I want this article to be the most in-depth, yet simple-to-read article about getting professionally fitted for clubs. Truthfully, I can sum up this entire article in two sentences, so I am going to do so now:
If your budget allows and you want to be the best golfer you can be, you need to get fitted for clubs eventually. If you’d rather save the money and simply want to have a good time and drink some cold ones with the boyzzzz, then you don’t need to get fitted.
Here is a (hopefully comprehensive) list of questions that you may have about getting fit for clubs.
Why do I need to get fitted for clubs?
The goal in golf club fitting is to determine what loft, lie angle, shaft material, shaft flex, shaft length, and club head you will need to best suit your game and YOUR swing.
Every golfer is different – stock clubs, though, are all the same. Golfers that care about improving need to get fit for clubs because everyone has a different body composition, swings, and tendencies. A proper fitting will take into account all of those things and find the best shafts, clubheads, lofts, and lie angles for YOU personally.
Here’s a quick example. Most golfers are aggressive swingers, while others are smoother through impact. Smoother swingers can use a shaft with more flex to it, while aggressive swingers need a stiffer shaft. Put another way: there are some golfers with crazy fast swing speeds (120+ mph) that are better suited for regular flex shafts, while some slower swing speeds (<80 mph) would benefit for stiffer shafts. A good fitter will be able to find the best shaft flex for your tempo & swing speed.
Who should get fitted for clubs?
Not everyone needs to get fitted for clubs. If you don’t care about golf all that much, it’s not worth it. If you are going through significant swing and setup changes with a golf instructor, it’s not the right time to get fitted for clubs. Otherwise, you’ll be fit based on characteristics that will shortly change.
But don’t get me wrong: higher handicap golfers have the most to gain here. Higher handicaps might see a 2-5 stroke difference after properly being fit, while a medium to low handicap golfer would be thrilled to take 1 off their handicap.
Here’s a list of ALL things that you need to have to be a good candidate to get fitted for clubs:
- A desire to get better. If you truly want to get better, getting fitted for clubs is a great choice to make. If you don’t care much about improving, you probably won’t be reading this article in the first place.
- Some money. Fitters don’t work for free, folks. Expect to spend $100-200, or a similar amount being taken off of new clubs (if purchased through them) as a credit.
- An open mind. If you are set on a certain club or set on a certain characteristic like shaft flex, why are you getting fitted in the first place? Sounds like you know everything already. Do yourself (and your fitter) a favor. Trust them – as long as they are well known in the industry and clearly know what they are doing.
- Some sort of consistency in your swing. If you are changing things with your swings every week, you are not ready to get fitted for clubs. However, if you are consistently hitting hooks or consistently hitting your driver far too high and spinny, it’s time to get fitted.
What are the benefits of getting fit for your clubs?
You’ll hit the ball longer & straighter. That’s the goal.
If that weren’t true, there would literally be no reason to get fit for clubs. Having the right club heads and shafts will lead to optimal ball speed and launch angles.
Every swing and every setup is a little different. Stock clubs are just that… stock. A better way to think about stock clubs is “neutral”.
Some golfers have very upright setups, while others have very bent over setups. Stock clubs are essentially built for neutral setups. Some golfers have longer arms comparative to their height; others have shorter arms. Stock clubs are meant for “neutral” arm lengths and “neutral” heights.
What clubs should I be fitted for?
Theoretically, you can be fitted for everything from your putter to your driver. If you are on the market for an entire set of clubs, there is no stopping you from getting fitted for and replacing your entire set. However, it will come down to money, what you currently play, and what you need.
Personally, for cost effective purposes, I’d get fitted for three things: drivers, irons, and wedges.
Drivers and irons are an obvious choice and the most common clubs that people want to be fitted for. They are the ones that you use the most, aside from wedges and your putter. And they are also the clubs that most golfers want to hit further and more accurately. It’s not as common to get fitted for wedges, but they are far underrated.
