How long does it take to get acclimated to new clubs? | Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask

It doesn't take pros long to break in new gear. As for weekend golfers, it depends on several factors.

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Welcome to Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask, a series produced in partnership with Cleveland/Srixon Golf. This week we cover how long it should take to get used to brand-new gear.

How long should it take to get used to new clubs? – Terry H., Arizona

Whether your new clubs require a “break-in” or a “getting used to them” period largely depends on the type of player you are and your skill level. Experienced players tend to adapt to new gear more quickly than high-handicappers simply because they have more skill, and they usually aren’t switching from one category of clubs to another. Higher handicappers often do just that, switching or upgrading from something like an anti-slice driver to something more neutral, or from oversized game-improvement irons to a more streamlined set to allow for additional shotmaking capabilities.

Some tour professionals can determine whether a club will work for them in as little as five swings. Tiger Woods is one such player who’s able to feel even the slightest differences in lie angle, length, loft, and weight to exacting specifications. If a club doesn’t feel right to him, it usually doesn’t take more than a few swings to know whether it’s a keeper or destined for the trash heap. We’ve even seen him be able to discern the different metals used in his clubs. That level of precision is uncanny!

For the rest of us, we don’t have the luxury of tour trucks and on-site club fitters to make adjustments to our gear every week we play. This is why getting custom-fit for your clubs is so important. By ensuring that your specs are dialed in before purchasing your gear, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to adjust your swing and start playing better with new clubs. Furthermore, Tiger has also advised that you get fit when you’re able to make good golf swings. Meaning, you should get fit for your best self, not your worst. This will ensure your club-fitting session is a boost to your game and not a hindrance.

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If you’re a single-digit player, you’ll likely find your groove with a new set of clubs in a matter of days, if not a couple of weeks. The more you practice during that time, the faster you’ll dial things in. However, if you practice and play once a week for a month and things still don’t feel right, it may be time to revisit your club-fitter and reassess your sticks.

Beginners or occasional golfers may take longer to adjust to new clubs for a few reasons. First, if you’re making the jump to a more advanced club or set of clubs, it may take upwards of a month or more (as long as you practice or play at least two times a week) to get used to what your new clubs can do and the trajectories and distances that come with them. Second, high-handicapper golfers likely don’t have the advanced muscle memory or skills to adapt as quickly as better players. If this is you, be patient and give it a month or two to get used to playing with new clubs that will ultimately make you play better.

Finally, different types of clubs may require different amounts of time to get used to. For example, switching to a new putter may take less time to adjust to than switching to a new set of irons or driver. The simple truth is, there is no set timeline for getting used to new golf clubs. It’s important to give yourself time to adjust and practice with them regularly to gain a better understanding of your performance and capabilities with each one.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? 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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Ryan Noll Contributor