Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Fit To Drive
You have the options to get fitted for a driver. Here’s how to go about it
You can visit the company’s Huntington Beach, Calif., headquarters for a fitting session in its impressive fitting studio, or the Scoring Center at nearby Roger Dunn’s Golf Shop in Costa Mesa. The company also has traveling Tech and Fitting vans that frequent courses around the country during demo days and fitting events. You can find the schedule at clevelandgolf.com. Cleveland’s also conducting Right Weight Fitting Days throughout the U.S. with its Tech vans and sales force—all armed with a Game Changer 2 launch monitor unit that measures launch, spin and ball speed to determine which Cleveland Launcher Ultralite driver best fits your swing.
The company’s demo events take place at golf facilities around the country. There also are two “Kingdoms”—in Carlsbad, Calif., and Reynolds, Ga.—replete with state-of-the-art equipment to provide incredibly detailed fitting experiences with the company’s expert fitters. TaylorMade also has a vast network of fitters around the country armed with the company’s SelectFit system, helping to put you in one of 63,000 possible driver combinations. Visit taylormadegolf.com for details on all of the above. Then through a licensing agreement, there also are 10 privately owned TaylorMade Performance Labs around the world that provide world-class fitting sessions—comparable to what PGA Tour pros go through. Technicians capture your motion through reflective markers placed on your body and club, through synchronized high-speed cameras. A moving image of your swing can be viewed from any angle (above, below, front, back or either side). You’ll also discover every conceivable quantified detail about your swing. Consult tmplabs.com for details and appointments.
You can go with one of three fitting levels with Titleist. The first—and easiest to access—involves finding a local fitter in its vast network of fitters equipped with the company’s SureFit system. You also can hook up with Titleist’s mobile FittingWorks Tour Vans that travel the West Coast and Midwest, providing comprehensive fittings and on-site club building. An expert fitter uses a launch monitor and fitting clubs, while a Tour Van technician provides assembly and personalization. The company’s ultimate fitting experience takes place at its state-of-the-art Titleist Performance Institute (Calif.) or Manchester Lane Testing facility (Mass.), where golfers are treated like PGA Tour pros. Visit titleist.com for more information.
|FIRTS- PERSON FITTING
I’ve been fitted for drivers many times in the past. Because of my naturally low ballflight, most fitters become transfixed into trying to somehow elevate my tee shots. That typically involves suggesting I go with a higher-lofted driver that’s more upright—severely more upright. But anyone who truly knows my swing can see that it’s already an upright swing and that my low ballflight is caused by other swing mechanics. So whenever I experiment with upright drivers, I immediately start hooking the ball.
That’s why I was dubious of undergoing just one more fitting session recently at the TaylorMade Performance Labs at the Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. But this session was to be different.
I was greeted by Tom, my fitting technician, who asked me to warm up on the range for 15 minutes. Like clockwork, he reappeared at the 15-minute point and carried my bag to his indoor studio adjacent to the range, asking me about my golf game along the way. Inside, he recorded different aspects of my game in his database and then placed Velcro-attached reflective balls on strategic points of my body—for the purpose of recording my swing from literally every angle. I even put on a hat bearing the markers
This was to be a full-bag fitting, so we went through an iron-fitting session before reaching the driver portion. He was incredibly intuitive with my swing, its deficiencies and its needs. Without me even mentioning my past fittings, he explained how it seemed obvious that if I ever went to more upright clubs, it would completely cause me to hook a ball. In other words, he wasn’t trying to change my swing; he wanted to embrace it with equipment that corrects my 50-year-old habits. He captured my trust right there.
We toyed with versions of both new TaylorMade drivers—the R11 and the Burner SuperFast 2.0—but quickly opted for the R11 Tour Preferred. Why? The SuperFast has only so much loft—not enough to yield my desired trajectory. It also has a triangular clubhead that my brain simply can’t process at the tee box. The R11 TP model, however, can have up to an 11.5-degree effective loft, thanks to its adjustability. But when you open up loft on adjustable drivers, you also close the clubface. Since I already draw the ball, Tom used the club’s adjustable soleplate to reopen the clubface back to square.
Armed with that spec combination, we proceeded to the driving range to test it out. It was astonishing: Not only did I achieve ballflight that had nearly twice the trajectory, it flew—and this is just the carry—past where my previous tee shots finished rolling. Then of course, it bounced another 10 or 15 yards. Net gain: Roughly 20 yards per tee shot. My take: Where’s the cash register?
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