Customized membership becoming:  Path to perfection or folly of the delicate golf psyche?


brand credibility from branding expertsOne of many hosts of an immensely widespread golf podcast just lately mentioned, on the air, that “{custom} membership becoming is a complete waste of time for most individuals.” It was the kind of assertion that reinforces scores and incites debate amongst golf trade insiders.

However his reasoning was weak; “It’s not like actual life,” he mentioned. “You’re hitting off a matt.”

Simply because membership becoming isn’t carried out on the course — with wind, rotten lies, aggressive strain and constant heckling from beer-drinking buddies —  doesn’t imply it’s nugatory. If it was, nobody could be doing it.

The query is, does the typical, struggling golfer really profit from {custom} membership becoming? Does he stroll out with higher golf equipment or a greater recreation?

Is he a savvy, well-informed gear shopper who is aware of one thing the remainder of us don’t know, or is he only a sucker, throwing away cash on a shiny new placebo?

Is membership becoming a waste of time for individuals who don’t play at an elite degree? And what do you actually get from a $350 membership becoming session at one of many fancy new membership becoming boutiques?

A story of custom club fitting on the Brand Insight Blog


On one hand, a dynamic membership becoming session is the one technique to know, for positive, that you just’re getting golf equipment that match your swing.

However as I’ve realized first hand, it’s additionally a straightforward technique to spend an inordinate quantity of money and time on shiny new golf equipment that solely produce miniscule enchancment in Monitor Man numbers.

Everybody is aware of {that a} tiny enchancment on a launch monitor doesn’t essentially translate to higher golf scores.

Full disclosure right here: I do advertising within the golf trade. I’ve labored with a number of firms that supply membership becoming providers however that is NOT a paid publish or a promotion of any form. Simply my overview of what’s occurring in that enterprise and my very own, private, painful expertise.

Principally, I’ve been ingesting the membership becoming kool-aid for 25 years, however what I’ve skilled just lately actually exams my religion. Regardless that {custom} membership becoming is extra prevalent than ever, I’m undecided that enterprise is shifting in a route that advantages the typical shopper.

One different factor:  I’m not an gear junkie. I’m not one to expire and purchase the newest, best something. I grasp onto my golf equipment, most likely longer than I ought to, and I play extra by really feel than by knowledge evaluation.

I presently play to an 8 handicap, however I used to be a 5, as soon as upon a time, whereas taking part in with a set of Ping knock-offs made for me by a trusted outdated craftsman we known as Uncle Milty.

It’s a narrative with extra wrinkles than an Arizona centenarian and it begins again within the day of leather-wrapped grips and persimmon woods.


Tinkering with persimmon… The origins of {custom} membership becoming.


marketing in the golf industry

Membership becoming, to some extent or one other, has at all times been widespread on the PGA tour. Arnold Palmer was well-known for tinkering together with his golf equipment. He most likely set his arms on extra golf golf equipment than anybody within the historical past of the sport.

Palmer was on a lifelong quest for the proper membership, and mentioned he by no means discovered it. He based mostly his preferences on two issues: how the membership felt and the way it regarded. He believed that if it regarded good, and felt proper in his arms, he’d make it work.

John S. Ford did restore work for Palmer for a number of years within the early 80’s.  “Mr. Palmer at all times needed his leather-based grips wrapped in a really exact means, with a chunk of coat hanger beneath,” Ford mentioned.

“And once I was constructing drivers at McGregor, Mr. Nicklaus needed the toe rolled off. That’s simply what he appreciated. And typically we’d add lead counterweights inside his shafts. He may inform if a membership was only a gram off.”

Execs of that period would add a bit of lead tape right here and there, grind the soles, whittle the persimmon and bend the lie angles simply so. It was extra artwork than something. That they had no technique to measure what they had been doing; they had been simply eyeballing it and testing it on the course.

Trial and error.

That’s just about the best way it was till the Nineteen Seventies when Dr. Joe Braly added a bit of little bit of science to the artwork of membership becoming.


Early Customized Membership becoming — Matching shafts all through a set.


Braly was an ex fighter pilot, aeronautical engineer and avid golfer who invented a technique to type and confirm shafts in keeping with stiffness. His aim was to show untested clean shafts right into a matched set that the tour execs may belief.

