DO Mats Matter?

equipment: clubfitting
Do Mats Matter?
Empirical evidence collected from launch
monitors shows that hitting off a mat can
impact clubfitting results
By Tony L. Starks
lmost every clubfitter will tell you that they prefer to fit
people outside, on the range, where both themselves and
the student can see ball flight. But could it be possible
that ball flight isn’t the biggest advantage to being fit outside on
real grass?
Cool Clubs is a premium clubfitting operation that has 14
locations in the continental U.S., and another six international
spots. They conduct thousands of fittings a year, and one thing
that the company prides itself on is archiving swing data from
every person they fit. The purpose: They like being able to provide
golfers with their club specs at the drop of a dime incase they
need to get a new set for any reason.
But with all this data comes knowledge. According to the
company’s senior PGA Professional on staff, Allen Gobeski,
one thing they’ve learned is that many golfers actually change
their swing when they’re hitting off a mat – which can significantly affect the results of a fitting.
“I know for a fact, I’ve proven it through countless hits on a
launch monitor, that I change my angle of attack when I hit off
a mat. I shallow out my angle of attack,” says Gobeski, Cool
Club’s PGA general manager. “It just happens naturally, you
swing differently on a mat than you do off grass. Which means
it’s a different swing than on the golf course.”
For players with a naturally shallow attack angle, the differences aren’t that noticeable. But for high swing-speed players,
who tend to have a steeper attack angle and a more descending
blow at impact, the changes can be dramatic. For instance,
here are the numbers from a Cool Clubs customer who is an
accomplished amateur golfer in Arizona.
Indoors, he balloons to an attack angle of 1.9 degrees –
which means he’s actually striking upward at impact. That’s a
drastic difference of more than 4 degrees in attack angle, especially coming from a skilled golfer.
“We’ve seen similar results in countless cases. Generally, the
first few indoor swings have the player’s normal descending
blow. But because the sensation of hitting the mat is different
than hitting real turf, they naturally adjust and shallow out
their swing to compensate,” explains Gobeski. “If you’re hitting
50 or so shots during an indoor fitting, you could end up making an inaccurate recommendation because it’s tough to see
that trend.
“When you change your angle of attack, you change your
launch conditions and your spin rates,” says Gobeski. “That
can change the fitter’s shaft recommendations and certainly
change the golfer’s numbers (distance, ball speed, etc.).”
Outdoors, the golfer has an attack angle of about -2.5 degrees on average – which means he’s striking downward on the
ball with every swing. Indoor fittings aren’t going away, Mother
Nature would never let that happen (just ask any PGA Professional in Upstate New York). But it is important to recognize
this trend by paying close attention to the numbers, and talking to you customers about their swing tendencies before, during and after the fitting session. So after watching them take a
few swings on the mat you can recognize if they’re doing something abnormal with their swing.
“You can do a great fitting indoors or outdoors,” says Gobeski.
“One thing I tell our fitters though, if you’re going to fit outdoors
off a mat than you should just move indoors to a controlled
There’s certainly evidence that mats do matter when it
comes to fitting. ●
January 2015 | (password: PGAmag007)
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