|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
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
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
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 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
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
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.