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How important is driver fitting?

A quality driver fitting provides the best opportunity for quantifiable performance improvement. Whether that’s super important or just kinda important is golfer dependent but, short of a comprehensive speed training program, moving from an off-the-rack driver to a properly fitted driver offers the best opportunity to gain significant distance (and improve consistency).

How many clubs should I test in a single session?

As with most fitting questions, the right answer is “it depends.” Most fitters (and particularly fitting chains) like to boast about the number of combinations they offer. Typically, it’s around 50,000. I wouldn’t suggest you try them all.

If we’re talking about a driver fitting, three or four heads is sensible. You might be able to get away with more but a good fitter is going to be able to figure out what type of driver is going to work for you and then start dialing in things like loft, weight settings and shaft specs before you get tired and your swing degrades.

With irons, fatigue will be less of an immediate concern so you may have an opportunity to try a few more options but, again, a good fitter should be able to narrow the field pretty quickly.

If you’re looking for a place to start, take a look at this year’s Most Wanted Driver test to see which clubs to put on your radar.

What questions should I ask during my fitting?Driver Fitting
You’ll find plenty of opinions on the right questions to ask during your driver fitting but the most important stuff should be sorted out before you book.

Does the fitter have a launch monitor? Is it a good one? What brands are available (both heads and shafts)? Am I hitting outdoors, into a screen or into a net?

There are other little things that are easily overlooked. Is the hitting bay wide enough that I’m comfortable swinging? Case the joint before you commit.

With that said, I’m more concerned about the questions the fitter asks you. An interview should be part of any fitting process. The fitter should ask why you’re there. What is your objective for the club fitting? What specific improvements are you looking for?

Your fitter should also understand your budget before you get dialed in with something that costs way more than you want to spend.

Ultimately, the fitting process should involve a constant dialog between you and your fitter. If the fitter isn’t asking how things feel, what you think or asking about typical shot patterns versus what you’re showing him, you should probably leave.

One final tip: if possible, stalk your fitter on social media. I’ve encountered more than a few fitters who profess to being brand agnostic but Instagram and Facebook paint a different story. Every fitter has preferences and that’s OK but if you see the same brands, the same head and shaft combinations over and over (and over again), you might want to look elsewhere.

Are there certain qualifications my fitter should have?

Search the interwebs and you’ll find more than a few certified master fitters. While there’s not a central body that polices the credentials, most certified fitters (master or otherwise) have gone through some form of organized training.

The fine print here is that most chains and every OEM that advertises “certified master fitters.” Be aware there’s no universal standard or central office here. Some certified fitters are excellent, some aren’t.

For me, there’s no substitute for experience and knowledge and, while those can be difficult to quantify, I put more stock in reputation and word of mouth than anything that can be pinned to a wall.

What if a fitter isn’t available near me?

I’m constantly surprised that many golfers don’t have easy access to competent local fitters. Then I remember that when people ask me for a recommendation, my particular version of local requires a minimum 3.5-hour drive.

Yeah, I know some guys. Would you rather drive to Toronto or Long Island?

We developed TrueGolfFit as a better alternative to off-the-rack driver buying for golfers who either can’t or don’t want to get fitted. Just about every manufacturer offers a proprietary fitting tool and, when COVID hit, many started offering phone fittings. That remains an option.

I suspect it’s only a matter of time before one of the larger brand-agnostic chains offers an alternative to in-person fittings as well.

My opinion is that an in-person fitting is almost always the best way to go but, when that isn’t possible, your next best options are an online fitting tool or getting fitted by phone. Most of those are free.

What are the three main things I should look for during my fitting?

Ultimately there’s really only one thing that matters. Did the result of the fitting meet your objective?

If the answer is yes, you’re good. If it isn’t, well …

This is exactly the sort of thing that should be part of the dialog with your fitter. If distance is the objective, is there strong evidence that what you were fitted for is longer than with what you walked in the door?

Side note: Always bring your gamers.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the data. Regardless of the overarching objective, I recommend you look for small circles and small numbers. What I mean by that is tight dispersion and consistent results (small standard deviations) should always be part of the conversation.

With an iron fitting, distance should take a back seat. Dispersion remains important but, in a world of jacked lofts, your fitter should be focused on helping you achieve a playable trajectory (the right combination of spin, height and descent angles).

Do I need to worry about jacked numbers on a launch monitor?Golf Fitting

I think … or at least I want to believe … that this is less of a problem than it used to be. As launch monitor technology was emerging, some unscrupulous sellers took advantage of settings that allowed them to cook the numbers and gain distance via software.

Whether it’s Foresight, Trackman or most anything else, there are still levers that shady types can pull to show you more than what’s actually there.

It’s an unnerving thought but it’s tough to believe a quality fitter is going to risk his reputation and juice the launch monitor. If you’ve done your research well, you should be just fine.

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