Q & A: Rosewood Tucker’s Point Pro Paul Adams on Clubfitting

Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda is a resort that is so brilliantly designed and so loaded with class you could conceivably go there and not mind that you were hitting the ball indifferently. Looked at another way, what you really want is for your golf game to fit appropriately with the picture-perfect surroundings. Paul Adams (pictured) and his staff can help with that. Earlier this year, Adams was promoted to director of golf at the resort from his previous position as head professional. He has served time–as every Bermuda golf pro should–on staff at the magnificent Mid Ocean Club, down the road from Tucker’s. Adams holds Level II status as a qualified Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Golf Fitness Instructor. He was formally educated in the U.K. but learned the very fine points of the knockdown shot on the island where he now lives and works. We asked Paul a few questions about game-improvement using today’s technology, and he obliged us with some intriguing answers.

Q.:   Being a destination golf club, you must encounter many guests who are wishing to shoot a good number on your golf course and wondering about their adjustable drivers being set up appropriately. Does this happen? Does wind have a notable effect on what a good player would do with his R-11 driver, for example? Do you make many adjustments of this kind?

Adams: Bermuda is overall very windy so it’s better for control to actually hit the ball lower than where would ordinarily be desirable. It’s also ideal to have a driver that has less loft than usual. I often find that most players rarely have the club set up for them correctly and do not know how to set it up themselves. The trend is to actually just rent our clubs as we have really nice Callaway RAZR rentals that are often better than most players’ clubs anyway.

Q.:  Talk a little bit about the point in a fitting session where the golfer is testing out drivers and it gets down to two or three different configurations or choices. Isn’t it true, in most cases, that one choice will optimize distance and one will optimize accuracy? Can you think of an example where this happened. What did the golfer decide?

Adams: When fitting, we first focus on fitting through instruction so that we can improve their swing and try not to band-aid their faults with equipment. I do not find that there is a compromise between distance and accuracy, unless you are talking about drivers with longer shafts. I actually teach my pupils to grip down the handle with their driver when accuracy is more important than distance. Drivers in my opinion are very long, and unless the player is very skilled and practiced, it’s difficult to make good, consistent contact. When I started coaching, drivers were 43″ long and it is not unusual to have drivers as long as 46 1/2″! In those cases, it makes accuracy much more difficult. Rickie Fowler grips down his driver significantly when playing for accuracy; if it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for us!

Q.:  Where would you say we are in the ball-fitting learning curve?  Limiting the discussion to players who regularly break 90, would you say they are ready to go through a precision ball-fitting and accept the recommendation of the fitter?

Adams: The ball only makes a limited amount of difference for any player. It’s more important to get the right type of ball for their short game. Better players need a ball like the Titleist ProV1 to get spin to stop the ball. Others should stay away and focus on a low spinning ball like the Callaway Diablo. I am sure for a few players it may make a difference to ‘tune’ the ball to their swing, but it is not something that makes much of a difference in most cases – with the one exception being a player that puts a lot of spin on the ball. They should try to use the lowest spinning ball possible.

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