LPGA Teachers Sound Off on Proper Equipment
There are a lot of ways to get into golf. Sometimes it happens purely by accident. Sometimes you take it seriously from the start. Most times, your first experience involves borrowing, renting or throwing together a set of clubs from someone else. Depending on how that goes, you get hooked or you decide this game is for the squirrels - totally nuts.
Should you get hooked, you can't go around playing out of other people's bags or stealing old-timey clubs off the walls of themed restaurants. At some point, you need "your own clubs." There are many schools of thought on how to come by your own set, but the most encouraged method by our teaching staff is to actually be fitted for them. Before you say "I'm not good enough yet" or "It's too expensive," read our pro's comments and take note: if you love the game and plan to play more of it, give yourself the opportunity to really enjoy it with the right clubs in your bag.
Jane Frost - Top 50 LPGA Teacher
East Sandwich, MA
"There are many good golfers out there that are simply hiding behind mis-matched golf clubs."
According to Jane: Teachers need to have an understanding as to how equipment affects a students motion and therefore the ability to improve. The LPGA is proud to have this aspect included in the National Education Program so that all LPGA members are better informed and prepared to help students achieve their goals. There was a great quote years ago that asked "Are you better than your clubs let you play?" It is so true. There are many good golfers out there that are simply hiding behind mis-matched golf clubs. LPGA teachers can show students the way to more efficient and effective golf swings.
Oneda Castillo - National Evaluator for the LPGA
Faye Heville, GA
"I had to be certified to fit every brand of clubs."
According to Oneda: I always want everyone to bother to get fitted for clubs. I believe that you can walk to the mailbox in your husband's shoes that are three sizes too big and probably be ok, but if a big dog starts chasing you, well, you're done. Golf clubs are the same, can you play with clubs that don't fit? Yes, but the results are often sad and no fun. Many times new golfers and their friends and relatives believe that a person shouldn't get fit until they learn how to play. Sadly, the problem with this line of thinking is that the person usually becomes frustrated by their inability to get good or consistent results from their ill-fitted hand me downs, and they quit, thus never learning to play. There is also a misconception that club fitting is expensive and time consuming. Not true! A good professional can fit a person in roughly 30 minutes, for irons or woods, usually at their regular lesson fee rates, or free if you purchase the clubs.
I know from working with so many people that often folks don't really know what proper fitting should entail. At the very least the fitter should be using face tape and lie tape. The very greenest of golfers will understand that a mark on the tape in the center of the club face and sole when the ball is struck is a good thing. If your fitter doesn't use face and lie tape for irons, and face tape for woods and hybrids, get yourself a new fitter. The best of fitters will also use a computerized program to look for optimal launch angles, spin rates, and ball speeds. "Bothering" to get fit is going to set you up to succeed. You will find yourself hitting the ball higher, further and straighter with less effort ... now that’s what I call FUN.
Tina Tombs - 17-year LPGA Tour Professional & 2014 LPGA Teacher of the Year
"A lot of factors go into good clubfitting."
According to Tina: I am a certified club fitter for Ping golf clubs. Club fitting measures the personalized fit for each student for the grip, stiffness of the shaft and weight lie and loft of the golf club. There are a lot of factors involved when club fitting, but here are a few things I always take into consideration:
male or female
frequency of play
strength of game
height of individual
Sandy Lemon - Former Callaway Clubfitter of the Year
Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
"I always asks my students if their clubs were fitted for them."
According to Sandy: Most importantly the club should fit the player and not let the player fit to the club. All ill- and/or non-fitted clubs create compensation in the set up or swing.
Fitting a golfer includes:
Drivers being the most important full swing club: I always use face impact tape for fittings. Face impact tape is also extremely useful in teaching.
Irons - lie angle is easily checked with a lie board.
Shaft flex is checked by measuring club head speed and observing ball flight (trajectory & side spin).
Putter fittings are also very important especially for proper length. Ladies often end up with their husband's putter (35 inch standard) and it is too long. This causes ladies to lose a major fundamental in getting their eyes over the ball to see the proper line. Ladies length standard is 33 inches. A new putter may not be needed - the current one can be shortened.