Emphasis on “matched.” To this present day, most units of golf equipment would not have all 14 shafts properly matched.

To know membership becoming it’s a must to perceive Braly’s game-changing invention: The frequency machine. To this present day it’s one of many essential instruments of the commerce.

Frequency analyzers measure the oscillation of a shaft utilizing a laser beam. The stiffer the shaft, the sooner the speed of oscillation; the extra versatile the shaft, the slower the oscillation.


frequency machine marketing in the golf industry BN Branding

Right here’s how they work: Clamp the grip finish into the frequency machine, then pull the clubhead again, let it go and watch the shaft oscillate forwards and backwards.

The frequency analyzer counts the oscillation charge and shows it within the type of “cycles per minute” on an LED show. So Braly may assign a quantity to every shaft. He then constructed a set of golf equipment utilizing solely the shafts with matching numbers.

The thought caught on… Working together with his son, Kim, they opened a restore van on the PGA tour circuit and by 1978 that they had greater than 100 tour gamers utilizing their FM Precision Shafts. The 2 went on to start out Mission X and now KBS shafts.

Most of the people, nevertheless, didn’t see the good thing about Braly’s invention till a small, Idaho-based firm known as Henry Griffits introduced {custom} membership becoming to nation golf equipment in all places and started to faucet that untapped, unproven market.


Advertising and marketing a brand new, unknown service: membership becoming. 


I used to be first launched to the wonky world of membership becoming by the CEO of Henry-Griffitts in 2001.  Jim Hofmeister handled me to a tour of their facility and gave me an intensive briefing on their distinctive method to becoming and hand-crafting personalised golf golf equipment.

Henry Griffits, now generally known as HG, was began by Randy Henry in ___???

At first, Randy Henry was an teacher,” Hofmeister mentioned.  “He didn’t got down to construct a membership firm, he simply did what he felt he needed to do to provide his college students the correct device — the membership that matched the swing that he was serving to them construct. ”

HG developed the processes and patented most of the instruments that membership fitters nonetheless use, and it was fairly an eye-opener. At the moment the closest factor was PING’s coloration coding system, however that paled compared to what HG supplied. It was a primary in golf trade advertising. 

That was the primary time I ever noticed a frequency machine used to check the consistency of shaft flex, and I’ve to confess I used to be surprised. I had no thought {that a} “set” of name title irons may very well be so fully screwed up.


That was lesson #1: The shaft manufacturing course of is much from good.

At HG that they had stacks of reject shafts that had been set to return to the producer. Hofmeister put one on the frequency machine and confirmed me the issue; He couldn’t even get a studying. As an alternative of oscillating forwards and backwards, it simply bounced far and wide.

HG and different {custom} membership makers who set tight tolerances for shaft flex consistency routinely reject 15 to 25% of their shafts. Each time.

However the manufacturing technique of mass-marketed golf equipment doesn’t contain frequency testing of each shaft. So no less than considered one of your set of of 14 is more likely to be mis-matched, even when you’ve been by means of a becoming.


Lesson #2: You possibly can throw the labels proper out the window.

Each shaft producer and each large golf model has a complete totally different spectrum of “stiff” shafts, “girls” shafts and each different shaft class.  There are not any trade requirements for shaft flex. One firm’s “stiff” shaft is one other firm’s common shaft.

Not solely that, shaft flex can range dramatically from one membership to the subsequent inside a set of so-called common flex golf equipment. Particularly whenever you’re speaking graphite shafts. So a follow-up becoming after your golf equipment are constructed is the one technique to affirm that you just’re getting what you paid for.


Lesson #3: The fitting lie angle is a elementary of {custom} membership becoming

If a golfer is taking part in with golf equipment which might be too flat or too upright, he’s going to undertake all kinds of unhealthy habits with a view to compensate for the mis-fit golf equipment. He’ll determine a inventive technique to make the ball go the place he desires it to go, which ends up in loads of unhealthy habits.

As Hofmeister informed me, “Gear impacts movement.”




custom club fitting HG


That look backstage at Henry-Griffitts planted a seed of doubt in my head that can by no means go away.  When you’ve seen a set of name title, off-the-shelf irons examined and plotted on a frequency chart, you possibly can’t unsee it.

