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D_Golfer

Buy clubs w/ no fitting - debate and opinions

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Hi guys,

I wanted to put up a question here just to see what you guys think.

In my case,  i'm a high handicaper but i'll put up the question generally..

If you can't be fitted for any reason (not having a fitter near you or any other reason) and can't try the clubs before you buy them what would you think should be the main criteria(s) for you to consider before you buy new clubs/replace your own. 

Because without being fitted or try it there's always a risk.

thanks.

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Play the biggest iron head that suits your eye and gives the forgiveness you need. For shafts it’s going to be about feel. 

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2 hours ago, D_Golfer said:

Hi guys,

I wanted to put up a question here just to see what you guys think.

In my case,  i'm a high handicaper but i'll put up the question generally..

If you can't be fitted for any reason (not having a fitter near you or any other reason) and can't try the clubs before you buy them what would you think should be the main criteria(s) for you to consider before you buy new clubs/replace your own. 

Because without being fitted or try it there's always a risk.

thanks.

I always look at shapes that are familiar to me and choose shaft flexes/profiles similar to those I've had success with in the past. Swing speed can be a major consideration, but I wouldn't get too stuck on playing the same flex in every club because not all flexes are equal - meaning flexes are not standardized across the industry.

Truthfully, if you have no options but to take a leap of faith, buy the clubs you think you will enjoy most. When you get them, find a place to have them checked for loft and lie - it helps if you know what standard is and have a professional check your lie angle.

In my experience, I'm much more willing to make a less-than-ideal club work if I like it - looks, feel, sound, materials. If I were to buy shovels in hopes they'd give me a greater chance for success and then they didn't, I'd be pretty bummed about it and less enthused to get better. NOTE: I've done this in the past, and it was horrible experience.

Don't take that as me saying you should buy blades or anything crazy like that, but I wouldn't go buying clubs with the largest heads either.

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Check out U-Try at GlobalGolf.com - you can trial almost anything for a small fee. Also, many manufacturers are introducing their own demo programs; for example, check out Wilson Golf's.

 

 @GlobalGolf.com

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Hi guys,
I wanted to put up a question here just to see what you guys think.
In my case,  i'm a high handicaper but i'll put up the question generally..
If you can't be fitted for any reason (not having a fitter near you or any other reason) and can't try the clubs before you buy them what would you think should be the main criteria(s) for you to consider before you buy new clubs/replace your own. 
Because without being fitted or try it there's always a risk.
thanks.


PING has an online fitting tool. While this tool is not the absolute best answer it does serve as a suitable substitute. PING is also a good choice for they have long been the average man’s Golf equipment supplier. While they definitely have their Player’s clubs for the most part they have great offering for the mid to high handicapper.

The use of PINGs automated fitting tool doesn’t mean you must buy PING irons. The results will give you a lie, length and shaft recommendation.




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If you're buying without a fitting, then picking clubs that fit your eye and golfing profile should be at the top of the list. Shafts are also key, because even a head that works for you, let's say SGI since you're a higher handicapper that needs help, matched up with a shaft that *doesn't* work, isn't going to perform as well for you.

For the record, up until last year I was never fitted for any of my clubs except for a driver where I took a bunch of swings at Dick's and the guy at the counter said "stick with regular shafts". Some of the sets I hit well, some I didn't. So it is a crapshoot. 

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Honestly its almost impossible to not have a fitter somewhere within an hour or two. Its worth the drive. You’re spending all this money to play better, spend the extra little bit to make them 110% suited to your swing. Its really worth it, find a fitter and get there. 

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To what extent do you know what to look for when being fit?

I think you could lean on some wise people here to steer you in the right direction if you absolutely cannot get to a fitter.


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 I would recommend the ping online fitting tool, which you could also use as a guideline for other brands. The Global golf U-try is a great recommendation as well and i think some other stores or brands might do something similar where they send you a demo set to try, which is probably the best way to see what you like. 

