Recently, one of our long-term clients visited us for a session to go through his bag. He’s a scratch golfer that regularly competes in local tournaments, and wanted to leave no stone unturned in making sure that his clubs were optimized for his game. There was one specific problem area he wanted us to address, but mostly he wanted to see if all the clubs were performing where they needed to.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the things that we uncovered that will help illustrate how a “tuneup fitting” can help make sure your club performance is optimized.
The 3-Wood Issue
The main problem our client wanted to address was his 3-wood. About four years ago, we fitted him for a Callaway fairway metal. At the time, it fit his needs perfectly as he was looking for an alternative club off the tee. We were able to bend it flat enough to suit his specific lie angle needs, and it performed well as a strong 3-wood for several seasons.
Since then, the golfer has become more proficient with his driver, and a shift in strategy has him sparingly using a fairway metal off the tee. Because his 3-wood has a lower loft, it launches lower, which made it very difficult for him to hit on approach shots (mostly par 5s). He came to us looking for a club he can hit higher, to use primarily for longer approach shots (235 yards, or more). Currently, he was avoiding his 3-wood altogether in those situations and opted to lay up short of the green.
Our primary challenge was finding a fairway wood that could be adjusted for a flat enough lie angle. Knowing the player’s swing tendencies, it was a short list between Titleist and Ping.
In our testing, both fairway metals were able to launch much higher with more distance than the golfer’s current club, which achieved our primary goal. The Titleist fairway wood allowed us to shift the center of gravity more towards the toe (the Ping did not have this kind of adjustability). This enabled us to reduce the amount of sidespin on the ball, which produced a straighter ball flight.
After a few rounds on the course, the golfer quickly saw a higher trajectory on approach shots and felt confident again attacking par 5s. Mission accomplished!
Checking In on the Irons
For the most part, the golfer was still very satisfied with his PXG irons that we fit him for almost four years ago. But he wanted to see if there were any potential gains to be had. Our first course of action was to measure his swing on our Foresight GCQuad launch monitors. We wanted to make sure his swing path and dynamic lie angle at impact were still appropriate for the iron’s specs. After confirming that everything still looked good, we checked all of the lofts and lie angles on his irons to see if anything had bent out of place.
The lofts on his irons were correct, but three irons had lie angles that needed to be re-adjusted back to their initial positions.
Lastly, the golfer wanted to know if he was perhaps missing anything with any of the newer models that had been released. The only iron we felt that could be appropriate for him was the new Mizuno MP-20 HMB. The launch monitor data showed marginal changes in ball flight compared to his PXGs (slightly more spin). But certainly not anything enough to convince him to change. Overall, his current irons should suit his needs for years to come.
During some fittings, we’ll find out that a golfer’s swing has changed considerably. This could mean that the fix is to adjust the specs of their clubs, such as lie angle. Other times, a newer iron head could be more appropriate for their newer swing. Our goal is always to test variations, and if we can show meaningful changes, then it might make sense for our clients to make a switch.
With players that play and practice a lot, it’s common that they can wear out their wedges within one season. Our golfer had logged close to 80 rounds and plenty of practice sessions (with a lot of wedge work) since we got his Ping Glide 2.0s about a year ago. A quick inspection of the faces led us to believe that the grooves had started to wear out significantly. As we mentioned in our wedge fitting article, worn grooves become a significant issue on less-than-perfect lies, but also, we will see a reduction in spin on clean lies in the fairway as well.
We tested his current wedges on the launch monitor versus the new Ping Glide 3.0 wedges. Also, after checking the lofts of his gap, sand, and lob wedge, we noticed that a few of the lofts had bent out of spec by a degree.
The launch monitor data showed a fairly significant reduction in spin rates of his old wedge compared to newer ones. It was enough for the golfer to replace them since controlling wedges are crucial for him to score in tournaments. Even gaining a stroke here or there could be the difference between a missed cut at his level. For another golfer, they might be willing to wait it out another year or two.
Wrapping It Up
The player’s driver, hybrid, and putter all seemed perfectly optimized for his technique. Our primary adjustment was getting a new fairway metal into his bag that could allow him to hit approach shots high enough into greens on par 5s again. Luckily, his irons only needed a few tweaks. Getting a new set of wedges was another decision he felt could give him a better chance in tournaments since we would be able to control his distances and trajectories more efficiently with fresher grooves.
Depending on how much time has elapsed, if there were any changes in technique or upgrades in technology, a “tuneup fitting” can offer different results for each player. Our goal, as always, is to provide our expertise, honesty, and testing to discover whether or not any of the clubs in your bag need to be changed. Sometimes it can be as simple as adjusting your lie angles. Other times, it might make sense to go with a new iron set. We’ll always leave the decision up to our clients; our goal is to show them what kind of measurable results they can expect.
If you’re interested in going through your bag this offseason, you can visit our schedule fitting page.