Golf club fitter Gene Fulton was on site with a new, larger tour van at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open presented by EventScotland at Archerfield Links in East Lothian, decked out with the latest technology and club fitting equipment for use by the competitors in the field. As a regular fitter to the LET professionals, here he discusses how this is something that amateurs should also consider, to maximise their performance in the amateur game.
Gene: what is custom fitting?
Basically, it’s getting your clubs made to measure for you as an individual just as you would get a suit made to measure for a perfect fit. After all, you don’t shorten your legs if your trousers are too long therefore the same applies to golf clubs.
Why should I have my clubs custom fitted?
It will ensure that you have the correct length, weight, flex, loft and lie (just to name a few parameters) for you. By having custom fitted clubs you can be sure it will improve your game.
Will it really benefit my game?
Yes, without a doubt.
How often do the LET pros have their clubs fitted?
Not enough. Unfortunately some of the manufacturers don’t really do what I call an extensive fitting. They tend to fit the players into just the shafts that they use and rarely use custom shafts. They need to have the full choice of shafts and grips and not just the manufacturer’s favourite array. There are new shafts and products available almost on a monthly basis. Some players are happy to try new products and some don’t like change.
What is a typical set-up for a top LET professional?
There is no typical set-up. It varies so much depending on the player. But basically there would be a driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, rescues, irons usually start at 4-iron, wedges and putter. Some players change their set-up make-up to suit certain courses and weather conditions.
What is a typical swing speed for a top LET professional?
Driver is about 95-100 miles per hour.
What is the typical driving distance on Tour and who are the longest hitters in your opinion?
Average driving distance is about 240-250 yards. Carmen Alonso, Sophie Gustafson, Laura Davies.
Will club fitting help the girls hit it further and if so, how?
Yes, because they have the right left-right flex shaft and can generate the perfect launch angle/club head speed and backspin rates to generate more distance.
Will club fitting help the girls hit it straighter and if so, how?
Yes, if their lie angle is wrong it can cause them to pull or push shots. Also if the club is too long or short or too light or heavy it will have an effect as well. Everything needs to be in tune.
Why do some of the world’s top golfers like Ricoh Women’s British Open champions Yani Tseng and Jiyai Shin come to see you?
Because they trust me and like what I do. They are both great golfers and nice people to deal with at the same time. They listen to what I say and make their own minds up.
What is the difference for a mid to high handicap lady golfer and how regularly should they change their golf club shafts? Is this the same for the professionals?
I do not differentiate between a professional and an amateur. When they come to see me, they all get treated the same. Why should an amateur be fitted any different toa tour pro?
What is a typical set-up for a mid to high handicap lady golfer?
They usually tend to have higher lofted woods, shorter length woods to make controlling them easier and their iron sets will usually start at a 5 or 6-iron and have more rescues.
What type of clubs and set up would you recommend for someone starting the game?
A 14-16° driver, 5-wood, irons starting at 6-iron to wedge. They will usually be slightly shorter than standard and a lighter putter in weight to make them easier to control.
Where can custom fitting be done?
Either at my fitting centre or I can travel with my tour van.
How much does it cost?
£70 for irons, £40 for woods, £30 for putter and £20 for ball.
What do you need to bring with you?
Your golf shoes and current clubs if you have some.
What happens during a fitting session?
Firstly, if you have clubs I will examine them in detail and take all the measurements, such as loft, lie, length, swing weight, shaft frequency and grip type/size. They will then hit their own clubs and from there using the Flightscope launch monitor I can start to make recommendations as to what will suit them shaft wise, head wise etc. I will then usually build a club for them and they can hit it about 10-15 minutes later to see just how it feels and performs and it is almost always an improvement on what they currently are using.
What difference will it make?
You will hit the ball straighter, further and more out of the middle of the club. It will be easier to get the ball in the air and will give you more enjoyment.
What are the biggest differences you have seen to players who have had adjustments made to their clubs on the Ladies European Tour?
Simple: three major winners in three years! Many winners each year for the last three years.
|Gene in the tour van with Laura Davies
For further information please see www.genefulton.co.uk