Is Clubfitting More Science or Art?

Indoor Practice Blog ImageIs clubfitting more science or art?  I have read and heard an awful lot about clubfitting being truly an art.  While I agree that experience of fitting a wide variety of golfers is key, I totally believe we can use more science to provide a better fit and performance for our customers.  There are great clubfitters that rely on visual shape of the golf shot and feedback from their customer.  They put clubs in their golfer’s hands that, based upon their experience, should give a predictable result.  If the ball flight is not acceptable, they try a different head or shaft or combination of the two.  The main difference between that artful fitter and today’s modern fitter is that there is much more technology available to determine the optimum head and shaft combination to improve your performance!  There are also more club builders that are doing the precise building that makes golf clubs perform to the high expectations of their customers.  When I started D’Lance Golf almost 20 years ago, we did not have NEAR the sophisticated shaft analyzers, ball flight monitors, and high speed video cameras we have today.  This technology allows us to know more about a golfer’s swing and the performance of the club but it still needs to be interpreted by the clubfitter.  When we developed our BGF Fitting System, it was designed to give a repeatable baseline of recommended club length, shaft weight, shaft flex, shaft profile, and swing weight.  We can do this for literally any gender, age, swing type or swing characteristic.  These are the most important factors affecting a club fitting, and represent the science of a fitting.  But golfers are humans and rely an awful lot on the sense of sight, sound and feel to ultimately make their clubfitting decisions.  This is the art of clubfitting.  In our experience, the science and technology makes up 70-80%  and the artful interpretation roughly 20-30%.  As a customer, the last thing you want to experience in a clubfitting is a fitter that seems to randomly select clubs for you to test.  Even worse, he or she says something like “this is the most popular choice of golfers in the market today.”  An experienced clubfitter will start with a formal interview about your game and game improvement objectives, and then explain in detail how the right equipment can improve your accuracy, consistency and distance.  Then, the clubfitter should get some benchmark data from your clubs, typically a driver and a 6 iron, so that you can see if there is measurable improvement in consistency, accuracy and distance.  Our BGF Fitting System takes that benchmark data and recommends a club make-up that should give you measurable improvement.  Now, this is where the art comes in.  We try to pick head and shaft combinations that are comfortable for you and meet our fitting objectives, but again, the look, sound and feel may not be acceptable and give you less than optimum performance.  So, your fitter will tweak the head/shaft combinations until the right match is found.  What is really funny is that we usually circle back to the original BFF Fitting System recommendations!  So in summary, I would argue that the science of fitting is now to the point where you cannot ignore it, but you still need a fitter with experience to know which modifications to make to get better performance.  After 18 years of fitting tens of thousands of golfers and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in technology, we are comfortable using our fitting science.  So comfortable, in fact, that we guarantee that you will perform better with your newly optimized equipment!

Dan Sueltz