Other ideas:

- Use the MGS rankings for your given category, they know what they are talking about and i don't think you can go  wrong. 

-You can try paying the $30 true-fit fee or whatever it is for their online fitting tool

-Parlay a trip to a bigger city or vacation with a club fitting, there are so many places that do it now and it and a basic fitting doesn't take that long.

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On 6/20/2019 at 7:44 PM, russtopherb said:

 Shafts are also key, because even a head that works for you, let's say SGI since you're a higher handicapper that needs help, matched up with a shaft that *doesn't* work, isn't going to perform as well for you.

For the record, up until last year I was never fitted for any of my clubs except for a driver where I took a bunch of swings at Dick's and the guy at the counter said "stick with regular shafts". Some of the sets I hit well, some I didn't. So it is a crapshoot. 

I agree - especially on the point about different sets being a 'crapshoot'. I'm a high handicapper and was very surprised at the results of my iron fitting. The clubs and shafts I had a preference for had much poorer results (Trackman) then the final recommendation.  Not sure of your proximity to fitters in Portugal, D_Golfer, but if not available, then perhaps renting different sets could be a possibility? I know when we played in Australia, we were able to rent "premium sets" which were basically new golf clubs.  Another alternative is getting advice from an instructor you have confidence in. 

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I don’t have much to add but can throw my 2 cents in since I’m one to tinker and buy without getting fit. When it comes to clubs for me it’s all about look. I also have an idea of what shafts work for me in both irons and woods which also helps the process as well. I may then go and get lie angles tweaked a bit but overall I’ve had good success with focusing on those two areas.


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Can I add a wrinkle? I have in past bought 2-4 years old clubs off eBay to save on the depreciation. Obviously did not trial those. Am considering irons in near future. How can you get fit in this situation?

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3 hours ago, Rchang said:

Can I add a wrinkle? I have in past bought 2-4 years old clubs off eBay to save on the depreciation. Obviously did not trial those. Am considering irons in near future. How can you get fit in this situation?

My advice would be to find similar heads to what you are looking at on ebay and try to determine the best shaft for you.  I have had good luck sticking with a particular shaft and then moving to other clubs.    My club champion recommendation was KBS Tours,  the Mizuno Swing Optimizer recommended KBS Tours so I stick with that with any set of clubs I put in the bag.   For my hybrids I was fit into KBS Prototype so that is what I put in all my hybrids.     I just need to find my preferred driver shaft and I am all set.  

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The most forgiving with a satisfying to me appearance at address. The weakest shaft that will hold up to my swing and that I can control. I'd also take note of my present ballfilght on well struck shots, particularly with irons.

I noted years ago that my purest contact resulted in prounounced draws, sometimes overcooked. Didn't want to get fit so I fit myself. Measured my irons, then went 3° flatter for my next purchase and 1/2" shorter, just as a guess. Worked, best contact resulted in baby draws. I was still an inconsistent golfer but my best finally offered the best results for me. BUT... shafts were the same so the assessment was therefore easier.

For driver, I'd go with the most forgiving out there, think in the ballpark of the G400 Max or similar. Same for 3W and/or hybrids. With all clubs, I'd elevate forgiveness substantially higher than distance.

Wedges, I'd personally go larger like Callaway PM Grind or Fourteen RM-22J. More surface area, muy bueno.

As to shafts, it's kind of a dance between what you're getting out of what you have now vs what you'd like to see. I used to hit the ball very high with driver and swung fast so I eventually gravitated toward low/low shafts.

Now that I'm getting older at 51 and STILL have never been fit, I'm gravitating more toward mid-launch lower spinning shafts in order to steal more air time.

Self fitting stinks as to the trial and error involved but the constantly buying new stuff to test is fun. Just have to be honest with yourself in evaluating, don't artificially fall for a particular brand or product, only play what works and assess from there.

It's worked for me since 1992. But I really gotta check out what all the buzz is around this fitting phenomena.


