The Terrible Twos Syndrome of Golf Club Fitting: Part Fifteen

In predominantly coming to a conclusion for now regarding discussing some various golf club “making” aspects that are relevant to and intertwined with various golf club “fitting” aspects (though I will address some golf grip and grip installation issues shortly as the last major point of test golf club construction), I wish to just make a couple of additional points related to shaft installation here first.  Now even if any particular details about the different topics discussed thus far have been ignored and/or not understood sufficiently, there is still one broad, prevalent perspective that should be hopefully becoming firmly entrenched in your mind by now, because it is a concept has been and will be routinely applied throughout Waggle Weight Wisdom™.  This doctrine is to first break down the whole into the smallest elements possible for analysis in order to expectantly understand each individual element well first, and then to start combining elements, where the more complex nature of such combinations will ideally be easier to analyze and comprehend when the individual elements are best comprehended first.

In the same way that golf ball travel results and golf swing performance can be sharply separated and isolated from each other for analysis purposes to such an extent that you may as well be discussing the details of two completely different professions, the same can be done regarding elements of golf club making and golf club fitting.  When a given element(s) of one area is combined with a given element(s) of the other, it can regularly appear that an inseparable, single operational unit is functioning.  A significant number of people are surprised when finding out that these elements can be separated, and even more surprised when finding out what they are able to learn that they did not previously know about these individual elements when the elements are separated, reduced to their smallest and simplest parts, and thoroughly analyzed as such first before attempting to analyze them in various combinations.

In revisiting shaft installation for a moment again and contemplating here about being able to have a wider selection of golf clubs and golf club specifications available to try out (for clubfitting purposes) at potentially less expense overall, I would be remiss in not at least mentioning the various “quick-connection” systems for golf club shafts and heads that have become available somewhat lately.  They are touted as allowing the switching of various shafts and clubheads (and/or their installed positions thereof) in a convenient, interchangeable, and playable fashion, potentially more readily making available a larger range of golf club components and specifications to experiment with for clubfitting and at possibly less overall expense than could be accomplished with more recognized golf club assembly technique(s).  If made use of competently, such systems would potentially seem to have a useful future, and their overall quality would reasonably be expected to improve given more time to conquer various issues encountered that cannot really be considered unexpected for relatively newer technology.  At first thought it would appear that such devices might be better taken advantage of by bigger clubfitting entities.  Whether such systems might be worthwhile for individuals to look into in the course of fitting and/or making their own personal golf clubs is yet to be determined.

Now having started this, I will stipulate here that even with the use of such connection systems, far more of these connectors will still have to be utilized for truly effective golf club fitting than that currently utilized on the typical golf club “fitting carts” put out by most major club manufacturers today as examples.  These carts, which when browsing around many golf shops can often be observed scattered around like floats in a parade waiting to be lined up properly for the start of the parade but they cannot be because of a clubfitting industry that is generally lost in confusion, are wholly ineffective systems for executing professionally competent golf club fitting.  Such fitting cart systems commonly employ woeful clubfitting techniques not limited to the musical golf shafts concept that openly displays and promotes a lack of proper comprehension of what capable golf club fitting [not just golf shaft fitting] comprises and that I described in Part Fourteen, and the most pathetic excuse for golf grip size fitting that has even been developed and promoted, that of the grip-on-a-stick method or comparably measuring one’s physical hand size.

Speaking of the now-infamous grip-on-a-stick golf club fitting procedure and not even mentioning several other procedures of ill repute, the golf club fitting trade will not and should not receive any widespread legitimate respect until this incompetent procedure is forever expunged from the analytic process of golf club fitting.  For such an extremely important golf club specification for a golfer to be treated in such a half-learned manner by so many golf club and grip manufacturers, so-called clubfitting instructors through written matter and/or other teaching methods, so-called professional clubfitters of any size from individuals to large corporations, publication authors, and more that uninitiated golfers are constantly subjected to, there is no other proof needed to show how badly the “certifiable” clubfitting industry needs to be completely overhauled.  This goes for both the clubfitting system(s) itself as well as the people that have developed, kept in place, and/or promoted this and other clubfitting procedures that have been in place since this industry and its practices were essentially publicly “born” roughly about the mid 1970’s.  But none of this transformation can begin to take place until the old theories are proven wrong and more correct ones developed and put into place.  And fortunately, the main topic(s) being addressed in this post title sequence are certain critical aspects of golf grip size fitting (and to a lesser extent golf shaft fitting) that bring about overhauling of these areas (and not by using the musical golf shafts and grip-on-a-stick methods I assure you).