If you have the money to afford it, you can also go ahead and get fitted for hybrids and fairway woods. Personally, we don’t see a whole lot of value in getting fitted for fairway woods and hybrids. Just having the right flex shaft (which you’ll find out during your driver and iron fitting) will be enough in our opinion.
According to Ed Grabowy, who has been a club fitter for nearly 30 years, “The shaft matching a golfer’s swing I’d say is 80 percent of the fitting process, with length, loft, lie and grip making up the other 20 percent.”
I’m not a big proponent of putter fittings. You can putt with a potato if it had a flat side. Some people may say “you use your putter more than any other club, so you should really be fit for it.” I disagree. Putters are all pretty much the same. Your setup and stroke can adapt to any small changes among putters, like shaft placement, offset amount, face material, and loft.
What else can I be fitted for?
You could be fitted for anything. Grips, golf balls… hell you can be fitted for the right golf towel if you find the right person. Don’t do that, though.
Grip: Grip size and material can actually make a big difference. Currently, you have grown accustomed to your grips. That doesn’t mean that your current grips are best for you, though. Golfers that play in wet weather often need a tackier grip. Often times, you’ll find that your current grips are far too small for your hands, causing them to be more active throughout impact. Thicker grips (like midsize or jumbo sized grips) may be a better fit that allow your hands to stay less active through impact.
Golf Balls: Golf ball fittings are also possible, though most ball fittings are based solely on swing speed and goal (better distance vs more spin), which can be determined without using a professional fitter.
Who should I get to fit me for clubs?
You have four options here:
- You can get anyone to fit you. Your step-dad. That weird guy on the range that always give swing advice unsolicited. That guy that says he played in college back in the day but weirdly can’t break 90 now. Don’t do this.
- You can get a fitting done at a golf shop or sporting goods store for “free”. Trust me. It won’t be free. They will most likely push the most expensive clubs down your throat, even if they aren’t the best fit for you, due to their commission. Aside from that, their “launch monitors” are not accurate at all. They are largely inflated to make you THINK you are hitting the new clubs much longer. Always, always, always bring your current clubs in to compare them to. Always. Plus, this “fitter” probably won’t know all that much to begin with. Lastly, the fitting will probably be done on a mat, not on a real range. Golf is not played on mats. Fittings should be done on the range – period. Don’t do this, unless you have no other option.
- You can get a fitting done at your local club. Hopefully, your club pro will have a good understanding of club fitting and also a good selection of club heads & shafts to try out. Depending on your relationship with the pro, you may even get the fitting for free. Your local pro may have a good relationship with brands, too, which could lead to small discounts. Plus, they won’t be as pushy as option number 2. Also, this will most likely be done on the range, hopefully with actual grass and not on mats. Much better option.
- You can go to an actual professional fitter. They typically stake out at popular, expensive golf courses. Some are also mobile, and travel around to local courses on a regular basis. Look up “golf club fitting in [state]”. Also ask around. Ask your better golf friend and your local head pro. I’d recommend finding someone with Trackman, the best launch monitor by far. This will be the best (but most expensive) option.
How much money are we talking here? What’s the average price for getting fitted for clubs?
When you find a great fitter with the right knowledge and experience, they are going to price themselves appropriately. You get what you pay for. If you are looking to just get fitted for a couple of things (driver and irons), I’d expect to pay $150 for a good fitting. For getting fitted for an entire bag? Expect closer to $350.
Usually, the cost of the fitting is subtracted from the cost of the clubs if you buy them. Good fitters have great relationships with golf club manufacturers, so your prices will have a small discount built in already.
If you don’t LOVE the clubs that you try, do NOT buy anything. Don’t feel like you have to buy anything just because you are getting fit for clubs. You can also just pay for the fitting and take the information (your ideal shaft, head, lie angle, etc) to buy clubs cheaper elsewhere. No shame in using the information and finding used clubs with those specs for MUCH cheaper.
How long does it take to get fitted?
With a GOOD fitter, expect a full club fitting to take around 2 to 2.5 hours, from warming up to walking away. Part of that two hours will be the fitter educating you on the process. They should be asking you lots of questions (what are your goals, what are your tendencies, what are you looking for in your clubs, how did that combination feel, what’s your budget, are you working on anything with your swing, etc).
