Being serious about golf equipment means remembering this important fact: one size doesn't fit all.
Would you get fitted for a business suit or tuxedo and simply tell the sales associate that you were a small, medium or large? Absolutely not. Measurements would be taken of your shoulders, waist and inseam. Attention would be paid to other little details.
So it is with getting fitting for golf clubs. Beginners can walk into a bargain store and pluck mismatched sets out of a bin. At a certain point, serious golfers need to get serious enough about their equipment to get it fitted.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Club-fitting has become common enough so that there is no shortage of trained fitters. The best bet is to start with a national chain of golf-equipment stores, such as Edwin Watts or Golf USA, where there will be indoor hitting areas and the computerized equipment required to measure things such as swing speed, ball speed and launch angle.
More and more golf clubs have trained their professionals and purchased the equipment necessary for them to offer club-fitting. The difference is that at a club, the fitting will likely take place outdoors on a "green grass" area.
There also are a number of small, independent golf-equipment stores that offer club-fitting. These fitters, for the most part, also will combine the fitting sessions into teaching sessions. You may have to find out through other players in the area who the best fitters are, but word of mouth is very strong in this regard. Usually, a golfer who is happy with his equipment is only too happy to refer you to the person who fitted him and sold him the clubs.
When you show up at the store or shop for your appointment, the fitter likely will ask you to loosen up with a middle or short iron. Depending on the computer analysis system he has, he will ask you to hit a few dozen shots. Your miss patterns will be analyzed. If you slice the ball, he will be able to adjust the loft, lie angle or weight of the clubs.
Don't get discouraged if the session turns tedious. The fitter needs to get a lot of data to make the right decision on your clubs.
Remember that your fitter may have an arrangement to sell only a certain brand of clubs. This is especially true at private clubs. If it doesn't matter, don't worry. But if you like Nike clubs and your local pro has a deal with Ping or Taylor Made, you may want to go to a national golf store that offers more choices.
Ask about any guarantees on the clubs. Some places offer up to a year's guarantee on the components such as grip and shaft.
After you get fitted and your order is placed, the clubs usually can be ready in a matter of days. One advantage to working with a small, independent fitter is that she may have the components in stock to have your clubs ready in a day or two. When you pick up your clubs, it's a good idea to hit a few shots in the simulator before leaving the shop.