I was back home in the UK for a month recently and had decided to book in a fitting at Ping Europe HQ in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.
I have never had a custom fit before and had always bought off the shelf clubs after hitting a few different ones from the major retailers. This was a new experience.
My day started with a 4 hour drive from Glasgow to Gainsborough which probably wasn’t the best start as I was stiff as a board when I finally arrived. I pitched up to the pro shop at Gainsborough Golf Club to let then know I had arrived (albeit 1hr early) and they were very welcoming and got me registered. I was then given some free range balls to warm up with but I decided to get on the putting green first as I was getting fit for all clubs. I spent about 20mins on the putting green before I toddled off to the range which is right next to the Fitting Centre. The range was an odd experience because after I had hit 2 or 3 balls, I felt as though something was off. It took another few hits to find out that the range balls were 70% distance balls. No matter how hard you hit them, they don’t carry anywhere near the distance you would expect. By the time I had finished, I had worked up a bit of a sweat trying to take the dimples off these range balls. Still no further distance than when I started.
So, onto the fitting. As I entered the Fitting Centre, I was met by Steve Harrison, who was going to be fitting me on the day. We started off by chatting about my game, what my big miss was, what equipment I was using and what my handicap was etc. We started off with the Irons. I was asked to hit some balls with my own 7 Iron (ping G30 off the shelf) to get some base readings. After only 4 or 5 balls, I was asked to stop. Steve immediately noted that for my swing speed (103mph) I was using a shaft that was far too light and flexible. I was given four different shafts to try on the new G Series 7 Iron, ranging from 90g – 130g all in extra stiff. I finally felt comfortable with the 105g shaft and when we had this dialled in, I tried a few different Irons on the shaft including the S55 blade (great looking club, incredibly difficult to hit consistently) and the G30. I found that the new G Series felt much more stable on this shaft.
Next up was the driver. My big miss with the driver is very very right, so I had a pre conceived idea of looking at the SF Tec head in order to minimise this. Again, I hit some balls with my own Driver to get some base data before Steve let me try out both the standard head and the SF Tec head on an x-stiff 65g shaft. I was surprised that the standard head felt the most forgiving and was giving me a more consistent ball flight without too much leakage to the right. As this shaft worked for me in the driver, we tried this on the fairway wood and after 5 balls, I knew this was the one for me as it felt really comfortable when swinging and I had gained about 5yds from my previous model.
We next tried this shaft on the hybrids and I wasn’t impressed. The heavier head on the Hybrid didn’t feel great on this shaft so we tried a heavier shaft again which worked. By this point I was really getting into the fitting and starting to understand the thinking behind custom fitting. I had noticed on the launch monitor that although the distance increase was very small, I had noticed that my miss was now becoming a little right (fairway/rough) instead of very very right (trees/motorway/next golf course).
Finally was the putter. I wasn’t really sure how you could be fitted for a putter as they all kind of look the same. I tried 4 different putters based on my putting stroke which is a string arc. I was quite surprised at this as from where I stand, it looks like my stroke is a straight line? I finally opted for the Shea H cadence putter.
I had never been fitted for golf clubs before this and had always bought standard off the shelf clubs. Following this experience, I can now understand why some say that a GOOD fitting is as good as a lesson. I now have the confidence that the equipment I’m using is right for me which is half of the battle in this game. The fitting also gave me an insight to my swing and strike that I can take to my next lesson. I would recommend anyone to go and get fit for your next clubs, the charge for the fitting varies by manufacturer but it is well worth it. I would just say that make sure the person fitting you knows what they are doing as there are some horror stories of bad fittings having to be corrected at great cost. Well worth the effort and wait for the clubs and delighted with my new toys.