My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

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bkuehn1952
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My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by bkuehn1952 » Mon Aug 01, 2022 7:35 am

My step son and I went to two fitting sessions. First was irons, second was driver/ 3-wood / hybrid. Each was two hours. Hit somewhere around 125-150 balls each time. I have never been a range rat and hitting 100+ balls was a chore.

I had never hit balls in a simulator or been measured by a Trackman. Frankly I did not want to know how slow my swing was and I have never been comfortable hitting balls off astro turf. I also do not like being under assessment by some golf geek. The fact that the sessions were a gift from my family (Father's Day) was the only reason I was willing to get dragged into this cyber golf experience.

We may as well get right to the punch line so everyone can move on; my driver swing speed is 81.5 mph. On the plus side, my slow motion swing is very efficient. The geek felt I needed more height to maximize my distance. In the end we ended up with a Callaway Rogue ST Max head (10.5 degree) and a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF-Series 40 R-Flex shaft (all this stuff is pretty much blah, blah, blah to me). 3-wood similarly Callaway. Hybrid Ping G425 3-19 Degree.

Irons are Cobra King Forged Tex X with Aldila NV Iron 45 A shafts (shit, I may as well be trying to write this in Greek for all I understand).

Wedges are Cleveland.

All this will be built in 4-5 weeks, just in time for our first snow fall. Of course, this coincides with my playing the best golf in the past 5 years, using my beat up, mismatched set of 20-year old clubs. A final battle for my loyalty.

Positives:
I now know the grim reality about my ancient swing and no longer need to worry, just accept the truth
The geek was very good at putting me at ease and the fitting was fun ... sort of
Maybe this will translate into better golf

Negatives:
I don't like hitting off carpet into a screen. I need to see the real result, not what some computer tells me.
My pocket book is a lot lighter (I bought my step son's clubs, too)
Let's Play 36
GHIN Handicap: 7.8 … 9.2 … Let’s just say I am around a 14!

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DougE
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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Tue Aug 02, 2022 8:26 am

Hey BK. I read your post above yesterday and purposely left it up on my screen to remind me to reply to you as soon as I get a chance to sit down and do so. Now, is not gonna be the time. Not yet, anyway. But I will soon. This job responsibility thingy is really cutting into my free time. It's turned into so much more than I bargained for. Mostly all good, though. Will reply soon.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by legitimatebeef » Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:29 am

Sounds like a painful but necessary action for anyone looking to eke out some better scores. Yikes!
Build a bridge and get over it.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:41 am

BK, I mostly agree with everything you say and feel about the fitting process, though begrudgingly, I have put myself through many fittings, even so. In my case, admittedly, all were strictly for Titleist clubs, except for one Ping putter fitting over a decade ago. (Putter fittings are a different animal, with no real self-conscious discomfort aspect to speak of and have no business being included in a discussion about the negatives of club fitting.)

Your thinking is right in line with mine. I don't care for launch monitors and don't really trust what they say. I need to be outdoors, hitting off real turf with an actual target a hundred to 300 yards away from me to feel comfortable over the ball. Hitting from inside a little box, with a ceiling over my head does not allow me the freedom to swing my swing for some reason. Every fitting I have ever had was done outside. In those instances, then yes, a good launch monitor is helpful for highlighting many swing path angles, spins and speeds. But, bottom line for me is, "feel" and what I can see the ball clearly do in front of me for the actual 100-300 yards of flight tells me all I need to know. (Well, in my case 100-250 yards.)

Generally speaking though, I stay away from simulators. We have four at our club which are set up inside for winter leagues (and public play at other times as well.) I was responsible for getting them up and running each day when I worked this past winter and/or put away each night. I had plenty of opportunities to use them almost any day. I rarely did, because I just don't like the results they give me. Nothing like I see in real life out on a golf course. However, one evening when no one was there, I picked up an 8 iron and hit what felt to me as a perfect shot with a slight baby draw. According to this high-end Foresight GC-2 launch monitor, it flew 124 yards. In real life, with little to no wind, I hit my 8 iron 135-150 yards, nearly every single decent swing I put on it. Hell, I can hit my 9i almost 140 when I step on it. And it's not just me. Others in the leagues have said the same thing about the distances. So, if they get the distance wrong, what else are they getting wrong? Just put me on a range, give me a bunch of shafts to try, I will surely find a good one that fits my swing, based on what I actually see happening in real life using the swing I am comfortable swinging. Pretty simple.

Youngsters who have grown up in a high tech, virtual reality world may disagree. Whatever works for you, but I get my confidence from what I actually see. Not what I might see in theory.

As far as your swing speed, 81 mph with driver translates to around 160-165 yards of carry. That doesn't sound right to me based on my understanding of your game as described to us over the years. Your extremely efficient swing may add some yards though, and paired with the correct shaft, even a bunch more. Add some roll and you are closer to 200+. So I guess, maybe? My driver SS was around 94-96, last time I checked. That was about three years ago. Yet, I hit the ball further now than I did 10 years ago. It's a regular event for me to see a couple 250 yard drives or more (including roll) each round these days, yet I'm older. Go figure. My swing is better though (some days), so I guess efficiency is key. I do believe I have added some speed through efficiency over the last couple years.

