Not long ago we were having a discussion in the pro shop about what we felt was the most important factor in choosing a new golf club. Between the three of us we had fairly contradicting opinions so we decided we would find out more from our customers. We ran a poll via our social media platforms, which showed up some very interesting results.
The questions asked- what factor do you consider to be the most important when choosing a new golf club or having a club fitting?
The poll results changed a little bit throughout but ended up heavily biased towards accuracy. As we all know, accuracy is massively important in the game of golf but I thought I would put this theory to the test in my next few fittings.
In my next driver fitting I had a low handicap player who was a pretty long hitter, he was looking for added control and an increase in the ability to shape the ball both ways- fade and draw.
First, I worked with the player on his strike patterns, focusing on the importance on hitting the middle of the club face- a simple matter that is often very overlooked in golfers practice routines. His strikes were varied- quite drastically. In order for the player to find more consistency in his strikes I gave him a shorter than standard driver shaft, one which had a tad more weight than his current set up. Immediately the length and weight of shaft helped to control the strike and in turn gave the player a lot more control of his ball flight. The dispersion tightened dramatically. The player was able to call the shots- he was hitting high draws, low fades, big slinging hooks and Bubba Watson style fades at will. We then looked at his stock shot- his normal ‘fairway finding’ drive he would use on the course compared to his current gaming driver.
The results were fantastic, but the player was not happy. The clubhead speed, due to the shorter, heavier shaft had slowed enough to lose distance. There was a sacrifice in yardage for the gains the golfer saw in accuracy. We had to go back to the original statement made at the start of the custom fit. The player wanted more control, more ability to shape his drives and I felt we had achieved this but the golfer realised that he was not willing to give up the 10 yards he had lost!
This proved very interesting to me as I feel a lot of golfers say that they would gladly lose yardage to gain control but in reality would be reluctant to use equipment that wouldn’t maximize the distance they hit the golf ball. I only have to think of the reactions I get when, during a fitting, I suggest shortening a driver length- 9 times out of 10 golfers don’t want to shorten driver shafts, even when the evidence proves that this would show improvements in performance! Sometimes, gaining control and hitting more fairways can lead to a loss of distance.
However, we like the idea of having the potential to hit that one drive that goes further! And why wouldn’t we? You have to figure out whats better for you- long and wrong or short and straight? It’s all about building in a repeatable miss and learning more about your on course tendencies. Like always, it’s about what you want from your fitting and what you want from your golf clubs- but make sure you’re honest with yourself!