published Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Golfers, get fit: Chattanooga area golf stores can tailor clubs for optimal results

Alan Betus participates in a fitting session while looking at new clubs Monday at the Golf Performance Center, using a computerized FlightScope that shows the trajectory, grouping and other metrics of a person’s swing.
Alan Betus participates in a fitting session while looking at new clubs Monday at the Golf Performance Center, using a computerized FlightScope that shows the trajectory, grouping and other metrics of a person’s swing.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Golfers need to get fit.

Most probably could take that as if they need to get in shape, healthwise.

But the phrase "get fit" also refers to being sized for clubs -- from driver to wedges to irons to a putter -- in the same way one would get fit for a suit or a fancy dress.

Grab the wrong one off the rack at Macy's and it doesn't work. It's too big. Or too small. Or too long. Or it just doesn't feel right.

"Every year golf clubs become more outdated. because there's always new technology," said John White, owner of the Golf Performance Center in East Brainerd. "If you want to have optimal performance with your golf swing, you need to have the most modern equipment.

"There's always something [that hits] longer; there's always something better."

Three golf retail businesses in Chattanooga are experts at fitting golfers for clubs that will help them play better golf: GolfSmith, Golf Headquarters and the Golf Performance Center.

With new technology being released in clubs every year, any driver that is older than three years is out of date. Any set of irons or wedges older than five years probably doesn't provide the same results as newer clubs.

"If you're ill-fit, you're going to be miserable no matter what set of clubs you hit," said Golf Headquarters sales manager Chris Harris. "With most manufacturers, there's no extra cost for clubs when it comes to getting fit. All it costs is your time."

It's an hour well spent during the fitting process, and the aiting time is about one week to get clubs delivered from the manufacturer.

"Golfers are doing themselves a disservice if they're not getting fit," Harris said. "Due to stature, height and build, there are things in your swing that can be helped by fitting.

"As long as you have a semi-repeatable swing, you can be fitted for clubs."

The importance is paramount to any golfer, no matter his or her handicap, age or gender. Advanced technology is out there, so all golfers should take advantage of it whenever possible.

"If somebody has a dominant miss, you can set a club up to counteract that miss," said GolfSmith master club-fitter Logan Killen. "The game has changed a lot, and the technology has changed a lot. If you get somebody fit in the right set, it may not fix the missed shot, but it's going to help contain it."

Hand-me-down clubs can get people started in the game as they hit balls on a range or even take lessons for the first time. But those clubs are the suit that somebody else wore. It could work, but not as well as getting tailored at Nordstrom.

A fitting discovers the proper length of a shaft, the stiffness of a shaft and the lie angle of the club face as well as the diameter of a grip. They all work in concert to help golfers make good contact with the ball and send it where the golfer wants the dimpled sphere to fly.

"If you want to improve your game, you need to look at your equipment," White said. "There's endless options with custom fitting. No golfer in the Chattanooga area is a PGA Tour player, but those guys are always tweaking and tinkering.

"Even as an amateur, the next shaft and club-head combination could unlock something special."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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