Sea Pines SwingFit

Unleash your golf potential with customized clubs

Get fit

Story by B.C. Rausch

All golfers are not the same size, age, strength, etc. Getting the most out of your game means playing with clubs that fit your specific needs. Do you buy pants two sizes too big? Do you adjust the bicycle seat so your feet reach the pedals? It’s the same with golf clubs. 

And don’t think you have to be a good golfer to be fit. If you want to play well and improve, playing with the right clubs is a must. You’ll never reach your potential with clubs that hold you back.

According to Chad Popovich, senior club-fitting specialist for Cobra Puma Golf, properly fit clubs “give you the chance to optimize your performance and to play better golf,” which means hitting the ball longer, straighter and with greater consistency.

Not surprisingly, the Hilton Head area has a number of locations where golfers can try and buy new (or slightly used) equipment “fit” for them. PGA Tour Super Store, Edwin Watts, Club Champion and X Golf, offer club fitting and sales.

The first steps are to inquire with a local golf professional or search the internet. The major club manufacturers also have fitting specialists and locations around the country, whose names can be found on their websites.

SwingFitAI - Sea Pines
SwingFitAI offers a groundbreaking approach to club fitting, harnessing the power of an optical motion tracking system to gather comprehensive data from both your body and club during your swing. Book a session at the Golf Learning Center at The Sea Pines Resort. ©Swing Fit

Fitting freedom 

Unless you absolutely want a particular brand of clubs, find a fitter who is “agnostic,” that is, offers more than just one brand and will help you find those that work best for you. The fitter will ask you questions about your game and probably have you make some swings with your current clubs, then start giving you different combinations of club head and shaft and use a high-tech system to measure elements like distance, ball speed, shot dispersion, spin rate and others, fine-tuning the choices to produce the best results. 

Mix & match 

All your clubs don’t have to be from the same manufacturer, although you’ll probably end up with matching irons and matching woods.  And don’t overlook simple things like how a club looks and sounds: You need to be comfortable with your choices, and that includes aesthetics.

Turf vs. tech 

Get fit indoor or out? Popovich prefers outdoors and off real turf, especially for irons. Hitting off mats can skew the results because plastic is not grass. But fitting technology is so accurate these days that the results won’t be much different. Still, Popovich “prefers to see ball flight and divot patterns. I also have done plenty of indoor fittings. Flip a coin though, as it truly is a matter of personal preference.”

Test drives 

If you can, attend a demo day at your club, a public course or one of the fitting stores or specialists. You’ll be able to try and compare clubs from multiple vendors. 

Equipment errors

The most common problems with clubs are they have the wrong shaft for the golfer or the wrong lie angle (how the club sits on the ground). 

Golf Fitting Facility that uses AI
©Cobra Puma Golf

Flex matters 

Shafts come in different flexes — soft, regular, stiff — and are primarily determined by how fast you swing. If you’ve had a set of clubs for a while, and you’ve gotten a little older, the shafts may be too stiff for your now slower swing. And many golfers who get hand-me-down clubs are trying to swing shafts not right for them. It’s not impossible to get clubs re-shafted, but if the model is older, you might be better off getting all new clubs with the latest technology.

Bending not breaking

Lie angle can often be fixed simply by bending the clubs, but don’t try doing it yourself! A good club fitter will determine whether you need more or less lie angle and may be able to adjust it. Again, if the clubs are pretty old, getting a new set could be your best bet. Lie angle is a common problem with irons.

Custom settings 

One of the biggest club-fitting mistakes is driver loft. Many amateurs are trying to hit drivers with too little loft for their swing speed and strength. Most of the new drivers today are adjustable in both loft and lie, so you can play around and dial in your own optimal settings.

Putter precision

Don’t forget the putter! Considering how many strokes per round are on the green, having a properly fit putter is essential. Among the specs to consider are length, face angle (yes, believe it or not, the putter face is not a perfect 90 degrees), weight and even the head shape: Different shapes are better suited to different strokes. And get your wedges fit, too, as they’re the clubs used most within about 100 yards of the green and can benefit a great deal from different shafts, lie angle and even weight.

Tailored tools

Playing with properly fit clubs can make a huge difference, with one study showing it improved a golfer’s handicap by 10 percent. Buying clubs “off the rack” might save you a little money in the short term, but your long-term enjoyment of playing with the right clubs for you is priceless.

Golf Fitting Set Up
©Cobra Puma Golf

Chronic Golf + Games
©Chronic Golf + Games

The new fairway

Non-traditional golf venues are changing the game

Golf has been on an upward trajectory since Covid, with the game reaching unprecedented levels of participation. Over the past 12 months, most of the growth has been what the industry calls “off course,” at non-traditional venues like short courses, indoor learning centers and ranges — both outdoors and in.

Much of the action has also been among younger audiences, and these new facilities have responded by making their activities more social, pairing hitting golf balls with drinks, food and music. National brands like TopGolf have turned golf into a big video game, while “clubs” and practice facilities utilizing simulators are popping up around our area, too.

Besides working on your swing, golf simulators let you “play” world-famous courses you might not have the opportunity or means to play in real life, such as Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. Amazingly accurate screen renditions make the game come to life, and the high-tech systems they’re connected to instantaneously analyze your swing and shot, turning them into playable results.

Golf simulators let you tee it up without restrictions on time, place or weather. Any level of golfer — from beginners to professionals — can use a golf simulator to practice, record and analyze their performance or just have a fun round using all the clubs in the bag, from driver to putter.

Hit it locally

Your swing is real, the courses are virtual.

X Golf

X Golf Hilton Head provides 50 world-renowned courses to pick from, plus a grill and sports bar, golf shop and all sorts of playing options: weekday and weekend rates, leagues, memberships and special events. A PGA professional is on staff to give one-on-one or group lessons and club fitting. Golf there: Tanger 2 Outlets, Bluffton

Chronic Golf + Games

Play 18-hole rounds on nearly 100 international golf courses. There’s a full-service bar, food and league play. Chronic also offers 15 other simulator games, from home-run derby to soccer, zombie dodgeball and hockey.
Golf there: 59A New Orleans Road, Hilton Head

Toptracer Technology

Palmetto Dunes Resort was the first resort in the region to incorporate Toptracer Technology, a high-tech system at the outdoor driving range that allows guests to compete against friends, play virtual courses and receive instant shot feedback. The resort’s range features 14 hitting bays, plus a VIP area, all with high-speed cameras, TV monitors, technology and games. Casual spectator seating is available.
Golf there: Robert Trent Jones golf course, Palmetto Dunes 

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