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Gary Pickle

Teaching Professional / Custom Clubmaker
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THEN (1998) and NOW (2012)


Connectors back THEN were pretty simple.






Connectors NOW are very complex and are advertised to do everything except swing the club for you, ie, loft and lie and face angle.





Fast forward from 1998 to 2012 and shaft connectors have become very complex, allowing the "uneducated golfer" (as in not a trained fitter, see text below) to manipulate loft/lie/face angle in any combination from 2 or 3 possibile combinations to more than 40 possible combinations.  To expect an "uneducated guess", "plug and play" until the correct setting is discovered approach, to somehow reveal the correct fit, is suspect.  On its best day, "plug and play" guesswork still ignores the other fitting factors of, length, weight, shaft flex, shaft profile, MOI, player's swing characteristics and technical skills, etc. all of which is further compounded by the fact that we are only human, not robots and the quality and repeatibility of our swings and resulting shots, tends to make the whole "plug and play" process a compounding of errors. Whew....lots of guess work.   In other words, an incorrect analysis leads to an incorrect diagnosis.  An incorrect diagnosis leads to an incorrect implementation.  (I "spine" all shafts during the custom build process.  If you have a "spined" shaft and use these connectors, wouldn't you loose the "spine" benefit?) 
One thing that hasn't changed:
A professional custom fitting session is the proper way to find the right clubs.

Click Here to Read More From Tom 
Adjustable shaft to head connector systems are not the same as a custom fitting session.  

It is not possible to adjust loft and lie and face angle using an adjustable hosel shaft to head connector.  



It was some ten years [1998] ago that quick change, shaft to head connection devices became available to allow custom Clubmakers to offer golfers the chance to hit different combinations of shafts and clubheads during a fitting session. The devices were created with the belief that through actual hitting, the golfer could find the right shaft and clubhead to walk away from the fitting session knowing they were custom fit.

However, it is 2008 that such shaft to head connection systems are initially going to garner a lot of publicity in all of the golf magazines and golf information web sites.

To an uneducated golfer, the concept of being able to find their perfect
club(s) by instantly hitting numerous combinations of shafts and clubheads sounds ideal. Rather than taking measurements, observing the golfer hit balls with his clubs or other demo clubs, and combining the information with the clubfitter’s knowledge and experience to offer the fitting recommendation, the golfer can “plug and play” until they actually find the right club(s).

However, to do that and end up with the very best custom fit clubs requires so many pre-made shafts and heads to cover all the key fitting specifications that no retailer and no clubmaker could possibly afford them, much less be able to easily store, organize and find the exact shaft and head to plug together for each golfer to hit.

If we talk Driver fitting only, which is where most of the OEM ["off the shelf"] companies’ shaft to head connection systems are exclusively focused, the most important fitting specifications are Length, Loft, Face Angle, Shaft Flex, Shaft Bend Profile, Total Weight, Swingweight (MOI), and Grip Size. Ignore one or two of these in a fitting session and you not only risk sending the golfer out with a Driver that falls well short of being able to improve the golfer’s tee shot play… . . you pretty much ensure less than optimum driving for the golfer.
The vast majority of the OEMs connection systems will only allow golfers to try different shafts, all at too long of a length, and with no consistency for swingweight (MOI). The OEMs’ connection systems will consist of a wide variety of different shaft models, each one offered in 2 or 3 flexes. Driver heads to plug into the shafts will be available in only a handful of lofts, typically from 9 to 11 degrees, and with no options for face angle.

The OEMs’ connector shafts are cut so the clubs will all end up at each company’s standard men’s driver length of 45” to 46”. All of the heads which the shafts are to be attached are made to the same headweight, without any ability to change headweight. As a result, plugging in a shaft that weighs 55g will result in the connected club having a low swingweight, while plugging in a shaft that weighs 90g brings about a club with a high swingweight.

None of the OEMs’ driver heads for the connector systems will have face angle options. Face Angle is without question the number one fitting specification that can bring about an improvement in accuracy for every golfer. In addition, few of the companies will have heads for their connector systems with lofts higher than 11°, a critical omission for many golfers.

TWGT [and Pickle’s Custom Golf are] dedicated to true custom fitting and not the pretense of it by “trial and error” fitting [the “swing until you find one you like method” or the “waggle method”].
Companies who tell golfers they can be accurately custom fit with their shaft to head connection systems, despite their severe limitations for length options, no swingweight, no face angle, and not enough loft options, will never provide as good of a fitting result as a full fitting that considers all of the performance specifications. [Driver fitting: Length, Loft, Face Angle, Shaft Flex, Shaft Bend Profile, Total Weight, Swingweight (MOI), and Grip Size]

Accurate, professional clubfitting requires the clubmaker to study and learn what changes in what fitting specifications will bring about the most improvement for each different golfers size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. Not some instant plug and play connection system that totally ignores most of the key fitting factors in an effort to generate the excitement to sell more clubs [clubheads or shafts] which never perform any better for the golfers.

Please, don’t let the brainwash marketing of the ["off the shelf", OEM] golf club companies fool YOU into thinking shaft to head connection systems are the greatest thing since sliced bread for conducting a custom fitting session. The marketing of such systems this year is going to fool enough golfers, and professional custom [clubfitters and clubmakers need to] educate golfers about exactly what a truly accurate and professional fitting experience is and can do for [them].