As we get further into the calendar year and your playing partners are talking about how their new clubs have helped them improve, it is hard to not consider making a few upgrades to your bag. A new driver or a set of irons can be enticing and can give you the boost of serotonin that makes you feel invincible on the golf course. Before you hit up your closest pro shop all willy nilly, consider your options: properly fitted equipment VS taking some lessons.
Learning a new skill (and unlearning bad habits) takes time, quality practice and potentially more than $580 like the new TaylorMade Stealth (🤤) currently runs. But how do figure out if you need a lesson or just need a new driver?
You probably know the short answer to that question—you need lessons. The longer answer to that is that the properly fitted equipment can only help your game, especially if it’s in tandem with lessons. After all, if you talk to most fitters they'll be the first to tell you that the majority of their clients come in for a fitting that eventually turns into a pseudo lesson. So if you are struggling to answer this question on your own, here are a few things to consider when deciding between new equipment and lessons, based on your Arccos data.
It goes without saying that it is impossible to have a perfect golf swing right? If the likes of Adam Scott, Anne Van Dam, and Nelly Korda don’t hit it perfectly every time, neither can a 15 handicapper. While that statement does ring true, a good indication of if you need a lesson is if you can’t make a similar swing twice in a row or even twice every so often.
An indicator of making similar swings is where you miss greens and fairways. What does your Approach to the Green look like with your irons? If you notice that you miss your greens long, short, left and right of the green, you need lessons. You’ll find that working with an instructor will lead to better misses and a more predictable outcome on the golf course.
Picture it—you buy a brand spanking new set of irons, peel off the plastic, march down to the range, and magically start striping all your shots perfectly without doing anything differently. What gives? Properly fitted clubs are what gives.
In 2018, GolfTec did a study about this very topic. With zero swing changes, the average golfer was able to pick up just shy of 7 mph in ball speed, which translates to about 17 yards by simply having a better fitted iron. That is huge, considering it was the same swing they arrived with.
Let’s say you’re an over the top kind of golfer so your miss is a spinny cut shot. A heavier golf club will naturally help you shallow out during your golf swing! So while this heavier club won’t cure all of your swing ailments, it could give you an easier time on the course. Another good indicator of needed new equipment is distance control. One swing you hit your driver 210 then the next tee, you pipe one 250. Chances are the driver isn’t the right shaft and head combo that supports your swing speed. Keep an eye out on your Smart Distance Range and your dispersion with your driver—if you’re noticing a huge distance dispersion, it may be time to upgrade.
In a sense, this argument is kind of like the chicken and the egg argument and the answer is really in the hands of the golfer. If your Arccos data is telling you a glaring miss, contact your local golf professional or fitter and they will point you in the right direction. Better yet, even if you aren’t sure what your stats might be telling you, they are the professionals after all...and can surely help you translate your numbers into an effective improvement plan.