So I left Idaho considering “how can anybody belief the golf equipment they’re swinging in the event that they purchase proper off the shelf? There’s no means the massive producers take time to check each shaft earlier than meeting.”

Once I returned residence I contacted Andy Heinly, the native Henry-Griffitts man, and went by means of the whole membership becoming course of. I used to be bought hook, line and sinker.

Upon supply of my HG irons Andy did a follow-up becoming to verify the lie angles and the shaft consistency of each membership in my bag. Tthat was earlier than the times of the Monitor Man and he may inform, simply by watching ball flight, that I obtained precisely what I paid for.

I’ll always remember how nicely I used to be hitting the ball after getting these golf equipment and doing a lesson with Andy. A part of it was the golf equipment, a part of it was the instruction, and a part of it was psychological.

That’s their secret sauce at HG; The golf equipment and the swing instruction are completely in sync. They recruit and practice educating professionals to mix fittings with educating. If you happen to can’t train, you possibly can’t promote Henry-Griffitts golf equipment.

It’s a good way for educating execs to earn extra cash, plus it dramatically improves their odds of success with each pupil.

However most individuals within the golf enterprise imagine membership becoming and instruction needs to be fully separated. Like church and state.

Grasp membership fitters do one of the best they will with the swing their purchasers carry on any given day. They don’t attempt to train as a result of PGA execs get fairly possessive when a fitter encroaches on their rarified turf.

However right here’s what each camps have in frequent; they’re making an attempt to assist construct your confidence. Whether or not it’s with one new membership, or a collection of classes, or a mix of a full membership becoming session plus classes, the tip aim is similar.

I can testify to how that feels when all of it comes collectively. That purchasing course of I went by means of with Andy supplied the one factor that each golfer pays for: Confidence.

I had confidence within the irons themselves, confidence in HG’s constructing course of, within the fitter and maybe even in even my swing.

It appeared like I used to be making a greater swing with my new golf equipment. Perhaps that was Andy’s skilled tutledge. Perhaps that was simply my creativeness. Perhaps it was simply the placebo impact. (By no means underestimate the pacebo impact on a fragile golfer’s psyche.)

It doesn’t actually matter, as a result of the arrogance was actual.


Shopper habits in golf: We’re drawn to shiny objects and we’re suckers for extra distance.

We purchase for fully irrational, emotional causes after which conjure up all kinds of logical rationale for our buy of these objects.

My first membership becoming expertise supplied the final word buy rationalization: “After all I wanted new golf equipment honey, my outdated ones didn’t match me. The lie angles had been off and the shafts weren’t frequency matched.”

There’s one other refined psychological profit to membership becoming that’s price mentioning… That little voice in your head that claims “my gear’s higher than your gear.”

On the beginner degree If you happen to’re taking part in in a match head-to-head in opposition to a man with inventory golf equipment, your gear turns into a aggressive benefit.

On the elite degree membership becoming is normal operation process. So it’s a must to do it simply to maintain up with everybody else within the subject. You possibly can’t NOT get match as a result of you possibly can’t afford any tinge of doubt about your gear.

custom club fitting story on the Brand Insight Blog

Doubt sells loads of golf golf equipment, and it appears to be a key promoting level for the brand new breed of membership becoming operations. Doubt and the delicate golf ego.

Doubt is what drove me to switch my dependable HG driver after 5 years of fine efficiency.

By some means I obtained it in my head that I used to be giving up distance by taking part in metal shafts. So on a whim throughout a visit to Bandon Dunes, I “upgraded” to an Adams driver with a lighter, graphite shaft.

If I had in contrast the 2 drivers on a launch monitor I’m fairly positive I wouldn’t have made that buy.

As an alternative, I spent the subsequent 5 years making an attempt to persuade myself that it was a sensible purchase. Ego prevailed over purchaser’s regret and prevented me from chopping my losses and shifting on. Regardless that I used to be lacking extra fairways I couldn’t admit that I had made a foul buy.

Lastly I swallowed my satisfaction and determined that driver wanted to go. I needed that feeling of confidence once more. Plus, I had a hankering for one thing shiny and new. I needed a completely new set. I deserved it.

Fortunately I didn’t should stroll into an enormous field retailer fully blind and belief some random gross sales man to suit me correctly. I went again to my fitter/teacher who bought me my HG irons all these years in the past. Andy Heinly now owns a golf store providing all the massive title manufacturers and all the newest, best launch displays to assist gauge what’s finest for me.

