This may be a long story but I guarantee you it is worth the time and effort to read it. A true custom fitting process takes hours so it cannot be explained in a few paragraphs.
So on with one of our recent club fitting. Let’s call a recent client Tiger because he was aggressively searching for some long-needed improvement in his golf game. He presented to us with custom clubs he bought at another custom club shop that some on the Toronto golf nut forum think is so called mecca for golfers and where they say everyone should get fitted. (We have had many clients who were fitted at these places.) We knew all of this about Tiger because our first step is interviewing the golfer to get to know them, their personal golf history and their golf goals.
Step two we then assess those shiny new expensive golf sticks that he was once so proud of and that cost him his first born and a kidney. What we always find is the same no matter where the clubs were bought: the variance in the club specifications is just too high and inconsistent which of course leads to inconsistent results. Remember Ben Hogan from my last post, you are only as good as your clubs allow you to be.
Having spent so much on those ‘custom’ golf clubs many of our clients spend an inordinate amount of time and practice trying to make them work. You have all heard about working smarter not harder and the smarter ones come to us sooner rather than later. Life is too short to play our great game of golf with poorly fitted clubs. As Jim Mclean said, those poorly fitted clubs will cause you to waste your time and hard-earned cash on endless lessons with little success. In fact the average golf score is still about 98 depending on who you believe. Other studies say the average score is 94 if their clubs are custom fitted. That means you can get 4 strokes lower if you get custom fitted. Our clients report 10 stokes better with a new enthusiasm and love for the game. See our reviews page. Ok enough of the commercial and back to the fit for Tiger.
He presented in our fitting area hitting most shots straight left. Yes, he was a hooker which many of your slicers out there think would be awesome to hit a hook. However, once you get hooked on hooking it is harder to lose because the shot feels so great and powerful. Some of Tiger’s shots were 100 feet left and in fact his average was about 70 feet left. Now that is not a draw but rather a disastrous hook which will cost penalty strokes on most golf courses. You may wonder how a custom fitter golfer can be so far off and you would be right. In our experience, it is possible to get great launch monitor numbers that still don’t suit the golfer. As she/he practices with those clubs they build new adjustments at a subconscious level which leads to swing faults. Less than optimal fits do that all the time.
After a few of those big old hooks we ask Tiger if that is his normal miss and he confirms it is. We note on our shiny new Foresight Quad that his path to target is in to out by almost five degrees and his face to target is about five degrees left. However, his face to path is closed to his path as well which explains his hard-left shots. To make matters worse his angle of attack is seven degrees down and his toe is four degrees up shot after shot. Not one of his shots hit the green which the quad pointed out to him shot after shot and in fact during the interview Tiger said that hitting more greens was his goal, no kidding! So, whomever fitted Tiger certainly didn’t do a very good job as nothing about these clubs is helping him play better golf.
By the way his smash was good which means his ball speed was great. That means his distance was fantastic but what good is distance 100 feet left of the green with a seven iron? The height of his shots was also low with an angle of descent in the 34* range meaning if a shot ever did happen to hit the green he would see it run off the back of the green anyways. This tells us that his club is not matched up to his swing in any way.
While watching Tiger sweat over trying to make these so called ‘custom’ clubs work for him we notice that he is early extending or thrusting his pelvis towards the ball just before impact. We use the real time video with the Quad to confirm this tendency and show this to Tiger. Then we have Tiger try a deep squat test and see that he cannot do that movement. TPI has shown that 99.9% of golfers who cannot perform a deep squat test have stiffness in the mid (thoracic) spine which prevents them from executing an effective golf swing. It can lead to many disaster shots so we have Tiger try some mini drills to see if he can overcome this issue but he gets only a little better. So part of our custom process is to prescribe some exercises that will ensure Tiger can overcome this issue and minimize the chances of injury.
We also notice that Tiger initiates his swing with the upper body and arms which dominates the entire swing instead of using the big muscles of the body. This is one of the most common swing faults we see with strong athletic male golfers who try to generate power with the arms. This concluded the assessment phase of his current swing and clubs. During this phase you will note our pyramid to a great fit approach. Body, swing and clubs which allows us to drill down into the launch numbers to find the true causes of bad swing results. By getting to the root cause in this phase we know how to proceed in the second phase; the club specs.
Our second phase step one is our proprietary length measuring system which ensures that one of the most important variables of the club is settled immediately. Length interacts with the swing and other variables like stiffness and lie if very precise ways and we use a detailed spreadsheet to record each change in the club specs that we make. We interpret the data from the quad to guide us in the club changes.
The true masters of club fitting know this relationship and start with getting the length perfect first. Hint this entails much more than a wrist to floor measurement and during our length process we teach every client the true secret to a better golf swing and the first step to center face contact. Most clients say that this information was worth the cost of the fit.
And so, the club fitting which now seems more like a lesson proceeds with us giving Tiger some demonstrations that we use to help him build a new better model of the golf swing. It is impossible to produce an effective golf swing if the video that you play in your head, i.e. your model of what you think makes a good golf swing is not accurate. You would be surprised at how many clients we see who have no idea of what a true golf swing should look like. As we work through the drills we are also changing out the shafts and heads of our test clubs to see how he reacts to those changes and monitoring the results on the quad.
