Golf Lesson #3: Custom Fitting Golf Clubs
Custom fitting golf clubs involves several easy measurements and a quick self-assessment of your game. You will see many fitting methods out there in the golf universe, but most of them center around the same pieces of information. This method is simple, accurate, and effective. To custom fit your golf clubs, you need to know:
- Your gender (male or female)
- Your height in your stockings or socks
- The distance from your wrist (where it bends) to the floor (without shoes)
- Your age
- Your handicap or skill level
- How fast you swing a golf club
- What club you use at the 150 yard marker
Gender is used to put you into the correct fitting scale. The golf industry uses different definitions of “standard length” for men and women.
Your height and the distance in inches from your wrist to the floor are used together to determine the length of golf club that is appropriate for you. The starting point for club length can vary up to 3 1/2” ranging from ladies to mens plus 1 1/2”. A tall person with long arms can very easily require shorter clubs than an average height person with short arms. About 80% of golfers are Standard length.
Your age, handicap (if you happen to have one), self-assessed skill level, estimated golf swing speed and club you use at the 150 yard marker are all combined to determined the shaft flex that is appropriate for you.
PinemeadowGolf.com has built an automated Custom Fitting Wizard that collects this information and quickly provides you with your custom fitting result.
Club Length & Flex
What should I know about golf club length? Length is simply how long the golf club is as measured from the butt end of the grip down the back side of the club down to where the club meets the ground. A longer golf club will hit further given the same swing speed — so length can be a good thing. However, since the swing arc is longer, it often is also harder to keep under control — so length can be a bad thing. All things being equal, most golfers will opt for longer length to the sacrifice of greater control.
The standard length of a steel shafted Driver for a man is 44 inches. Graphite shafted drivers are manufactured 1 inch longer than steel shafted clubs because graphite shafts weigh less than steel shafts allowing us to produce a longer club with the same swing weight (a fulcrum measurement of the proper balance and feel of a golf club). See Shafts (in Lesson #2) for a more complete discussion of the types of shafts we use and the length chart below for the different golf clubs that make up a set.
The proper length of a golf club is a function of your height and the length of your arms. We provide a Custom Fitting Wizard that determines the correct length for you with just two simple measurements.
How long is a golf club? There is no exact industry standard for golf club length. To make everything clear, we are letting you know our standard club lengths for men and women using both graphite and steel shafts. The measurement is made with the golf club in “address position” — club head resting on the floor, grip end in your hands. The measurement is made from the floor up the back side of the golf club to the butt end of the grip.
This information is optional information for golf wonks and is not necessary for buying our products or getting fitted using our Custom Fitting Wizard. It is reference material for those interested in comparing our golf club lengths to others.
What should I know about golf club flex? Flex is the torsional stiffness of the golf club, which is provided by the type of golf club shaft that is used. Generally, stiffer shafts are better for stronger hitting golfers. Common shaft flexes are Men’s Regular, Stiff, Extra Stiff, Senior, and Ladies. Interestingly, graphite shaft flex terminology uses Firm and Extra Firm instead of Stiff — we don’t know why, they are just the words the golf industry uses.
The proper flex of a golf club is a function of your strength and golfing skills. We provide a Custom Fitting Wizard that determines the correct flex for you in just two simple steps. Determining the correct flex is most important for your Woods and longer Irons. Short irons, wedges and putters are not impacted very much by the different flexes as the differences between flexes becomes very small in the shorter clubs.
Often associated with flex, is “kick-point” — especially with graphite shafts. Less experienced golfers generally benefit from lower kick-point shafts, which help get the ball up in the air. Better golfers tend to favor higher kick points.
Loft & Lie Adjustments
A word about loft and lie adjustments. Pinemeadow can adjust the lie on irons and wedges. The request needs to be emailed to us with your order number or noted in the special comments box in step #3 of the shopping cart.
A lie adjustment requires bending the hardened metal in which an iron is cast. We strongly advise getting your lie fitting done in person. Online fittings while accurate do not take into account your natural ball address. Some players are more naturally upright and some like to “lean into” the ball. Once you have lie adjusted a club it is usually not a good idea to re-adjust if you later find it was the wrong adjustment.
From years of building experience we find it rare to need more than a 2 degree adjustment upright or flat, therefore we only perform lie adjustments to either extreme.
Woods, hybrid clubs and putters can not be adjusted. The reason these clubs can not be adjusted is because the hosel of each is cast in a way where physically bending the head at all will cause damage. In woods and hybrids it will crack or bend the crown of the club, and putter hosels are not made with the strength required for adjustment after the casting process.
Loft adjustments require a different type of bend than a lie adjustment. Some people receive advice in which they require a certain loft adjustment. We have never understood loft adjustments since it merely changes the loft of the club. We recommend buying golf clubs matching loft you seek and avoid custom loft adjustments. Bending the loft of an iron weakens the hardened metal and can lead to future metal fatigue, since the actual bend twists the metal to an extent. If the loft of your 5 iron is too strong, use a 6 iron. If it is too weak, use a 4 iron.
Continue your golf education on the Pinemeadow Golf Blog.