Don’t Get Shafted
Add 20 yards of distance with golf’s biggest secret: club fitting
By Cody WorshamPosted May 18, 2011
For as long as golf has been around, friends have been bumming clubs off of each other.
But according to Blaine Lindsly, golf pro at The Caddyshack Golf Shop and Driving Range on Siegen Lane, it’s no longer clubs his buddies are begging for.
“In the old days, it’d be: ‘Can I use your club?’” he said. “Now, it’s: ‘Can I borrow your shaft?’”
Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing, golf clubs are more sophisticated than ever. No longer static, uniform pieces of simple machinery, most contemporary clubs are capable of customization, and thousands of shafts are designed and sold daily that are tailor made (pun unintended) for golfers of all shapes and sizes.
“Club fitting right now is the most important part of golf,” Lindsly said. “The shaft in golf is the engine for everything.”
Places like The Caddyshack offer club fitting at no extra charge – sometimes with a discount. They generally subtract the cost of the service from the cost of the clubs. Interested customers simply schedule a session with Lindsly, who assesses their swing, driving with a measuring system designed to discover a golfer’s optimal swing pattern for striking the ball with the middle of the club.
Lindsly said a variety of factors go into determining proper club fitting for a golfer, from height, swing speed, and arm length, to flexibility, hand size, and hand position at impact.
“Every professional to the absolute tee gets fitted,” he said. “They are fitted to where the number of wraps under their grips is fitted correctly.”
But even though the process is important and cost-efficient, very few golfers outside of the PGA seem to take advantage of the benefits of club fitting. Lindsly estimates that 95 percent of golfers are misfitted for their sticks, which can harm even the sweetest of swingers.
“If you have the wrong club, you may have the perfect swing, but you will be hitting the ball in the wrong spot every time, so you’re losing distance and accuracy every time,” he said.
Even if a golfer is misfitted by a few millimeters or degrees, Lindsly says the slightest variation can have significant consequences.
“It could equate to 15 or 20 yards loss in distance,” he said. “Each degree that you are misfitted in the face equates to three to five yards decrease in distance or accuracy, which adds up if you’re misfitted.”
According to Lindsly, there are two reasons so many golfers are misfit: ignorance and perceived inconvenience.
“They don’t think it’s necessary to get fitted,” he said of golfer’s today. “Plus, it’s easier to go buy it off the shelf instead of spending the extra thirty minutes getting fitted correctly. If you’re buying it off the shelf, you’re probably cheating yourself in golf.”
Lindsly and The Caddyshack currently offer iron fitting, and are in the process of organizing a demo day with several major golf retailers in an effort to set up driver fitting, which Lindsly indicated requires a more expensive launch monitor.
Once fitted, Lindsly said that golfers could even customize their drivers with different shafts on a course-by-course basis to account for different layouts.
“I have certain courses I know I can’t miss left – I’m putting the heaviest, stiffest shaft I have on so all my misses go right,” he said.
“I’d rather them all go straight, but…” he added, laughing.