Most club fitters will start off with a questionnaire and particularly the question “What is your objective more distance or more accuracy?” We will not ask you this question or past history questions because they are irrelevant to a proper club fitting. The question on distance and accuracy is your first clue. When the Shaft is properly fitted, to be back to straight and square at ball impact, your best distance and accuracy will occur at the same time. What that question, when asked, really is telling you is that fitter does not know how to fit a golf club so the shaft will be back to straight and square at ball impact and provide its peak performance of distance and accuracy at the same time.
Typical of FitChip Successes
Recently when working in Florida with one of the top 10 golf instructors that was interested in the FitChip as a fitting system for his school I had a chance to fit several of his students. The one student was a PGA professional and instructor from Canada taking lessons. He was hitting stiff shafted clubs but was not totally happy with them and was interested in trying the FitChip system. As a result of the testing I put him in a driver that was two flex ranges softer then a senior shaft. He just shook his head until he hit the test club against his, on the Launch Monitor and got more distance and less dispersion. I ended up building him a full set of new clubs. He called after he got home and played with the clubs saying “ My friends were laughing at me because the shafts were so soft, until we got on the course and I was out driving them by 50 yard and was always in the fairway”. He then proceeded to win the Canadian Club Professional Golf Tournament with his new clubs.
Where is the Club fitting done?
The primary location for this service is Perfected Golf Group’s Shop and Range in Columbus, Ohio. The Fitting session can be a stand alone session or part of a Instructional Package. Perfected Golf Group also offers the basic shaft fitting remotely by having a FitChip shaft fitting device mailed to you with instructions on gathering the data. The FitChip is returned and the data analyzed. A test Driver, Hybrid and 5 Iron can be built to your recommended specifications and mailed to you for approval. This can also be combined with the remote video lessons offered by Lotus Golf. Your cost prior to making a final purchase decision on clubs will be the return postage of the FitChip and test clubs. We will also be happy to quote you the cost of the club or clubs you might want to order prior to committing to you fitting session.
There are (6) basic steps to our in house custom club fitting session:
1. FitChip Computerized Swing Analysis – pin points the necessary shaft flex/frequency depending on the golfer`s swing timing (club/shaft release to ball impact time)
2. Demo Equipment – trial to substantiate the ideal shaft specifications selected by FitChip for the player’s swing and make any minor adjustments.
3. Shaft length is determined to accommodate the player. (his preference or to promote the proper swing posture)
4. Grip size and style and size is selected to provide comfort and performance.
5. Advanced Ball Launch Analysis – to track all aspects of a player’s swing and ball flight to select Driver face loft angle plus hook or fade bias or offset head.
6. Post-fit Checkup – To track a player’s progress and make any additional adjustments such as lie angle and club face angles.
These should be done only with the final shaft frequency the player will play with.
Other major fitting variables include set make-up (type of Irons, where do Hybrids fit in if any and number and type of fairway woods), lie angle (not to be performed until proper shaft is selected), club head design (mostly player preference), hozzel offset, face loft (using the launch monitor), shaft make (if it can be trimmed to the proper frequency), shaft torque (as low as possible to promote less dispersion with off center hits), shaft bend point (high kick points are recommended for greater distance when the proper shaft selection provides the accuracy), shaft weight, swing weight, and total weight. These specifications all contribute to improvements concerning ACCURACY, DISTANCE, FEEL, TRAJECTORY, and CONSISTENCY.
Fitting With FitChip — Shaft Loading and Timing
I would like to redefine “shaft loading” as stated by Jeff Jackson of Golf Works. Even though it can occur at the transition point between back swing and down swing, for most players the peak load occurs at some place during the downswing. This player has a definite swing fault caused by a quick transition loading the shaft early and then lets the loading fall off prior to a late hands release that reloads the shaft. The shaft then releases from the second peak load along the shaft release line to ball impact at .173 seconds of recorded data. The timing of this loading and most importantly the start of unloading is the key factor in club fitting. The key parameter that FitChip uses in selecting a shaft is the time between the start of unloading or shaft release and ball impact. The red release line represents the time of 1/4 cycle of the base frequency of a shaft required to match the players swing timing.
The golf shaft is a spring. Depending on the stiffness of that spring it takes a certain amount of time for the spring to recover from the deflected position to the neutral position (for the golf shaft, straight). It is at this neutral position that the golf shaft reaches its greatest effectiveness (maximum speed and club face square). What does this curve above show? First it shows the variation of the energy or load in the shaft at any given time as the shaft cycles while it vibrates. The Peak Load is achieved during the players down swing as they accelerate the club head up to speed. Once the Load on the shaft starts to drop off the spring action of the shaft takes over to return the shaft to straight and what should be ball impact. The timing problem involved in this sequence is to find the right natural frequency for the players club that will return the shaft to straight during the players unique time between peak load and the point of ball impact. This time is represented by 1/4 of a cycle of the clubs natural frequency as shown in the curve above.
As some may have suggested “the impact occurs at peak loading” the shaft would still be flexed and be much less than effective in aiding the golfer. The shaft must be at zero load and peak speed or back to straight for peak performance. Based on spring mechanics the stiffer the spring the shorter the time of recovery. The natural frequency of the golf club describes this recovery time and the mechanism that drives the shaft back to straight upon release. Therefore the earlier the release is in the swing the softer the shaft and the later the release the stiffer the shaft. You will quickly find out using this system that shaft selection has nothing to do with club head speed as the industry has used it in the past. In fact I can show you, that if two players having the same time between release and ball impact, the one with the higher speed needs a softer shaft. This occurs because there are two mechanisms acting on the shaft to return it to straight and square. The first one, which we all understand is the spring action of the shaft that is described by natural frequency. The second one is the centrifugal force pulling down on the weight of the head to straighten the shaft and is a direct function of club head speed. Since this Club head speed induced force is helping the spring action the spring action needs to be reduced to get the correct timing to be back to straight and square at the time of impact. Then since the high club head speed player gets more help from club head speed he would need the shaft with a lower frequency (softer shaft). Both of these timing mechanisms are accounted for in the FitChip Shaft Fitting System.
The FitChip analyzes this timing and club release problem and selects the clubs natural frequency that will return it to straight and square at ball impact. No other system available today for club fitting can identify the point of club release during the swing. This timing is what best creates the feel and timing between the player and his clubs. The data collected by the FitChip (up to 84 full swings) can be downloaded to any computer to view the pertinent individual swing data. You will find that many players have double loads, as the example of the load curve above, that make the process even more difficult.