As a golf journalist and a PGA of Canada professional, I tend to spend a lot of time online monitoring discussions and content about various golf subjects. A favourite is golf equipment as I seek out both product knowledge and also delve into the mind of the golf consumer.
This tends to me lead me to a lot of websites where equipment is discussed or where advice is given. Some of it quite good and will be helpful to many people. Unfortunately, as there is in real life, there is a load of poor advice as well.
I browsed through a personal blog recently; one written by an avid golfer who gives his opinion on various topics. Nothing wrong with that of course, it can be quite entertaining and his real life experience can be insightful. The problem comes when blogs like this cross over into the area of providing “expertise”.
One of their latest posts involved buying advice for golf equipment. It outlined the person’s process for choosing their own equipment. They suggested the process would be applicable to everyone else as well. However, one thing was missing, there was not one mention of fitting of any kind.
In the golfer Performance Analysis model that we use for lessons for the PGA of Canada, equipment is one of the seven factors that we look for. It’s important. It, in connection with our body and swing, is how we make the golf ball travel – hopefully in a flight pattern that is pleasing to us and helps us score better or enjoy the game more.
Therefore, choosing clubs based on looks, brand, price or other similar factors alone can lead you down a path of frustration. It might be a beautiful club with some amazing features…but it might be useless in your hands.
Every golfer is unique in how they use the golf club, therefore a lot of thought has to be put into the purchasing/fitting process to maximize performance. Yes, getting “close” to the right fit might provide somewhat acceptable results but why guess when you can be a lot more sure about what you are going to spend your hard-earned money on?
You may look to the internet for “reviews” but these should only provide part of your input as you take part in the purchasing process. Ultimately the manufacturer can tell you what the club is supposed to do, or another consumer can tell you what it feels like and how it performs FOR THEM, but this is not definitive information.
As a fellow PGA professional likes to say: 7 billion people; 7 billion swings. Yes, we all have different tendencies and they matter when it comes to matching you up with your golf equipment. One tiny missed variable (be it anything from centre of gravity location in a clubhead to the incorrect loft or shaft weight) and you can end up with largely unpalatable results.
The last thing I want to see (and as a former retailer I saw it a lot) is a person buying a club directly off the shelf for some particular reason only to be saying how poorly the club is performing for them a few days later.
This type of situation can be largely mitigated by a club fitting process.
A reminder then, no matter how great a club is it will not automatically make all your golf shots perfect. We are human and imperfect after-all, but the fitting process will take you a little (or a lot) closer to getting matched with the golf equipment that is best for your needs.
Just because your buddy or your favourite golf pro hits a certain club does not mean it is right for you, and why buy a wedge because it is on sale, a certain brand, and “the best” because of a high price tag, but is useless when it comes to helping you get the results you want?
Get fitted and your chances of buying a mistake will reduced.
Scott MacLeod @OntarioGolfNews
Scott MacLeod is the Associate Publisher of OntarioGolfNews.com & Flagstick Golf Magazine/Flagstick.com. He is a PGA of Canada Candidate For Membership, former retail golf store owner, and certified fitter for various major golf equipment manufacturers. He has written on the subject of golf equipment for more than two decades.