Custom Fit or Off the Rack
The next time you go to the golf course or driving range, take a moment to observe how different golfers are in their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. Then stop and think how golf clubs have always been sold to all these different golfers. All the different models and brands are displayed on the wall already built to a predetermined set of specifications by the respective company. It makes about as much sense as a men’s clothing store stocked with all brands of suits, but they are all a size 42 long.
If a sports store sold bats the same way golf shops sell golf clubs, no baseball or softball player would ever buy a bat there. Why? Because baseball and softball players all know to be able to hit the ball to the best of their ability, they need to use a bat that has the right length, right weight, right handle diameter to match the player’s size, strength, athletic ability and swing.
Golf Clubs sold off the rack are built to one series of standard specifications because it would be far too difficult for the golf companies to make all the different combinations of custom fitting specifications that golfers needs. It would be too expensive for the golf retail stores to stock all the different brands in the different custom fitting options that golfers would need to fit their swings. So golf clubs have remained a “one size fits all” business and golfers have been led to never question it.
That’s too bad because within this more convenient business model of the golf equipment industry, golfers are getting the short end of the stick. When custom fitting is performed by a knowledgeable, experienced fitter golfers can feel and see visible shot improvement and play to the best of their ability.
Golf is a difficult game to master. But anyone who was reasonably good in sports when they were in school should be able to hit golf shots with more than a 50% success rate. The problem is that a population of golfers that are very different from each other in their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics simply cannot play their best using golf clubs which are all built to one series of standard specifications.
During a television interview aired on The Golf Channel, Tiger Woods as asked what he noticed the most about the amateurs he plays with in pro-am events. His response was that he sees very few golfers who are ever custom fit with clubs. In a 2011 interview with Golf Magazine, Nick Faldo made the comment that 98% of all the golfers he encounters do not play with golf clubs that are fit to match their swings.
Taken for Tom Wishom’s book, Search for the Perfect Golf Club.