If a brand new set of clubs meant that you'd drive the ball 20 yards longer and drop 10 strokes, would you reach for your credit card?
According to a test we conducted with Club Champion Golf, one of the nation's top club-fitting companies (clubchampiongolf.com), such handicap-smashing results are possible. We had seven players custom-fit for all-new sets, from driver to putter. Club Champion's fitters used the TrackMan launch monitor to measure full swings, while the Science&Motion (SAM) PuttLab device was used on the greens. Each tester played at least three rounds with their old clubs and three rounds with new custom-fit clubs. All shots were recorded using Sky Golf's SkyCaddie Linx GT rangefinder.
The results? Fitting matters. Based on data from the TrackMan, SAM PuttLab and SkyCaddies, along with tester interviews, it's clear that correctly matched clubs can help golfers of all kinds. So read on for more findings. And remember—you actually can buy a better game with properly fit clubs.
1. BIGGER TEE SHOTS. On-course, our golfers gained 19 yards off the tee, on average, an increase comparable to the 22-yard gain seen during TrackMan fittings. The players also hit more fairways with fitted drivers.
2. LONGER IRONS. On the course, guys picked up 10 yards with their fitted pitching wedges. (They also saw a 15-yard TrackMan gain with new 6-irons.) A slight GIR decrease could be caused by guys getting accustomed to the new gear.
3. FITTED WOODS WORK WONDERS. Some of the biggest boosts in distance and consistency occurred using clubs (hybrids and fairway woods) that fewer players get fitted for.
4. THE PROPER PUTTER PAYS. The proper putter (in terms of shaft length, degree of toe hang, etc.) led to 0.12 fewer putts per hole. That number would likely improve as guys grow more comfortable with their new flatsticks.
5. THREE SHOTS SAVED! The scoring average with the new, fitted sets was 2.83 shots per round lower than with their old clubs.
6. GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME. Every player felt that fitted clubs would lead to lower scores. It could take up to a dozen rounds to see the full scoring benefits when playing with an all-new fitted set, say our experts.
7. HIGHER-HANDICAPPERS SAW BIG GAINS. Many players think they aren't good enough to be custom fit. But our higher-handicappers saw up to 25 more yards with drivers and woods, and some shaved 5 to 10 strokes per round.