Golf tip: equipment

When I first started teaching golf more than twenty years ago I immediately realized that many golfers were using equipment ill suited to them. Because this hindered my ability to help the student reach their goals as golfers I became very interested in custom fit golf clubs. Custom fitting is the process in which the golfer's physical make up and skill level is evaluated to determine what golfer should use.

The first step is to determine the club head design best suited to the golfers needs. A club head with a low center of gravity will produce a higher ball flight and would be a good choice for the golfer needing to hit the ball higher and further. A higher center of gravity will produce a lower, more driven trajectory suitable to the golfer seeking more control over distance and trajectory.

The shaft plays a major role in the fit of the golf club. Graphite shafts are very popular due to their lighter weight. This allows for more club head speed as well as accentuating the weight of the club head thereby improving the feel of the club. Graphite shafts are a good fit for the golfer looking for more distance and feel in their clubs. The heavier steel shafts are more suited to the stronger, more advanced player looking for control over distance and accuracy as well as a heavier overall weight to the clubs.

Grip size plays a significant role in the fit of the club. Too thin can cause excessive wrist motion in the swing leading to inconsistency. Too thick gives the club an unwieldy feel and can cause poor wrist hinging throughout the swing.

The length of the club determines whether the golfer can stand to the ball correctly, the foundation of good technique. Too short makes the golfer bend more than necessary making it difficult to pivot correctly. Too long can make the club unnecessarily difficult to use as well as leading to a swing lacking in flexibility.

The lie angle of the club is the angle formed by the leading edge of the club and the shaft. The correct lie angle allows the sole of the club to be flush to the ground through impact, essential to consistent ball striking.

An often-overlooked aspect of selecting a properly fitted set of clubs is the set configuration. With the amount of clubs available to us it is of the utmost importance to choose the right numbers. For instance, a golfer who has problems getting the ball up in the air should avoid the driver and long irons, and select more lofted woods such as a seven or nine. Most beginning golfers are better off with a half set of clubs. Many others would do well to avoid the three and four iron and perhaps add another wedge, thereby making the short game a little easier.

Many customers are surprised to find that a set of custom clubs is often less expensive than name brand clubs.


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