We've published dozens of first-person accounts in the past five years that demonstrate how properly fit equipment can help golfers of all abilities be more consistent, have more fun and shoot lower scores. (Most of those fittings were conducted by our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf.) In addition, our affiliation with GolfTec includes savings on clubfittings at the firm's 140-plus retail locations. Yet, the majority of you still haven't taken advantage of custom fitting. Want more proof that fitting works? GolfTec (and NY Golf Center) fit 10 average Joes, and we tracked their progress during the first few months with the new clubs. You'll find their stories here.
2 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD DRIVER: Stainless steel, 200cc, 9°, stiff flex, graphite shaft, 44" length
NEW DRIVER: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast, 10.5°, TaylorMade Matrix Xcon 4.8 by Ozik graphite shaft, regular flex, 46.5" shaft length
FITTER: Tom Sialiano, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC White Plains: "Chris has a sound swing, but for his clubhead speed he was launching the ball too low and with too little spin. We needed to get these numbers up in order to improve his performance."
FIX: More loft, a longer, lighter shaft, and a larger, more modern head
dramatically increase his average launch angle and spin rate, which boosts overall distance by providing a better flight.
RESULT: The trick for Chris is getting used to the lighter, longer shaft, which proves to be easy. His head speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate all increase, which adds up to more yards on a consistent basis. A more forgiving head tightens dispersion, too.
READER Chris Pulichino: "I'd been using my driver since the late '90s. The
fitting showed me that it's important to change clubs to match your swing as it changes over time. I'm getting so much more distance on the course [as I become used to the club] than I did on the launch monitor. My accuracy improved, in part, because I'm making smoother swings with the longer shaft. But I'm not executing on approach shots. I need to get custom-fit irons that suit me like my new driver."
3 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD IRONS: Forged cavity-back, 3-PW, regular flex, steel shaft, standard length, lie and grip size
NEW IRONS: Callaway X-24 Hot, 4-GW, uniflex steel shaft, 1° flat lie, standard length and grip size
FITTER: Tom Sialiano, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC White Plains: "Kevin is a developing player who needs irons that optimize his launch angles and spin rates. His old, off-the-rack clubs simply didn't allow him to perform up to his potential."
FIX: Kevin hits the ball solidly because he's working to improve his swing. However, his old clubs launch shots too high and don't produce enough spin so he hits high knuckleballs, which isn't ideal. The clubs aren't particularly forgiving, either, so ball speed off the clubface suffers. By contrast, the new iron has a seriously hot face plus a lighter shaft. A slightly flatter lie angle leads to improved accuracy.
RESULT: The new irons help in just about every way. Kevin's head speed and ball speed increase significantly. He's swinging faster and making better contact. In addition, his launch angle came down 4°, while spin rate increased by 600 rpm. The result is 10 yards more carry (6-iron) plus a much tighter dispersion pattern.
READER Kevin Kehoe: "The confidence in knowing that I have clubs fit to my body and swing has been a major benefit. It really helps on short-iron approach shots, since I can swing more under control and still get all the distance I need."
4 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD DRIVER: 460cc multi-material head, 9.5°, graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45", standard grip size
NEW DRIVER: Ping G15, 9° (digitally measured to 10°), UST ProForce XIVCore Tour Red 79 graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45.75", +1/32" grip under bottom hand only
FITTER: David Estabrook, Director of Club Fitting, GolfTEC Philadelphia: "Dan's high launch and high spin rate caused him to carry the ball far. But shots often flew way off to the right because of that spin. This caused him to miss the fairway and hit out of trouble. So we want high launch and low spin."
FIX: Dan's natural shot is a baby fade, and the stiffer shaft helps to straighten it. The heavier, tip-stiff driver shaft lowers Dan's spin rate and drastically decreases his left-and-right dispersion range (see yellow ovals). The G15 provides significantly better performance on offcenter hits (good perimeter weighting and low CG) than his current model.
RESULT: Dan gains six yards, his average dispersion decreases by more than six yards (due to a decrease in backspin and sidespin) and he eliminates really bad misses. With G15, the misses are much more clustered (decrease the "hallway" or dispersion pattern) and under control.
READER Dan Perry: "Going in [to the fitting], I thought it was going to be more of a tape-measure type of thing here's my build and how we modify the clubs to fit you. But it's more about my whole athletic personality, and how I operate on the course."
