A new, wide-ranging study reveals a golfer's natural ability and swing are not the only things holding them back; 90% of U.S. golfers may be playing with clubs that do not fit them properly. Nearly 6,000 avid golfers across the country took part in the survey conducted by Sports and Leisure Research Group. The findings show players who were custom fit using advanced technology such as launch monitors, saw scores improve, hit the ball more accurately and had more fun playing golf than golfers who were not custom fit.
"This study is a wake-up call for every golfer who wants to get better. We spoke to thousands of golfers coast to coast and the majority had no idea of what true custom fitting is all about and how it can shave strokes off of score cards," said Jon Last, President of Sports and Leisure Research Group. "The magnitude of the differences in perceptions between those fit and not fit was among the most significant I've observed between two test populations in my 20+ years of researching American golfers."
The highlights of the research findings include:
- 92% of those golfers who were custom fit for their new equipment on a launch monitor realized immediate benefits with their new equipment.
- 80% of custom fit golfers hit the ball more accurately and consistently.
- Those golfers who were custom fit were 22% more likely than those who were not to notice a significant improvement in their scores (two strokes or more per round and were 56% more likely to see their scores go down by more than five strokes per round).
- Those golfers who were custom fit were 57% more likely than those who were not to strongly agree their new equipment purchase was "the best that they had ever made."
- Those golfers custom fit on a launch monitor were 42% more likely to complete their equipment purchase faster than those who were fit in other ways (and 17% were more likely to buy their equipment on the same day that they were custom fit).
- Custom fit golfers spent 78% more than those who were not custom fit.
- 69% of custom fit golfers surveyed bought equipment immediately after the process.
"This study clearly demonstrates the advantages custom fitting brings to a player's game — providing for greater comfort, fit, better scores and making golf more enjoyable," said Allen Wronowski, president, The PGA of America. "The experience reported by PGA members and their customers at facilities nationwide mirrors this research," he added.
There is no industry standard for custom fitting and the study found much confusion exists around the subject. Custom fitting used in this survey is defined as the process of measuring a golfer's physical attributes and then uses high tech equipment such as a launch monitor to capture important information on swing speed, ball flight and spin rates – all designed to "build" the right custom-fit golf clubs for each golfer.
Yet with all the technology and the benefits, a majority of golfers still purchase drivers, fairway woods and irons off the rack, according to the study. But that may be changing. America's largest golf retailer saw more than a 30% rise in custom fit club sales in 2010.
"Our industry – retailers, manufacturers and teaching pros — can all leverage these findings to educate golfers on the benefits of custom fitting and help them enjoy the game of golf more than ever before," said Matt Corey, Golfsmith Chief Marketing Officer. "Custom fitting is one of our fastest growing categories and this study will certainly provide our industry with the opportunity to drive more sales and inspire golfers to play better through custom fitting."[Source: Study: 90% of U.S. Golfers May Be Playing With the Wrong Equipment. Sports and Leisure Research Group on behalf of Golfsmith/SI Golf Group. 27 Jan. 2011. Web. 4 Feb. 2011.]