Back in May I was approached by the PGA Tour Superstore to participate in their Custom Fit Club Fitting Event. Basically, I come in for a free fitting with a professional and the store gives me free equipment. The only matter that gave me pause before saying yes to this opportunity was that most of my equipment is fairly new. I replaced my irons in Spring of 2013; my driver and three wood are about two years old. My mentality about clubs is that if they are still working, they retain their space in my bag. The Cobra four hybrid that I carry is 8 years old.
So, I said yes and went in for the club fitting since I am at a stage in my ongoing love affair with golf, where being armed with more information and custom fitted equipment could only bolster my game. As an aside, the head professional at my home course informed me that by accepting over a certain dollar figure in equipment, there was a chance that I was giving up my ability to compete in certain amateur competitions.
Disclaimer, I have been approached several times to use different golf products and talk about them publicly and I have said no. When we relocated to Chicago in Spring of 2013, I fell in love with the PGA Tour Superstore in Downer’s Grove, Illinois because of the broad selection of equipment they offer, particularly for women and the plethora of golf apparel. As you know if you follow me on social media, I have quite the assortment of golf clothing. This is a store I shop at frequently and talk about constantly anyway.
One Sunday afternoon back in May, directly after a round of 18,
I met with Dave Sluder, the head club fitter at the Downer’s Grove PGA Tour Superstore for a full bag fitting. Before I touched a club, the fitter measure my arms and hands. I went into this completely opened minded and willing to listen to all of the feedback I was given. Most locations of the PGA Tour Superstore have eight monitors.
We started with a driver fitting. My last two drivers have been Taylormade, so I tested the SLDR. Lofting up wasn’t working out for me and I was getting too much spin with this particular driver. After demoing several drivers, we deduced that I was getting an ideal launch angle and spin rate with the Callaway Big Bertha driver with 13.5 degrees of loft and a 50 gram Mitsubishi Fubuki Zeta Graphite shaft. I also added a Big Bertha 3W and a 5W to my bag. I was a little uncertain about carrying a 5 Wood because in the past when I have carried one it has been used infrequently.
Before we moved on to the iron fitting a discussion ensued about how people focus on the wrong numbers on the monitor. To summarize, ignore the distances you see on the monitor and focus on your launch angle, spin rate and club head speed. These are the numbers that are critical.
Dave put tape on all of the irons that I was going to demo so that we could see where on the face I was making impact on good swings and mishits. I demoed six sets of irons. The club fitter remarked that my set up to the ball, grip and the manner that I come through the ball were all good. When I did have a mishit it was tempo related and closer to the heel. I was fitted for Titleist AP1 714s 5-W bent 1 degree flat with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 50 gram graphite shafts. I also added a Cleveland 588 54 degree wedge to my bag.
Finally, we moved on to a putter fitting. The club fitter remarked that I had too much wrist involvement in my stroke. To compensate for my non-quiet wrists Mr. Sluder suggested that I consider going with an oversized Superstroke 3.0 grip. I ended up settling on an Odyssey Versa Black White Black Putter.
Prior to writing this particular blog post I wanted to play with my new equipment for several weeks before I gave an honest assessment as to whether this club fitting was beneficial to me. The Titleist AP1 714s were backordered until mid June and that threw a wrench in the works.
For the past three weeks I have been playing with my new equipment. After the first round I decided that in order to keep my rounds fun while adjusting to the new driver, I would continue to carry my old driver, a Taylormade RBZ with 10.5 degrees of loft. I had the space in my bag to do a Phil. What I found with the new driver was that when I mishit it, I was spraying the ball errant. Going from 10.5 to 13.5 degrees of loft is a massive adjustment. The notion ideally is to get more carry. In one instance where my contact was perfect with the Callaway Big Bertha I murdered a drive 30 yards past my longest drive on a particular hole.
The Titleist 714 AP1s, I want to marry them.(to borrow from my kids' everyday slang) My feel is incredible and the ball gets up easily. Sadly, I do have a slight gap in my bag. I would love to add a 3 iron back in, once I have the driver situation sorted out.
The 5 Wood whose purpose I deliberated has become my favorite club in the bag. It’s is a lot easier to hit off of the fairway than a 3 Wood. It is nice to be confident holding a club.
The only club that I was fitted for that I am not enamored with is the putter. I love the oversized grip but, I have found that I simply have less feel off the face of the Odyssey Versa Putter. My old putter is not broken; it’s a Nike Method Putter. I have such great feel off of the Polymetal face. Sadly, I am not carrying the new putter. I most likely will re-grip my Nike Putter with an oversized SuperStroke grip.
Go get a fitting. If you are going to spend major money on equipment, do not buy it off the rack. You are cheating yourself if you do. The PGA Tour Superstore will soon have 22 locations. They have well informed club fitters, who are not paid commission to push given equipment on you.
In closing, the best thing about being presented with the nice opportunity of the Custom Club Fit Event was that I get to pay it forward. I am donating a set of irons to the First Tee of Chicago. Our teenage babysitter expressed an interest in the golf team at her High School and I am giving her a game improvement set of Pings I have in my garage. This is a great way to grow the game, by giving your old equipment to newer golfers.