5 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD IRONS: Game-improvement cavity back, 3-PW, steel shaft, regular flex, standard length and grip size
NEW IRONS: Titleist AP 2, 3-PW, Royal Precision Project X 6.5 steel shaft (tip-stiff), extra-stiff flex, 1° flat lie, standard length and grip size
FITTER: David Estabrook, Director of Club Fitting, GolfTEC Philadelphia: "Rob was wearing out his old irons on the heel. The regular-flex shafts were too soft, especially in the tip, which caused the shaft to bow too much and the clubface to shut down. As a result, he either pulled his shots left or hit them high and right."
FIX: Rob benefits from a club with less offset and a firmer, tip-stiff shaft to eliminate the high, right shots and pulls. This gives him the opportunity to swing hard with confidence, knowing the ball will go straight.
RESULT: Rob picked up an extra two clubs in distance with the AP2s. The change from a regular-flex shaft to the extra-stiff shaft eliminated the all-toocommon left miss. His average miss with AP2, on the launch monitor, is just 3 yards right of the centerline.
READER Rob Aronow: "When I hit the AP2s, it's like butter. It's as pure as can be. I'm hitting these 15 yards farther than my previous irons. I'll still mis-hit one from time to time, but mis-hits aren't killing me I'm just off the putting green. Before, I'd be 15 yards left, or under a tree. Now, it's a tiny pull or fade. It's like my bad shots aren't bad at all."
6 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD DRIVER: 440cc, titanium head, 10.5°, regular flex, graphite shaft (65 grams), 1° open clubface, 45" shaft length
NEW DRIVER: Cleveland Launcher DST , 10.5°, Cleveland Mitsubishi Ultralight Diamana Red graphite shaft (47 grams), regular flex, 45.75" shaft length
FITTER: Tom Sialiano, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC White Plains: "Ron is a good ballstriker and has a balanced swing, but he doesn't launch the ball high enough for his clubhead speed. We need to increase his launch angle by several degrees."
FIX: The Launcher DST 10.5° head is slightly closed, which adds a bit of dynamic loft to the club versus his old model (10.5° and a slightly open clubface, which decreases dynamic loft). In addition, the DST comes with a long (45.75") and light (47 grams vs. 65 grams) shaft. These specs help him to produce higher launch angles and greater carry distance.
RESULT: Launcher DST helps Ron launch the ball higher with impressive results. His launch angle increases from 11.5° to 14.1°, and carry and total distance increase by 25 yards.
READER Ron Ramsey: "The fitting process was very scientific and interesting. I learned that my old driver was poorly fit for me. I've always hit a relatively low ball that rolls but now I see how much distance I've been sacrificing. My new flight is higher, but I still get good roll. I'm not scoring, though, because my putting is really letting me down."
7 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD IRONS: Game-improvement cavity back, 3-PW, graphite shaft, regular flex, standard lie, length and grip size
NEW IRONS: Adams Idea a7OS Hybrid iron, 3-PW, Royal Precision Project X 6.0 steel shaft, stiff flex, 2° upright lie, standard length, +1/64" grip size
FITTER: Wayne Sciscio, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC East Hanover, N.J.: "David has too much clubhead speed and load to be playing a regular-flex graphite shaft. Also, the lie angle on his previous set was too flat. This caused him to bury the toe of the club in the ground, so the clubface pointed to the right [in an open position] at impact. That's why he lost so many shots to the right, and lost distance, too."
FIX: The Project X 6.0 steel shaft provides David with more control over the clubface, increasing the number of solid hits. The oversize hybrid iron set (includes 3- to 7-hybrids) generates more distance on mis-hits and is more forgiving than his old irons.
RESULT: The stiffer shaft significantly lowers David's backspin numbers (by 1,200 rpm). This combines with a more upright lie angle to increase average distance by 20-plus yards. David still has a tendency to miss to the right, but dispersion is a little less with the hybrid irons.
READER David Deuchler: "The hybrids are a big help out of the rough and on long par 4s and par 5s my long approach shots aren't automatic layups anymore. Obviously, the extra 15 to 20 yards I'm getting make a big difference. I consistently hit the ball straighter, too."
8 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD DRIVER: Steel-headed 3-wood, 15°, graphite shaft, medium-stiff flex, 42", standard grip size
NEW DRIVER: Cobra ZL, 9.5°, Aldila Voodoo graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45", standard grip size
FITTER: Wayne Sciscio, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC East Hanover, N.J.: "The question John needs to ask himself is, 'Would you rather hit an 8-iron from the rough or a 5-iron from the fairway?' I think most people would choose the 8-iron from the rough. There's limited potential with the 3-wood; you're not going to hit it 250 yards."
FIX: A larger, 460cc head expands the hitting area and gives John so much more distance than his 3-wood. The club's lower loft and stiffer shaft flex bring down spin rate and ball flight and dramatically boost carry and roll.
