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Let the Experts Fit You Properly
By Craig Brass
Guest columnist

I wear a 40-long suit jacket. Have for years. And no matter where I shop I'm a 40-long. I'm not a 39-short at one store, a 42-regular at another, or 44-chubby at a third. I'm a 40-long all day long.

Trying to get fit for golf clubs is another story all together. I'm upright, I'm flat, I'm an extra inch long in the shaft, I'm a high flex point and soft tip, I'm a low flex point with a firm tip, I'm oversized grips, I'm graphite, I'm steel, I'm a mess.

Virtually all club manufacturers will agree that having properly fit clubs can have a significantly positive impact on your game. There is, however, no industry standard for consistency in fitting. As with everything else in life that is the least bit confusing, most people tend to believe the last thing they hear.

In that spirit may I suggest The Cluboratory - the last word in club fitting.

Housed in a private bay at the north end of the practice range at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, The Cluboratory is a dream come true for those who are more than a little spooked by the variety of club heads, shafts, lofts and lies available in the marketplace today.

Scott Hayes, a golf professional who knows far more about equipment than what can possibly be good for him, mans the facility and slaps together the concept of launch angle, torque and ball spin as easily as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

"The biggest problem I see, and it's probably true for about 80 percent of the golfers, is they don't have enough loft on their driver," said Hayes. "Today's drivers produce fast ball speed and low spin rate. To maximize carry and roll after landing each golfer needs to launch the ball at a higher angle. Before all of this technology backspin was used to get the ball in the air. Now most of that back spin is gone, so golfers need a higher lofted club to get the ball airborne."

See, easy stuff, but there's more.

"The other major problem," said Hayes, "is that golfers have shafts in their clubs that are too stiff. Golfers may not want to hear it, but most of them don't have swing speeds of 100 miles-per-hour. They're lucky if they can get it to 90 mph.

"That used to be a problem, but with advances in technology we can match the proper shaft, including flex-point, torque or tip strength to the player. Believe me, it's much easier for us to adapt the equipment to the golfer than it is for the golfer to adapt to the equipment."

Compounding the problem is that product introduction in the golf business is being driven by marketing, not innovation. In the name of preserving market share, companies are inventing reasons for golfers to buy their clubs, not inventing clubs that golfers have a reason to buy.

It was thinking like that led Coca Cola in 1985 to abandon their original formula in favor of one dubbed New Coke. We know how well that went over.

In defense of the golf club manufacturers, the move from persimmon heads to oversized metal heads was a quantum leap. The advance in product technology today, however, is mere baby steps compared to the changes delivered in the early Big Bertha and King Cobra days. We may never see such a drastic improvement in equipment again.

The good news is that the equipment introduced over the past few years, such as the Taylor 300 series drivers, is still very good and quite possibly better than what many golfers now have in their bags. Even better, much of it is on sale due to the pending release of yet another brand new driver.

The big difference is that now you can get all of this golf technology working for you, not against you.

"All this stuff we use," said Hayes, "Club head speed and ball speed monitors, launch angle machines, all this was only available to touring pros and mostly at the manufacturer's facilities."

A fitting session in the Cluboratory with Scott, or any of the other fitters at Miles of Golf, is $15. This will be reimbursed if you purchase the recommended equipment from Miles of Golf.

Once you've been fit with the right tools you can walk down to the other end of the range and learn how to properly use them from Dave Kendall and his staff of teaching professionals at the Kendall Academy.

Dave was ranked as the second-best instructor in Michigan last year by Golf Digest magazine and each member of his team is a highly regarded teaching professional.

Utilizing dual video cameras linked into a computer programmed to study the golf swing, the pros at the Kendall Academy can show you, as opposed to tell you, where the flaws are and how to correct them.

The right swing with the proper equipment will produce the best results. With all of this technology at your disposal, you may want to second-guess your decision to quit the game. I know I have. MG

August 2002 Issue Table of Content
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