Phil Mickelson is a deep thinker and incessant tinkerer, so it’s no surprise that he takes club fitting seriously. In an excellent podcast with the folks at Callaway Golf, Mickelson revealed how he identifies the perfect clubs for his bag and gives some gear advice to the average player. Here are 5 ways to get fit like Phil:
1. Wear goggles (yes, goggles!)
Mickelson seeks to ensure that each club in his bag performs consistently, meaning when they miss, they miss the same way. He “blind tests” his clubs by wearing special goggles that obscure his view just after impact, which prevents him from seeing the result. The benefit? “If you watch the ball flight and see a hook or fade, you’ll immediately start making adjustments, which you don’t want,” he says. Instead, Phil has his shots charted, then analyzes the results after he’s finished.
2. Don’t underestimate the importance of your shafts
Phil says that when a club is missing in both directions, it often means there’s a problem with the shaft. “If we see a random dispersion where the ball goes both left and right then we’ll do an immediate re-shaft and start over,” he says. “Sometimes you get a shaft that’s off, maybe because of frequency or weighting.”
3. Use lead tape to straighten your shots
Some players are more shaft sensitive, some are more head sensitive. Mickelson says he’s definitely the latter. “You can give me a few different shafts that are close in performance and I won’t notice much, but I can tell immediately if you put one strip of lead tape anywhere on the clubhead,” he says. The tape, he says, is more useful on long clubs than short ones. “If you want to cut down a hook simply add some tape to the toe of the club, which will slow down it’s rotation through impact, and if you want to cut down a fade, add some to the heel area to encourage more rotation.”
4. Test your clubs in real-live conditions
Even though spin rates and trajectory are important metrics, Phil uses a launch monitor only as a secondary fitting tool. Instead he does most of his work on the course. “Your clubs need to work under normal playing conditions, not on a range, so I don’t spend a lot of time checking my clubs on the range. The course is where you need to trust your clubs,” he says.
5. Get fitted when you’re playing well
Phil spends most of his time at Callaway’s Performance Center in October, November, and December, before he takes a break for the holidays. That’s because his game is still sharp, and he wants to be fitted while playing well. He recommends you do the same. “You never want to get fitted when you’re playing poorly,” he says. “If you do, your clubs won’t fit you when you’re swinging well.”
You can listen to the full Callaway podcast below.