He adheres to the outdated truism in membership becoming that claims “90% of you will be higher off with a shaft that’s extra versatile than what you suppose you want.”

Plus, Andy is aware of my swing and he acknowledges that I’m not getting any youthful. So he put me in a set of Callaway Apex irons with light-weight graphite shafts that appeared considerably extra versatile than my metal shafted HGs.

They felt bizarre, quick and simple to swing. However Andy assured me that it was the correct transfer, and I had no cause to doubt him. Moreover, the launch monitor knowledge confirmed that they “labored higher” throughout the board.

However did they, actually?

I don’t recall any detailed A-B testing on the dispersion sample of the Callaways versus the outdated HGs. However I do do not forget that I used to be getting extra distance.

Perhaps I used to be momentarily taken by the age-old golf trade gross sales pitch of some extra yards. However I do know higher!

It’s frequent information that the massive manufacturers have been steadily reducing the loft on their irons with a view to ship on that overused promise. In his e book, The Search For The Excellent Membership, Tom Wishon calls it The Dreaded Vanishing Loft Illness. In order that new Callaway 7 iron was equal to my HG 6 iron.

I used to be not evaluating apples to apples, and admittedly, I didn’t care. I used to be useless set on getting new golf equipment so these Monitor Man numbers match completely with my pre-conceived notion of what I wanted.

I solely noticed what I needed to see. Heard what I needed to listen to.

Regardless that it was little bit of a blow to my {golfing} ego I went with Andy’s advice to make use of iron shafts that had been on the softer facet of the “common” flex spectrum. From that individual shaft producer anyway. (Matrix Recoil ES 760/F3)

When my new set of Callaways arrived Andy took time to examine the lie angles and make sure the launch parameters, particularly with the driving force. A fast click on click on together with his useful wrench and my new driver was launching them fairly properly with a “smash issue” that was very near good. I used to be getting each inch of distance I may get out of my swing velocity.

custom club fitting in the golf industry - BN Branding

I began feeling fairly good about myself, particularly once I realized I used to be wielding a 9 diploma driver. That’s opposite to all the pieces I’d heard about how most individuals want extra loft with the driving force, not much less.

However the dynamics of membership becoming are such {that a} 9 diploma driver in my arms behaves otherwise than the identical 9 diploma driver for the subsequent man with a special shaft.

It’s the best way I ship the membership into the ball, along with an countless mixture of different variables. There are such a lot of totally different variables concerned, it’s ridiculous.

Wishon lists 21 totally different variables in membership becoming, however he’s solely speaking in regards to the measurable stuff that he can management, like lie angles, swing weight, shaft backbone alignment, shaft torque, frequency, and many others and many others.

We will’t neglect in regards to the “actual life” variables that the podcast host was referring to. Like “really feel,” how the membership interacts with the grass, and so they kind of ball you play. (He contends that hitting observe balls off a matt simply doesn’t lower it.)

In actual life my new Callaway golf equipment are performing fairly nicely. My handicap went down, I’ve hit a few of the finest iron pictures of my life, my misses have been higher, and I posted two even-par rounds. I’ve by no means performed even par golf in my life.

I had completely no complaints in regards to the golf equipment Andy bought me till I began doing analysis for this text. The deeper down the rabbit gap I went, the more serious it obtained.


Blinded by bling – and too many selections.


Excessive-end boutique membership becoming companies have popped up everywhere in the nation within the final 10 years. Firms like Cool Golf equipment, True Spec, Sizzling Stix, Membership Champion and GOLFTEC didn’t exist once I purchased my final set, so I used to be very curious to see what they supplied.

The primary cease was a grasp membership fitter with one of many “model agnostic” operations, which means they carry a blinding array of colourful shafts and excessive tech clubheads from dozens of main producers. They declare to supply greater than 50,000 totally different attainable mixtures.

Excellent for the blokes who purchase golf golf equipment like ladies purchase jewellery. For me it was extra like combine and match until my head explodes!

After a heat up interval and a pair fast questions on my recreation, the fitter fired up the Monitor Man and began assessing knowledge from my 6 iron pictures. 173 yards of carry from 82 miles per hour of clubhead velocity. “Not unhealthy,” he mentioned.