Wondering about your wedge fitting process. Was it hitting off various turf lies? Full shots, chips and pitches? Bunker play?

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by bkuehn1952 » Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:47 pm

The machine was set to sea level. Michigan is not mountainous but the fitter told me we might add 5 yards to the carry numbers. The machine spit out 193.6 yards carry (average) and 216.5 overall (average). Add 5 yards and we are closing in on an average carry of 200 and 220 overall. These numbers are not way longer than my current Callaway driver but I will need to see how the new club performs in the real world. According to the machine I should, on average, pick up 10+ yards of carry and 15 total.
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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:50 pm

The "machine"....That's funny. Your age is showing😉.

Tell me about your wedge fitting process.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by bkuehn1952 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:11 am

DougE wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:50 pm
The "machine"....That's funny. Your age is showing😉.

Tell me about your wedge fitting process.
We did not spend a lot of time with wedges. I hit maybe 4-5 heads and we picked the one that looked and felt best. Maybe we did more but I can't recall. All the freakin' balls I hit is a blur.
Let's Play 36
GHIN Handicap: 7.8 … 9.2 … Let’s just say I am around a 14!

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by GBOGEY » Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:11 pm

I think it has to do with more when did you start playing golf than your age as I'm not much younger than either of you and I wouldn't make a major club purchase without some sort of fitting, but I've still been playing less than 15 years. In fact, one reason I haven't upgraded my driver/woods is I'm too busy to put the time in to get fitted. No I don't trust the distances from those machines - I've seen way too much variability at the Toptracer range - but I would require some sort of trackman to look at relative distances of different clubs.

That said my beliefs fall into two camps - for adjustable clubs like drivers, I'm honestly not sure there's much difference between clubs. The clubs are so adjustable that they can somewhat be made to be the same. However, without a fitting, I wouldn't have a clue how to adjust the club to the right place (unless I default and just buy a newer version of my Cobras). Sure I know that there are differences between a Callaway and a Titleist, but I think much more of it has to do with how your brain reacts visually than the different club technologies.

Irons I believe are a little easier - I think it's possible to see and feel the differences between irons but it sure is nice to have the data and graphs to back up your purchase. At the same time, when I bought my pings after my first fitting, I knew they were the clubs even before the fitting as I had tried so many clubs multiple times. In fact, the pro who fitted me insisted that I compare multiple clubs even though I told him the pings were the ones. After two swings he said, "you're right, those are going to be the clubs." Felt the same way when I bought my Titleist.

Finally, just to give Doug something to comment on, I know he's a shaft geek. I'm an anti-shaft geek. The equipment companies know what they are doing and so the standard shafts work the best for the majority of players. Yes, there are likely better shafts out there for me than the standard but I'm not willing to pay the time and money to find the right one as standard works pretty well in my case.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:35 pm

@GBOGEY OMG, I can't even believe you can possibly believe the statements you are making. I think you are just trying to yank my chain. Adjustable heads are basically the same? Seriously? It's clear you are an anti-shaft and club design geek. As a club geek myself, not just a shaft geek, I can assure you the world is not flat, nor can adjustable clubs be made to perform the same as any other adjustable designs. Each is designed very differently. No matter how good my Macbook Pro is, it will never perform the same way as a PC. Wasn't designed to. In golf clubs, one size does not fit all. You're kidding, right?

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by GBOGEY » Tue Aug 09, 2022 10:00 am

@DougE yes and no. My issue is that I tend to hit the ball too low. I see others with naturally higher ball flight. So yes there are some clubs that are better for me than for others. This is why I think I ended up with Cobras when I did my first driver fitting - I think Cobra's technology helps get the ball up into the air better than some others, whereas maybe TM or Callaway may not as much.

On the other hand, my Cobra driver came with three loft settings and at least four adjustable weight settings, so 12 different options. Looking at a Titleist TS2 for example, I believe that there are four different lofts and 16 different weight settings, so that's 64 total settings - this doesn't include the other three Titleist drivers. So I believe that a really skilled fitter could find something in those 64 settings that comes pretty close to what my Cobra does.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Tue Aug 09, 2022 11:17 am

That's not exactly how it works. Yes, you can make minor adjustments with a driver designed to do certain things. But there are other drivers designed to do more of what you are looking for which won't require adjustments, or at least no major adjustments. When you start making adjustments to a driver design, you will be getting further away from the optimum results that driver was designed to meet at its standard setting. The further you move away from the "standard" design of the driver, the less likely you are to get the full benefit of the what the driver head was designed to do best in the first place.

