By Nate Lammers, Club Fitter
Historically there are two predominant ways to be fit for golf equipment; static measurement fitting and ball flight fitting. The following is a breakdown of each.
What is static measurement fitting?
A static measurement fitting is based on a person’s height and arm length (or wrist to floor measurement). These two factors produce a potential length and lie for a set of irons/wedges based on a predicted posture a player may have (lie angle is measured from the sole of the club and up the shaft. The standard lie angle of a 7 iron is roughly 62.5 degrees and length is the physical length of the club. The standard length of a 7 iron is typically 37”). For example, Ed Smith comes and asks, “how long should my clubs be?” After determining Ed’s height is 6’2”, the fitter would have Mr. Smith stand up straight with his arms to his sides and his feet shoulder width apart. Then, the fitter would measure the distance from his wrists to the floor. In this case, that distance is 38.25” from the ground. Using the PING Static Measurement Chart (Karsten Solheim created this method, and it is widely used throughout the golf industry), we determine that Mr. Smith’s irons should be .5” long and 3 degrees upright as compared to a men’s standard iron.
What is ball flight fitting?
A ball flight fitting uses a player’s ball flight and impact to determine the proper length, lie, shaft, and loft of the golf club for that specific player. The first thing a fitter will do is watch the ball and see if there is anything glaring that needs to change (i.e., Is it too high or low? Is the ball curving too much left or right? Is the ball flight consistent?). From there, the fitter looks at data describing the golf balls ballistics/launch conditions and the players clubhead speed to help determine loft and the shaft’s stiffness and weight. This is quantified by launch monitors (Game Changer Quad & TRACKMAN) providing data points of the ball’s launch angle, ball speed, spin rate and curve. These data points will give the fitter a peak trajectory and carry distance. By optimizing the golf balls ballistics/launch conditions we as fitters can get the ball to travel further and straighter.
Which fitting is a better fitting?
The answer is neither. The fittings need to be done in conjunction with each other. By using the static measuring process, the fitter can get a good starting point on the length and lie of the golf club. Then, when data is introduced, the fitter can get a good idea of the flex and weight of the shaft. To further dial in the product, the fitter will check impact location to see if any changes need to be made to the club’s length and then measure the lie on irons (for woods it’s a length and loft determination) to make sure the ball is flying its straightest. Once length and lie are determined to be correct, the ball should be flying consistently and producing the best results. The static measurement is correct about 60% of the time and ball flight fitting tells the rest of the story. Maybe Ed Smith needs .75” long, standard lie, and a stiffer shaft. This could not be determined without watching him swing and seeing the ball fly.
To make a long story short, Get Fit at Miles of Golf for the clubs that are best for your game.