One of the best innovations in golf in recent years has been the rise of club fitting centers. Regardless of their handicap index (or any index at all), smart golf consumers shopping for clubs geared specifically to their swings now can take advantage of expert club fitting. And best of all, these services are not expensive and often are free if you end up buying a certain brand of equipment.
Recently, I visited one of Michigan’s premier fittings centers–Miles of Golf in Ann Arbor–to be fitted for a new set of irons. Established in 1995, Miles of Golf has been a leader in club fitting and was one of the first golf centers in the country to offer TrackMan, the Doppler radar technology that analyzes the golf swing and the entire flight of the ball from impact to landing in real time. Suffice it to say, TrackMan is the quintessential tool in club fitting especially when combined with a knowledgable club fitter. Miles of Golf has a select cadre of seasoned club fitters who know their stuff. Fitting this bill for me was Alan Dante, an affable, patient and savvy club fitter who’s been with Miles for several years and has loads of industry experience. In keeping with the Miles business credo, Dante personifies golf know-how and straight talk.
My club fitting session took about an hour but I won’t bore you (this time!) with all the details. Basically, it involved hitting numerous shots with various club-heads, shafts and lie angles (the crucial relationship between the shaft and club-head) and then comparing the data using TrackMan software. “The numbers don’t lie,” said Dante.
After my numbers were crunched, it all boiled down for me to Callaway’s RAZR X Tour irons with some new specs mindful of my senior playing status. Instead of my previous stiff and lightweight steel shafted irons, this fitting called for a regular flex in a lightweight Aldila VS Proto graphite shaft, shortened by a 1/4 inch. Dante also recommended a 1.5 degree flat on the lie, fairly similar to my previous set. After reviewing the paperwork on the session, we sent the order form into Callaway.
In the subsequent weeks, I waited impatiently for the order like Ralphie did for his beloved Red Rider Air Rifle in A Christmas Story. Luckily, my package arrived on time and even before Thanksgiving allowing me an opportunity to test them out for a quick nine holes of golf amid some unseasonably warm weather here in Michigan.
The verdict? Well, for starters, let me just say new clubs are never a magic elixir to cure poor swings. You still have to swing with sound mechanics and a good tempo. On this note, I was lucky to play this round with my frequent golf crony Scot Ferris, an astute observer of the game and a fine ball-striker. Early on, he noticed I wasn’t getting ‘behind the ball’ and suggested a subtle move with my left knee on the backswing. The positive results were immediate. All of a sudden, my new irons delivered crisp strikes with a much better ball flight and carry. A few holes later Scot said, “Man, do I like how the ball flies off of those irons.”
Now I ask you ladies and gentlemen of the jury: Can there be a better club-fitting compliment?