There are also common derivatives of the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size such as determining one’s left-hand golf glove size (for a right-handed golfer) or taking length measurements between certain points of one’s glove hand, methods that are used widely for attempting to fit a golf club(s) through mail order or online computer services as examples.  These methods are not suitable for use in any kind of reliable fashion even for attempting to accomplish cheaper, quicker, and less-accurate clubfitting services like the mail order or online services noted.  There is truly no “less-accurate” level that can be associated with such golf grip size fitting methods, only a virtual “zero-accuracy” level.  If you currently feel that mail-order-type fittings can be an overall adequate means of effectively fitting golf clubs to golfers and hope that the revelations contained in Waggle Weight Wisdom™ will help make mail-order-type fitting endeavors more viable and efficient, I am afraid you are apt to be very disappointed.  The revelations contained in this work will, if anything, prove how generally impossible it is to achieve a legitimate golf club fitting that has any real accuracy to it through such so-called custom clubfitting means.  There can, however, be certain limited exceptions, such as an online application that might help determine a point location (if any) for a golfer about where he/she rotates his/her golf club(s) during pre-swing movement to help subsequently achieve better golf club balancing if the golfer does not have any other means to make such a determination.

While on the subject of fitting carts, here is a side note here for people that are able to keenly observe the methods used in fitting golf clubs through these fitting carts (like the grip-on-a-stick method) of the major club manufacturers.  There can be mostly minor differences between these cart fitting processes depending upon exactly which golf club manufacturer is involved, but to the best of my knowledge they are all rather similar in following an overall, fairly standard clubfitting routine that is still primarily based on the previously released, incorrect clubfitting teachings of a select few questionably-qualified sources.  I have not witnessed any fitting carts that stand out as being any more proficient than any others or as anything other than what they really are, which is essentially a step above static, mail-order-type clubfitting processes but yet still well short of what can be considered truly effective golf club fitting processes.  I will relate to this more later.

In assuming that the standardized, off-the-rack golf clubs and club specifications put out by these manufacturers are designed in basically the same way as their customized club specifications are determined through their fitting carts (which I am simply assuming is true here with no actual evidence one way or the other), then this is some pretty strong evidence that indicates why the golf scores of golfers that purchase non-customized (off-the-rack) golf clubs have not improved for decades now in accordance with the enormous advances in various aspects of golf club technology over the same period.  But bear in mind that innumerable “non-major-manufacturer” clubfitting systems and/or clubfitters are often even worse in their clubfitting processes and/or skills.  This might include the promoting and implementing of the golf club specification of MOI (Moment of Insanity) on top of these and other ineffectual clubfitting processes.

Now I have previously indicated that the science aspect of golf club fitting (there is also an art aspect to golf club fitting for sure) actually is more difficult to comprehend and perform well than equipment fitting in virtually any other activity, primarily (but not solely) because of the added dimension of routinely changing golf clubs on successive swings and because this added dimension results in a unique element(s) being added to the equipment-fitting equation.  Thus, once developed well, the golf club fitting industry will ultimately develop into a model of how equipment should best be fit to a performer that people in all other activities will look up to with admiration and look to for reference regarding their own activities and related equipment fitting.  The currently deserved very poor reputation of the golf club fitting trade in general will eventually be overcome, the trade will eventually assume its rightful position as a powerful driving force in the golf industry and its future, and golfers will more justifiably utilize the trade as an important part of their golf game development and performance if desired.

At this instant, however, the clubfitting trade should consider itself to be extremely lucky that such a large percentage of golfers (due in large part to general athletic performance inexperience that is quite commonplace among golfers as a whole) just do not realize the critical importance of properly fit golf clubs to get the most out of a golfer’s performance.  If substantially more golfers were to come to comprehend this and seriously investigate clubfitting before the clubfitting trade is drastically overhauled first, the trade would be subjected to considerably more public ridicule and humiliation than it already gets now and it might take considerably longer for the trade to gain the respect it needs in part to assume its rightful place within the golf industry.  The unfit theories and practices that the clubfitting trade still regularly adheres to and amusingly calls true professional clubfitting would simply become known by more people to the extent of perhaps making headlines, where even people outside of the golf industry might become familiar with the expression that the golf club fitting industry is the worst in all of sports.  Whether all or any of the needed transformations will take place during the rest of my lifetime remains to be seen, but it is reasonable to assume that I will let it be known through my work if any of this successfully occurs and if so where one might go for consistently competent clubfitting services if one chooses to not attempt to perform such tasks on one’s own.

I will mention here again that it is certainly possible I could have inadvertently forgotten one or more clubmaking facets that are worthy of initial or further discussion, and I can always address additional matter of this type in the future, particularly as it comes up in the course of being related to the many clubfitting facets that are yet to be discussed.  But for now, with my deliberation on possible shaft trimming procedures in my immediately prior posting, I feel like I have come full circle to some extent with the clubmaking facets I have branched off and discussed recently.  I have come back to the point where I started talking about various ways of trying to predict what a golf club’s final swingweight value will be before a given golf grip is installed for real, one purpose of such an exercise being to help determine whether any additional golf shaft/club trimming of length should be done from the butt end(s) of the test golf club(s) in this instance.  So now I finally get back to where I previously left off in that regard.  The first thing I already considered was the benefit(s) of plain old experience working on golf clubs to aid in learning how much any given golf grip model would typically reduce a given golf club’s swingweight value after grip installation relative to the club’s ungripped state.