If the fitting is too short, I’d be concerned that not enough options were tested. If the fitting is too long, I’d be concerned that the fitter doesn’t know exactly what they are doing.
What will I walk away with after getting fitted? What will I learn about my game?
Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a basic understanding of how to properly be fitted with your clubs. You’ll learn about a few different metrics, like launch angle and spin rates.
More importantly for you personally, though, you’ll learn what flex shafts you need for your clubs. You’ll learn what length you need for your club shafts. You’ll learn what loft driver you need to be playing with. You’ll learn what combination of shaft/head optimizes your distance and tightens your dispersion. You’ll learn what lie angle you need your clubs to be set to.
If it’s a good fitter, they will explain why you are seeing consistent problems with your ball flights. For example, if you are consistently hitting hooks with your irons, your fitter may determine that your lie angle with your irons is simply too upright (easy to remember: upright won’t go right).
What is the general process of getting fit? What should I expect?
First, you’ll schedule a time/place for your fitting. When you get there, you’ll warm up and get ready to start. Your fitter will ask you lots of questions about your game.
You’ll hit a few shots with a club that they suggest based on the answers to his questions. There will be questions about skill level, current ball flight, ideal ball flight, where you miss-hit typically, and your overall goals. The club-fitter will offer an opinion about what would be best for you.
Much of a club fitting is trying out different combinations of shafts and club heads. You’ll hit a few with one combination… with the fitter looking at the launch monitor results and taking notes. Then you’ll hit a few with a different shaft or different club head… and the fitter will ask you “how did that shot feel”?
You’ll hit a few, tell him/her what you thought about the shot (it was a decent one, or I caught it a little thin, or man that one felt incredible). The fitter will look at the launch monitor and take a few more notes. You’ll continue this process (but with a different shaft or a different club head).
You’ll likely hit a few shots from a lie angle mat. This will tell you what the club sole looks like at impact (all that matters). The fitter will take some notes, make some adjustments, and continue on with the fitting.
Once you find a good combination that you like and that produces good results in real life (on the range) and on the launch monitor, you’ll keep hitting a few more until you and the fitter are happy with the selection.
Then, the fun part. They will try to make the sale. They get a commission on clubs, for sure. But they are also not going to push the expensive stuff down your throat. They actually want what is best for you and your game. And most of their income comes from the fee they charge, anyway.
They will tell you they get discounts on clubs to try to entice you to buy today. It will happen. Trust me. Don’t feel pressured.
Where can I find a good fitter?
Ask around. Ask the BEST golfers that you can find who they would recommend to get fitted. Ask your local golf pro if they recommend a club fitter. Ask on golf forums who the best fitters in your state are.
If you can’t ask anyone local for whatever reason, take to the internet. Do as much research as you can on the fitters in your state. Who is recommended the most online? You are sure to find more information than you would ever need online.
Check out Golf Digest’s Top 100 Club Fitter List. It’s a little outdated, but still very relevant.
Why should I NOT get fit for clubs?
For some, fitted clubs will be money well spent. For others, they’d be better off spending their money on getting some lessons with a PGA instructor. You can always decide to invest in a proper fitting down the road.
The main situation that you would NOT want to get fitted is if you simply can’t repeat your swing. If you are hitting hooks one day, slices, the next, fat shots the next, and thin shots the next, you’re not ready to get fitted for clubs. You can’t fit club around a swing that isn’t somewhat repeated. Golf fitting is not all about how your swing feels; it’s about getting the best results. If you aren’t currently getting the same result somewhat consistently, you’re not ready. On the other hand, if you ARE consistently hitting hooks or consistently hitting thin shots, you might be ready to get fitted. You will end up trying to fit your swing around the club. Before spending money in custom-fit golf clubs, invest in lessons from a PGA professional.
