At Southport Golf Academy we believe that good play begins with correct instruction (of course!!) and technique, but properly fitted and honestly advised equipment can be the difference between good play and your best scores yet!
Every player is different; whether it be in height, strength, build or technique so using a set of clubs that has been manufactured for ‘everyone’ is never going to get the most out of your swing. Of course we cannot guarantee that course records will start to fall merely by attaining the correct equipment, but after our bespoke fitting service you can be safe in the knowledge that you will get the most out of any swing you make.
What can the wrong equipment do to your game?
The custom fitting process covers many aspects of club building from anything as simple as the flex and material of the shaft, to grip thickness or the lofts and lie angles of the club-heads. But do getting these things correct for you really make a difference??
Incorrect Shaft Flex :
Generally ‘off the rack’ irons will be fitted with regular or ‘uniflex’ shafts, either made from steel or graphite as these would cater for the widest range of people, with regular being a middle ground with regards to flexibility. It is important to determine whether you need a stiffer or softer flex of shaft as it can have a large effect on the ball flight. A shaft is designed to aid with club-head speed and height by ‘kicking’ at a certain point, so a softer shaft can be very beneficial to a player who does not generate a lot of speed naturally. If however, your swing speed is naturally quick, and you do not need the extra help a softer shaft can bring, you will more than likely need to use a stiffer shaft flex. As there is less movement in this throughout the swing, it is generally more accurate. If you are using a shaft that is too flexible for your swing speed, it will ‘kick’ too much and in some cases you will see the ball start to hook in its flight. Conversely if your shafts are too stiff for your swing, they will not do enough work and you could start to see the ball fly straight right (right handers).
Under the bracket of club shafts comes the steel or graphite debate. Very simply the benefit of a steel shaft is that it is generally less flexible and heavier meaning it is more stable and accurate. Graphite shafts on the other hand can be made much lighter and more flexible to add some speed to a slower swing at the expense of a little control.
Shafts can also be chosen which can change the trajectory of a shot. If you naturally hit the ball very high, there is a chance that you could lose potential distance had the ball gone slightly lower (forward rather than up!). This obviously applies on the other hand for a player that hits the ball low; more height may mean more carry and more distance.
Wrong Lie Angle:
The lie angle of the club is the angle at which the shaft goes into the head. In general a taller player will have ‘higher’ hands than a shorter player, meaning in its simplest terms that when addressing the ball, the grip end of the club will be further from the floor in the hands of a tall player than it would be in the hands of a short player. This can lead to the sole (bottom edge) of the club not sitting flush with the floor which can cause inconsistent shots. If the lie angle is too shallow (flat) for the player, i.e a tall player using standard clubs, the heel of the club will be off the floor. As the player strikes the ball, the toe end of the head can dig in and cause the head to pivot open (aim right for right handed golfers) leading to misguided shots. Likewise if a short golfer was using standard clubs, the lie angle would be too steep (upright) meaning the toe end of the club could be raised off the floor and the heel could dig in at impact causing the ball to hook.
Incorrect Club Length:
It is obvious that a very tall player using clubs that are too short, will have to adapt their technique to cater for it. Likewise clubs that are too long can be a hindrance to a shorter player. The club should never dictate how a golfer swings it with regards to fitting factors, therefore the club should fit the swing and not the other way around. Even an adjustment of half an inch to the length of the shaft can allow a golfer to swing the club naturally as opposed to simply ‘what is needed’ to hit the centre of the clubface. Of course if technique is not adapted, and clubs are the wrong length, a taller golfer will generally hit the ball half way up or ‘top’ it, and a shorter golfer will generally strike the ground heavy underneath the ball.
Wrong Grip Thickness:
Although grip thickness will generally come down to personal preference of what the individual feels comfortable with, it can be a factor in some peoples poor shots. A solid golf swing contains a ‘release’ of the club where the right forearm (right hander) rotates over the top of the club just after impact. This movement is what ensures the club face is square as the ball is being struck. A grip that is too thin can in some cases lead to an over active right forearm, where it is allowed to rotate too quickly and can lead to a hook. Conversely if a grip is too thick, it may limit this rotation leading to a clubface which is open (aiming right for right handers).
As you can see, custom fitting is not just for touring professionals and low handicap amateurs, anyone can benefit to some degree. Here at the academy we have state of the art custom fitting equipment available in our performance studio. This enables the user to try, with the advice and knowledge of one of our trained fitters, any of the current offerings from a number of manufacturers, with any custom fit option available to them. This process of elimination ensures that you know that the irons that you come away with are tailored to be perfect for your game and not generic to suit the other 4million golfers in the UK (stat: British Golf Industry Association).
We are the regional fitting centre for Wilson and Wilson Staff branded products and recommend them due to the quality, range, and extremely competitive price point. However, do not be put off if Wilson Staff is not the brand you are looking for, we can still offer a comprehensive custom fitting service, with the ability to order any brand through our buying group Foremost Golf.
We are also happy to check out your existing clubs which may need some simple adaptation such as grips, shafts, lofts or lie angles. With two custom fitting professionals, one is generally available at any time during opening hours – better still give us a ring on 01772 815842 and make a no obligation appointment.
Head of Golf
Try www.wilsonstaff.com/getfit for advice on the iron to suit your game.