making parallel(ish) turns to do that. Out of the box and snug (as long as they don't have frankenfeet) is plenty good enough to get to easy blue skiing.

What's the equivalent for a golfer? I'm on lesson #5, currently shoot about a 61 per round. Oh, did I mention I play 9 hole course mostly? I hit ball real good, just not usually where I want it to go. No curving, mostly just a consistent straight pull when I come over the top (which is often).
 

locknload

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I see two primary differences between skiing and golf that get me to buy new/multiple skis, but not buy more golf clubs:

1) You generally wouldn't have multiple clubs for different conditions. I.e. I wouldn't have a set of wet weather clubs, hard pack clubs, etc. But I certainly have different skis for that reason, and sometimes think about getting more.
2) Skiing is MUCH more about the feeling/response of your equipment, than the end state, for recreational skiers (i.e. those not actively racing). So I may have different skis just to have different performance and feeling as I'm acutally using the equipment; different turn radii, width, camber profiles, etc. all that are fun to play with. In golf, for the vast majority of people, the clubs that generally gets you the best final result (best score) are the best clubs. I'm not likely to say "I'd probably score a little better with those other clubs, but I like how the swing feels and the ball trajectory better on these other ones." ... Or "I know this course will be harder with these clubs, but I like the feedback they give me." I might - and do - say something like that with skis.
Good points. Definitely don't need multiple sets for different conditions, but the golf industry, just like the ski industry is heavy on marketing and trying to convince you that each season's new release is a big jump over last year with lots of fancy graphics and commercials selling you on the new technology. There are are improvements over time, but most hackers aren't gonna benefit much from a yearly upgrade even if they could afford it.

Just like in skiing, if you look down the driving range, many folks would benefit from more $ invested in lessons from a good teacher (which can be really difficult to find someone who aligns with your learning style) than from shiny new clubs. Fitters will also tell you that your swing is going to change a lot as you get more mechanically sound (sound familiar), so the clubs you may covet, may not be the right fit for your 20 handicap swing.

What I've observed is just wild variance in the quality of teaching professionals. Just like ski instruction, golf lessons are not cheap. Back in the day I had some lessons where the result of a $150 lesson was "change this on your grip". I damn well knew that I had a lot more flaws in my swing than my grip. I'm a huge believer in video because it doesn't lie. It's such a great tool for a skilled instructor to "show" you what they are trying to teach you and how to "feel" what they want you to feel. In some ways, skiing is more accessible earlier in the learning curve because you can go enjoy greens and blues and feel like you are sorta skiing...but the early days of golf when you are truly duffing can make the sport miserable until you are able to push through and experience the joy of flushing the ball.
 

dbostedo

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skiing is more accessible earlier in the learning curve
Here's another point I like, that may just be my way of thinking - feel free to agree or disagree.

People ask me why I take ski lessons, and not golf lessons. I usually say it's primarly because I can play the whole golf course no matter how bad I am, and have a similar (IMO) experience. But I can't nearly ski the whole mountain and get all of those experiences without getting a lot better at skiing.

If I went out to golf, and could only play 12 of the holes, because the others were somehow too challenging for me, I'd be a lot more likely to take golf lessons I think.

In that way, I think golfing is much more accessible than skiing.
 

S.H.

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I'm not likely to say "I'd probably score a little better with those other clubs, but I like how the swing feels and the ball trajectory better on these other ones." ... Or "I know this course will be harder with these clubs, but I like the feedback they give me." I might - and do - say something like that with skis.

I dunno, there are tons of vanity golfers who chase the feel or the vision instead of *just* the score.

The number of people who play blades is higher than it should be primarily because there are a large number of people who don't like the look of GI or SGI irons, and because many people like the supposed "feel" of a muscleback iron more. Or state that it's easier to work the ball with a blade as if that's a good thing for their game (hint: for 99% of golfers, it's not).

How many people should be carrying a 7W instead of a 2i or 3i (or the associated hybrid)?

How many people fight their slice and try to hit a draw? How many people go for the hero shot instead of playing "boring" golf with good course management?

Many. Mainly for aesthetic reasons. It's not that different.
 

VickieH

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Anyone know the general cost range for a set of fitted clubs?

I posted previously that I had read it was $2000-3000. I suspect it is higher. The stock set of Ping irons I demo'd is $1000. I see higher end stock drivers for $500. Surely a custom set is over $3000. Should a person budget $5000 for them?
 

Living Proof

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I posted previously that I had read it was $2000-3000. I suspect it is higher. The stock set of Ping irons I demo'd is $1000. I see higher end stock drivers for $500. Surely a custom set is over $3000. Should a person budget $5000 for them?
I play in 2 golf leagues, total of about 75 members. I don't know of any in this group who would ever consider buying an entire new set of clubs like Phil did. OK, we are cheap, but, common wisdom is you can't buy a better game. At some high end clubs, there may be a very few with deep pockets who take the plunge, I'd love to buy their used gear. All my gear is the previous seasons discounted left-overs.

Yesterday, I spent 1 hr. in a new golf Trackman hitting bay to figure out why my shotmaking had deteriorated. (lots of trackman video of YouTube) All my life, golf instruction has been a prime focus, I'm an instruction junckie. It was both enlightening and frustrating to observe the variation in ball flight from about 80 swings, I can hit a far right block, then a pull left hook, maddening but representative of what I've done on the course.. On each swing, I selected 5 data points to monitor. My great learning ah-ha has to do with very small movements of my hands that cause the club to be too open or too closed to path of the swing (don't want to get too technical here). I played today using what I figured out on how to fix,, and, shotmaking was much better. Ball flight and data don't lie! It's far better than going to a driving range and doing the same old stuff. I'll open a new thread about Trackman for golfers. Reasonably. priced at $45 per hour, if I choose, I can work with a local pro for $125 hour. Cheap compared to ski instructions.
 

