In the interest of full disclosure, I was a club-fitting skeptic.
I’m not a good golfer, I reasoned, and a bad carpenter shouldn’t blame his tools (or something like that).
But after 13 years, I’m in the market for new clubs, and I’d been told Dale Ketola, who runs the Grande Dunes Golf Performance Center, was as good as they come.
Half the cost of the fitting comes off your clubs if you make the decision to buy, so I thought, why not go through the process?
Almost immediately upon entering the Grande Dunes Golf Performance Center, it became obvious my skepticism was misplaced. Here is what I learned and you will too:
— After warming up, I hit 10 drivers and FlightScope had a story to tell. My launch angle was too low, costing me distance. Ketola changed the driver loft, eventually settling on a 12-degree Callaway Epic Max. My launch angle immediately improved and my carry distance was up over 10 yards. Working with a professional with a couple decades of experience really does make a difference. Who knew?
— You learn about your old clubs. As Ketola was looking through my bag, he immediately pointed out that the RocketBallz driver I was hitting was to long at 46 inches. Phil Mickelson aside, most guys on Tour are hitting a 45.5-inch driver, so why am I, at 5-11 with adequate swing speed at best, swinging a club that long? Any benefit I receive in distance is being sacrificed due to incorrect loft.
— The purpose of the fitting is to get you in club’s tailored to your game, but it also doubles as a mini lesson. A guy like Ketola knows the golf swing like you know the remote-control during Masters week. As you are testing clubs, he will pass along little nuggets that can help your game.
— Just because you are getting fitted, it doesn’t mean every club in your bag is “off.” I found out my swing is neutral, meaning I don’t have a draw or fade bias. Ketola fitted me for irons but the numbers didn’t scream for change the way they did with the driver. The Callaway Mavik irons best fit my game and the new shafts will be tailored to my swing, but the biggest benefit will be increased forgiveness provided by technology. A good club-fitter will be honest with you. I need the driver change; I want the new irons. There is a difference and I appreciated the honesty.
— Clubs aren’t cheap and if you are in the market for new ones, regardless of handicap, you are crazy not to get fitted. You make sure clothes fit before you wear them, why not do the same for a set of golf clubs you might be swinging for 10+ years?
I walked into the Grande Dunes Performance Center a skeptic but left a true believer. Get fitted for you next set of clubs. You will learn about your game, maximize the value of new clubs, and on a more intangible level, it’s enjoyable.