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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:29 am

Posted by superhoop


Interesting thread, several aspects to it.

Should also be remembered that the big promotional push for all golfers (even very poor standard amateurs) to be custom-fitted came when internet retailing of golf equipment was starting to take off. The traditional golf retailers were scared they would lose all their sales to cheaper on-line competitors, especially if they were all selling the same product ie standard spec sets of clubs, as happened with books, CDs, etc..

Therefore the brands looked for ways to help the traditional retailers make their offering unique, and one way was for those retailers to offer a custom-fitting service, the theory being that you cannot do a proper fitting on-line, so the traditional retailers would be able to use (and charge for) their skills & expertise and would have this sector of the market to themselves.  So the brands heavily promoted custom fitting, especially via traditional non-internet retailers, as a way of protecting this important sector of their business.

This was fine until the brands started developing their really-easy-to-use idiot-proof fitting systems, suddenly anyone in a golf shop could do fittings, there was no special skill involved (except reading numbers on a chart), and the price competition started all over again as some retailers stopped charging for fittings.

The brands have invested so much in custom fitting that they're not now suddenly going to say it doesn't really make much difference to the recreational golfer. But so what ?....if golf is your favourite hobby, and having someone assess your swing and give recommendations for equipment purchases makes you feel good and makes you think you will play better then, hey why not ?! It's your money, spend it how you like. 

Average handicaps have not fallen in many years, suggesting that all the custom-fitting, new materials, new technologies, etc have had no impact on recreational amateurs' performance. Perhaps their best performance (scorecard) gains would be achieved by more putting practice and a few short-game lessons from the pro ?
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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:40 pm

Posted by LOS


superhoop wrote:

Interesting thread, several aspects to it.


Average handicaps have not fallen in many years, suggesting that all the custom-fitting, new materials, new technologies, etc have had no impact on recreational amateurs' performance. Perhaps their best performance (scorecard) gains would be achieved by more putting practice and a few short-game lessons from the pro ?

While the average handicaps may not have fallen the average age of golfers playing at least once a week has gone up in the UK. You could say that if these older golfers are able to maintain their handicaps then something must be working for them.

From 2014
"A report in the Financial Times, referencing work conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS INC), states that ‘in the UK, the average age of golfers is up from 41 in 2009 to 45, while that of ‘avid golfers’, those who play at least once a week, is up from 48 to 63, according to SMS INC."
http://www.thegolfbusiness.co.uk/2014/1 ... ince-2009/
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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:50 pm

Posted by superhoop


"You could say that if these older golfers are able to maintain their handicaps then something must be working for them."

Correct - I would suggest that is mainly down to healthier diet, more access to fitness facilities, better treatment for medical conditions and injuries ? 

Very illuminating participation stats you quote, thanks for them - it is truly shocking that golf is now a sport played avidly by people, on average, of 63 years old. That is a biting indictment of the powers in charge and how relatively unattractive they have made golf (compared with alternative interests) to younger generations.
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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:25 pm

Posted by Varry Hardon


50 now is like 60 then.

Agreed about the average age - at my club it is going up and up.

Not enough new younger members joining.

Golf is going back to where it was when I first started dabbling 25 years ago. Elitist - or certain perceived as.
"When I do a bad shot, I blame myself. When I do a good shot, the club gets all the credit" - me.
Fire in the belly, space between the ears.
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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:37 am

Posted by chrism_s


Just a couple of thoughts on this...

The mechanics of how a body swings remain remarkably consistent at a macro level for the individual across the handicap range. Whilst the micro detail can result in a bad or good shot (face strike, impact on ground etc) the rhythm, length and forces in the swing are remarkably consistent. You can tell this from taking a video of swing after swing, its very hard from a distance to see any differences in rhythm etc but the outcome can vary massively.

What that points to is the concept that being fitted to match the macro elements of a swing makes a lot of sense. As a 6ft 5 man I have a swing that needs a different set of components to a 5 ft woman, and I think we can all agree on that. Swinging a 6 iron can profile that without needing to be done across the whole club range.

This explains why a tool such as Mizuno's can identify the correct macro components of an individual swing and recommend a shaft and head combo to fit. Loft & lie being tuned then based on personal preference and details makes some sense, as it is hard for a computer to extrapolate these changes based off one iron's input.
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Re: Is Custom Fit really beneficial to amateurs?

Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:17 pm

Posted by Kgrove


The results from my iron fitting could be used to explain either side of the "get a fitting / fittings are overrated" argument.

In favor of fittings, I can show with a launch monitor that my fitted MP5s carry about 8-10 yards further and with more consistency than the stock MP57s they replaced. MP5s should not inherently be longer or more forgiving than MP57s, so that improvement must have been driven by shaft selection (which wasn't much different) and lie angle adjustments. So if that's the only point of reference, there probably are many amateurs who could see benefits from fitted clubs. I'm also sure there are many who will see little benefit because stock clubs are close to their ideal specs.

In favor of fittings being overrated, I could show my scores and handicap index from several months on either side of my fitting and it's very difficult to notice a difference. At best I could argue the improved ball striking took a couple tenths off my HC. My GIR percentage improved, but all I did is trade chips for longer putts so my scoring was essentially the same. So if that were the only point of reference, many amateurs will not be better players after a fitting and will still score the same (roughly).

Still... we're not talking about exclusive events. Golfers can get clubs that make smallish improvements in their game AND simultaneously work on their swing mechanics and short game. If the message is that fittings won't transform anyone into a noticeably better golfer, I'm in full agreement. Although many of us try, you can't just buy a better golf game. If the message is that fittings don't make any difference, I'm proof that's misleading.
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