Deciding on where you should allocate your funds to enhance your golfing enjoyment can be one of the trickiest things to do. Do you invest in the latest and greatest equipment fitted to your personal technique, or do you opt for a package of lessons? Hopefully I can shed some light on the subject from a Golf Professionals’ perspective, and help build some awareness for the common golfer.
Here is my short answer. Are you mostly content with your current level of play? Are your best shots going the distance, height and direction you feel are at the maximum of your physical capabilities? If you answered yes, then you would be in a good place to invest in clubs. If you answered no to either of those questions, then the lesson route (or self-education) is the way to go. The easiest way I can explain making the choice is simple. If you want to raise your “ceiling” in golf, you have to make a change or practice more, but in order for practice to be effective you have to know how and what to work on. If you want to reach the ceiling of your current ability, then a new set of fitted equipment can help you maximize your CURRENT potential.
Now, there are some exceptions to this. If you’re a young junior using dads set of stiff-shafted full-length bladed clubs, or a person of extremely tall stature then yes, a properly fitted set of clubs are going to make a real difference right away with your ability to develop as a competent golfer. Another example, I’ve worked with some older players that have up to a 3 iron with steel shafts, in this case it may make more sense to have lighter graphite shafts in a hybrid set that would help with your speed and impact. I’ve seen several cases of juniors in camp, and ladies in clinics that use their dads/husbands’ set of clubs and it looks like the club is swinging them as opposed to other way around.
There’s a phrase that was made famous by both Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino. “You just have to dig it out of the dirt”. A common misconception is that you have to play and practice golf as a full time job in order to break par. While I’m not going to say this is a game that’s particularly easy to improve at. There are much faster ways to improve than sitting on the range 3x per week and hitting golf balls without a target in an effort to “find something”. I see it all the time.
That brings me to lessons, do you need them to get better? Absolutely not. All golfers have a pattern in which they move the golf club, I’ve worked with beginners that have excellent and functional patterns, they need little assistance and develop extremely quick. It may be uncommon, but it does happen. The vast majority are not in this group and in order for them to truly improve their game, they either need help from an instructor, or some education on the physics and kinetics of what makes good golfers good, and the ability to apply that education. I can promise you, if Lee Trevino or Ben Hogan had access to a high-speed camera they would have used it. They wouldn’t have had to dig up as much dirt to achieve their goals.
Back to club fitting, in my short answer I asked you a couple of questions. These questions don’t have a right answer, if you are comfortable with your level of play and you’re looking for a slight boost in distance, accuracy and help on mishits then a properly fitted set of clubs is right for you! If you’re looking to improve your ceiling and want to get to a level you’re content with, then lessons would be a good place to start before investing in new equipment.
My personal opinion, is to start off in golf with a set of clubs that’s either fitted or a used
set that generally matches your skill and ability. From there, I would suggest taking lessons or practicing until you reach a level of golf that you are content with. Then, a fitted set of clubs should last you essentially until they wear out or become obsolete (which takes much longer than most would think). Hopefully this information helps you make an educated decision this spring!
If you’d like to chat more about these points or if you’re looking for more information I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading!