The typical weekend warrior golfer, who is trying to break 90, walks into his local golf shop looking for some new golf clubs. He has been searching the web trying to find a good deal on golf clubs. He has been talking to his buddies on the course, in golf forums and at the range to determine what clubs everyone else thinks are the best. He has even gone as far as reading all the latest and greatest reviews on Bunkersparadise.com (smart man). He sees a great deal on some new golf clubs and decides they are the ones! So he asks the salesperson at the golf shop about the clubs. The salesperson is fairly knowledgable about the clubs, so the man ultimately decides to make the purchase and spend $700.00 of his hard earned money on what he believes will be game changing clubs.
Sounds pretty good right? Well, most of the steps he took to purchase his new clubs were smart but he is forgetting one thing. Golf clubs off the rack are set to a standard lies and have standard shafts for the “average” golfer. So who determines what the “average” golfer needs for shafts and lie? Are we all the same size? Do we all have the same swing? Obviously the answer is no. A proper club fitting will make your new purchase complete.
So we decided to reach out to Cleveland Golf in order to show you the proper process on how to pick and get fit for the right golf clubs just for you. Little did we know that when we started this process with Cleveland Golf, we were going to be exposed to world class club fitting, the same club fitting that some of the world’s best golfers (Graeme McDowell, Vijay Singh, Keegan Bradley and Paige Mackenzie to name a few) go through.
Cleveland Golf invited me down to their Headquarters in Huntington Beach, California to walk through their club fitting process with one of the industries top club fitting experts, Ruben Padilla. Padilla has been club fitting for over 20 years and was once a great player on the mini tours in California. Padilla is very well respected amongst his peers and is considered one of the best club fitters in the industry.
Before jumping into the fitting process, let’s talk about the facility. The room is filled with golf bags from some of the greats that Cleveland/Srixon sponsor, which brought a great nostalgia to the room. The rest of the room has golf clubs, fitting cart and most impressive is the Foresight Sports Game Changer 2 Simulator. This simulator is the top simulator in the world at this time and can do anything you want it to. You can play rounds of golf at hundreds of golf courses but most importantly, Mr. Ruben Padilla can break down every part of your swing to get you fitted to the perfect clubs.
Let’s talk briefly about the fitting cart that Cleveland Golf has put together. This cart has anything and everything you need to get fitted. Not only for drivers and irons but for wedges as well. Check out our article out Cleveland Golf wedge fitting HERE. This fitting cart is state of the art and unique only to Cleveland Golf because of the wedge fitting capabilities. It has every shaft imaginable for drivers, irons and wedges as well.
Now that you see the quality equipment and facility Cleveland Golf has, let’s talk about the actual fitting process. If you were to walk into Cleveland Golf today and ask to be fitted, they would be able to offer you a few different options. First option is fitting for $60.00. Yes you heard that right, only $60.00 to be fitted by one of the best in the world. This price would be for Driver only, Irons only, Wedges with Gap fitting only or Putting fitting only. If you wanted to do all of the above, it would only cost you $175.00.
What makes me laugh sometimes is the guy who says there is no way he will pay that much to get fitted, but yet he will go out and buy a $300.00 driver that will “Change his game”. Folks, listen to me carefully when I say this…. A golf club will not change your game, but fitting for the proper golf club will. If you are serious about improving your game, this is something you must invest in. The part I forgot to mention about Cleveland Golf’s pricing is the fact that all the packages come with a $95.00 value pack of a dozen Srixon golf balls, Srixon Z-Star Golf Glove, Cleveland Tour hat and a Cleveland towel. So the pricing for getting a fitting at Cleveland Golf is well worth it.
Let me give you a little background on my game so you can see better how the process helped me improve. I have been golfing since 1996 and golf became my passion. I read magazines, books etc and my game is completely self taught. I have never had a golf lesson in my life and still have not had a golf lesson. In 2004, I had an 8 handicap and was playing a lot of golf and always training. Due to work, I stopped playing as much golf and was only able to get out to the course a few times a year. When I fully got back into the swing (no pun intended) in 2010, my handicap ballooned to 20 and my game just wasn’t the same. I was still using my old trusty golf clubs that were now over 10 years old, but still loved them. My handicap began to drop as I started playing more and getting back into the groove.
