A Clubfitting Poll that is Clearly Before its Time

Without explicitly mentioning the name of the particular online forum here largely because of the post’s more generalized nature of being presented as a poll, a recent post has attempted to take a poll and solicited votes generally regarding how golfers rate the clubfitting experiences they have personally been through and/or how important they feel clubfitting is to themselves and/or potentially to the game of golf. Because some of the responses were sufficiently entertaining in nature, yet so very sad at the same time, I was prompted to take the time to write and present the following. The poll and associated responses have seemed somewhat appropriate for this Halloween.

Many posting in the noted poll readily acknowledge directly or indirectly that the clubfitting industry as a whole is basically in a shambles at this point in time (and rightly so), with few (if any) truly knowledgeable clubfitters around the globe that have appropriate clubfitting skills to even turn to if one is not sufficiently skilled to fit oneself. And then, in essentially the same sentence, several posters have commented that under these current circumstances one of the few people they would trust to do a clubfitting for them would be Tom Wishon.

How utterly naive can a group of people and an entire trade possibly get? Do they really not realize that Wishon, perhaps more than any other single individual over the past few decades, is largely responsible for creating this embarrassing mess for the clubfitting industry in the first place? Talk about the blind leading the blind! His garbage about MOI club matching being an improvement of swingweighting (these two specifications are fundamentally complete opposites of each other in both theory and practice regarding how they are intended to work), his foolishness regarding fitting golf grip size based upon comfort, and his somewhat superficial understanding and/or approach regarding how to fit wood face angles to golfers, are merely three of uncounted examples that display serious deficiencies in his comprehension of sound clubfitting theories and practices. Much of his misguided work, as well meaning as it might be, has considerably contributed to taking a reasonably sane clubfitting trade a few decades ago and turning it into the underachieving laughingstock that it currently is today. This is quite a feat indeed in the face of the technological advancements that have come about over the same period like launch monitors to potentially help a clubfitting process (when in the right hands). But this is how truly incoherent much of the clubfitting knowledge is out there right now.

And then largely book-taught clubfitters like Howard Jones, which pretty commonly do not have extensive playing experience of their own to reference and depend on, need to blindly rely on such inaccuracies and spread them even further among gullible golfers (and clubfitters). One such extremely unknowledgeable comment is that changes in grip weight merely fool a swingweight scale. This is a comment spread especially by those whose personal golfing motions do not likely match up well with the specification’s 14-inch fulcrum dimension and thus have never been able to experience how the specification works first hand. The dimension very broadly tends to become a better fit for golfers as they play and practice more over a longer period of time, so these are the people more likely able to (though not always) properly explain how the specification is intended to work. From this, you might be able to deduce how flawed clubfitting information to begin with (and there is a plethora of that out there right now) can be so naively believed by the less experienced in golf and then taken and turned into absurdities that are even worse than the original incorrect information.

Though there are uncounted exceptions of course, one of many old sayings associated with golf is that golfers as a whole are generally not really athletes and would never even be let on the field so to speak in other activities. Nowhere is there is potentially more ongoing proof of this than within the clubfitting trade and many of the loony clubfitting theories and practices this industry has come up with though the years. The sheer number of poor golfers that continue to come away with horrific clubfitting results and experiences is proof that cannot really be argued with. This runs rather equally across the entire spectrum of the trade from one end to the other, from smaller independent clubfitters to commercial chains and all the way up to the fitting programs of the club manufacturers themselves, as they all appear to follow the same inept clubfitting procedure(s) with little more than minor deviations among them. The very poor overall performance record and reputation histories of the clubfitting trade regarding fitting golf clubs to golfers are actually quite easy to deduce if and when proper clubfitting theories and practices are eventually understood, leading to the realization of how frightfully awful many of the clubfitting processes continue to be within the trade.

New clubfitter “apprentices” continue to be taught improper clubfitting knowledge from the ground up by everybody including (though not limited to) formal golf-related organizations (like professional golfer associations and independent clubfitting entities), more traditional educational institutions, and of course (or of “curse” as might be fitting for this Halloween) numerous individuals that for some spooky reason(s) are considered to be experts in the field. But in the end they are actually quite unqualified regarding knowing primary clubfitting theories and practices capably. The clubfitting industry as whole does not even need any special masks or costumes this Halloween to completely scare golfers away given how the trade chooses to continue to operate, which is potentially toward complete extinction unless skilled fixing is done before it is too late.

In the case of Wishon, perhaps the man might be considered by some to be the greatest clubhead designer that ever lived. However, that is principally a totally different and separate full-time field of expertise than clubfitting, and he is anything but an expert regarding golf club fitting theory and practice. This is a plain fact, not an opinion, and something that I have already proven time and time again within many of my writings to date. (These writings have also made it quite clear that Wishon is certainly not the only contributor to this sad situation and to some extent he just carried on what others before him started, but he has sure added considerable folly of his own to the flawed information that already existed). It might now take generations more for the clubfitting trade (which in turn affects the entire golf industry to some degree) to completely recover (if it ever does) given all of his materials that contain so much flawed information currently out there for gullible golfers (and clubfitters) to naively believe. All that publicly proclaim their full support of Wishon’s work in the specific field of clubfitting (Tutelman’s work is comparable) are also conspicuously proclaiming their own lack of proper knowledge in several extremely basic areas of clubfitting principles and practices.

I am rather dubious that even ten percent of so-called professional clubfitters (that may or may not have some sort of certification[s] from this or that entity) taking a written exam I might put together comprising just very fundamental clubfitting theories and practices would be able to pass it. I base this on the numerous extremely poor and sometimes even absurd clubfitting processes widely and regularly still applied, which have unfortunately been commonly taught to clubfitters seemingly forever and continue to permeate and stink up the trade as a whole. In light of this, under these current circumstances a poll like this is a rather moot undertaking and would not likely be able to provide any real useful information to whoever analyzes its results. But maybe at some point, if and when most clubfitters around the globe actually become capable of practicing fundamental clubfitting techniques properly, perhaps then a poll like the one referenced might bring about some useful data.