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Custom Club Fitting  


Our professionals are trained in “art and technique of proper club fitting”. With the level of technology available today, there is no reason why any golfer should be playing with equipment that is not properly fitted to their needs. The many variables that are available in club lofts, club head weight distribution, shaft materials and flex and grip sizes are available to all golfers, even in the moderately priced equipment. Certain club specifications definitely affect the flight of the ball and you should have the club that best fits your specific swing. At the DSGA we use the latest in electronic and digital equipment to assure you will be properly fitted with the best equipment for your golf game.

 The Dick Smith Golf Academy and Valleybrook Country Club feature the SelectFit custom clubfitting system from TaylorMade. Dick and Tom Smith have been trained by TaylorMade to accurately fit you with clubs that perform to the highest standards.

At Dick Smith Golf Academy we take golf club fitting very seriously. You could have the most expensive set of golf clubs and unless they are custom fitted to your physique, strength, skill level and swing style, they could possibly be worthless. Knowing the fundamentals of club fitting will help make you a better player and enhance the value of a set of high tech clubs. Following is a discussion of the six major areas to consider in the fitting process.

#1 - Lie Angle 
Lie angle or the angle between club head and shaft at the address position is very important because it affects the clubface as it contacts the ball. With a lie that is too upright the heel of the club will contact the turf and the toe will rotate around heel causing the clubface to close and produce a shot that goes left of the intended target. Conversely, in a lie that is too flat the toe strikes first and heel rotates around toe producing an open clubface and a shot that goes right of target.

To be accurately fitted the correct lie angle must be measured dynamically or as the golfer is hitting balls. Centrifugal force and the downward/outward angle of attack at which a golfer swings a club, “pushes” or bows the shaft and causes the toe to move downward into a flatter “dynamic” lie. This measurement is gotten by using a lie board and tape on sole of club. As the golfer hits the ball from the lie board a mark is left on the sole where the club contacted the board. A mark close to the toe indicates a lie that is too flat and a mark close to the heel means the lie is too upright. A correctly fitted club will produce marks on the center or “sweetspot” of the sole. Since the ideal is for the iron to contact the ball and turf simultaneously with the sole flat on the ground, it is generally agreed upon that an iron that sits with its toe slightly up at address constitutes and well-fitted golf club.

#2 – Shaft Flex & Kickpoint
With today’s high tech shaft materials the golfer has a wide assortment of shaft types and flexes to choose from. Selecting the correct flex or strength of shaft and bend point is an indispensable ingredient for well-performing clubs and good shot execution.

Generally, the strength (stiffer flex) or weakness (softer flex) of the shaft should correspond to the golfer’s physical strength and ability to generate club head speed. A shaft kicks forward just before impact, much as a soccer player strikes the ball with his foot, with this dynamic action creating added power and club head speed. A shaft that is too stiff will impede this speed acceleration and cause the head to lag at impact, resulting in a shot to the right. Overly weak or flexible shafts brings the club head through impact too soon causing face to close and shot to be pulled left. An expert club fitter can detect these shot patterns and make the appropriate adjustments in shaft selection to produce the desired optimal ball flight.

A shaft properly fitted for flex allows the golfer to swing with good tempo and rhythm. With a too stiff shaft the player is unable to feel the club head throughout the swing and a jerky, poorly-timed and generally overly forceful swing will result. The correct amount of flex, on the other hand, allows the golfer to feel and sense both the position of the club head and the “loading” and “unloading” (other terms for the dynamic flexing action of the shaft through a swing) of the shaft, which facilitates good tempo, smooth rhythm and solid ball striking.

The kickpoint of a shaft is high (closer to hands), middle and low (closer to club head) and affects the launch angle of ball coming off club face. A high flex point reduces kick and results in less increase in dynamic loft and a lower trajectory. A low flex point produces more kick at impact and more dynamic loft, hence a higher ball flight. Flex or bend point is often overlooked in the fitting process and can be an important component in a well-fitted set of clubs.

#3 Shaft Length
The relative length of club shaft is important to consider in the context of golfer’s height, arm length, torso configuration, swing type and playing ability. Shorter golfers often benefit by using less-than-standard-length clubs and taller golfers do better with longer shafted woods and irons. This is a general rule and certainly not applicable to every golfer. Some players prefer or need shorter clubs because they may have longer than normal arms or legs are shorter in relation to upper body or simply they may want a little more control over their shots. What matters most is that the length of one’s clubs allows golfer to address the ball in an athletic, relaxed fashion, with the arms hanging freely from the shoulders, the knees slightly flexed, and the body inclined forward from the hips. Well-fitted clubs of the proper length allow the golfer to make a fluid, strong and controlled swing.

Assuming there is no change in the weight of the clubhead or original flex designation, making a shaft longer also makes it more flexible, or weaker. Conversely, shortening a shaft will make it stiffer or stronger. Lengthening or shortening the shaft will change the swingweight or relative weight of the clubhead. The longer the shaft, the heavier the head will feel and the shorter the shaft, the lighter the head will feel.

