I’ve always been a work-things-out-for-myself type of golfer. I’ve only had one lesson ever from a professional which was an interesting exercise in itself as the pro had a sprained wrist at the time. In the end the main thing I got out of that thirty minutes was the whole idea of actually aiming at something very specific rather than something vague (like the entire fairway or the whole green) and even the pro pointed out that someone with a little bit of intelligence like a teacher should have been able to work that out for myself.
I’ve always been that way with golf equipment, choosing what I want based on a compromise between quality and price, which meant buying off the shelf or straight out of the bargain bin. This brings me to my latest purchase which bucks that trend – my new driver which I had fitted by the pro at my club.
I’ve owned a few drivers over the years starting back in 1989 when I bought a Taylor Made Burner Plus to replace the actual (made of wood) 1-wood that came with my first full set of Carnegie Clarks from the pro based at the Ceduna Open weekend. That was replaced by an updated Burner out of a bin at Grange Golf Club in the late eighties during a Country Golf Week visit. That served me well for quite a while until I bought a set of Tommy Armour Silver Scot 845s in the early nineties so I switched to the one metal that came with that set with a head smaller than a average three metal today.
I was introduced to the marvels of graphite shafts when I bought a second hand Callaway Big Bertha upon my return to Adelaide in the mid-90s, from the Pete’s Golf Factory shop at Darlington, which was eventually upgraded to a Cobra Ti, the ones with the dual dimples in the crown that Greg Norman promoted for quite a while. That lasted me for a while until I tried a demo Cobra 400 SZ one day on a whim. I liked it and bought it. About five years ago, I bought another demo, returning to my TaylorMade roots, this time a R9 that I thought served me quite well.
When I was swinging well, I was able to work the driver either way with a draw or a fade. Problem is that I have never been that consistent as a golfer but I was happy with it and it brought me good results. It sparked a bit of a trend with my Sunday foursome where two other guys in that group also followed suit and bought R9s to their preferred specifications as well.
Then one of the guys bought a new driver this year from eBay and I developed a strong case of club envy. His new weapon was a white R15 (which has since snapped in the handle but that’s another story for another post) and it made me wonder if I was actually using a driver that was best suited to my swing. I went on the web to check out the various golf forums to see what the average enthusiast was recommending for the mid-handicapper. One club kept coming up – the Ping G30. So I starting trying the demo one from the Pro Shop and I was beginning to see this as my potential new purchase. But I thought that this time, for the very first time, I would get fitted properly for the club.
I thought I actually got fitted for my irons a few years ago but in retrospect it was more a case of being told that my stance, swing etc suited an off the shelf set of clubs. I didn’t buy these from my club pro so I am definitely wiser for the future. So while I was developing an affinity for the Ping, I suspected that maybe there might be a more suitable driver in the marketplace for me.
I booked in with Warren the pro, and he used the camera and software system that is all part of the modern fitting process, and got me hitting my R9 in the nets. He then pulled out a couple of clubs, clicked in shafts that he deemed appropriate and got me hitting them. Turns out that I needed a club that flexes closer to the head and my R9 flexes closer to my hands. That would work well if I was close to a professional level golfer but sadly, I am not. He had me hit the Ping and offered the opinion that it offered nothing better in terms of consistency or extra length and got me hitting with his identified choice, the new Great Big Bertha. This offered tighter dispersion and according to the computer analyser, an average of 17 metres extra in drive distance! He tweaked the 9 degrees down to 8 degrees to produce a lower ball flight.
Thirty minutes later, I walked out with my new weapon, and allowing for the fact that a new driver still can’t mask fundamental errors in bad swings, it is certainly producing much greater consistency, the promised extra length and can be sneaky long on what feels like a mishit push that doesn’t slice. I would definitely recommend fitting, and know that when I want some new irons, fitting will be the way to go with my club pro and nowhere else.