With that knowledge level established he headed over to the frequency machine. (He didn’t examine the lie angles.) He examined three random irons and decided that 291 was the frequency quantity.

“Oh, these shafts are means too gentle to your clubhead velocity,” he introduced. “These are like tremendous gentle girls flex.”

All I heard was “Why are you taking part in Granny shafts?” “These are so gentle you couldn’t smash a rotten pumpkin.”

My head was spinning and my ego was bruised. The seed of doubt was firmly planted.

At that second, if I didn’t know any higher, I’d be actually indignant with my buddy Andy. However he’d by no means put me in Granny shafts. No means. One thing was amiss.

I informed the fitter that I used to be completely positive I had ordered common flex shafts. Then I requested, “How may they probably find yourself being Granny shafts in keeping with your frequency machine?”

He mentioned it was clear that I didn’t get what I had paid for. “It was the construct that they did at Callaway,” he mentioned. “They most likely tipped ‘em incorrect in order that they got here out a lot softer than what the manufacturing facility specs say.”

Oooookay. By no means heard of that, however since my Callaways had by no means been on a frequency machine I couldn’t deny that risk.

However the extra I considered that, the extra unlikely it sounded. Andy and I confirmed the lie angle and the launch of every membership after supply. I’m fairly positive we’d have seen some bizarre dispersion sample or launch angle anomalies on the Monitor Man if Calloway mistakenly gave me a complete set of Granny-shafted irons.

In any case, I went together with the fitter’s evaluation as a result of I needed to see what different nuggets of knowledge he may present. Moreover, there have been all these fairly shafts to check out.

One which regarded notably engaging was $400. For one shaft! I opted to NOT take a look at that one for worry that it could produce one of the best numbers of the bunch and I’d be someway morally obligated to purchase the whole bank-breaking set.

As he modified out clubheads and tried totally different shaft mixtures one factor turned fairly clear: the shot sample produced by my Callaway irons was fairly rattling good. The baseline was excessive. Nothing I attempted that day confirmed a dramatic enchancment in each ball velocity and dispersion, relative to the golf equipment I already had.

The fitter informed me, “Your driver’s fantastic. Don’t change a factor.”

He additionally informed me that my Apex clubheads had been excellent, and had been out performing most of the clubheads that we tried. So one possibility, he mentioned, was to re-shaft my present Apex irons with stiffer shafts.

Not a foul thought, besides that alone would value me $1000 — in the event that they generously re-used my present Golf Delight grips. For $2400 I may have a complete set of the new-and-improved Apex irons with inventory grips that I don’t like.

I used to be removed from bought.

The monitor man knowledge confirmed that I’d acquire one to 3 yards with my six iron. That’s not going to make one little bit of distinction in my scoring. No freakin’ means. In my e book, two further yards with the identical dispersion isn’t price $2500, $1000, or $20 for that matter.

So the excellent news was, my set present carried out nicely in comparison with all the brand new choices we examined. In accordance with the Monitor Man knowledge there was no compelling proof to counsel I wanted something totally different. The unhealthy information was, I used to be left scratching my apprehensive outdated head relating to his remark about 291 being granny shafts. It was like a mum or dad being informed his baby is “a bit of gradual.”

At that second of vulnerability and confusion I turned to family and friends for assist.


My cousin and I’ve had an ongoing debate about clubfitting for 25 years. He’s a 2-handicaper who’s firmly within the “clubfitting’s nothing however snake oil” faculty. He buys all the pieces on-line and “off the shelf.” His bag is a continuing, revolving door of experimental golf equipment. So he heard all the small print of my on-going saga of clubfitting.

Phrase of recommendation: Don’t ever ask your oldest golf buddy / arch-nemesis for membership becoming recommendation.

Any considerations you share about your set of golf equipment might be amplified 1000 instances and used in opposition to you. On each tee field. At each alternative. Particularly whenever you’ve made a pair birdies in a row. Think about my cousin’s delight when he heard I’ve been taking part in with Granny shafts. I’ll by no means stay that down.

