Gearing up to get a new driver? Here are some tips on how to get the fitting process right
It is getting to that time of year when the brands start to release their latest and greatest drivers, in fact, we have already seen a few leaked on tour. But what should we be considering before getting a new golf driver and how can we optimise our fitting to make sure we get the right product for our game?
What are you actually trying to improve?
When we get into a driver fitting, it can be very easy to get consumed with the new tech and go all out trying to increase our carry distance and see those ball speed numbers go up. But is more distance the thing that will make you a better driver of the golf ball, or are there other attributes you might be overlooking?
I know that my bad drive doesn’t tend to spin enough, so perhaps I should be looking for a club with higher spin numbers. I also know that my typical miss is to the left so a club that helps straighten that left going left shot would really help out my scoring.
I would urge all golfers to know what it is you want to get better. Do you have stats from the year you can look at to see what would make your driving better? Make sure you give your fitter this information so they can help you build the best spec for your game.
Are you being fit with a range ball?
I would always recommend doing some research before you get to your fitting so you know what type of golf ball you are going to get fit with.
Using a range ball will mean any launch monitor data won’t be as accurate, this is because they are cheaper construction golf balls, which won’t fly or spin in the same way a premium golf ball does.
Where possible I would recommend having a fitting with a premium golf ball. If this isn’t possible, just be mindful of some of the data and ask your fitter how the numbers might change with a different golf ball.
Think about where you play your golf.
Drivers can be optimised for a variety of different conditions, and a trajectory that is perfect for sunny golf in Florida may not work for windy golf in Scotland.
If you play links golf you may want a driver that produces a lower ball flight and creates more distance from having a lower land angle and getting more run out. If you are somewhere warm or somewhere with lots of bunkers or hazards to carry off the tee you may want to optimise for a higher flight with more carry distance but less run-out.
Play your golf all over the place? Maybe opt for something in the middle…
What is your fitting environment?
We play golf outside on a golf course, which is very open and provides very little help with alignment. We often hit shots on angles across corners or line up across tee boxes. Yet when it comes to a fitting so many of us head inside into a square room and hit balls off a square mat into a screen parallel to us.
This means our alignment cues are massively different which could seriously affect not only our set-up but how we swing the golf club. I would always want players to be aware of their data tendencies before they go into this environment. If you always hit a fade with a slightly left path and suddenly your data is completely different this would be a big red flag. At the end of the day you don’t want to get fit for an expensive new golf club if you aren’t swinging it the way you usually do.
If possible, I would suggest getting fit outside or on a range with less tight boundaries but also knowing your data and what is normal for you so you can see if you are doing something funky then maybe come back for a fitting another day or let your fitter know about the differences.
How warmed up are you?
Generally, when you go for a fitting, you hit many drivers back to back and get warmed up. You’re often indoors where you can wear fewer layers than out on the golf course, and it can be easy to get loosened off and start swinging a lot more freely.
If this is the case your club head speed may increase which could lead to you getting fit into different specs than you really need for example a heavier or stiffer shaft. It is good to have a benchmark of what your speed is before you go to a fitting so you can keep an eye out for this.
Leave your ego at the door.
We all want to play like tour pros, but to do that we are best using the equipment that suits our game most rather than tour models that are going to be the easiest to hit. Just because you have seen Jon Rahm excel with a Paradym Triple Diamond driver, doesn’t mean you will.
Always be open to trying all models so you can get the club that performs the best for you regardless of looks or perception. This is the same when it comes to shafts, don’t get a weight or flex that is too strong just because your mates or tour pros are using that.
Know what adjustments your fitter is making.
Drivers are one of the most adjustable clubs in the bag and a big part of this comes down to adjustable hosels. Each brand has a different version of this but it generally allows fitters to change the loft of the club, the face angle and sometimes even lie angle.
It is really important to know what your fitter is changing and why so you don’t tweak it yourself later and remove all their good work. A great example of this is fitting to reduce a slice. Rather than using a 10.5° driver head a fitter may fit a slicer into a 9° head and use the hosel to loft this up to 10.5°. This tends to have the affect of closing the fact down helping the ball start further left and reducing the amount of left to right movement in the ball flight.
If you don’t know this and start messing around with your hosel settings later, it might not lead to optimal performance.
Try and demo the club on the course.
Having a fitting on the range or in an indoor studio is great, and we have loads of technology that can help us dial in the performance in that environment. But at the end of the day, we are buying a new driver to try to perform better on the golf course. If possible see if your local pro has a demo club you could take out on to the course for a few holes to give you a better idea of how your new driver might help your game!
If you are looking for a new golf driver keep your eye on my YouTube channel for all the latest gofl equipment reviews!