Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Fit To Be Tee'd
A look inside the TPI fitting experience
Labels: Club Maintenance, Golf Schools, Fitting, Equipment, Swing, Techniques, Game Improvement, Exercises, Body
Bucy sends me back out on the range, this time equipped with the Orange Whip (orangewhiptrainer.com). It’s a training and fitness tool that helps me swing more on plane, smoothen out my tempo and rhythm, and also helps me release my hands more properly. I certainly won’t get in shape or channel Anthony Kim between video sessions using it, but Bucy goes for a little counterengineering. He knows if I swing on plane, rhythmically and in position, what’s essentially a long, heavy, flexible golf shaft with a weight on the end will produce fluid rotation, delayed hand release and a good posted-up finish, and I’ll feel and “learn” the tactile sense of the direction in which my swing and posture need to go.
I swing the Orange Whip, Bucy films, and after a short while, with my hands low and in a better position, Bucy and I go back inside and review the footage of my swinging the Orange Whip and compare it to the swings from before. With the Orange Whip swinging back, I could see some pretty drastic improvements, mostly concerning my spine angle and how little I popped up through the downswing. The Orange Whip seemed to work, and as Bucy explains, he’s able to integrate not just the Orange Whip, but also a variety of training aids and routines to help all golfers start seeing improvements. In my case, the Orange Whip was the right one for me, but for another golfer, a different type of training aid or exercise or tip will be prescribed.
After working with Bucy, the Orange Whip and using his swing tips and advice, I hit more balls. As far as immediate improvements? I saw speckles of light, but I didn’t go from a 14 handicap to a 4 in a matter of minutes, that’s for sure. On a number of shots, I expectedly reverted to my old form. Yet enough 6-irons are painting the flag 175 yards away, drawing nicely en route, to indicate there is something to all this. I know now I need to get in shape to play better, and I need to fix a few areas of my swing.
After I hit a series of shots on a lie board and a launch monitor, and on a real-live green-grass range, Bucy, who is fitting-certified by Titleist, PING, TaylorMade and Adams, tells me I’m in a good spot fit-wise with my current sticks, from length and lie to flex and driver loft. Not perfect, but good in the sense that I can hold onto my clubs for a while and, instead, hone in on my core strength and better swing fundamentals. Yet, I couldn’t help think, if I still get a lot of toe hits, shouldn’t length and lie angle be jacked up farther?
According to Bucy, not necessarily.
Not long ago, I went through a fitting session with one of the major OEMs. The impact tape and ballflight suggested even more length and even more upright lie angles, almost to the point where I was heading off to terra incognita. This fitting was, essentially, a retail exercise, and not the place to address swing flaws. So the immediate goals for me were to “find” new clubs and for me to “be happy” with them, with happy being, for many buyers, a Band-Aid® fix that certainly will help them beat the ball around better as it masks deep-seated faults.
For reconstructive surgery, fitting needs to be done in conjunction with an honest, complete assessment of your game and where you want to take it, and your commitment to actually making that a possibility, even if that means losing the spare tire you said you’d lose several class reunions ago. And that’s the essence of TPI—an improving golf swing has an ecology where everything is interrelated.
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