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?
Look at all the clubs in the bag as he warms up. Often, I find multiple
shaft types and flexes in one set.
The player hits 10-15 shots with his own driver. I pay attention to ball flight characteristics while measuring data with a launch monitor.
Select a driver that optimizes ball flight, including distance and accuracy. The process requires him to hit several combos of heads and shafts.
The player hits 8-10 wedge shots to slow down his
rhythm and work on timing.
The player hits five shots with his old driver and five with the new one—I track flight with my eyes and with a launch monitor.
Make a final recommendation based on the launch data and the players’ preference.
Essex Fells, N.J.
driver: 460cc titanium head, 10.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, stiff flex
driver: Titleist 910 D2,
9.5°, A-4 setting (+1.5° loft and standard lie), Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana ‘ahina graphite shaft, X flex
“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.”
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.”
driver: 460cc titanium
head, 10.5°, Aldila VooDoo
graphite shaft, stiff flex
driver: Titleist 910 D3,
9.5°, A-3 setting (+1.5° loft and +1.5° upright lie), Aldila RIP graphite shaft, stiff flex
“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.”
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.”