Getting fit for gear on a budget? Splurge on this 1 club

On a budget and can only get fit for one club? Make sure you start with the putter.

True Spec

Welcome to Fit Factor, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re shining a light on the importance of club fitting, powered by insights, data and other learnings from the experts at our 8AM Golf sister company, True Spec Golf.

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In a recent episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, we grilled True Spec’s VP of Tour and Education, Kris McCormack, on some common club-fitting questions. We’re kicking things off with a dilemma many golfers deal with: How do I optimize my gear on a budget?

In a perfect world, every golfer would have an unlimited budget for club purchases. The high-tech driver that runs $500-plus? Throw it in the cart. New set of irons with a four-figure price tag? Just go ahead and get a backup set while you’re at it. This is the dream, friends.

In reality, most of us have to be discerning shoppers when we’re searching for a new driver or wedge. We can’t have it all. If there’s one thing to remember when you’re narrowing down the search, it’s to keep a proper fitting front of mind. Don’t buy off the rack and toss it in the bag. It’s a waste of money in the long run. (Even Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari stressed to us the importance of a professional fitting.)

If you only have the budget for one club, McCormack suggested spending your hard-earned cash on a putter fitting. Yes, the putter. It’s probably not a club that’s high on your fitting list, but according to McCormack, it’s time to adjust your priorities.

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“For most of us, it’s the only club you’re going to use on every single hole” said McCormack. “You have driver a max of 14 times? But everybody gravitates towards that big stick. They want to get that distance. But at the end of the day, driver is not the club getting the ball in the hole for you. So if you’re going to get fit for one club and you’re on a budget, make it putter.”

What many golfers don’t realize is they’re likely sacrificing strokes when they grab a putter and make a buying decision based on a few made putts on the local golf shop’s astroturf green. Having a putter that’s optimized for your stroke — are you straight back, straight through or do you deliver it with a strong arc? — and delivery will ensure your ball is rolling true and not skidding inefficiently across the green. Maybe you’re better off with a mallet that tightens up your dispersion pattern and distance control, leading to fewer three-putts.

As McCormack said, the “big stick” is the most appealing club in the bag, but it won’t help you shave strokes off your score like a properly fit putter.

Similar to a comprehensive driver fitting, going to a reputable fitter like True Spec will allow you to see the improvements being made during the process. High-speed cameras and other diagnostic devices ensure you’re getting accurate and precise metrics to confirm your new putter is better than the current gamer. Maybe it verifies your gamer is the best fit for your stroke.

Regardless, it’s important to do some digging to confirm you’re on the right path. Whatever you do, consider the idea of starting the fitting process with the putter.

Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our sister company, True Spec Golf. 

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com

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.