Blog, Learn, Lewis Clarke

What comes first… coaching or fitting?

As an avid golfer, I am part of a few forums and pages on social media in which golfers discuss and ask opinions on all things golf related. This week, somebody posted…

“Should I get fitted for clubs, or have a lesson first?”

It is a very popular question and one we get asked on numerous occasions. For those of you that tuned into my Q&A sessions over lockdown, I answered in a short format. However, today we are going to deep dive into the advantages of both sides.

First, let’s take a look at how I approach fitting and coaching sessions…

Two different hats…

How I look at launch monitor numbers, your golf swing, and your equipment depends on what hat I am wearing. Am I looking at you as a senior fitting technician, or am I looking at you as a performance coach?

As a coach, I am mainly looking at how your body is moving, what that’s doing to the club, and subsequently what the club does to the ball to create its (desired or undesired!) flight.

On the other hand, as a club fitter I am mainly looking at what the golf ball is doing at impact, the flight of the ball, and then what your club is doing to create these parameters.

As you can see, the differences lie in what I am looking for and the order in which I am looking at them.

One of the big fears I hear from people when asking about fitting is being judged on there ability and therefore being told to change their swing. If you book a fitting session, I am not going to tell you to start changing the way you swing it… it is not what you are paying me for and it’s quite reckless to just start making changes when looking at equipment! However, if your equipment looks like its doing the exact job it should be and you need a little help, I will explain why and how we potentially would go about changing it as a coach.

If you book a coaching session, I am not going to tell you to buy new clubs… once again you ain’t paying me to advise you on clubs and we want to look at technique and skill based ideas. However, if you are moving your body pretty good, delivering pretty good numbers but getting funky ball flights, I will examine your equipment to see if its potentially down to incorrect clubs.

What can a fitting do?

Having correctly fit golf clubs should be a must for all players. The correct shaft, length, loft, lie, grip and grip size all count towards you striking the ball more consistently, getting your desired flight and therefore shooting lower scores.

pre-lockdown fitting… here we found a higher ball flight and increased carry

What can coaching do?

Having a more functional (not pretty!) golf swing is a good step towards playing better golf or for some, with no injury concerns. Whether this helps reduce curvature on your ball flight, help you strike it closer to the middle, or improving your short game. All these factors are going to help you play better golf and take money off your mates!

pre-lockdown short game instruction with our PAR College Academy students

So what goes first?

Well this very much depends on YOU and what is best going to help your game… what is going to have the biggest impact.

If you have ill-fitted equipment, it is going to hurt your golf game. If your swing is Tiger Woods, you will be able to get by, but will it will be sub-optimal. The tour guys spend a lot of time getting correctly fitted and they are the best players on the planet.

If you have a non-functional golf swing, it is going to hurt your game but fitted clubs could help provide a more consistent outcome. A lot of golfers make big changes in coaching sessions which has a massive impact on their golf game, with random clubs!

Will my swing change enough to change clubs?

Another fear of being fitted is would golf coaching after a club fitting change the outcome of the clubs we fit you for?

The chances of you making that dramatic of a change to your golf swing, for you to change equipment is highly unlikely.

So, what is the outcome?

It varies between each person on which is best for you and what you would feel more comfortable doing.

Contrary to popular belief… we are club fitters and coaches, NOT SALESMAN!!!

It is our job to help you improve your golf, not sell you the whole shop at a 3000% increase in price!

If you would like to discuss your personal circumstances first or have any thoughts on the topic, please get in touch via my social media or email!