Golf Club Fitting Information: Too Much or Not Enough?

I have mentioned more than once that I did not take up golf earnestly until I was into college.  My younger days were spent like many other middle-class aspiring athletes, passionately pursuing a baseball career.  My family could also better afford that.  A big part of this was playing organized ball at free parks.  I swung a baseball bat what seemed like more than a million times, working on my hitting technique and also experimenting with many different bats during both practices and games to try to get the most out of whatever talent I had.  One foundational bat element is the diameter of its handle.  I selected what handle size to use at any given time based preeminently on my hitting performance against pitches.  This included how far and to what part of the field I hit the ball when struck on the best part of the bat, and how I hit the ball when contacting it on the bat handle.  Even as a fifteen-year-old amateur ballplayer, if someone had approached me with various bat handle sizes that comprised little more than the handles themselves, and tried to convince me that the best diameter should be chosen based on the locations of my finger tips in relation to the palms of my hands while holding various handle sizes and/or how “comfortable” each handle felt under the circumstances presented, I am trusting here that even at that age I knew better and would have dismissed the concept rather quickly.  Yet all golf clubfitting “professionals” today, with no exceptions that I am aware of, use what I can only describe as the fitting of golf grip size using a version of the “grip-on-a-stick” method.  Other similar processes measure one’s physical hand size in different manners.  This is comparable to choosing a golf shaft based on your height and weight.  And you cannot understand why golfers’ scores have not gotten better over the years that this has been promoted?  Several alarms go off inside my head on multiple levels when observing this and many other golf club fitting theories and practices.  Anybody supporting such a clubfitting theory, regardless of whether it is one who preaches it or one who listens to it, is contributing to the delinquency of a golfer.  Why is this?

Suppose you want to learn about a golf swing.  If you are looking for some information about that, there are almost countless authors from whom to choose, including instructors who expressly teach the golf swing and have developed reputations, plus many of the greatest golfers the world has ever known.  Tomorrow will always bring someone new, but rest assured with the number of choices already available, an enormous amount of experience and ground has been covered in the area of a golf swing.  From extremely simple techniques to extraordinarily complex methods and just about everything in between, from how the swing was learned from people of all walks of life, to how the swing should be learned from people of all walks of life, it seems that little has been left unturned in the area of a golf swing.  Comparisons and debates abound regarding various authors’ teachings.  Less-experienced players in particular often perceive this to be a confusing calamity, however it can be turned around to one’s advantage.  Being attentive to such a wide range of possibilities while adding one’s own personal attitude(s) into the mix can help players eliminate a vast number of incompatible swinging methods.  Some authors who cover the golf swing also elaborate on other experiences, and that can include references to or entire chapters on their golf clubs and golf club fitting knowledge.  This material can be quite good depending upon who composed it, but it is usually fairly limited in its scope due to so much other subject matter commonly included in such works.

Suppose, though, you would like to learn the distinct craft of golf club fitting.  I refer now to individuals/groups who consider clubfitting to be a standalone and extremely comprehensive topic that should be reported on separately.  The fact is, until now there have only been about a half-dozen notables that ever attempted an extensive analysis of golf club fitting theory and practice.  And actually, even they seem to have learned their foundation for clubfitting primarily from one or two individuals.  This may sound pretty amazing when first heard.  But while clubfitting has been around as long as golf clubs have, it was not really endeavored to exhaustively bring that subject into the public eye for more widespread viewing and studying until about the 1970’s.  So as a full-fledged entity of its own for only about thirty years now, perhaps it becomes a little easier to realize that the doctrine might still be in its infancy in some ways.  As I will soon show, this is absolutely true.  Few people will argue that golf club fitting is part science and part art, and I wholeheartedly agree with that.  Consequently, many of the golf club fitting principles and practices used today are comprised just of the personal opinions of a few select individuals.  As a result, there is little depth in clubfitting knowledge.