Q&A: Best Golf Equipment through Custom Fitting
Question: Best Golf Equipment
I am an elderly golfer with a slow speed swing i would like more height and distance off the tee. What type of shaft would suit me a stiff shaft or a flexible one?
K.W. – United Kingdom
Thank you so much for sending in such a great question regarding the best golf equipment for your swing speed. This is a question I get asked a lot. The technology of golf equipment has come a long way in the last 20 years. In fact, much like computers, new technology springs up every year. How do you stay on top of it all? The simple answer is custom club fitting.
One of the key areas of development has been the advancement in the area of club fitting. This has gone from being an exercise of pure feel, to static measurements, to static measurements and hitting shots off a marker board, to now the extensive use of launch monitors. The art of club fitting has married the science of club fitting to become almost a necessity when purchasing new clubs. In this article I will cover the different components of a golf club and how they are modified to help varying types of players. However, it must be understood that nothing I say can match the experience of being fit by a professional club fitter. I highly recommend getting properly fit for clubs. If nothing else it should provide you with tremendous confidence that the clubs are the best golf equipment for your ability.
There are five key components to a golf club fitting. They are the shaft length, shaft flex, lie angle, face loft and grip size. Each one of these components can be adjusted to suit the player that is using the club. When properly adjusted to be the best golf equipment for that player, it can help the player maximize their current ability. That is not to say that fitted clubs will make you a better player, but rather it will enhance your current ability.
The basics of shaft flex is that more shaft flex creates more power, and a stiffer shaft creates more accuracy. The key to club fitting is that it will help you find the right balance of power and accuracy. It will certainly help your game to find that balance.
Typically, a player with slower swing speeds will need a more flexible shaft while a player with high club head speed will need a stiffer shaft. Fundamentally, all players should create about the same amount of flex in their shafts during their downswings. This is why it takes different shafts for different swing speeds.
If a player with a high swing speed uses a club with too much shaft flex he will lose control of his shots. Likewise if a player with a slower swing speed uses a shaft that is too stiff then they will not get any ‘pop’ at impact and they will not hit it as far. The shaft is the engine of the golf club. If it is not right then you will certainly not have the best golf equipment for your ability.
Shaft length is determined primarily through static measurements. A fitter will check your height and measure the distance from the tip of your fingers to the floor. They may also check how the club fits into your address position. The longer the shaft is the more club head speed can be generated. As always there is a tradeoff, as a long shaft is harder to control and can lead to less consistency and less accuracy. The length of the shaft is particularly important to a player who quite a bit above or below average height. I am 6'5" tall and therefore my clubs are all longer than standard.
Face Angle (loft)
The loft of the club is the angle the club face sits in relation to the ground. They can be as low as five degrees for a driver and as much as sixty four degrees for a lob wedge. The higher the loft angle, the higher the shot trajectory and the higher the backspin rate. This is important when getting fit for all your clubs, especially the driver.
The spin rate can have a huge effect on your ball flight and the distance you hit your shots. A Tour player will typically play with a lower lofted driver because of their high swing speeds. If a player with a lot of club head speed uses a driver with too much loft then they will create too much backspin. This will cause their ball to 'balloon' in flight. ‘Ballooning’ means that their ball will start low and then shoot straight up into the sky like a rocket. This will cause the player to lose a lot of distance. Now, if a player with a slower swing speed were to use a lower lofted driver, then they would not create enough backspin for their shots. This means they would not get the maximum amount of carry from their shot and consequently lose distance. If the ball has too much backspin then it will not roll out after it hits the ground, while too little spin will not get the necessary carry distance.
The loft of the club also helps determine the launch angle. There is an optimal launch angle for every player and the secret to maximizing our ability through club fitting is to get as close to that optimal launch angle as possible. A professional club fitter will be able to determine your optimal launch characteristics through the use of a launch monitor. This is key to getting the best golf equipment for your ability.
The lie angle is the angle at which the shaft of the club is attached to the club head. This aspect is important for accuracy. This angle can be adjusted by making the angle more upright (more vertical) or flatter (more horizontal to the ground). By having the correct lie angle you will have the sole of the club rest on the ground correctly at your address position. If the club is too upright then your club will be resting in a 'toe up' position at address. This is when only the heel of your club is touching the ground at address and consequently your club will likely be in that same position at impact. This will cause your shots to miss to the left. If your club is too flat then you will be 'toe down' and your toe of your club will dig into the ground at impact causing you to miss shots to the right.You will not have the best golf equipment that is suited to your swing if the lie angle is off by one degree.
Grip size is once again a static measurement that can have a big impact on your golf swing. It simply is a measurement of your hand from your wrist to the tip of your middle finger. It helps determine the grip that will be the most comfortable for you to play with. However, it does impact how active your hands will be in your golf swing. If your grips are too big it will restrict your hand and wrist action. This can lead to a power loss. However if your grips are too small then it can over activate your hands and wrists which can lead to issues in consistent ball striking. Once again finding the right size grip will be more comfortable and can also maximize your ability.
Despite all that you have just read above, there is nothing better than going to see a professional club fitter. They are truly the experts to providing the best golf equipment for your game. When looking at the major club manufacturers PING golf has been the pioneer and industry leader when it comes to club fitting. You may want to start at their online fitting service to get a better understanding of their process. You can find it at PING Custom Fitting. On the PING site you can also find a fitting day near you so that you could do it in person. There is nothing like getting on their Vector machine and getting a full read out of your shots. It is simply amazing.
There is no doubt that custom fit golf clubs will help your golf game. However, please understand that the best golf equipment can’t replace learning the game from a qualified resource and through proper practice. Good luck with your practicing, playing and achieving your goals in golf.
Thank you for sending in your question regarding the best golf equipment for your game. If you have anymore questions please send them to me at Send a Question to free-golf-lessons.com
Kris at free-golf-lessons.com
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