#4 Grip Size and Type
Grip size is an important aspect of club fitting and is rarely given much consideration. Grips come in four basic sizes (diameters); undersize, standard, midsize, and oversize. One can relate grip size needed to the size of golf glove worn. This relationship can vary, but generally a small glove calls for an undersize grip, a medium and medium large glove gets a standard grip, large glove equals midsize grip and extra large and XX large requires an oversize. The variation in size of grip from small to medium is about 1/8” in diameter and so on through the sizes. The effect of poorly fitted grips can be significant. Grips too small can cause over use of hands and wrists and pulling or hooking can result. Grips too large will reduce hand/wrist action and a push/slice takes place. Often, however, skilled golfers select the size of their grips to compliment their styles of swing. For example, a very “wristy” player who releases the club with a great deal of hand action might want a small, thin grip to facilitate hands-oriented release. Another player who employs a “body” or pivot-oriented release (keeps hands more passive in swing) might like a thicker or bigger diameter grip to minimize hand action.

Grip material has changed dramatically over the past 15 years with the introduction of new polymer and rubber compounds. A variety of textures can now be had by golfers and they go from very soft (Winn) to very firm (full cord rubber). Soft polymer grips give very good feedback as to ball contact and are easier on the golfer’s hands. The firmer rubber, full cord and half cord grips provide more surface texture and allow golfer to hold onto club in extreme conditions such as rain, cold and heat. Cord grips also helps the golfer whose hands perspire and cause slippery gripping.

#5 Clubhead Materials and Design
Perimeter weighted metal woods and investment cast irons are very popular for the game improvement qualities they produce. A well struck shot will not be better with these clubs, but an off-center hit will go farther and straighter. Still popular among the more skilled players are traditional forged muscle-back or cavity back irons. Because the center of gravity is more behind the “sweet spot” on these clubs, they are less forgiving on off-center shots, but produce a better feel and give the player more feedback and help in developing a better swing.

Offset versus non-offset is a debate that continues today, but generally speaking, an offset head design produces a higher ball flight that tends to go to the left. Non-offset heads help to keep ball flight lower and more to the right of target line. That said, offset heads are better for those who slice or fade and non-offset heads will benefit those who tend to hook the ball.

#6 Set Composition
Every golfer has a slightly different style or manner with which they approach their respective rounds of golf. Some prefer a high ball, while others like to hit a low, running shot. Many times the decision is influenced by the course and weather and the resultant course conditions. A qualified PGA professional should watch you hit shots and make a determination of the type and specification of clubs you should be playing. For example; a player may be hitting his/her tee ball very high and losing distance. For this golfer the driver loft should be stronger (lower degree of loft) and the shaft should have a flex point closer to the hands. Long irons (#2, #3 & #4) are more difficult to hit for mid to high handicap golfers. The new hybrids are designed to make these longer shot easier to hit and less intimidating. Sets can be custom configured to include any number of hybrids, fairway metal woods and irons… any combination of lofts and head styles to fit a particular style of game. The days of the standard set of three woods, nine irons, sand wedge and putter are long gone as today’s golfer can custom make his/her set just like the tour pros do.


Re-gripping/Club Repair


With Spring weather just around the corner, now is a good time to check your golf equipment and replace worn or damaged grips in time for the upcoming season. As part of our comprehensive service program, the Dick Smith Golf Academy specializes in club fitting and equipment maintenance and repair.

Your game will benefit from properly installed grips which are the correct size and material composition for your hands. Grips which are too large inhibit hand action and cause the ball to go to the right (RH golfers). With grips too small the hands are over active and out of control and the ball could go anywhere.left, right or straight.



Glove Size

Grip Size

Extra Large & Extra Large Cadet


Large, Large Cadet, Some Med. Large


Med. Large, Medium Large Cadet, Medium


Small, Small Cadet, Some Med. Cadet


Here's another consideration; Tall golfers with upright stances tend to grip the club more in the palm and the grip will feel bigger (less hand activity). Shorter players with flat stance position will grip more in the fingers and the grip diameter will feel smaller (more hand activity).

Before we install a set of grips we measure your hand; the length of your palm from base of middle finger to top of wrist and the length of middle finger. This measurement can be plotted on a graph and a good estimate of the correct grip size can be made. Next we give you a variety of different sized grips to try and we determine which size fits and is the most comfortable. Finally, we look at several different grip materials.rubber, composite, cord and the new polymer materials. From these we can select a grip that meets all your needs at a price that fits your budget.  

At the DSGA we feature the Lamkin family of grips and also offer grips in a variety of sizes and materials from Golf Pride and Winn. A set of grips can be installed within 24 hours and special orders may take 2 to 3 days. We use the TaylorMade SelectFit system and can determine whether the specs on your set are good for you and your golf game. Often, the change of grips can make a significant difference in your performance on the course and can avoid the need to replace a good set of clubs. Next time you're in the Valleybrook golf shop check out the grip display and try a will be amazed in the difference a good grip can make.