Good fitting is no lie

    Doug Holmes of Diamond Golf discusses the best way to fit length and lie.

    Imagine a size eleven foot wearing shoes designed to fit a size seven, no matter how much you pull or push, it’s just not going to happen. Simply put, shoes are designed to fit the wearer who has bought them.

    That’s not always the case when it comes to golf clubs. In the modern game much emphasis is placed on shot distance – perhaps too much. Thus clubs have been getting longer. That’s because, as physics tell us, longer clubs create a bigger arc when swung, which in turn generates more club head speed and the ball going further. All of which is true under laboratory conditions using robots; not so with humans.

    Clubs that are too long lead to off-centre hits, which results in loss of control and distance, ditto clubs that are too short. All golfers will have an optimum club length from which they will achieve a greater percentage of hits from the sweet spot. Find this and you have one happy golfer.

    Similarly, lie is as vital an element as length in the custom-fitting process, not least because it is affected directly by a club’s length. The longer a club, the more upright it becomes and the toe points skywards. Conversely a club getting shorter will become flatter and the heel is raised from the ground.

    It is crucial to ensure lies are checked when making length changes (also remember swing-weights will alter with changes in length). Too upright a lie will cause shots to veer right and one on the flat side will promote a strike to the left.

    When fitting for loft and lie, do so dynamically or ‘in play’. Some procedures request a static ‘wrist to floor’ measurement. This is fine but should only be used as a starting point. The dynamic process requires using face impact labels for length fitting and sole labels for checking lie.

    The best way to fit for length is to have some clubs made to help. Starting at 36 inches total length, make half a dozen six irons of the same specification that increase in length incrementally by half-an-inch. Using the ’wrist to floor’ starting point, apply a face impact label to a club and a few shots will be enough to get an idea of the impact pattern. Repeat with some or all of the other test clubs until you find the one with the tightest impact pattern, keeping in mind the aim is to find the optimum club length.

    The best way to achieve better ball striking through changes in equipment is by ensuring the lie and length are set up correctly – getting this right has an instant effect and a golfer’s game can be transformed.