Another situation that you SHOULDN’T get fit for clubs is if you think you know what clubs are best for you. If you are going to doubt your club fitter in any way, you shouldn’t get professional fitted for clubs. Don’t waste their time… or your money. Leave your ego at the door, or don’t open the door in the first place.
Do I have to buy brand new clubs after the fitting?
NO! You are not obligated in any way to buy brand new clubs after your fitting. Most likely, you will be pushed to do so, because they will earn some sort of commission off the sale.
However, you can gladly just pay them for their time (their normal rate) and not buy any clubs from them. You may be able to find the clubs you were fitted for (with your ideal specs) much cheaper online anyway. You can even choose to buy the clubs (with your ideal specs, again) used instead to save money.
What do I need to “fit” myself for clubs?
To properly get fitted for clubs, you’ll need a wide selection of shafts and club heads. You can’t do that yourself. However, you CAN determine whether your current irons and wedges are the proper lie angle for you and your swing. Simply buy this lie board from Amazon. It’s about $10, and will leave a faint mark on the sole of your club after each swing. If the mark is on the middle of the sole, your irons & wedges are at a good lie angle. If the mark is towards the heel of the club, the lie angle is too upright. If the mark is towards the toe of the club, the lie angle is too flat.
This is hardly a “fitting”, but it’s a low cost way to see if your clubs are working for you or against you. You’ll still need to try different shafts, lofts, club heads for a more helpful fitting.
What’s your best tip for when I go and get fitted?
Leave your ego at the door. That’s the absolute best tip that I give you. If you go into a fitting with an idea of what you are going to end up with, you’re doing yourself (and the fitter) a disservice.
Find a good fitter. One that you can COMPLETELY trust from the very beginning. Doing good research to find a qualified fitter from the start will make it easier to trust them 100%.
Any cool stories about getting fitted?
From Ed Grabowy: “I fit a golfer from Kennesaw State who had a swing speed of 133 mph and a ball speed of 184 mph, and he left with regular flex shafts,” Grabowy said. “I’ve also had ladies in their late 50s who have been fit for stiff shafts.”
What are some common changes made from getting fitted? What are the most common mistakes uncovered from a club fitting?
Shortening driver shaft: golf manufacturers WANT you to hit the ball longer. One way to hit the ball longer is to length the shaft, like most companies have done in excess of 45 inches. Unfortunately, longer shafts are harder to hit consistently, which may cause you to LOSE distance due to off center hits. As a result, many golfers fine that they hit longer and straight drives with a shorter driver shaft (closer to 44 inches). You can’t simply cut your driver shaft off by an inch, though. You’d mess the swing weight up by doing that.
MyGolfSpy, an awesome site, did a big test comparing drivers that had 43.75″ vs 45.75″ shafts. The shorter shaft was more accurate and hardly resulted in any loss in distance.
Adding loft: Golfers may think they are “cool” by playing a 9 degree driver, but they may be hurting their driver distance. Those with slower swing speeds actually notice an increase in distance AND accuracy by playing a higher lofted driver (10-12 degrees of loft). More loft is always better for accuracy, and sometimes better for distance.
Personally, I see faaaaaaar too many excessively low lofted drivers, which don’t result in enough spin for optimal distance. Yes, there is such a thing as not enough spin in a driver.
Adding hybrids: Many fitters find that they most common change they make in the setup of a golfer’s bag is adding hybrids. Comparing the numbers on launch monitors for long irons and hybrids physically shows golfers that adding hybrids would make golf easier.
Adding hybrids to your bag to replace your longer irons is a simple way to add more consistency to your long game.
Adding flex: Golfers boost their ego by buying stiff shafted clubs, even if they had no valid reason to do so. It happens more often than you’d think. I’ve seen guys with average swing speeds with x-stiff shafts because they thought regular flex shafts flexed too much for them. That CAN be the case, but it hardly ever is.
The shaft on my Callaway driver is a bit long at almost 46”, so we are going to try and find a similar one that is shorter, and make sure we get it weighted correct. I probably won’t lose any distance, but it should help me keep the ball in play a little more. That is an experiment I am definitely willing to try!