So I used to be by myself making an attempt to determine whether or not I ought to I follow the recommendation of my trusted buddy Andy and his Monitor Man numbers, or imagine this new man’s interpretation of the frequency machine knowledge?


a story of custom club fitting - Brand Insight Blog


Now at this stage of the story I’m compelled to clarify, as briefly as attainable, the numbers that membership fitters connect to the frequency machine outcomes. An article on Golf WRX calls it “the most important can of worms there’s in membership making,” so I’m going to barely scratch the floor.

Bear in mind how I mentioned that every there are not any trade requirements for flex? There are not any trade requirements for frequency matching charts both. Each firm and each fitter can simply make the numbers no matter they need them to be.

In accordance with that individual fitter, a frequency of 310 cpm is what I would like. He described that as “the stiff facet of standard flex,” and he was fairly positive about that. He confirmed me his frequency matching chart to show it.

However I’ve seen frequency matching charts that say 310 is “Stiff.” One other says it’s “Common.” On many of the charts that I discovered 291 appears to be like like a superbly fantastic quantity, falling on the gentle facet of “Common” or the stiff facet of “Senior.”

Nearly each chart I’ve seen exhibits 310 with a 6 iron is means out of my bodily league. None confirmed 291 on the backside of the chart within the granny shaft column.  I used to be so confused!

So I requested Jim Hofmeister about that. “Each firm does it otherwise, makes use of a bit of totally different numbers, after which they’ll flip round and inform everybody else that they’re doing it incorrect.” he mentioned.

So when you’re an unscrupulous salesman you could possibly promote loads of costly shafts by creating your individual frequency chart and present numbers that “show” virtually everybody wants stiffer shafts.

And vice versa; you could possibly present each girl a chart that paints her golf equipment as means too stiff and manly. Unimaginable to play with.

Fortunately I had another ace up my sleeve. John S. Ford is a buddy who realized learn how to match, construct and design golf golf equipment at McGregor, again within the day when most of the large names had been taking part in that model. He labored with Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and lots of different tour stars.

I name him the membership whisperer. You possibly can blindfold the man and he’ll inform you when you’ve hit it on the heel, the toe, or the candy spot. He’s additionally some of the meticulous individuals I’ve ever met. Every thing he is aware of and does has been confirmed, past the shadow of a doubt, over the span of fifty years within the enterprise.

So I boxed up my completely good irons and despatched them to Florida for a 3rd opinion. I particularly requested affirmation of the frequency numbers and the general “construct” of the set.

What he discovered didn’t precisely align with what I heard on the fancy, boutique membership becoming studio:

Frequency machine numbers club fitting BN Branding
The peerlessly matched frequency numbers of my irons. The white space signifies “Common” flex. The blue space is “Girls” flex. Pink is “stiff.” Discover that on this chart, my shafts are all constantly 325.

He noticed nothing that may point out my golf equipment had been constructed incorrectly or “to not spec.” Six out of seven had been completely according to the 6 iron. The 5 iron was the one membership that was barely off, and he mounted that by puring the shaft and reassembling the membership.

In comparison with the 1000’s of units he sees yearly, Ford mentioned that my Callaway irons had been an A grade. “These matrix shafts are actually good,” he mentioned. I hardly see any large points with these.”

All of my irons fell throughout the spectrum of what he categorizes as “gentle common flex”  Positively not granny shafts.

Whew! What a aid. Two out of three fitters mentioned my present, light-weight shafts are fantastic. I can put my pockets away.

His ultimate evaluation was this: “Most fitters would simply have a look at your swing velocity and say you want a barely stiffer shaft,” he mentioned, “however the one distinction could be trajectory. If you happen to’re not hitting it too excessive — In case your launch angle numbers look good  — then neglect about it! I wouldn’t fear in regards to the frequency machine numbers or the labels.”

Good reply. Whereas I waited for my Callaways to return from Florida I made a decision to neglect about all of the technical membership becoming nonsense and simply go play golf.

Naturally, my cousin was joyful to mortgage me a random outdated set of Ping i3 irons, classic 2000, that had been gathering mud in his storage. That they had the unique, crusty grips and metal shafts marked “stiff.”

He was gaming me. Messing with my head.

My first few swings with these eyesore irons had been a bit of bit shaky, however after a number of holes I used to be starting to imagine I may really play with heavy, stiff metal shafts.

On the par-5 ninth gap I hit that crusty outdated Ping 8 iron to 4 toes. Made a straightforward birdie. On the 11th gap – a par 3 – I hit 8 iron once more and made birdie from 6 toes. After all I did!

