Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Find Your Fit
Everybody should get their clubs fitted, right? Two GT editors test that theory out. Read how their experience can help you.
Consider the 6-iron I shanked. Or the one I flat out chunked, exhuming a turf toupee that would have looked just fine atop Bruce Willis’ chrome dome. “Now try this one,” Rob said. I picked up one with a graphite shaft and gave it a waggle. “Too whippy,” I said, doubting its effectiveness before I put my signature “monster move” on it. I addressed the ball, looked at my target and then pulled the trigger.
“Whiffed it!” I barked and looked back at Rob. “Didn’t go anywhere!”
Somewhere behind me the ball was apparently still in the air because Rob held up his finger as if to say “not so fast.” Then he looked at me. “Didn’t go anywhere, huh? That went a buck ninety.”
190 yards? For someone used to hitting his six-iron 165 this was a memorable moment in sports history. Of course, some of my distance gain was due to the Mile High atmosphere where balls just seem to fly forever, but what really helped was the perfect shaft/head combo. It not only made my effortless Jello-y swing launch the ball great distances, but without sidespin and on a much lower, more favorable trajectory. “I want this shaft now!” I said to Wample, even if it was too whippy.
Turns out, it wasn’t whippy at all. In fact, it was stiffer than my stock shafts.
Wample told me I gained major yards (and improved ballflight) because that premium graphite shaft had a higher frequency than my irons’ stock shafts. Essentially, my irons were too flexible (their frequency ranged from 4.2 to 4.9), and I needed a set that was not only stiffer, but “frequency matched” so my 4-iron to PW had the same, consistent (and consistently feeling) flex. (Hot Stix recommended 5.7 in graphite, 5.4 in steel, a substantial difference from what I was playing with.) Turns out, the graphite shaft felt whippy not because of its flex, but because of its weight.
After analyzing my irons, we moved onto my driver (which I’ve gained—no joke—40 yards from my last model). I didn’t think I could hit it any farther than I already do, but naturally, I was wrong. Hitting a few shots with a premium shaft made a premium difference. Ten yards, in fact. “Your kick point is too low,” he told me. “But my shaft says it’s a mid kick! You want me to play with a high-kick shaft?” “No,” Wample said, then admitted that it’s hard to know exactly what qualities stock shafts possess. My driver shaft may have said it had a mid kick point, but in reality, it had a low one, making it more flexible near the tip. It may have made it easier to get the ball airborne, but that’s not what someone like me needs.
After we finished, Wample suggested a few options that ranged greatly in price. I could switch out my current iron shafts for those premium offerings ($65 per shaft) or he could bend my irons—for free.
In the end, I opted for the cheapo route. Wample flattened my irons a whopping three degrees, a substantial move that completely eliminated any chance of ever hooking the ball again and had me questioning everything I’ve ever known about golf. I can’t say I’ve fully recovered; my ballflight is lower and shots tend to hang out to the right, but I’m slowly adjusting to my “new” clubs.
My woods also needed a makeover, especially my hybrid that no one in my regular foursome told me was a woman’s club. Thanks guys.
Page 2 of 3