TGW Guide to Custom Clubs
Getting clubs that fit you is important to making your golf swing better. Our two-part series breaks down that process with a focus on woods and irons to give you an idea of how custom clubs can help make you a better golfer. In this part, we focus in on the important aspects of the clubs such as shaft and grip.
Why Custom Clubs Matter
Why Custom Clubs Matter
If asked to identify the fundamentals of golf, most people would say things like keep your head down, keep your left arm straight and make sure your swing is on a plane. No doubt these are the building blocks of a good game, but one of the most important aspects of the game takes place before you even step onto the course: a set of custom clubs.
While plenty of humble players claim they’re not good enough to be concerned with customizing each club in their bag, it's a fact that using a club without a properly matched shaft flex, weight, length and loft/lie angles will cause overcompensation and ultimately prevent players from developing the proper form.
“The higher the handicap, the more necessary it is for that player to get properly fit,” says Bob Van Sweden, one of the most respected club fitters in the country. Players at every stage of their game may ask themselves at some point “why should I get custom clubs club?” Here’s why it’s something you need to invest in:
- If you’re a beginner, having clubs that fit the framework of your body and swing means that when you take lessons, you are able to practice more in line with your style of play.
- If you’re above the beginner level, you’ve gotten a little better and gained more experience. Custom clubs can help make the most of the tools you have. Pairing the correct clubs with your swing can help you fill in those gaps and eliminate poor shots on the course, helping you realize your potential.
- At the advanced level, golfers now have that specialized knowledge to determine what shots they want to hit, how they can get the right clubs to work the ball better, and make their less-than-perfect shots better.
Having custom golf clubs means you can make better contact and helps you practice better which leads to better scores. That’s something every golfer can benefit from.
Many golfers seek out the service of professional club fitters, as they often have years of training as well as high-tech equipment to analyze a player's swing, impact angles/speed, body type and ability, all to help them fit golfers with custom clubs.
Not only do the right clubs add distance, they make you more accurate. By tightening your shot dispersion and finding more fairways, you’ll keep yourself out of trouble and in position to shoot better scores. Every golfer needs clubs that allow them to hit it farther and closer to the pin.
Fortunately, the importance of custom clubs has prompted some of the largest and best club manufacturers to invest in custom club creation that ensure each customer is able to play with the best clubs for their game. There are a plethora of options out there for every golfer at every level.
Once you’ve know your specs you’ll have an idea about the length, lie, shaft, and grip you need for your best-fitting clubs. We’ll cover more of these in Part 2 of this series, but here’s what you need to know about these basic specs:
- It starts with length. The right length puts you in an athletic position and gives you the ability to make a repeatable swing.
- Next is the lie angle. Lie helps the club move through the turf for more consistent results, as well as helping counter your misses.
- Then you’ll want to select your shaft and flex. It’s important to be fit for the proper weight and flex in your shafts in order to get the best distance and consistency from your shots.
- Finally, you’ll select your grip. While grip relies quite a bit on personal preference, you’ll want to know which type works best with your hand size and preferred feel, as well as the weather you usually play in.
TGW.com makes it easy to buy custom clubs based on these specifications. When a club on our site has custom options available, you’ll see a tab labeled Enter Custom Specs appear above the photo of the club. Simply put in those measurements from your fitting and the club makers will build the exact club or clubs you need!
TGW.com offers customization of all the latest drivers and irons to fit your specifications and swing. Explore the aspects of finding the right club below, answer a few quick questions on our Fitting Guide, and you’ll be on your way to improving your game.
Finding the Right Club Heads
Finding the Right Club Heads
When it comes down to sheer aesthetic appreciation, the head of the golf club takes the honors. This is where the sport’s heritage meets modern computer-aided design to produce a cross between tradition and innovation. Things have changed, obviously, since the days when woods were literally made of wood and irons literally made of iron. Today’s golf heads come in a dizzying array of designs, weights, and materials. Before the selection overwhelms you, let’s take a moment to parcel out the four main components of a club head: its size/shape, offset, loft, and lie angle.
- Size/Shape: Especially when selecting a driver or a wood, size makes a difference when it comes to your swing. The rule of thumb is that club heads with higher cubic centimeters (CCs) and larger sweet spots will be more forgiving and give you better control over making solid contact. For golfers who want to manipulate ball flight and hit different types and shapes of shots, you may want to try a driver with fewer CCs.
- Loft: Another factor to look at is the angle of loft you want on the driver’s face, which is usually between 8 and 14 degrees. The appropriate loft is actually determined by how the player tends to strike the ball, whether they hit up and lift the ball into the air or hit down and through, like an Iron. But a good starting point is to go by the speed with which you swing the club. Slower swing speeds will want more loft in order to help get the ball in the air for better hang time and longer shots while faster swings (and ball speeds) create lift on their own and don’t need as much loft. Most of today’s drivers are available in (or able to be adjusted to) “draw bias”. This is the practice of repositioning the clubs weight toward the heel, which will noticeably reduce a player’s miss to the right or will help to promote a “draw” shot that will curve to the left (for right-handers).
