Custom Fitting vs. Finding A Deal

Hi everyone. SirPutts has been busy answering reader emails so I thought we'd let him take care of the post. Tonight we discuss custom fitting vs. finding a good deal on golf clubs.

Ok so I went to the PGA Superstore and Atlanta this past week and one of the guys there spent a lot of time with me (using Ping irons) to fit me to the proper color. That happened to be Maroon with +1" on the shaft. He also gave me specs for the 7 iron if I decide to go with another brand. I've really been looking at the Cobra FP irons but I'm trying to shop and find the best deal. (The guys there do not get a commission or else I would consider buying from him because of the time he spent with me.) I guess the main question is how do I go about finding a dealer that will custom fit the Irons to my specs if I find a deal. What I'm seeing is a set of FPs for about $399 with graphite. I honestly don't even like spending that much but I know I have got to replace my old clubs. circa 1989 Wilsons.

Most golf retailers will include fitting and sizing when you purchase a set of golf clubs for them. Most manufacturers are also including free fitting when you custom order a brand new set of clubs. The biggest problem you are going to face is going to be with the length of your golf clubs because you need them so much longer.

Ideally, when I have a customer who needs over-length golf clubs, especially as much as 1" longer, I prefer to order them directly from the manufacturer. This ensures that you will actually be getting a golf club with a longer shaft in it. The alternative to this is to have a pro shop or retailer do the work for you and install plastic extensions into the butt of the shaft. This will work but it doesn't preserve the integrity of the shaft in the same way that using a longer lenght shaft would do.
Extensions are not as strong, will change the feel of the club (and swingweight), and can sometimes come loose under the grip.

So basically, in order to get a set of clubs that is properly fitted to you, I would suggest ordering a set (through your retailer) from the manufacturer that is built to your spec's. The unfortunate part of this is that you will have to order a current model set and you won't be able to get any close out or clearance deals, but it will ensure that you get the best set for you in terms of being correctly fitted and sized. 

The Mizuno MX-19 or Cleveland CG Gold would be two reasonably priced options that I would check out. Nickent and Tour Edge also have some good offerings that might be worth checking out.

SirShanksAlot Adds… This is a tricky situation. You find a cheap set of irons but they can't be custom ordered because they are discontinued. You're basically forced to take them "as is" or have them fit at the store. Minor alterations aren't a big deal for a good shop to handle but it's better to get the major work done when the set is built. A qualified clubmaker can easily fit you but any major work (new shafts, lie adjustments, new grips) can add up… and all of a sudden your deal isn't really a deal anymore. I know your wallet won't agree but I'd take properly fit over a great deal. Ask your retailer about custom fitting options… sometimes shops will have a deal in place with the manufacturer where the company will still do most work on closeouts for free (or a small fee) as a service to the retailer. A shop I used to work at made this a stipulation when we agreed to take on a large amount of closeouts or demos from a company… and it worked out really well! 

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