I just made a recent trip to the Cluboratory to test some new clubs with my club fitter, Nate Lammers. Nate knows my game so I always go to Nate. I had some equipment issues this season so I went there to look at my whole bag. Issue number one for me is always distance. Issue number two is that misses lately are mostly left especially with my irons. Issue number three is that my putting, usually the best part of my game, has been ordinary.
It is always an interesting question of when is the best time to go to the Cluboratory. I like to do it in the fall because my issues are fresh in my mind and my game has not been in hibernation. If you are not planning a Cluboratory session this fall, I would encourage you to at least jot down the issues you want to address when it is time. Also, at this point in the season, much of the new 2016 equipment is in the Cluboratory to try.
Now for issue number one (distance), here is what happened. I like my current driver, a TaylorMade RBZ and was skeptical that there was much that could be done to improve upon it. We tried a slew of new drivers and there was not much improvement, then all of a sudden one driver produced Trackman numbers that got Nate’s and my attention. It just stood out there with significantly more distance and was a clear winner. I can’t wait to take my new Callaway Great Big Bertha to the course.
Next, the problem of hitting it left with my irons. For me, when I learned to play, there were only forged blades that needed to be manually squared at impact to get the ball on target. Most of today’s clubs are engineered to effortlessly square to the target which is great unless you have this built in desire from years of playing the game to force the club head to get square to the target.
My dilemma with irons then is that I do not swing fast enough anymore for blades but some of the more forgiving clubs have a left bias for me. Nate’s solution, reduce the left bias of a forgiving club by bending the club to increase the loft and reduce the off-set. Who would know to do that but someone like Nate who makes a living at fitting golf clubs?
Finally, my putting. Here I switched to Ken Johns as my putter fitter. Ken specializes in putting and is one of the best in the business. Ken gathered data on my current putter using SAM (SAM is the Trackman equivalent for putting and is also considered the best in the industry). My putter is an old timer made by Bettinardi. From the data collected, the glaring problem was that I lined my putter up left. This caused me to do some goofy stuff to compensate for the poor alignment. We tried a bunch of different putters, but after knowing the problem, I was able to self correct. I was lucky because no putter performed better than my Bettinardi. Instead of a new putter, I have a better putting stroke from the time spent with Ken.