- Offset: The offset is the amount that the leading edge of the club face trails the leading edge of the shaft as it connects to the clubhead. More offset in golf clubs will simply give the face more time to “square” at impact and helps golfers (right-handed) reduce misses to the right.
- Lie angle: Ensures the club sits square on the ground to prevent the heel or toe of the club from digging-in through impact. The loft angle and lie angle work together to produce proper, accurate shots. If the club is not level at impact instead of the loft throwing the ball up in the air it will throw it to one side or the other, just like a sidehill lie will produce. Here’s an example. For the average male clubhead speed and distance, if you make a perfect swing with a 7 iron and the lie angle is off by just one degree, that can throw the ball offline by seven yards. If your loft and lie angles don’t match your swing, you risk missing your target, even with a perfect swing! Lie angles are usually discussed most with the lofted clubs but some of today’s drivers and woods have adjustments to accommodate players that need upright clubs.
A proper fitting will also help you determine which clubs you need in your bag. Of course, every set should include a driver and a putter, but a fitting helps you find out everything in between. A common technique is to start with how far you hit your 7 iron. By starting there, a fitter can determine which fairway woods and hybrids you need as well as where your iron set should start. For instance, the shorter distance you hit your 7 iron, the fewer irons you’ll want and the more hybrids and fairways you’ll need to improve distance. Longer hitters can put more irons in play with fewer woods and hybrids.
Golf Club Shafts to Fit Your Swing
Golf Club Shafts to Fit Your Swing
There are three big factors to consider with your golf shafts: flex, length, and torque. Here’s how each of those works with your swing.
- Flex: Golf clubs are rated by five different types of flex, and each flex is designed for a specific "load” factor. “Load" is a result of Club Head Speed (CHS) within a certain time frame. If two players have similar length back-swings but player A creates 90 mph CHS and player B creates 100mph CHS, player B will have more “Load’. On the other hand, if both players have similar CHS but player A’s backswing is considerably shorter, player “A” will create more load. The extra-stiff (X) shafts are for the Bubba Watson’s out there, the really big hitters who consistently average more than 275 yards when they step up to the tee or swing at or above 105 mph with a fast tempo. Stiff flex (S) is for players who hit around 250 yards or have swing speeds between 95-105 mph with a moderate tempo and the regular flex (R) is for those who drive from 220–250 yards or swing 81-95 mph with a smooth tempo. Additionally, the senior flex (A) is for those who average from 200–230 yards or swing the driver 70-80 mph with a smooth tempo. Finally, there is the ladies flex (L) for those players who hit under 200 yards or swing less than 70 mph.
The length of the swing is another important aspect here. Golfers with a longer swing, where the shaft becomes parallel to the ground at the top of the swing, will want a softer, lighter shaft because they have more time to feel the clubhead through the swing. If you have a short swing, one that may only reach 12 o’clock at the top of the backswing, you’ll want to try a stiffer shaft since your swing has a quicker tempo.
Some prefer a softer flex because it allows them more control and gives them a smoother swing. However, if your shaft isn’t stiff enough you might give the ball too much loft. It’s important the tempo and length of your swing match your flex. If a shaft is too stiff, you’ll swing too fast and won’t produce enough spin. If It’s too soft, you can put too much spin on the ball and lose distance and consistency.
- Length: Having the proper length of your clubs is essential to making a good swing. Here’s an interesting rule of thumb: a proper-sized 7 iron, when stood up, should hit near the top of your pants pocket. The average American male is 5’9”-5’10”, so any golfer from 5’8”-5’11” can typically be fit into standard length clubs. As a general rule, every two inches in height above or below standard height means you’ll need to add or subtract a half inch to or from your club’s standard length.
- Torque: Torque is how much the club shaft twists when you hit the golf ball. A right-handed player who misses to the right will benefit from more torque so the club torques open and the ball torques closed (or less right). The right-handed player who misses to the left could use less torque to straighten out their misses.
Golf Club Grips
Golf Club Grips
The grip is the player’s connection to their golf club. It has to feel right in their hand. That’s why this important piece of club fitting relies so much on personal preference.
Most golfers want their hands to close around the club without the two middle fingers of the left hand without digging into the heel of the thumb. A lot of golfers now prefer a slightly oversized grip. A larger grip can help you keep the lighter pressure on the club, allowing you to swing faster to generate more speed and distance. That lighter pressure can also reduce fatigue in the hands, making larger grips good for golfers with arthritis or tendonitis.
The texture is also essential to a good feel in the hands of the golfer. Grips can be broken into three types of feel, the difference comes down to personal preference. There are tacky rubber grips which have lots of stick. Abrasive corded grips create friction between the grip and the glove. Finally, cushioned grips provide softer feel in the hand.