What Does It Take to Have a Career in Golf Club Fitting?
Oct 16, 2018
Many golfers spend a lot of money on different methods to help improve their swing. One option that many often lean toward is improving or changing a their golf equipment.
A proper golf club fitting has the potential to make or break a player’s swing and overall game. Club fitting is both an art and a science. To be among the best club fitters, your analysis when assessing a player’s swing and their equipment must be up to par.
What else does it take to be a golf club fitter? David Estabrook, Director of Club Fitting at Golf Academy of America’s Dallas campus, shares some details about why club fitting is so important in helping golfers unlock their potential to improve their play.
What is Golf Club Fitting?
You have probably heard the terms “golf club fitting” and “golf club repair”. Though often lumped together, there are major differences between golf club repair and golf club fitting. When a golf club has been damaged and needs to be fixed, that is called golf club repair.
Golf club fitting is finding the right club to fit the golfer. A proper fitting requires monitoring of a golfer’s swing and resulting ball flight, then applying that information to determine what modifications can be made to minimize complications and help to improve the golfer’s overall swing.
According to Estabrook, the best club fitters must understand the ball flight, the curvature of the golf ball and how equipment impacts different people’s individual swinging motions.
How to Start the Golf Club Fitting Process
One of the most important parts of club fitting is the initial interview. This sets expectations for both the client and the club fitter. The interview lets the club fitter know exactly what the client is looking for and where they are trying to improve. This gives the club fitter an opportunity to gather pertinent information, such as:
- Does the client have any physical injuries?
- Are they currently taking lessons?
- How long have they been playing golf?
Once the club fitter has gathered an abundance of information about the client, they are able to analyze the data they have collected. Following the interview, Estabrook also likes to watch clients hit shots, using technology to help him as he assesses the type of equipment the client currently uses, their current level of play, their shot pattern and many other things.
“From the interview, you know what the individual would like to change, and your assessment of their current equipment explains how that equipment is hurting or helping them,” Estabrook says.
“I’m a ball flight type of guy,” he adds. “A lot of people have a tendency to exaggerate in their interview, but the golf ball never lies.”
Choosing the Best Golf Equipment
Assessing a golfer’s swing and equipment is crucial, but there are other important factors to consider in club fitting. During the interview, Estabrook suggests asking the client whether they prefer any particular manufacturers. He finds that some people want exclusively the latest products, while others believe that spending more money will automatically make them better golfers. In this case, Estabrook finds it is important to manage expectations. Ultimately a club fitter should always be asking, “What can I suggest to help improve this person’s skills?”
“There are many club fitting methodologies out there. Some people do a process of elimination, using trial and error,” says Estabrook, noting that there is not just one correct way to determine the best piece of equipment for a golfer.
“You should also look at the longevity,” says Estabrook. “Some people buy golf clubs every couple of years, while some people get new equipment every 10 or 20 years. If someone doesn’t buy clubs very often, you need to think about not only what they are like today, but what they are going to be like in 10 years. The older you get, the less flexibility and strength you have."
Why is Golf Club Fitting Important?
According to Estabrook, there are three essential elements to golf — your swing, your equipment and tools, and your mind and body. Improving someone’s mentality and their equipment can happen relatively quickly. And though it still takes a lot of work to make a big improvement on your swing, it is the club fitter’s job to put the client in a position to be able to make improvements as efficiently as possible.
It is because of the distinct advantage held by players with properly fit clubs that some argue club fitting is one of the most critical components of the industry. For students interested in pursuing this path, Golf Academy of America offers an achievement certificate in club repair and fitting.