By that time the irony of it was laughable, to say the least. Then, on the par-four 13th, I hit essentially the most completely humorous golf shot of my life. It was that magic outdated 8 iron once more. The one which appeared unfit for human consumption.

The moment the ball left the clubface we began laughing. It was useless straight, proper on the flagstick.  The ball bounced as soon as and rolled 6 toes straight into the cup. Useless heart for eagle. I hit the proper golf shot with a crappy outdated 8 iron that match like my grandfather’s fits.

What the hell!  I couldn’t have scripted a funnier, extra becoming ending. Evidently, my cousin mentioned “informed you so.”

So what’s the typical struggling golfer presupposed to conclude from all this? Listed below are my key takeways that I hope will assist anybody who’s considering of diving into the identical membership becoming rabbit gap.

The human component is essentially the most essential piece of the {custom} membership becoming puzzle. It ain’t the monitor man.


That podcast host didn’t say something in regards to the greatest, most essential variable all: The expertise and talent of the fitter. Or lack thereof.

All the information on the planet don’t imply squat until you have got somebody nicely skilled and neutral to interpret the numbers for you. The becoming expertise is barely pretty much as good because the fitter.

I’m fortunate. I’ve a membership fitter who’s additionally my swing teacher. We’ve been working collectively for nearly 20 years so he can learn between the traces and piece this puzzle collectively intuitively. I’ve full, utter religion in him. I doubt very many individuals can say that in regards to the child at Golf Galaxy who simply bought you final 12 months’s TaylorMade driver.

So when you’re decided to spend some huge cash on new, custom-made golf golf equipment, don’t simply do a becoming. Store for a fitter. Discover somebody with a talented eye, years of expertise, and in-depth information of swing mechanics. Don’t accept a salesman with a Monitor Man.


Take each quantity with a grain of salt.


Watch out for the gross sales man who simply retains spewing loads of fancy-sounding numbers. I may have simply been swayed into an enormous buy becasue of 1 quantity: 310. That was the frequency that I used to be informed I wanted in my iron shafts.

Was that grasp fitter simply gaming me into shopping for a brand new set of golf equipment for a ridiculously inflated value? I don’t know. I’d reasonably imagine that it was an sincere mistake; he simply learn the numbers incorrect, or he grabbed the incorrect frequency matching chart, or he didn’t clamp the grip fairly proper, or the frequency machine was unclean or uncalibrated.

All I do know is, his quantity was not related. It didn’t sync with the TrackMan knowledge and I’m very glad I didn’t spend $2500 on a set of golf equipment based mostly on that inflated quantity. I most likely would have gone to my grave making an attempt to make these irons work.

It’s best to solely use frequency matching numbers to determine defective shafts and guarantee consistency throughout the set. Pay no consideration to the label hooked up to these numbers.

Swing velocity one other deceptive quantity that’s routinely over-played by inexperienced membership fitters. There’s completely no means you possibly can correlate swing velocity to a selected shaft flex. The shaft producers present tough pointers, however each particular person is totally different. Each 90 mph swing is exclusive. It’s important to have a look at the larger image.

custom club fitting story on the Brand Insight Blog

Typically, the issue actually IS the membership, and never your swing.

Defective shafts are much more frequent than you’d suppose. In reality, you most likely have no less than one membership, out of the 14 in your bag, that’s simply plain incorrect in relation to the remainder of your set.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that out, nevertheless it does take a special mindset to do one thing about it. Most individuals simply blame their golf swing for any unhealthy pictures. Regardless that they haven’t hit a single good shot in three summers with that new 3-wood, they’ll hold making an attempt to determine it out.

No matter how a lot you paid for that unruly golf membership, take it out of your bag. Cease making an attempt to make that one work, like I did for years with my Adams driver. It’s an outlier. Cease making excuses. Simply eliminate it.

The very fact is, even awful golfers can groove a swing that matches nearly all of their golf equipment. My buddy, the membership whisperer, sees it on a regular basis.

“I had a man in my store only recently who was taking part in with {custom} match golf equipment that had been 5 levels off on the lie angles,” he mentioned. “He was making an attempt like hell to make these issues work. He didn’t have excellent golf swing, nevertheless it was undoubtedly constant. And when he noticed that ball going proper each time, he began altering his swing to compensate. It went from unhealthy to worse.”

