Golf club custom fitting has become increasingly popular and high-tech and is now seen as essential by many golfers when splashing out on new gear. But how do you go about getting a custom fitting? We summarise your options...
Golf club custom fitting has become ever more popular since the turn of the century, offering golfers the chance to personalise their specifications so their clubs work in unison with key factors like their height, swing speed, and technique.
While some brands like Ping have been championing the custom-fit cause for many decades, many others now offer comprehensive fitting options, and it's not just a luxury for the professionals - anyone can benefit.
Below, we highlight five ways to go about getting a custom fitting...
Your club professional
First, your club professional should be very experienced at golf club custom-fitting. Depending on the facilities at your club, this may involve just static measurements and hitting balls into a practice net to get an idea of how the club feels, but far more likely these days it will also involve hitting balls on a driving range or in a swing studio using a launch monitor to compare data between different models and shafts.
Many club pros have invested heavily in this area, and your local one will have the added benefit of potentially knowing how you typically swing the club, giving him or her a bit of a head-start in any fitting.
The big golf retailers
You'll get a very similar experience to the latter option if you go for a fitting with a professional or qualified fitter at the second option, the big golf retailer. Golf superstores like American Golf will have lots of models for you to try.
On the High Street, it's highly likely that the fitting will be an indoor 'virtual' experience hitting balls into a net or simulator, with the ball flight calculated and displayed using a launch monitor such as Trackman.
Out-of-town retailers may also be situated alongside a driving range, so if seeing the actual physical ball flight is important to you, you may wish to find a facility that can offer this latter option.
The independent fitter
A third option is to visit an independent fitter. There are perhaps fewer of these overall, but one of the real benefits is the in-depth personal service you will get from someone for whom custom-fitting is such a passion that they have invested significantly in their own business.
National fitting centre
Top brand national fitting centres
The fourth, and arguably best option if you already know which brand you favour, is to head to one of the big brand's national fitting centres, such as Ping's at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, Titleist's at St Ives in Cambridgeshire or its new 'Home of Performance' centre at Woburn in Buckinghamshire and Mizuno's at Bearwood Lakes in Berkshire.
These high-tech centres will have every current model in virtually every spec at your disposal, along with all the shaft and grip options you could imagine plus the latest in launch monitor technology. They will also have highly qualified staff who know their brand's products inside out.
The final place you can have a custom fitting is on a demo day, where the manufacturers send representatives to clubs up and down the country to spend a few hours showcasing the current ranges, offering you the chance to hit models you may not have seen before.
Again, there will typically be a huge range of specs to try, but they can prove extremely popular so you will almost certainly need to book your session through your pro or whoever is co-ordinating the day.
And sometimes they may be product-specific, so it might just be drivers or irons or wedges that are being demo'd that particular day, meaning a full-set custom fitting may not be possible.
How much does golf club custom fitting cost?
This varies a lot so it's well worth checking before booking an appointment. Most professionals and retailers fit you for free if you buy anything.
Some of the national custom fit centres also adopt this approach, charging you on the day, and then taking the price off your purchase if you place an order. Others however, just charge a set fee for a session, regardless of whether you place an order or not.
Are custom fittings just for better players?
Absolutely not! If anything beginners and mid-handicappers tend to see much bigger improvements because typically their bad shots are much worse and the fitter can see very quickly where the key areas for potential improvement lie.
Some might say that if you can't swing the club consistently, custom fitting might be of limited use, but a trained fitter will be able to work out your underlying swing tendencies and know which shots to base their decisions on and which ones to disregard.
Furthermore, getting the right-length clubs with the correct lie angle is just as important for you as it is for Rory McIlroy, as anything that doesn't fit your build, stance and swing well will see you having to modify and manipulate your swing (perhaps subconsciously) to hit the ball well. Far better to be custom-fit for clubs that fit the way you stand to the ball and swing the club.
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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