When I walked through the doors at Cleveland Golf I had a handicap of 13 and was still using my 10 year old clubs. I am not a long hitter by any means, but pride myself on accuracy and my short game. Call me old school if you want, but I believe hitting fairways and ball striking are more important that hitting my driver 350 yards. Now that you know a little bit more about my game and what I brought to this fitting session let’s jump right into it.
Ruben handed me a stock (off the shelf) 588 TT 6 iron and had me start hitting some balls to warm up. After getting warm we began putting in work. I hit four solid shots that Ruben could work with. After the four shots, he brought me over to the screen to break down what was happening. The first thing we noticed was the side spin of the ball was out of control high, which didn’t surprise me too much. I do have a high launching natural fade with my irons. The ball was way offline at an average of 22 yards offline… not good. Total distance was averaging 160 (not a long hitter, I told you).
While Ruben began doing his thing, I sat back and watched as he made shaft adjustments giving me a heavier shaft too see what that would do. With just that adjustment of a heavier shaft, it made my side spin go down a bit, which made my shots straighter. Before I was averaging 22 yards offline, but this time around I was averaging 10 yards offline. The distance was the same but I lost a lot of back spin.
Ruben began working his magic again and after some other fitting techniques he figured out that I needed to tilt my clubhead up by 2 degrees. After tilting the clubhead up 2 degrees and another shaft weight change and switching to the 588 MT’s we came up with the perfect golf club for me. By the time we were done, I was hitting the golf ball an average of 172 yards (gained 12-15 yards), had nearly zero side spin (Offline by only 3-7 yards) and was confident standing over my golf clubs knowing that they were perfectly fit for me.
What impressed me the most it how Ruben realizes that every golfer is different. He won’t just give you a set of golf clubs and send you on your way. We went through five different club, shafts and heads before we came up with the perfect combination for me and my game. The entire process just for irons took about 45 minutes. After the fitting was complete, Ruben handed me all the print outs from the results of each club combination I hit. I looked through the print outs and realized how sophisticated the process really is and how much goes into finding the right combination of clubs for someone. I also got a print out with my Specs and custom options so I can take it to any fitting facility. All I would need to do is hand them that paper and boom, done.
So here was my final fitting specs:
– 588 MT Irons 3-PW
– Dynamic Golf Superlite S-300 Steel Shaft
– Superlite S-300 Shaft Flex
– Standard Shaft length (I’m Feet tall)
– + 2 Degrees Upright Lie Angle
– Stock Grips
First, I was extremely impressed with Cleveland Golf’s facilities. Second, Cleveland Golf treated me like I was trying to make the PGA Tour. Ruben Padilla made sure that the clubs were fit just right for me so I could go out and be a better golfer. They take care of their customers one person at a time and make the experience fun and will help you understand what is actually happening during the process. If you have not been fit for your clubs, I highly recommend heading down to Cleveland Golf for one of the best experiences you will have in golf. When you walk out of there, you will want to go directly to a golf course and get your game on… I know I did. After this process it was no surprise that the second time I went out to play at Pacific Grove Golf Course in Monterey, I shot a 78 and broke 80 for the first time in 7 years.
If you don’t live in Southern California and can’t make it to their Huntington Beach facility, have no fear. There are plenty of places to get Cleveland Fit. To find a Cleveland Golf fitter click HERE.
I wanted to give a special thanks to Keith Patterson, Alex De Pallo and Ruben Padilla of Cleveland Golf for making this article possible. Thank you for such a great experience and allowing me to come to the facility for this article. You are truly a classy crew over at Cleveland Golf.
“Live, Love and Learn Everything Golf”
by Ken Lee