Clubfitting 101: An Industry Still in Infancy
Before embarking on some golf swing and equipment fitting concepts and instruction that will forever change the way these two aspects are viewed, I want to reiterate here a little of the paradox currently existing in the golf industry. While golf itself might be thought of as one of the oldest games on the planet, the clubfitting industry is actually one of the younger trades around if going by when this facet of golfing was substantially brought to the attention of the golfing public. At about thirty-five years now since the first extensive materials on clubfitting were ventured more widely, this is considerably younger than me, and even I feel like I probably know only half of what I should about my own profession. Thirty-five years is not much older than my daughter, and most of her days are not ended without going through something she has never experienced before. My dad, born about the same time the swingweight scale was invented, lived and died without experiencing and learning so many of the things he wanted to. He has been gone for ten years already to show how quickly such a time period passes and how much briefer it is than it seems.
My biggest point here is that while I have most often singled out independent clubfitters, fitting organizations, and the teachers behind them as being the instigators responsible for why this industry is in such poor shape at present, they alone cannot be expected to bear the full burden for a trade still very much in its infancy in many ways. After all, current practitioners got much of their knowledge from golfers and others that came before them. Accumulated clubfitting (and golf swing) knowledge up to this point from the somewhat inexperienced fitting trade is quite shallow with respect to certain topics and has been cut from the same fabric so to speak. Most of this same underdeveloped knowledge would still be very widespread throughout the industry even without the help of those mentioned above. Involved entities include but are not limited to the clubfitting programs of major golf club manufacturers, club professional golfers around the world and the organizations they represent, a large number of playing, touring professionals, and reporters capable of offering up some pretty awful clubfitting advice.
Now those people touted as being the leaders with respect to clubfitting knowledge and advancement should reasonably be expected (and allowed) to make more mistakes along the way than others who may not have the courage to try. But when errors are uncovered and the resultant improved knowledge is not adequately disclosed for whatever reason(s), especially from “independent” sources, maybe it is time for reformed leadership. Many individuals and organizations, some of whom I cannot believe are so well respected for their clubfitting expertise, continue to make statements so bad that I twitch and tend to migrate away from golf and back to baseball or other activities every time I hear them being repeated. And through this experience, I know am not the only one.
Perhaps the epitome of what Waggle Weight Wisdom is about to proceed with can be summed up with the golf club specification of face angle. Face angle is a specification that can be fit either by ball travel concept or swing performance concept to the complete exclusion of the other. This parameter has always been predominantly fit by the “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” ball travel results that can be superficially seen on the surface, and that is okay as far as it goes. In such instances the face angle specification (applied mainly but not always limited to woods) is fit “directly” to “ball travel.” This, however, is only part of the story and does not reveal how one’s golf swing can also be affected (if you care) by the choice of face angle. Comprehending the fitting of this parameter as it applies “directly” to “swinging performance” can help clear up some still-misunderstood theoretical concepts and practical applications, including why it actually exists in the first place. Thus, clubfitting knowledge will be given a depth that has never been seen before. This is a subject area that is not complex to comprehend and should have been revealed long ago by those claiming to know clubfitting well. But if consumed with the false (and usually presumptuous) belief that a golf swing is more difficult to learn and perform than other activities (for the purpose of hitting an object that just sits still while swinging at it), then maybe there is not enough time to see and understand some beginning concepts that are really crucial.
How well a fitter comprehends the true concept of swingweighting is also very revealing in that the specification is much more likely to be personally experienced, comprehended, and taken advantage of correctly by one who has played a great deal of golf in dedicated fashion (with perhaps certain other critical athletic and non-athletic experiences added in to support what is learned). This is so because the more one plays and practices golf, the greater one’s chance of developing a fulcrum rotation point location that matches the 14-inch dimension of the current swingweighting system. Most all golfers develop fulcrum point positions with their golfing motions, but less-practiced players generally have their points located in other positions and to one specific side of this 14-inch location (though there are always exceptions). Which side that is and why this occurs may or may not be gone into in Waggle Weight Wisdom, as those particulars are already provided in the paid version article outlined at WaggleWeight.com. A poor personal match with the 14-inch dimension increases the chances of a clubfitter not understanding swingweight very well, in which case one of the most fundamentally important club specifications pertaining to swing performance and clubfitting may be misused or ostracized. Such clubfitters must depend on others for learning the correct principles. But I ask you, who today is capable of teaching even primary swingweighting principles correctly, let alone any advances?