An Absolute Imperative

I have long believed in the value of custom club-fitting. So back in 2005, when I first heard about a fledgling Scottsdale company named Hot Stix Golf, I quickly assigned a story on it (See the story here.) I loved the idea: a high-tech, state-of-the-art fitter who would put you in any clubheads and shafts, no matter who made them, to maximize your game. The company even recommended balls. In my view, such a highly specific, manufacturer-agnostic approach just had to lead to a better-performing bag.

Well, it took me three years to heed my own advice, but I’ve finally been through a Hot Stix fitting and, I must say, it exceeded my high expectations. Frankly, it blew my mind.

I had been fit for my clubs, of course, but not holistically—when my fitter tested them, he discovered I had ended up with a mismatched set. The shafts and heads did not all complement each other and, more importantly, none of them were maximizing my potential. For example, for years I had been struggling to hit my irons higher—that problem was solved in a half hour of matching shafts and clubheads to my swing. Same story for woods, hybrid and wedges—all my major ball-flight issues were solved in one afternoon on the range.

Significantly, the clubs I ended up buying are made by a variety of companies, and all were assembled and tested by Hot Stix to make sure they matched manufacturer specifications. (Yes, they “pured” the shafts, too.) Take it from me, the $400 you spend for the fitting and testing service will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your game.

Today there are many ways to get fitted for clubs. Agnostic fitters such as Hot Stix are popping up all over, and if you can’t get to one of them, there’s nothing wrong with the manufacturer-specific approach—see Nick Faldo’s “Super Fit” for more on that process. Nick’s conclusion, and mine, is pretty simple: If you’re serious about improving, you can’t think of custom fitting as merely beneficial.

It’s absolutely essential.