RESULT: John's clubhead speed jumps 5 mph and his ball speed increases 8 mph, while backspin drops and sidespin decreases by 1,250 rpm. It all adds up to 26 yards more off the tee. He's even tamed the dreaded hook, which occasionally plagued him with his old 3-wood and driver off the tee.
READER John Riordan: "I have much more confidence in the driver. I'm hitting more short irons into the greens of late. (Of course, I can't say I'm hitting it beautifully
every time.) Also, my shot shape has become a more consistent fade. Before, I had a tendency to slice, pull or even duck-hook the driver. That was no fun."
9 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD IRONS: Forged blade, 5-PW, steel shaft, regular flex, standard lie, shaft length and grip size
NEW IRONS: Mizuno MX-300, 3-PW, True Temper GS95 steel shaft, regular flex hard-stepped, standard lie, +1" shaft length, +1/32" grip size
FITTER: David Estabrook, Director of Club Fitting, GolfTEC Philadelphia: "Mike's clubs were simply too short, so his approach shots were very unpredictable. He was so up and down in his posture that he couldn't get the meat of the club on the ball and was losing a lot of distance."
FIX: Lighter, longer shafts (1 inch longer than standard) take the dip out of Mike's swing. This brings his contact point closer to the center of the clubface and improves the transfer of energy to the ball. The MX-300 irons provide Mike with a forged feel plus more forgiveness than his blades.
RESULT: Switching to a more dynamic head design (stronger lofts) and longer, lighter shafts (softer tip and 'hard-stepped' to play between regular and stiff) provide a dramatic increase (12 mph) in ball speed while making misses more manageable. Contact is much closer to the sweet spot, as evidenced by an enormous improvement in "smash factor" from 1.20 to 1.29 (1.50 is max).
READER Mike Roynan: "It's eye-opening to see the on-course differences with longer shafts. The extra inch takes time to get used to, but I'm starting to be more dialed-in and comfortable, especially with longer irons."
10 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD DRIVER: 460cc, 9.5°, graphite shaft, stiff flex, 46", standard grip size
NEW DRIVER: Nike Victory Red ST R8-FIT Tour, 11.5°, neutral face angle,
Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Tour 73 graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45", standard grip size
FITTER: Josh Chervokas, Custom Shop Director, New York Golf Center: "Brian has a tendency to come into the ball too steeply, which delofts the face at impact. He launches shots too low for his head speed. We need to increase his launch angle, which should increase overall distance."
FIX: The 11.5Ã‚Â° loft (2° more than his previous driver) plus a higher-launching shaft help to produce a higher ball flight, longer carry and more overall distance. The 1-inch shorter shaft provides better feel and control.
RESULT: Brian blocked his old driver on occasion. The new club improves dispersion, distance and consistency. Nike's STR8-FIT technology enables him to increase launch angle, too. The setting for a 2° closed face angle boosts launch (15.2°) and flight apex (99 feet). Brian prefers the neutral face visually and hits it three yards longer than the 2° closed face.
READER Brian Mahoney: "At last, I carry the ball the way I should. It's a much higher trajectory. Before, if I had to carry a hazard, I had to compensate in some way. Now, if I have 240 to carry the bunker, I carry it 250 on the course. It feels easy. Also, my slight mis-hits aren't unplayable anymore. No longer do I play 'Army golf.' Rather, I hit a nice, controlled draw."
11 of 11Schecter Lee
OLD IRONS: Forged oversize cavity-back, 4-PW, regular flex, graphite shaft, standard length, lie and grip size
NEW IRONS: Wilson Di9, 4-PW, regular flex, steel shaft, -1/2" length, standard lie, standard grip size
FITTER: Josh Chervokas, Custom Shop Director, New York Golf Center: "David hits it remarkably straight for someone with such a steep and out-to-in club path. He manages his pull cut but loses tons of ball speed, generates a crazy amount of backspin and launches the ball too high. All of this adds up to massive losses in distance."
FIX: The Wilson Di9 (a significantly lower and deeper center of gravity) reduces his backspin to a manageable 6,500 rpm. The slightly shorter shaft length (1/2-inch shorter than standard) improves his consistency. David also benefits greatly from a change to a lower-spinning ball from a Tour model.
RESULT: The combination of Di9 clubheads and a slightly shorter, heavier steel shaft reduce his backspin (2,200 rpm less) while increasing ball speed. The result is a significant distance gain (more than one full club) throughout the bag.
READER David Shanker: "The fitting was a huge learning experience. I play quite a bit of golf and thought I had a very good set of irons, which I liked. It was eye opening to see exactly why I was losing so much distance on approach shots. I'm not long, so every bit helps."
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