If new clubs meant you’d drive the ball 20 yards longer and drop strokes, would you reach for your credit card? This past August, Golf Magazine published a study conducted with Club Champion, the nation’s #1 premium club fitter. According to equipment editor Rob Sauerhaft, “Fitting matters! Based on data along with tester interviews, it’s clear that correctly matched clubs can help golfers of all kinds — you actually can buy a better game with properly fit clubs.” The study found golfers gained 22 yards off the tee, 15 yards with their irons and lowered their scores by an average of 3 strokes per round.

I went to Nick Sherburne, founder of Club Champion, for things you should look for when buying new equipment. Club Champion is the highly regarded expert in the field, ranked by Golf Digest among the 100 best club fitters year after year. They offer more than 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations, the best-trained master fitters, nearly every brand in golf, plus unrivaled, in-house club building. Here are 3 tips Nick had to share.

Buy the Right Shaft

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The industry taught us the head is the engine because that’s what hits the ball, but it’s the shaft that’s most important. Using that analogy, tires would be the engine of a car. Here the shaft powers the clubhead. In a golf shaft, flex can mean something different for every manufacturer. Manufacturers don’t use the same measurement scale. Sherburne tells customers, whether it’s stiff, regular or senior, it’s important to find the shaft that performs best for you. This makes it important to not just buy clubs off the rack. Find a skilled fitter with a launch monitor to show you how the right shaft will maximize your swing to its fullest potential.

Club Champion starts all fittings by looking at the shaft. It’s critical to identify not just the proper shaft flex but also the proper shaft weight. The shaft is what’s going to deliver the clubhead to the ball. To facilitate finding the right components, Club Champion, has a unique coupling system that allows golfers to hit any head and shaft combination. They deliver combinations that address a golfer’s problems and fix them. Most fitters use fitting carts provided by club manufacturers. While they offer options, golfers are unable to mix-and-match across carts to determine their ideal combinations. Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many not available through most other fitters and retailers.

Buy the Right Clubhead

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Each brand or model of clubhead has distinctive characteristics that affect launch angle, spin rate and ball speed. Buy a driver that has the right launch, spin and forgiveness for your swing. Be sure use a launch monitor and look for the highest smash factor, ball speed and spin that generates the greatest distance.

Iron heads are more complex. Design features like offset, non-offset, blade or cavity back impact ease of playability and whether you hit a draw or fade; whether you hit it high or low. Most people overlook turf interaction, which comes from having the right lie angle, grind or camber on the sole. It affects squareness at impact, the speed you move through the ball and overall consistency. Club Champion fitters will find you the best equipment options for your swing.

Buy the Right Swingweight

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Swingweight is a measurement of the weight distribution of the club or how your driver feels when you’re swinging. With widely variable shaft, grip and clubhead weighting, swingweight is more important than ever. It affects how a player swings the club and ultimately how they deliver it at impact. A heavier swingweight will make a shaft play looser; a lighter swingweight will make it play stiffer. The key application of swingweight is matching clubs within a set. If your clubs aren’t matched properly, they may feel different as you swing them.

Club Champion studios carry all the top golf club, shaft and grip manufacturers in the industry, which allows for 35,000+ equipment combinations for customers to test. Studios are equipped with advanced analysis technology and highly trained certified fitters and builders, all of whom must graduate through an extensive training program. Services include custom fitting and building for all club purchases, repair services, personalization and highly engaging corporate and personal entertainment events. For more information about Club Champion, visit clubchampiongolf.com.