Current Clubfitting: Uncalculated Comedy
Waggle Weight Wisdom is now only about a handful of posts away from starting to reveal certain golf swing and clubfitting concepts that will forever change the way they are both viewed. The insight will help take the swing instruction and clubfitting trades from their current reputations of being quite inefficient into models of equipment fitting and swing training that will want to be emulated by all. Before beginning, however, there are still a few select new items that must be covered. I will also expand on and/or review specific topics previously presented (though perhaps from slightly different perspectives) in preparation for what follows.
Waggle Weight Wisdom is not explicitly prearranged to be a comedic assessment of the current state of the golf club fitting trade, but there is some inescapable irony occurring within this industry that makes certain sarcasms just impossible to avoid. For those who believe that golfers are not really athletes, they can certainly point to the clubfitting trade as a manifestation of that belief. As I have previously stated, this industry is probably the worst in all of sport at effectively fitting equipment to its players. Since most clubfitters are golfers themselves, it is not unreasonable to estimate the general talent of golfers in part by the general skill of clubfitting within the game. In defense of clubfitters, (just a little bit), golf does have some highly unique elements to it that are not present in other activities, leaving the industry all alone in some respects. Nevertheless, this is a trade that as a whole still does not understand and cannot explain how a swingweighting device and concept introduced about 80 years ago is meant to be applied to help golfers, and the amount of respect given to the industry should be commensurate with this and other facts.
Just as a golf club fitting system can be distinctly separated into different parts of the whole like swing performance and golf ball travel results, the business side of clubfitting can also be dissected into smaller and more understandable parts that can be individually deciphered and developed. This might comprise a “service” component that includes customer interaction, a “product” component that indicates the quality of the product sold and which can be separated from service skills, and also a “marketing” component to try and attract people to the specific product(s) and/or service(s). A great deal of clubfitting can be extracted as “product.” This naturally includes the end result of the physical, custom-fitted golf club(s). But additionally, since the process of clubfitting is usually “systematized” under certain traditionally taught guidelines, such process can also be considered part of the “product.” Do not confuse this element with the customer service part of “service.” Even if generously giving the service side (including club assembly) of the fitting industry the highest marks possible, it is little consolation because the overall “product” quality of custom-fitted golf clubs is quite poor. Poor clubfitting theories and practices previously developed by just a small handful of very dedicated yet questionably qualified individuals and organizations have led to this predicament. Even non-golfers are often able to recognize that much of this clubfitting information lacks a certain level of foundational knowledge, logic, and universal understanding of some topics. Sadly, it is not recognized within its own trade. With all due respect, clubfitters who blindly and seemingly without independent thought follow these teachings can almost be considered “groupies” who are imaginably intent on being associated with somebody of notoriety. Unfortunately, it is not good notoriety. If this select group of authors and organizations continues to be accepted as the best that golf has to offer in the field of expert golf club fitting (and swing) knowledge, then the future of golf is in more trouble than you know.
Most in the golf club fitting trade remain convinced that their industry would blossom and become extremely successful if only they had the same “marketing” budgets of the large manufacturers to further spread the word among golfers that custom clubfitting can really benefit them. Of course such budgets do not guarantee anything as can be noted by some advertising slogans constantly in our heads about various products and services, yet the companies are literally millions of dollars in debt. But the clubfitting trade still seems to believe this would guarantee their success. To those having such a firm belief I can offer the following. If such a boon comes in the form of publicity for the custom golf club industry before that trade substantially corrects and improves its “product,” then it will not just be a small number of people who know just how misguided the clubfitting industry is today. It will then be the entire world. In using the same words I used in an earlier post about golf swing difficulty, the custom clubfitting industry should “be careful what it wishes for” with respect to the publicity it thinks it currently wants.
Other warranted clubfitting trade satire includes the trade’s theoretical premise of “fitting golf clubs to one’s individual swing characteristics,” yet in practice fitting predominantly to ball travel. Fitting to ball travel is a form or derivative of trying to make one’s golf swing fit in accordance with the travel of the golf ball and is in fact an opposing premise to fitting clubs to one’s swing characteristics. Another statement routinely directed at golfers is to, “See your ‘swing professional’ to work on your golf swing, and see your ‘professional clubfitter’ to get fit for clubs.” Such a statement can be compatible with clubfitters who really comprehend proper fitting procedure. But this declaration can be extremely deceiving, and on the surface it is an open invitation for “typical” clubfitters to fit golf clubs exclusively by ball travel whenever possible and deflect the responsibility for “good swinging by good clubfitting” elsewhere. Adding these to the many other topics already extensively covered, and a good sense of humor might be the most important virtue needed when evaluating the clubfitting industry.