Custom Fitting Irons & What exactly is involved?
Throughout my career, I have successfully completed a custom fitting service to thousands of players and over the years I have worked alongside all of the big companies including Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist, Ping, Cobra, Wilson, Mizuno, Srixon, Cleveland, Nike, Precept & Honma.
It is fair to say that most of the companies stick to the basic guidelines, with a couple of small exceptions, of how to custom fit a set of irons.
This is my personal step by step walkthrough that I follow during a custom fitting session.
1. First of all, I like to start with a few basic questions to get to know the players’ background.
I ask them the following;
– How long they have been playing golf?
– What is their existing handicap or scoring average?
– What their distance, accuracy & ball flight goals are?
– Do they have an existing set and do they have a brand preference.
– How far they hit a 7 iron?
– Do they have any physical difficulties?
– Can they make a complete golf swing?
– What is their glove size?
– I also ask them about their age? This may seem a little too basic but it could change my final decision regarding the shaft & grip materials.
– Finally, I will ask if they have ever experienced a custom fitting session before?
2. Measuring Body height & Wrist height –
The player should stand up straight, in golf shoes, with their back to the wall, which I have marked out in Feet & Inches / Meters & Centimeters, with their arms by their sides and with their fingers pointing to the floor. The player’s height should be noted and so too should the distance between their wrist and the floor.
3. Checking the Lie –
The player should take a standard 7 or 6 iron, that is already prepared with lie stickers, and make several swings making sure that they make contact with the lie board. This will leave marks on the stickers to help with the lie decision.
4. The Swing Speed –
This should also be measured with a swing speed radar, where possible. This will help decide what shaft flexibility is required.
5. Shaft Material –
After measuring the distance from the wrist to the ground, checking contact markings on the lie stickers, noting the swing speed and ball flight height, we should now be able to decide the material that is required for the shaft. Does the player require steel or graphite?
6. Grip size –
For this measurement, I use the grip guide from Golf Pride. I also have several grips in different sizes that the player can hold to determine their preference. Whilst checking the grip size the player should be wearing their glove. It is then a question of whether to choose a firm grip or a soft grip and colour preference.
7. Build the Potential Customised Club –
Thankfully, due to modern technology, this step is now a lot quicker than it used to be. We are now able to take the correct clubhead, which has the right Lie, Weight, Sole etc. and screw this on to the correct shaft, which is the right weight, length, flex & material. The player can instantly try out their new club, again on the lie board without balls, and give the expert their feedback.
8. Fine-tuning –
After the player has made a few swings it is possible to check the Lie stickers again, this is to double-check that we are on the right path in finding the ideal club. Feedback from the player is vital at this stage. How does the grip feel? Do they sense a difference in the shaft length or in the flex & weight of the shaft? Once all checks have been made and any fine adjustments have been done then the ideal customised club can then be tried for real. This includes hitting a few balls. I feel that hitting balls should be the final, physical, step that the player should do before making a decision whether to change their old set for a new set.
9. Set Configuration –
As the rules of golf state, we are allowed, only, 14 clubs on the course at any time. This forces the player to think long and hard about how many irons they might need to complete a full set. Modern companies allow Irons to be ordered in any number and not just in full sets.
The player should start by listing their existing set up of woods & irons etc.
Example, the player may have a Driver, 3 Wood, 5 Wood, 4 Hybrid, 4 – PW, GW, SW & Putter.
It may be that they struggle with height on the 4 iron and wish to swap that for a further hybrid, which makes life easier. They may want to start with a 5 iron and add a further wedge.
After a final review of the Q&As, feedback from the player and watching the ball flight results it should now be possible to confirm and order the ideal set of irons.
Do you think that custom fitting is important?