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I also started playing without proper fitting. Cost was an issue since everything here in Europe is more expensive and I wasn't sure how long I would be stuck with golf.

Do you have an older set you are playing now or are you starting from 0?

If you have a set now or someone gave you a 7i to try golf, then you got a baseline. How far do you hit it? This gives you an idea of shaft flex (which is also a guesstimate). Do you like steel or graphite? It all depends on your age and physical ability.

How does the head feel? Forgiving? Can you launch the ball easily? Do you like what you see? Shovels or thinner line?

Once you have this narrowed down, it's time to read reviews and look for clubs that compare to the one you hit. Then you try to score deals on eBay, since in Europe I don't think you have those trying programs like in the US.

This is obviously not the best solution, but it is definitely possible to break 100 without fitted clubs.

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On 6/20/2019 at 1:02 PM, D_Golfer said:

If you can't be fitted for any reason (not having a fitter near you or any other reason) and can't try the clubs before you buy them what would you think should be the main criteria(s) for you to consider before you buy new clubs/replace your own. 

Well, even if you cannot be "fitted" by someone, you can still establish some vital DIY measurements.  Most of the club mfg's. offer on-line static measurement tools for shaft length and grip size. There are also some on-line sites that explain how to conduct a strike test, with using a piece of tape on the sole of a club having the proper shaft length, to determine lie. I'll bet there is a pro shop near you that would be willing to get your swing speed for free. 

If you were to contact most any of the club mfg's with this information, and also explain your typical ball flight (fader, slicer, etc.), they would be able to recommend best options.

The good news is that there is so many great options to choose from.  The bad news is that there is so many great options to choose from 😀.  If you're really limited on budget, I would look for a gently used set of a game improvement (GI) or super game improvement (SGI) irons.  Also, focus on some of the best selling models from PING, Titleist, Callaway, etc.  Yes, a portion of their sales volume is associated with great advertising, but a much greater portion of their success is due to their customers success on the course.

Good luck with the search!

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Find a local country club or driving range near you that might have demo programs.  As others have mentioned, online sites like ping have static fittings to point you into a general direction for clubs and MGS has some very knowledgeable golfers that can help you too.  One other overlooked resource...other golfers you golf with or know.  Some may even allow you to try their clubs to narrow down your likes and dislikes.  

 

MDGolfHacker

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14 hours ago, Rchang said:

Can I add a wrinkle? I have in past bought 2-4 years old clubs off eBay to save on the depreciation. Obviously did not trial those. Am considering irons in near future. How can you get fit in this situation?

Same process as op.  Test similar irons or shafts you might be interested in.  Also helps to know some of your basic stats like swing speed, tempo, etc.. to help you narrow your choices.

 

MDGolfHacker

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On the other hand, tinkering with eBay buying, reselling, actually costs more in the long run. I speak from experience, in my first 4 years of golf, I bought and sold so many clubs due to self-fitting. I was never able to get the original value back.

Once I got my fitting, I was confident enough to play them for 4 years until something new came along... and in my case, my swing evolved (I went from KBS Tour to PX to Modus).

Like someone else recommended, financial sitution allowing, maybe take a vacation somewhere near a fitting location.

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Kind of surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but do you have any golfing buddies with newer clubs you could try out at the range?  That would be my first stop if I was unable to be fit.  See if anyone I golf with has what I'm interested in and try it out.

As far as main criteria I would think about.  What is it I want out of a new club compared to what I'm playing?  Do you want more distance?  Foregiveness?  Workability?  Consistency?  

Without knowing what you want out of a new club it's hard to point anyone in a direction to go.  

So I'd first figure out what you want out of a new club.  Then exhaust all local options of being able to hit something similar.  Then make use of the various online fitting tools from the different OEMs, both the club manufactures and the shaft OEM's.  After that make a best guess and try to find a head/shaft combo that you like.

Best of luck with the search!

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