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Club Fitting Demystified

This is not to say that high handicappers won't see a difference when they switch to well-fitted clubs, particularly if they have been honest with their fitter about their main deficiencies. Offset in the clubhead, for instance, can do wonders to ameliorate a slice, and getting the right shaft (many golfers' shafts are too stiff) can immediately add significant yards to drives and height to iron shots. Furthermore, well-fitted clubs reward a player's best swings with better-than-ever results, creating a feedback loop that reinforces good swings and discourages bad ones. Over time this helps make you a better player—and golf more fun.

Stick selection: custom-fitting from top companies

COMPANY: Adams Golf (800-622-0609, adamsgolf.com)
Irons: Idea; Tight Lies GT Ultimate, Performance and Tour
Wedges: Tom Watson GT
Woods: Redline drivers and fairway woods; Tight Lies GT drivers and fairway woods; i-Woods utility
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: Adams has more than 300 trained fitters across the country, virtually all at outdoor facilities where customers can test-hit the clubs. The company does not stage as many demo days as some other companies. The new Idea irons substitute hybrid clubs for the long irons that many golfers have difficulty hitting.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: Adams's custom-fitting system tries to strike a balance between what it calls "art and science." Too much art makes the fitting too dependent on the skill of the individual fitter; too much science makes the process too clinical and confusing.

COMPANY: Ben Hogan Golf (877-236-4642, benhogan.com)
Irons: Apex; Apex Edge Pro; Edge CFT
Wedges: Riviera; Carnoustie
Woods: None
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: A schedule of demo days is available on the company web site. All custom orders are processed (along with all Ben Hogan clubs) at the main plant in Fort Worth, Texas.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: The company's exclusively forged clubs are easily bent to desired lie angles and loft.

COMPANY: Callaway Golf (800-228-2767, callawaygolf.com)
Irons: Hawk Eye VFT; Steelhead X-16 and X-16 Pro; Big Bertha
Wedges: Callaway Golf Forged
Woods: Great Big Bertha II drivers and fairway woods; Big Bertha Steelhead III drivers and fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: Callaway's nearly 300 trained fitters in the U.S. use futuristic fitting scooters complete with radar launch monitors and a laptop that guides the process and can send orders over the Internet to the factory. Golfers may also reserve times at one of four high-tech "performance centers" in Palm Springs and Carlsbad, California, Las Vegas, and Boston.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: "The first key to a good fitting is determining the right clubhead style for each player," says Tom Preece, Callaway's global customization director. The vast majority of players who go through a Callaway fitting match one of the company's stock iron versions.

COMPANY: Cleveland Golf (800-999-6263, clevelandgolf.com)
Irons: TA1 and TA3 FormFORGED; TA5, TA7 and TA7 Tour
Wedges: 588 Tour Action; 900 FormFORGED
Woods: Launcher drivers and fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: The company's traveling Tech Van offers demo days and custom fittings; clubs can be built on the spot. In addition, an online wedge-fitting system helps golfers determine which constellation of wedges to carry.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: Cleveland does not have fitting carts or a special, proprietary fitting system, but it does provide retailers with demo and sample clubs for use in fitting. Pros can then custom order clubs to their customers' specifications.

COMPANY: Henry-Griffitts (800-446-0036, henry-griffitts.com)
Irons: RDH and RDH II; GLII Offset; Greenback$
Wedges: Salt, Salt II, Pepper and Sugar; Model 53, 55, 57, 60, 534, 574; Gold Line Tour and Offset
Woods: Model 82 Tour and Offset drivers; Aeroloy Tour and Offset fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: At more than 500 fitting sites worldwide, the company's trained fitters use interchangeable clubheads (they screw into the ends of shafts) to give golfers more than 3,000 iron-fitting combinations (and more than 2,000 wood combinations) from which to choose. To find a fitter near you, call or go online; no H-G clubs are sold over-the-counter.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: The company was founded in 1983 to sell exclusively custom-fitted clubs. It differs philosophically from some companies in creating a unique set for each player, not simply tweaking stock clubs. H-G is also known for sometimes recommending clubs that are much longer, flatter or more upright than standard.


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