Wedging Out of the Past, Driving Into the Future of Clubfitting

Before beginning what I will label “Clubfitting 101” after a couple more posts, I want to reemphasize here how critically important the proper fitting of golf equipment is in order to get the best, most consistent results out of anyone’s golf swing and playing performance.  At the same time, however, I must also sadly restate how bad so many of the principles and practices of custom club fitting remain to this day.  Year after year, wholly ineffective techniques of clubfitting are promoted by various entities.  Year after year, the scores of golfers remain stagnant despite mammoth advances in golf club technology, and year after year no one stands up to claim responsibility for the situation.  Still another example of the clubfitting debacle is the widespread belief that one’s swingweight value should be based on the shaft flex used.  Yet history has consistently shown that for those for whom swingweighting works well, such players centrally prefer the same swingweight throughout their set of golf clubs even though the shaft flexes in the set usually vary considerably.  There will be no awards handed out anytime soon to the golf clubfitting trade for being the ultimate model of how to go about fitting a game’s equipment to those people who play it.  Also repeating myself, there are some exquisite clubfitters out there, but they are certainly the exceptions and not the rule.  The majority of their clubfitting knowledge is not based on the teachings of the books and/or organizations I have been critiquing in recent postings.

Many newer technologies in golf club fitting such as launch monitors, shaft analyzers and methods to better align shafts in heads during assembly, and other computer-enhanced technologies that allow us to observe and analyze things we never could just a short time ago, are legitimate improvements in golf club fitting.  Notwithstanding these advancements, I would characterize the modernizations as “icing on the cake” when in fact there is still no cake in the case of most clubfitters.  For a top-notch player or clubfitter who already had strong clubfitting knowledge before the above devices and procedures became available, any improvement added by applying such new technology, while possible, would hardly be the astonishing betterment that many would have you believe.  If a vast improvement was seen, the player or clubfitter was not as good as he or she should have been before the newer technology arrived.  If you are one who sincerely believes expert clubfitting did not exist or was not possible before the advent of launch monitors, then I offer you my sympathy.  I will tell you in no uncertain terms that if your clubfitter has the above devices and theoretically applies them perfectly to you, but then hands you some grip-on-a-stick golf grips and chooses your grip size based on where your top-hand fingers are in relation to the palm of your hand or how “comfortable” the grips feel to you under the circumstances, then you are in trouble.  You should run, not walk, out of the shop if you can, unless you intend to end up as just another statistic that comes out of a clubfitting session playing about the same as when you went in.

The theories and practices I am about to start revealing on Waggle Weight Wisdom will establish the highest foundational standards against which all other clubfitting (and golf swing) instruction will be measured against in the future.  Whether any of the golf industry chooses or will be allowed to use the erudition and processes described (there is a separate patent application covering upcoming post revelations that will be submitted before I begin to publicize it here) is anybody’s guess at this time.  For now, your best choice for learning to play better golf might be to follow this site and start knowing clubfitting as it is intended.  (There will also be some invaluable swing facts I must disclose at the same time in order to progress properly).  Get your own basic club fitting devices, plus tools and supplies for installing, taking apart, and working with golf club heads, shafts, and grips, as deemed appropriate.   Perform as much trial and error as possible with your clubs while swinging and/or playing the game in order to prove or disprove what you think you learned about those clubs (and your swing).  This is, by the way, the only acceptable course for many of the world’s finest players.  Without a solid, computerless knowledge of golf clubfitting first, one would not be able to thoroughly take advantage of the above advancements anyhow, and may honestly only make things worse for oneself or any customers.

While not available yet, if you really insist on seeing another to help you fit your golf clubs correctly hereafter, I suggest looking for a Waggle Weight trademark name or symbol in association with the fitter.  This will assure that he has the prescribed combination of knowledge and skill concerning the golf swing, golf clubs, and how the two interlace, providing a model of clubfitting service that is unavailable at this time.  Clubfitters can still be an extremely valuable asset to golf’s future, but certainly not the way this segment of the industry and its general “system” are set up now.

If and when any pending Waggle Weight patents are granted in the near future, it will be interesting to find out what (if any) opportunities arise to allow use of the advanced golf club specification by the independent custom clubfitting industry only, major golf club manufacturers only should any such opportunities present themselves, both, or neither, instead pursuing other options.  As the first genuine upgrade and overhaul of the predominant, swing-controlling swingweight specification for golfers since its inception in the 1930’s, the potentiality at least exists to alter the balance of power in the golf club and clubfitting industries.  I am just as curious as anyone to see what kind of structural changes may unfold over the next few years.