By Michael Dutro, KA Instructor
How many times have you bought new golf clubs in your life? How was that experience? I have found that most people buy golf clubs for two reasons, 1, they got a great deal, or 2, they saw a tour pro with a new driver and they figure if that guy has it, so should I.
Both of these reasons are great reasons to buy clubs, I will never fault someone for trying to get a good deal, or looking at the best players in the world to see what equipment they use. However, there is one more question that has to be asked. Did the clubs I saw on TV and got a great deal on make ME any better?
In most cases, the answer is no. This time of year, Miles of Golf in Ann Arbor, Michigan is flooded with used clubs and people can’t wait to get the latest gear being offered. However, many of these people have no idea exactly what they are looking for, or need, we just rush to get something that “feels” and “looks” good.
I hate to be a jerk, but I am going to tell you something that should change how you buy golf clubs for the rest of your life. Ready? Sure? Okay, the truth is that the golf ball that you have teed up doesn’t care about your feelings or preferences. The golf ball doesn’t believe the hype, and is impregnable to slick marketing.
Assuming you have your body alignments and swing in good shape, you should never buy another golf club unless you have done your own personal testing. This personal testing should conclude that the club does what you want it to do, meaning that it fits a yardage “gap” in your bag, or goes further, or has a tighter dispersion pattern. There should be a reason for buying the club, other than the age old reason of hoping that it fixes your slice.
Do I really need to get fit? Well that depends on how much you value your new investment. Let’s say you buy a new car, it is gorgeous and is featured in your new favorite movie, it was a little more than you intended to pay, but hey, you got a great deal. Well this new car comes equipped with a manual transmission, and even though you can drive a manual, you live in Los Angels and spend your commute in bumper to bumper traffic and now spend all of your time working the clutch with your left foot. I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing to do, but it sure does seem that if we asked a few more questions, we would have found that the automatic transmission makes life much easier.
I personally recommend that everyone spends the few extra dollars to get fitted for your new investment. I also recommend that everyone has goals for their new purchase, no what you want it to do before you look for it. I also recommend using a launch monitor for this process, I personally use Trackman 4, but know everyone does not have access to this. Whatever launch monitor you choose to use, please make sure to use the same one during each session for consistency. I would also ask very specific questions and research the launch monitor you are using to make sure that it is giving you reliable data. When it comes to launch monitors, you get what you pay for, this is why Trackman is $20,000 + per unit. However, there are several other models that are very accurate as well.
The most affordable way to accomplish this task is by visiting a reputable club fitter and having their professional staff work with you and access where your “gaps” are and what they can do to help. I have truly been blown away by the fountain of information that I have gained from the fitters at Miles of Golf. They truly care about getting you into the right club, and aren’t afraid to tell you to take some lessons before investing in clubs (I have personally witnessed this multiple times). They have every shaft and head combo as well as the latest launch monitor available from TrackMan (currently TrackMan 4). I personally use Nate Lemmers, and have had great success working with him over the past 3 years.
I personally know that I have the best equipment possible in my hands at all times because I am always testing new equipment. With that said, I have had the same driver (Cobra King LTD) for the past two years and will also be playing it this year. The differences often are marginal at best, but if you know what you are looking for, you tend to be able to focus your efforts and find what works best for you.
In summary, I think that getting your clubs fitted is the only way to buy clubs. I also think that it is much easier to use a professional who knows more about this subject matter than myself. I know that my experiences have always been positive, and I strongly encourage you to tip your fitter well, they are saving you at least two driver purchases later this summer.