Clubfitting 101: Crucial Concepts to Comprehend
At the end of my most recent post, I wrote about fitting golf grip size based exclusively on ball travel results. If deciding to take this approach, would you choose to make the presumption that when ball flight is at its best you are swinging your best, or would you prefer to prove that assumption separately and directly if you had the chance instead of relying on such an “indirect” method of gauging swing performance? The fact is that if any other golf club specifications are not correct, then the best ball flight could easily be gotten with the wrong grip size. Is this a chance you are willing to take?
Grip size can also be fit directly to one’s golf swing without regard to ball travel and ball travel’s possible “deceiving” effects as noted above. (In all fairness to fitting by golf ball travel, I will note here that “deceiving” effects can certainly be encountered when fitting grip size [or any golf club specification] by way of one’s direct swinging performance as well. If any club specification is wrong or “different,” another club specification choice may be so influenced, just like in ball travel fitting). This can be done by putting various grip sizes on completed clubs, swinging them, and directly comparing any swing changes using the various sizes. Not only can swing differences be distinguished between variant grip sizes in this manner, but evaluations can also be made against one’s ideal, or at least best swing. Further details of exactly how to achieve this will unfold as Waggle Weight Wisdom continues, but for now suffice it to say that such a process can be consummated easily with the size and weight differences between successively available grip sizes plus other soon-to-be-revealed golf swing facts. What can be learned about one’s golf swing and equipment by such a manner of clubfitting can be so enlightening that, once learned, you may feel that anyone fitting grip size solely by ball travel is a rank amateur clubfitter, although ball travel is certainly a great “supplemental” help in figuring many things out.
As can be seen now, the methods of fitting grip size to ball travel and swing performance are so unlike each other that they cannot really be considered related at all. It is just not possible to effectively fit grip size in the same way for two such differing golf elements, but this does avoid forcing a potential choice of whether to apply an identical grip fitting process to ball travel results or swinging performance. Furthermore, if one is clearly able to distinguish between each fitting method and its associated performance factor(s), then one can also eliminate inadvertently and inappropriately trying to apply both methods at the same time, thus eliminating potential confusion if that were attempted. Of course if learning two different methods of fitting a golf club specification and the best strategy of applying them turns out to be just too much for the custom clubfitting industry, then one can always revert to the grip-on-a-stick method for fitting grip size instead if preferred. Be sure to know, however, that from the standpoint of truly competent clubfitting, the grip-on-a-stick technique is another level further below ball travel fitting. Not to worry, though, for if still using the grip-on-a-stick scheme but not achieving the level of fitting success hoped for, one’s fitting skill need not be blamed. The traditional excuse of the independent clubfitting industry can be used saying the giant advertising budgets of the large manufacturers are primarily to blame for the lack of fitting success and/or business. Plus, the method is more “convenient.”
I will now look at another specification but in a different light, that of swingweighting. (I advise against using current MOI golf club matching [technically Moment of Inertia, but in overall club playability terms Moment of Insanity], though I will not reveal much of my detailed breakdown of this for a little while yet. Many club makers/fitters promoting this specification have already purchased equipment to help produce golf clubs with the parameter and naturally they want to get their money’s worth from it, but you do not have to make their mistake yours. The fact is that for players for whom swingweighting does not work well, the vast majority would play better golf with clubs that are balanced in the opposite direction from what MOI proposes). Anyway, very briefly, fitting swingweight expressly to ball travel will often require needing to increase a golf club’s swingweight value if ball flight is consistently pulled to the left (right-handed golfer) and needing to decrease the swingweight if ball flight is pushed out to the right in order to straighten out ball travel more. Alternately, fitting swingweight exclusively and directly to one’s swing is principally based on the coordination/timing of one’s golf swing motion throughout a swing and innately has nothing whatsoever to do with ball travel results.
From here I will now dig a little deeper into the clubfitting process using swingweighting. Clubfitting involves multiple golf club specifications. While to a certain extent there may always be some “art” to the decision process of what specifications could/should be fit in what specific order, there are scientific principles that can be employed to help guide the making of such decisions. For instance, when fitting swingweight to the way one swings, the swingweight value commonly remains a constant throughout various golf clubs that otherwise differ in lengths, total weights, and more (within reason). This also assumes that the fourteen-inch fulcrum point location of the swingweighting system matches up well with a player’s movement, which it may or not. Due to the specification’s normally “stable” nature in this regard, the swingweight value should usually be one of the first parameters, if not the first, to be chosen when fitting golf clubs directly to one’s swing. The choices of other club specification values may then, in turn, be interdependent upon the swingweight measurement. On the other hand, . . .