Would love to get in the weeds on this, but have to get to work now. From my perspective, you are overlooking many variables of how and why club heads are made differently when making your argument. Adjustability is not a fix-all. It is simply a way to make any driver work a little better (or worse) for some, but by no means would it allow you to dial in the perfect setting for everyone. That's why there is a TSi1, Tsi2, Tsi3 and TSi4 in the Titleist line (just like most other manufacturers offer as well). First find the best head that meets the player's swing and needs, then adjust from there. Then find the best shaft. It truly does work best that way. Believe it or not.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by GBOGEY » Tue Aug 09, 2022 1:27 pm

Doug, I agree with you more than you realize but I do disagree to some extent. Let use this instance: I was fitted for my first driver 10-11 years ago. I tried and compared several models from different makers, at least 4-5. The data said that Cobra was the clear winner. I went into the fitting with no preference for a Cobra driver - this is before Ricky and Lexi so infatuation was not a factor. A few years later I was thinking about upgrading my driver - I barely tried one or two drivers, then the newest Cobra, and then decided that the Cobra worked better. Now there clearly was something about Cobra drivers that allowed me to hit them better, at least at the first fitting. That I cannot deny.

But I bet that if I went to the Titleist Performance Institute and got the very highest level fitting I'm pretty sure that from the four driver options and 16 settings per driver, that they could come up with a Titleist driver that performed as well as a stock Cobra option. My guess is that this could be done with a stock shaft, but worse case they'd find a way to do it standard no up charge shaft.

Shafts discussion takes me to a whole different place. I know that there are better shafts out there for me that will improve my game. The question is what is the time and money to find it. All I'm saying here is this, the people who design and make these clubs are pretty smart people. The standard shafts that come with the clubs are going to produce pretty good results for the vast majority of players. Maybe the stock shaft isn't the very best for anyone, but it works pretty well for most. Otherwise they'd be making clubs that didn't work for most players and that's a bad business model.

It also could be that I'm just a pretty standard guy - height, build, etc. So the standard works for me.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by DougE » Tue Aug 09, 2022 8:16 pm

GBOGEY wrote:
Tue Aug 09, 2022 1:27 pm

But I bet that if I went to the Titleist Performance Institute and got the very highest level fitting I'm pretty sure that from the four driver options and 16 settings per driver, that they could come up with a Titleist driver that performed as well as a stock Cobra option.
Or, more likely, better.
GBOGEY wrote:
Tue Aug 09, 2022 1:27 pm

All I'm saying here is this, the people who design and make these clubs are pretty smart people. The standard shafts that come with the clubs are going to produce pretty good results for the vast majority of players. Maybe the stock shaft isn't the very best for anyone, but it works pretty well for most. Otherwise they'd be making clubs that didn't work for most players and that's a bad business model.
Absolutely true.

The stock shafts each manufacturer offers are decided upon based on the way they perform in each of their heads, as well as their cost relative to that performance, and the ability to offer a top shelf product without breaking the bank. Sometimes stock shafts work perfectly for some players. Yet, the aftermarket/exotic shaft market is huge, which suggests that there are far better options for some players (usually better ones) if they are willing to put in the time and expense to find them.

Though I don't rely heavily on launch monitor numbers, I do take the info they provide for drivers seriously and use it as a part, not all, of my decision-making process when purchasing a new shaft. But, for me, hitting Tour level balls (instead of range balls) out on the course is the ultimate piece of the shaft-purchasing puzzle. Since 2010 I have probably played 20 or more different shafts in my various Titleist drivers. Some of those of which I could see a marked positive difference, stayed with me when I moved on to a newer model head. However, I continued to experiment as my swing changed due to injury or got more efficient. The biggest positive effect that has ever come from a shaft change for me was when I put in my present driver shaft, in 2021. Yes, it is an exotic shaft. (Graphite Design Tour AD-IZ 55 Stiff.) I can't prove it has added 20 yards, but it sure feels like it has. Certainly a few yards have been added, but the stability I have gotten out of this shaft is unmatched in anything I have played before. Even heavier shafts. For me, the confidence I have due to the results I have seen make all the difference and it is worth the extra cost I paid for it. It's a higher launch, low spin shaft. Coupled with the new lower spinning 2022 AVX ball, I have hit some of the best drives I have ever hit since I began playing golf. And at my age, no less.

So for me, and most good players (like you) there is something to be said for finding the best shaft. I'm not sure what I have is the best, but for now, it is the best I have ever played. And that gives me a little extra confidence standing on the tee. Still gotta put a good swing on it, though.

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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by bkuehn1952 » Wed Oct 12, 2022 1:15 pm

bkuehn1952 wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:47 pm
The machine was set to sea level. Michigan is not mountainous but the fitter told me we might add 5 yards to the carry numbers. The machine spit out 193.6 yards carry (average) and 216.5 overall (average). Add 5 yards and we are closing in on an average carry of 200 and 220 overall. These numbers are not way longer than my current Callaway driver but I will need to see how the new club performs in the real world. According to the machine I should, on average, pick up 10+ yards of carry and 15 total.
I will say that yesterday, it seemed like my new driver and 3-wood were considerably longer than my old clubs. Of course, the course was very firm but it was not hard to note that many times my drives were equal to or longer than two golf buddies who almost always hit it 30-40 yards past me. Even they noticed and I think they began to over swing because they started to spray the ball. ;)
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Re: My First (and last?) Fitting Sessions

Post by MattF » Thu Oct 13, 2022 5:42 am

Good to hear the results are positive for you...and you can make some buddies a bit jealous.
Throw me another ball will ya!

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