You can get custom fit for any brand of clubs, and no matter your handicap or ability level, it is recommended that you do so any time you purchase equipment. Every golfer has their own unique swing and you want the club to cater to your swing and particular move, not the other way around. If you are making a change or adjustment to hit a certain club, then that club is not fit for you.
Years ago Ping simplified the fitting process with their famous color code chart. This was a way to successfully fit a player into a set of irons without ever seeing them hit a shot. Based on the player’s height and wrist-to-floor measurement, you can use the chart to find the shaft length and lie angle they should be playing in their irons. This can then be checked and reassured by having the player hit some shots with the recommended specs. One thing to keep in mind; we fit a player for impact not address.
An old school tried and true method is the trusty lie board. Place a piece of lie tape on the sole of the iron and having the player hit a few shots off of this 16”x6” piece of carbon graphite shows which part of the club is striking the ground at impact first. If the scuff marks are in the center, than whatever lie that player just hit fits them. If the marks are out near the toe, they fit into an upright lie. And lastly, if the marks are towards the heel, they need something flatter. On paper, players that are 6’3” and taller generally fit into an upright lie angle because they are farther away from the ball and their hands flatten the clubhead (toe down). Players that are 5’7” and shorter typically fit into a flat lie angle because they are closer to the ball and their hands manipulate the club too upright (toe up). Players that are of average height between 5’8” and 6’2”, you guessed it…normally fit into a standard lie angle.
However, this isn’t always the case and you can adjust lie angle based on a player’s ball flight and the direction of their miss. If a player has consistent marks near the toe during a lie board fitting, the toe is striking first which then opens the face and results in a slice or a push. Getting that player into an upright lie, bending the toe towards the player, will move those strike marks towards the center of the club and result in a more square face at impact. If a player is consistently striking heel first, this will close the face and deliver a pull or hook. Bending that toe away from the player, flattening the lie, will square that clubface at impact and result in better quality of contact.
Most players fit into standard length and lie, but according to Ping’s data the number of players fitting into an upright lie far outnumbers the amount that fit into flat. This is because the average mid to high handicap amateur comes up and out of their shot and hits it on the toe. The color code system has been revamped and tweaked over the years, most recently in 2017. Each color represents 1° in lie angle with black dot being standard. As previously stated, you fit all golf clubs the same way, but the color code system only relates to Ping and their factory specs. Ping’s standard lie angle (black dot) could be Titleist’s 1° upright, or Callaway’s 1° flat. Standard means standard for that brand, not across the board. It is up to your club fitter to have this information in order to deliver a proper and successful fitting.
Can a player’s lie angle change? Yes. If a player is taking instruction and working on their swing the lie they fit into can change. That is why I recommend getting your lies checked every couple of years. If a player orders a new set of irons and gets a red dot (1° flat) and after some body and swing changes now fits into black dot (standard), the clubs can be sent to Ping to be bent accordingly and they will color in the dot to represent the current lie. Not all clubs can be bent once they are built, however. In store here at Golf HQ we can adjust all forged irons and some of the softer cast cavity-back irons out there. Ping is one of the brands that make a soft cast head. Some cast irons are too hard and will break in the loft and lie machine if too much pressure is applied. With the breakthrough in materials like carbon steel, more cast irons can be bent these days, at least 1° in either direction.
Can ill-fitted clubs be detrimental to my game? Based on all the info we discussed above, the answer is yes. The wrong clubs can absolutely be a roadblock instead of an ally when trying to get better. You can spend thousands of dollars on lessons and hundreds of hours working on swing plane, but if you fit into 2° flat and you are playing 1° upright, that is why you have been hooking the ball with no sight of improvement.
Should the lie in my wedges match my irons? This is a tough one, and there is a lot of good data and info to argue both sides. But it is strictly player dependent. A lot of fitters and pros will tell you that your wedges should be 1° flatter than whichever lie you have in your irons. This is because wedges are upright to begin with. Others will tell you that your wedges and irons should match when it comes to lie. I say it’s player dependent because I will fit you for your wedges just like I did for your irons. I’m not just going to take the data and info I got from you hitting that 7 iron. Instead I will apply that lie tape on the gap, sand, or lob wedge, have you hit some pitch shots and go from there. Very good players will normally lean in the direction of everything matching. But I may have a player that is standard in their irons, but cuts across their chips and pitch shots leading to toe contact and fitting into 1° upright.
Like swings, every player is different. Golfers come in all shapes, sizes, and Recently, we rolled out our online fitting option at GolfHq.com and it has been extremely successful in aiding players in finding their next set of clubs from as far as thousands of miles away. Providing data such as your height, wrist-to-floor measurement, current miss and trajectory, desired shot shape, and 8-iron carry distance helps me and our team of certified fitters make recommendations that will suit you the best. Like swings, every player is different. Golfers come in all shapes, sizes, and possess different abilities. No matter your age, physical health, or handicap, there is a golf swing for you. And there is a set of clubs that will fit that particular swing. When it comes to poor golf, we are starting to run out of excuses…
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay
Design and Published by Craig Walton