We bit the bullet, doubled down, and went for fitted clubs for our child golfer. You may have read that he was hitting off the shelf TaylorMade Burner Plus irons and Burner Rescue hybrids. He could surely make some fantastic golf shots and often was at the top of the leader board. However, our ten-year old golfer was struggling with consistency. We paid an independent fitter $160 to provide a “prescription” for his clubs that we could take anywhere and have made. Many of the retailers provide fitting service coupled with the sale of a set of clubs. That seems to work for most folks and usually doesn’t cost extra if you buy the clubs there. We didn’t want to be bound to a particular store, so we found a widely-respected golf professional and paid for the fitting service. As a side note, our son swung some clubs and really liked Mizuno JPX-800HDs. We went to Golfsmith and Edwin Watts and received fantastic help in both places. However it was Wednesday and we wanted the new clubs by Friday for a tournament on Saturday. The PGA Tour Superstore was wonderful and through the regional Mizuno rep and Mizuno in Atlanta, his fitted golf clubs were in his hands on Friday. I have to say that Randy in the Delray Beach, Florida PGA Superstore was very, very helpful. Another side note: we originally considered re-shafting his Burner Plus irons, but, that worked out to be over $700 and for just a bit more he was excited again with a new set. We are grateful to be able to afford it.
They took his prescription and had the clubs customized to it. The specs the fitter provided were based on a 6 iron and the builder works out in each direction from there:
- Length: 36 3/4″
- Lie: 62 degrees
- Loft: 30 degrees
- Shaft Stiffness: Light Regular
- Shaft Weight: ~60g
- Grip: Undersized
- Swing Weight: D0
- Swing speed was about 66 mph for the 6 iron and about 83 mph for his driver.
FYI, he’s 5′ 1″ tall and about 110lbs. and pretty athletic.
Lie is a measure of how flat or upright the club is. Loft is the angle of the club face. Those are pretty easy to understand and they basically bend the head to reach the desired golf club specification.
Golf club swing weight is another story. Golf club swing weight is a measure of how the golf club feels when you swing it. It’s affected by a number of things:
- head weight,
- shaft weight,
- grip weight, and
- shaft length.
So, changing any of the above parameters will affect the swing weight of the golf club. Of course if the overall weight of the club increases, so does the swing weight, but, two clubs of the same overall weight could have two different swing weights. For example if you lighten the shaft but add that removed weight to the head, then the overall weight won’t change, but the swing weight will.
Swing weight is usually a letter and a number like B9 or D0, B9 being a lighter swing weight than D0. Kids golf clubs can be in the B’s, ladies golf clubs usually in the C’s and mens golf clubs in the D’s. In our case D0 is in the mens senior range. So the golf club builder has to adjust those parameters to get the desired swing weight. They may add weighted tape, or grind the head a bit, or add weight near the head in the shaft.
Keep in mind that changing the length of the club definitely affects the swing weight, by about 3 per half-inch. You can visualize this by thinking about swinging a pencil. A normal sized pencil is very light to swing but a six-foot long pencil would have quite a bit more swing weight. Longer heavier, shorter lighter.
Keep in mind shortening a shaft also stiffens it. Think about that pencil and imaginary six-foot pencil. The latter will be much more flexible.
It’s easy to measure swing weight, take your club into your local golf shop and they’ll have a swing weight balance. Golf club swing weight is measured with a certain balance point so very short kids golf clubs may be hard to measure.
Well the results so far are good, he loves his new fitted golf clubs. They are very comfortable and look natural at setup and during his golf swing too. It’s pretty cool to have the prescription for him and know the clubs are out of the inconsistency equation … he was swinging golf clubs that were too long and had a swing weight of D3, but making them work.
Kid golfers are very adaptable and now with fitted golf clubs hopefully he can put that talent to better use for more consistent results.