The combination of the physique changes, swing changes and club changes starts to produce immediate and quick improvements in the launch monitor data. As we watch the simulated ball flight on our 40” screen the client can see that is now getting closer and closer to the straight shots he desires. We even get this client hitting the ball on the fade side of the aim line and then move them back to down the target line. As he experiences this phenomenon he is amazed and a smile starts to come on his face. Most clients are not as sure as we are that we can improve their results because they have not seen the improvement we get for every single client. But we never watch the clock and never give up on any client until we get the launch monitor data as close to tour averages as humanly possible. We have the PGA and LPGA stats posted on our wall so they can see for themselves.
By now we have the shaft profile and stiffness that reduces droop but keeps the lag that his swing style requires. We have adjusted the total mass of the club to get his path lined up better with the target line. His hook is gone or just a slight draw. He is hitting the green more and more. At this point we make fine tunings to his clubs and tweak the weight and balance point. At the end of that heft fitting process we have him dead straight and longer.
We often work on showing a client how to educate his hand movements. We adjust his set up to ensure center face contact and the quad shows us within millimeters as we move him closer and close to center face contact. We work on whatever it takes to ensure his lie angle is dead on. By this point he is center face and perfect lie and is now hitting 12 out of 14 greens with no hook. His smash factor is now up from 1.23 to 1.34 which is above PGA tour averages. Tiger says that he cannot believe what just happened and that we are ‘magicians, golf magicians’. A picture is worth a thousand words and a demonstration if worth a thousand pictures so we use both pictures and demonstrations to help the client develop a better swing during the process. We dig as deeply as necessary to ensure a better golf game for every client.
After five hours, we wrap up the fitting by printing out the client’s detailed spec sheet so we can start the design and blueprinting process in phase one of the building process. This takes us two hours. Then we undertake the arduous process of the physical build which can take another 4-6 hours. At the end of each phase of the build we do quality control checks to make sure that the build is within one quarter of one percent variance from the test club that we assembled for Tiger during the fit. We guarantee that level of accuracy in our builds and that every club will feel the same and play the same as the test club he hit so well by the end of the fitting.
We know and believe whole heartedly that you are only as consistent as your clubs are so we get his new golf clubs as close to perfect as humanly possible. We have many clients who bought irons from us 18 years ago and who are still playing them today. Why?: because they have not found anything better after all this time. You can read a client’s opinion about that on our reviews page.
And now after the meticulous assembly process, unparalleled in the golf industry we invite the client back in to test out his/her new clubs. We put impact labels on his new clubs and he hits each club and we work on our special set up system to ensure center face contact. You can see examples of these tapes on the reviews page. Be aware that the assembly process is just as important as the fitting process and this quality control step is what some clients call indispensable as it pulls everything we have done together for them. If your clubs weren’t assembled by those who fitted you then you were not custom fitted and you will never reach your full golf potential. The reason I say that is our blueprint process. At that time, we discuss the pyramid for this golfer and make decisions of the design of the set that greatly impact the outcomes. This visit is our quality control check for the client to ensure the clubs deliver as promised.
Tiger starts with the wedges and works his way through the entire set, one club at a time until we get center face with each club. His smile builds but when he gets to the four iron he pauses saying he has never been able to hit a four iron before. I see he is nervous and I remind him of what he saw when I shared his build blueprint, all the clubs are assembled to the same specs so they all feel the same and play the same. If you can hit one well you can hit them all well. This chat makes him feel more confident and he takes his first swing with the new four iron. He hits it first time dead center and asks, “Wow can I hit that one again?”. Of course you can hit is as often as you wish.
Tiger pays his final payment and when leaving with a huge smile on his face he says, “I came in expecting a new set of better clubs and I got them but I am also leaving with a better golf swing that will stay with me for a lifetime. This was the best golf experience of my life. Thank you.” We of course are proud but not surprised because this is the result we get with every client.
If you have been custom fitted somewhere ask yourself one question: was that experience anything like this one? If you have not been fitted you now know what to ask of any company that you are considering to fit new clubs for you.
By the time, we finish with Tiger and every other client we have spent 12-16 hours making sure the clubs are as close to perfect as humanly possible. We also advise Tiger as he leaves that we enjoyed working with him and that any future minor tweaks that he might need will be done at not charge. To date he has only contacted us to say how thrilled he is with the new clubs and has sent us pics of his center face contact. We give every client impact tapes before they leave so they can focus on center face during practice. Sometime soon I will email Tiger to check in with him, his success is our success. 80% of our clients are referrals which means they love our clubs enough to send in their friends. We are pumped.
From this real life, recent fit you can see how we operate and what we mean by integrated custom fitting. We are not just making numbers come up better on a launch monitor we are creating new swings for a lifetime. Our clients also score lower, enjoy the game more and have more fun on the golf course. They report back to us that they hit our clubs longer and straighter. I have the best job in the world, helping golfers enjoy our great game one golfer at a time. We love our clients and we offer lifetime support to them for any questions about their golf game.
There are many happy Tigers out there playing Power Golf clubs. Nobody does it better and we tailor our pricing to your budget which is a big part of the custom concept. We are not offering the lowest prices but we do offer the best custom club fit on the planet and the only integrated approach. Why settle for anything less than optimal? No matter what your price point you get the same fit as described here.
A final note: we had a customer who said I didn’t want to change my swing and still don’t want to change my swing. We understand that not everyone wants to be the best they can be. That is fine with us but he still left hitting the center of the face much more often than before. Look at our reviews page and you will read many testimonials like Tiger’s.
Think birdies and eagles!