S.H.

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Anyone know the general cost range for a set of fitted clubs?

I posted previously that I had read it was $2000-3000. I suspect it is higher. The stock set of Ping irons I demo'd is $1000. I see higher end stock drivers for $500. Surely a custom set is over $3000. Should a person budget $5000 for them?

I'll open a new thread about Trackman for golfers. Reasonably. priced at $45 per hour, if I choose, I can work with a local pro for $125 hour. Cheap compared to ski instructions.
That's a pretty affordable golf lesson
 
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Philpug

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I don't know of any in this group who would ever consider buying an entire new set of clubs like Phil did.
I admit my case was a very unusual situation, a la an airline losing or destroying all of your gear. I had this oportunity to upgrade 20 plus year old clubs, everything, in the bag ... including the bag at a very incentivized cost. It is overkill? very well for as much as I will be playing but considering that I haven't invested in clubs in 20 years or will in the next 20 years, amortize this investment over 40 years ... it's not that bad.

My handed down handed down clubs will get handed down again to @Andy Mink.
 

Andy Mink

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I admit my case was a very unusual situation, a la an airline losing or destroying all of your gear. I had this oportunity to upgrade 20 plus year old clubs, everything, in the bag ... including the bag at a very incentivized cost. It is overkill? very well for as much as I will be playing but considering that I haven't invested in clubs in 20 years or will in the next 20 years, amortize this investment over 40 years ... it's not that bad.

My handed down handed down clubs will get handed down again to @Andy Mink.
I have clubs! They're only 25 or 30 years old and hardly used!
 

scott43

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My clubs are so old I occasionally snap a shaft. I have about 75% original Firestick True Temper shafts and 25% Dynamic Golds..
 

locknload

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I play in 2 golf leagues, total of about 75 members. I don't know of any in this group who would ever consider buying an entire new set of clubs like Phil did. OK, we are cheap, but, common wisdom is you can't buy a better game. At some high end clubs, there may be a very few with deep pockets who take the plunge, I'd love to buy their used gear. All my gear is the previous seasons discounted left-overs.

Yesterday, I spent 1 hr. in a new golf Trackman hitting bay to figure out why my shotmaking had deteriorated. (lots of trackman video of YouTube) All my life, golf instruction has been a prime focus, I'm an instruction junckie. It was both enlightening and frustrating to observe the variation in ball flight from about 80 swings, I can hit a far right block, then a pull left hook, maddening but representative of what I've done on the course.. On each swing, I selected 5 data points to monitor. My great learning ah-ha has to do with very small movements of my hands that cause the club to be too open or too closed to path of the swing (don't want to get too technical here). I played today using what I figured out on how to fix,, and, shotmaking was much better. Ball flight and data don't lie! It's far better than going to a driving range and doing the same old stuff. I'll open a new thread about Trackman for golfers. Reasonably. priced at $45 per hour, if I choose, I can work with a local pro for $125 hour. Cheap compared to ski instructions.
I totally agree with you AND I would only work with Trackman with a golf pro unless you are to the point where you know how to interpret the numbers AND make the adjustments on your own. My instructor uses track man for every lesson because the numbers and the video don't lie. I need his help to make the adjustments to the swing to "feel" the adjustments that we are trying to make. Together its been far and away the best instruction I've ever had.
 

OnEdge

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Anyone know the general cost range for a set of fitted clubs?

I posted previously that I had read it was $2000-3000. I suspect it is higher. The stock set of Ping irons I demo'd is $1000. I see higher end stock drivers for $500. Surely a custom set is over $3000. Should a person budget $5000 for them?
I don't think the fitting process itself adds to the cost of the costs other than the cost of the fitting (which depending who you use can be free or offset against the purchase). Club manufacturers typically include different shaft options, and baseline set of which are no cost options (Mizuno in particular offers a very large selection of no cost shaft options) and most other setup options (loft, lie, length) are included in the purchase price. Special grip or unique shaft options could be at additional cost.
 
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Philpug

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I went out last night an played 18 with my old sticks. For my first round of the year an only two small buckets ant the range, I was pretty happy with the way I played. Regardless of the score (94), i felt I hit way more good shots that bad ones. I had a few drives that fade to the right, but no real slices. Around the greens , I had some pretty darn good chips from 75 yards in that set up well for a one or two putt and only had 2 3-putts all day. I did hit a few balls in the water but that was jsut because I didn't know there was water where there was, otherwise I would have chosen a different target point. All in all it was a pretty good round.
 
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teejaywhy

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Anyone know the general cost range for a set of fitted clubs?

I posted previously that I had read it was $2000-3000. I suspect it is higher. The stock set of Ping irons I demo'd is $1000. I see higher end stock drivers for $500. Surely a custom set is over $3000. Should a person budget $5000 for them?

A "stock" set of Pings can be ordered "customized" by lie, length, swingweight and with a number of different shaft options NO EXTRA CHARGE. The fitting may cost but the set of clubs won't cost extra (unless you're looking for some exotic shaft or something)

Look for a Ping club fitting event and you might even get a free fitting (limited to irons or driver, not both). I did this at the local Golf Galaxy.
 
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