Fully Equipped mailbag: When’s the best time for a clubfitting? Tiger Woods knows

Tiger Woods usually conducts club tests when he's swinging well.

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Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag sponsored by Cleveland/Srixon Golf, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s managing editor of equipment, Jonathan Wall) fields your hard-hitting gear questions. 

When’s the best time to go through a clubfitting? I’m always swinging well at the end of the season, and that normally times up with the release of new equipment. Or should I wait, knock the rust off next spring and start fresh? — Chip McMaster

As someone who lived in the Northeast for years and endured a beginning and end to the golf season, there’s nothing worse than finding your swing right before the courses close up shop. The sliver of hope that we might pick up where we left off is what keeps us coming back to the course every year.

In reality, you’re going to have to knock off some rust, and there’s no guarantee the swing thought that kept you in the 80s will work next season. You could get that clubfitting session in right now while your game is in peak shape, but then you have to deal with the excruciating wait to break in those new clubs — assuming the test session unearths a winner or two.

There’s really no right or wrong answer. It comes down to whether you have some decent self-control. Whatever route you decide to go, just follow the sage advice of a certain 15-time major winner.

“I’ve always tested when I’m actually hitting well,” Tiger Woods once told me. “I don’t want to test when I’m hitting poorly because then I think you can find a club that’s going to Band‑Aid it, and you really don’t know what truly is going to happen when your game turns around. And so I would push off testing until I worked on my game. Generally, I’d do two or three days of practice sessions prior to testing.” 

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There’s nothing worse than walking up to a lush 3-Wood Shot and duffing in front of the buds. So, we fitted the Launcher XL Halo Fairway Woods with Gliderail to make high-quality contact silly-easy, even from the rough.

Notice how Tiger said “hitting well” — not perfect. In other words, don’t resist going through a clubfitting if your swing has an issue or two. What’s important is that you’ve logged enough rounds to transition from the “knock off the rust” phase to “swinging reasonably well” phase.

So long as you feel like your swing gives the fitter an accurate representation of your strengths and weaknesses, proceed with the fitting and don’t give it a second thought.

If there’s one thing I’d caution for the golfers who have a beginning and end to the season, be cognizant of what you’re trying to test late in the year. Undergoing a wedge fitting indoors won’t give you an accurate snapshot of how the club goes through the turf. The same could be said for irons. Driver, fairway woods and putter, on the other hand, can be done indoors without many hurdles.

That’s not to say you can’t test irons and wedges indoors; I’d just schedule a follow-up session in March or April to verify the irons or wedges go cleanly through the ground. Enjoy the fitting and stay warm!

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

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Jonathan Wall

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Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.