You’re more likely to develop loads of unhealthy habits making an attempt to make misfit golf equipment give you the results you want. Then, when you get golf equipment which might be extra “appropriate,” you’ll should UNlearn no matter it was you had been doing to compensate. So that you’re more likely to worsen earlier than you get higher.

That’s why it’s so useful to have a membership fitter who’s additionally a superb teacher. Guys like Andy can inform the distinction between swing faults and gear points.


Don’t let ego and affirmation bias sabotage your becoming — or your golf recreation.


All of us have our preconceived concepts of what works and we like, however if you wish to get your cash’s price from a membership becoming session it’s a must to be open minded and sincere with your self.

This remark just lately popped up on a golf group on Fb: “Simply obtained finished with a membership becoming. Needed to swallow my satisfaction. No extra blades for me.”

If a man believes he wants blades, or stiff shafts, he’ll discover knowledge to again up the assumption and just about ignore any info which might be opposite to that. Andy sees it on a regular basis…

“Even when a man sees nice knowledge from the launch monitor; good launch angle, good dispersion sample, good spin charge, he gained’t purchase if the shaft says “senior” on it. He stubbornly insists on what he desires, as an alternative of what he wants.”

Skewed notion outweighs actuality. Ego wins over frequent sense. However when you remove the senior label and present him the identical numbers he’ll defer to the launch monitor knowledge with out hesitation.

A number of trade insiders I’ve talked with imagine they need to eliminate shaft labels solely, however nobody can agree on numbers that may standardize the method from one producer to a different.

So shoppers like me are left to imagine what the “skilled” membership fitter tells us. Or not.


The actual worth is within the placebo impact.


In actuality, there’s no means a $400 shaft goes to be 4 instances higher than a $100 shaft. You’re not going to get 4x higher dispersion sample. And 4 further yards with a 5 iron isn’t actually going to carry your handicap down or make you a greater particular person.

Nevertheless it’s not about actuality. It’s about notion. Perception. Religion. And confidence.

Who cares the place the arrogance comes from? If cash’s no object, knock your self out. Go forward and pay prime greenback for a really costly sugar tablet.

There’s little doubt that increasingly golfers are involved in becoming, and the trade is stepping as much as present it, not solely at high-end studios but in addition at a rising variety of big-box shops and professional retailers.

However debate in regards to the worth of membership becoming isn’t going away.

On one finish of the spectrum you have got guys like my cousin who wouldn’t contact {custom} golf equipment with a ten foot pole. “After they present me a shaft that’s assured to remove my snap hook, then I’ll speak to a fitter. Till then, I’m shopping for off the rack.”

On the opposite finish you have got people who find themselves satisfied that their $400 driver shaft is radically superior to any $100 shaft and also you’d be an utter idiot to accept something much less. “If you happen to’re not getting match, you’re loopy.”

I nonetheless imagine membership becoming is sort of helpful, to a degree, however I undoubtedly crossed over into an space that falls into the realm of an excessive amount of data. The extra I researched it, the much less I believed.

Membership becoming, to some extent, IS essential for learners and excessive handicappers. As a result of in the event that they’re making an attempt to play with golf equipment which might be means too stiff, or means too upright, or means too flat, it’s going to be very onerous to see any enchancment.

There’s additionally a transparent profit in membership becoming for elite amateurs and execs. Little question about it. They want each little edge they will get simply to remain on the identical taking part in subject.

However for the gamers like myself, who fall in between, I’m not so positive.

I may spend loads of money and time futzing round with my gear and by no means see one iota of enchancment. It may be a pricey, time-sucking endeavor.

I’d be higher off spending my cash on a superb teacher. One factor’s for positive… $1000 price of instruction goes produce extra enchancment than $1000 in membership becoming bills.

If you happen to’re capturing within the 70’s or low 80’s constantly, chances are high you could possibly shoot comparable scores with nearly any set of golf equipment. Stiff, Common and even Granny shafts, it wouldn’t matter. You’d make some small changes, determine it out, and handle to attain.

You may even gap out from 150 yards, like I did with that outdated Ping iron.









Copyright 2021 John Furgurson – BN Branding All rights reserved. Not for posting, copying or plagiarizing.



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