The Terrible Twos Syndrome of Golf Club Fitting: Part One
Most of you have probably heard of the expression the “terrible twos,” which generally refers to the approximate age of children when they begin to feel and express some independence. This might often be done in defiant ways, by saying “No” at every opportunity and/or learning to try to manipulate people through temper tantrums as examples. While a very normal stage of human development, many parents dread the thought of trying to get through this stage of life with a child, with actions and emotions that can range from trying to prepare in advance for this often-termed dreaded phase to being in denial that one’s child could ever behave in such a manner.
In this case I am not referring to the chronological age of someone or something, but rather to the number of identical golf club components and/or specifications that need to be implemented in scientific compliance if one is to make verifiable progress and succeed well at golf club fitting. There is a terrible twos syndrome firmly in place in the industry that heavily contributes to why the clubfitting trade has such a poor performance record and reputation. To clarify, the thought of putting together two golf clubs having identical shafts for the purpose of conclusively determining a given club specification for a golfer is a potential occurrence of the terrible twos that most every clubfitter will work to avoid.
The overall reason for the terrible twos syndrome is one I have been stating all along, which is that most clubfitters (and clubfitting teachers) are still quite oblivious to how relatively new, inexperienced, and often incorrect the clubfitting trade as a whole still is. They assume the basics of the trade have remained essentially unchanged for as long as golf has existed, which they have not. The game was played earlier than the year 1600 by most accounts, but the golf club specification of swingweight was not invented for more than 300 years after that (and it is still not widely comprehended correctly to this day). And they steadfastly assume that what has been taught to them about clubfitting must be right since golf itself has been around such a long time, not a smart assumption. This ignorance prevents the understanding of what truly effective clubfitting comprises.
Many people believe they are very experienced and knowledgeable regarding clubfitting, yet they readily, blindly, and very strangely accept the teachings of questionably qualified individuals and/or organizations. Even inexperienced individuals can see many illogical and inappropriate clubfitting theories and practices in these teachings. At best, these teachings can be considered the “first generation” of clubfitting knowledge after the trade started to become more publicly known and commercially practiced, with initial books from multiple sources coming out within a period of about a decade from approximately the mid 1970’s to the mid 1980’s. Relative to total golf history, just the blink of an eye has occurred since that time period, so it is not really surprising that those teachings are still followed so reverently. But while those pioneers might forever have their names etched in golf history for some good things they may have initiated, many of those early teachings are incorrect and/or incomplete, and some extremely foundational and crucial clubfitting principles have still yet to be correctly identified and implemented to this day.
Breaking down the terrible twos syndrome into influential details can include an added financial expense(s) of including two (or more) identical components in one’s inventory, even if only done for a portion of the component models offered (this assumes one would know what to do with these identical components if one had them). I have sympathy for some clubfitters given the prices of many components these days (even components not considered to be “exotic” in nature). But at the same time, it does seem odd that golf in general is (and evidently always will be) undertaken much more by those who are more financially affluent, yet a considerable percentage of clubfitters often seem to be seeking out such cheap ways to outfit their clubfitting practices it is as though they do not have a penny to their names. But this is perhaps a topic for another post and time.
Another itemized reason for the terrible twos syndrome is the age-old salesmanship or one-upmanship game in an effort to attract Mr. Gullible Golfer. Just as naive golfers can easily have their heads turned by a clubfitter who says there are 20 extremely important golf club parameters to be fit from a clubfitter who says there are only 19 (there are in fact no more than a handful of critical golf club specifications that need to be understood and fit well in order to play golf consistently well), Mr. Gullible Golfer’s head may be turned by a clubfitter that offers more potential combinations of shafts and heads to try. And a clubfitter purchasing no more than one of everything can lead to more potential combinations at the lowest possible cost. Has any clubfitter surpassed the one million possible combinations mark yet? Now more combinations from which to choose can be a good thing if actualized well. But if accumulated in a manner that does not permit and/or encourage certain, even very basic clubfitting procedures to be performed properly, then the benefit of all of those possible component combinations, similarly to the benefit of a launch monitor, is zero. And as I have noted before, overall clubfitting effectiveness can actually deteriorate with the addition of such frills when in the wrong hands, taking the focus away from what really needs to be accomplished at the most basic level(s) first.
This sequence of posts will guide you through a practical example(s) of proper clubfitting procedure based on what has been revealed through Waggle Weight Wisdom™ thus far. When completed, critical fundamental knowledge will have been disclosed that even clubfitting “experts” in general were not previously familiar with, along with a major and overriding realization. For all the million (or thousand, or hundred, or whatever the latest figure is) possible component combinations plus the launch monitor commonly available through any given clubfitting entity, this post title sequence will make evident the following. If every so-called professional clubfitter were supplied with nothing more than two identical golf shafts and heads, a selection of different grips sizes of the same model, and a few very basic tools and supplies, practically every one of these alleged professional or certified fitters would fail miserably (based on past clubfitting theory) at performing some of the most elementary and important clubfitting skills toward helping golfers achieve their best performance.