David Coates, the head professional at Essex County Country Club in West Orange, N.J., conducted the fittings. Below is his seven-step approach to the fitting process:
Interview the player to get a sense of what he expects from the fitting. What does he hope to accomplish?
2 Look at all the clubs in the bag as he warms up. Often, I find multiple shaft types and flexes in one set.
3 The player hits 10-15 shots with his own driver. I pay attention to ball flight characteristics while measuring data with a launch monitor.
4 Select a driver that optimizes ball flight, including distance and accuracy. The process requires him to hit several combos of heads and shafts.
5 The player hits 8-10 wedge shots to slow down his rhythm and work on timing.
6 The player hits five shots with his old driver and five with the new oneI track flight with my eyes and with a launch monitor.
7 Make a final recommendation based on the launch data and the players' preference.
Weight: 225 lbs.
Residence: Essex Fells, N.J.
Old driver: 460cc titanium head, 10.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, stiff flex
New driver: Titleist 910 D2, 9.5°, A-4 setting (+1.5° loft and standard lie), Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 'ahina graphite shaft, X flex
FITTER: David Coates
"Bob's a strong player who tends to hit it really well when he makes a smooth swing but misses it left (shaft flexes too much) when he gets amped up and puts more power into it. Bob could use a driver that alleviates his misses while encouraging him to swing more smoothly and consistently."
RESULT: A new, stiffer shaft and slightly open clubface eliminate the smother hook when Bob speeds up his swing. The club encourages an inside-out swing with a better tempo and reins in shots on over-the-top swings when he's under pressure. Bob hits the new Titleist driver much straighter, misses are more playable, and shots carry 20 yards longer.
"I've been custom-fit a number of times and have always enjoyed the process. However, I've often stayed with my old clubs [even if the numbers were better with the new ones] because I tend to feel more comfortable with clubs I'm used to. In this case, the Titleist 910 D2 prevents my bad [left] miss. It feels and plays a bit stiffer, which will take some getting used to. In the end, though, it'll help me be more consistent off the tee."
Weight: 150 lbs.
Residence: Maplewood, N.J.
Old driver: 460cc titanium head, 10.5°, Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft, stiff flex
New driver: Titleist 910 D3, 9.5°, A-3 setting (+1.5° loft and +1.5° upright lie), Aldila RIP graphite shaft, stiff flex
FITTER: David Coates:
"Jack's a growing kid, and his strength and clubhead speed are changing rapidly. He's also an aggressive player who's won his club championship. Still, he needs to be more consistent with his ballstriking and accuracy, which means that we need to bring down his spin rate."
RESULT: Dramatic alterations to clubhead loft and lie angle (+1.5° loft and +1.5° lie angle) combine with a lower-torque, stiffer-tip graphite shaft to produce significantly faster ball speed, higher launch and decreased backspin by approximately 1,000 rpm. Jack gains 15 yards overall; the new package enables him to be more consistent, too.
"I was between drivers and didn't feel too comfortable with the one in my bag. The fitting session was fun and I learned some things about my swing. This club should help me put the ball in play more consistently while allowing me to swing aggressively. It'll be a good change from what I have now."