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Does Club Fitting by Computer Work?

In recent years with the introduction of electronic devises that measure frequency, acceleration pattern, swing path, swing speed and launch angle, the process of club fitting has taken on a technical edge. A number of club makers have taken it up themselves to develop a fitting program that is based solely on fitting parameters covered by these new instruments.

Fitting is a dynamic process that requires an experienced istock_000011797967xsmall_a-001_403club fitter to observe upward of 23 parameters and then to recommend an optimal solution to the golfer seeking help. A successful fitting process should combine information provided by electronic instruments with careful observation of a golfer's swing and swing variations to reach a final recommendation.

The following is a list of club fitting parameters. We divide the list into three groups: Golfer, Shaft and Club Head to reflect the particular parameter's origin.

GOLFER

  • Face Angle
  • Swing Path
  • Swing Plane
  • Attack Angle
  • Acceleration Pattern
  • Swing Speed
  • Swing Variations

CLUB HEAD

  • Loft Lie
  • Weight
  • Volume
  • Center of Gravity
  • Moment of Inertia
  • COR
  • Gear Effect

SHAFT

  • Flex Profile (include stiffness)
  • Torque Profile
  • Launch Angle
  • Weight
  • Length
  • Shaft Lead/Lag
  • Ball Spin Rate
  • Recovery Rate

We recommend club makers to take full advantage of what technology has to offer. Unfortunately, no electronic devise available today measures all 23 parameters. Any fitting process that does not taken into consideration all relevant parameters is naturally unreliable. Just ask yourself which one of the above parameters you can ignore and still find the optimal club and shaft combination. This is partially the reason why Harrison no longer publishes a fitting chart, because no matter how well constructed the chart is. It can only fitting a very limited number of golfers.

The following is an incomplete list of available fitting instruments and what they measure.

DEVICE NAME

WHAT IT MEASURES
Frequency CounterMeasures club or shaft stiffness
Torque MeterMeasures shaft torque
Deadsolid SimulatorMeasures swing path, face angle, swing speed, and launch angle
Full Swing Simulator Measures ball path, ball speed, and launch angle
Swing DynamicMeasures swing path, face angle, swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, and ball spin rate
Bengston SimulatorMeasures swing path, swing speed, and face angle
Fit ChipMeasures acceleration pattern
Shaft LabMeasures shaft bending throughout the swing cycle, and shaft lead and lag
Belltronic Swing MateMeasures swing speed
Spine FinderLocate shaft spine

Every one of these devises provides information on only a handful of parameters. A fitting process that predicates solely on one or even two of the devises listed above while ignoring the rest of the parameters will only have a random chance of success. A successful club fitter is one who uses information, collected through observation, research and electronic means, on all fitting parameters in making his final recommendation.