While growing up in the 1980s playing the game, and working as a PGA professional in the 1990’s teaching the game, I tinkered with every new golf club trying to find that magic solution to improving my game.
I was always the joke among all of my golfing buddies who often commented: “What new set do you have in your bag today?” Now, I am older, and a born again amateur with a bad back that has caused me to lose distance. Until recently, I was on golf’s holy quest to find the perfect set of clubs to improve my game and help me find the lost distance. In my quest, I often ventured into typical golf retail stores and hit balls on simulators to see what the “stock” iron and shaft combination might work best, and seemingly always came up short.
Recently, I read a colleague’s article on Forbes.com about the nation’s largest premium custom club fitting company called Club Champion. I was immediately intrigued by the concept and had to check it out. So, this past weekend I went to Club Champion’s Willowbrook, IL headquarters to see what all the hype was, and it didn’t disappoint.
Entering the facility, I was immediately greeted by one of their club fitting professionals who had me fill out a short Q & A to get a gauge on my equipment, golf game and what my goal was with new irons. I circled more distance and better feel. I also noticed the large club fitting area, which appeared to have every shaft and iron head in the business, along with all of the equipment to custom build them. Turns out, they actually have 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations and this location is also where most every set they sell, in 20 locations across the country, is built and shipped. It was very cool!
Soon after, I was greeted by Kyle Morris, my custom fitter that day, who led me back through a series of hitting bays, which were all filled on this Saturday morning. I noticed immediately how every bay had its own Trackman, which was the first clue that the place was top of the line. Kyle was very knowledgeable and went through how the process would go and made it very clear that there is no bias at Club Champion. He said they want to get me into the best possible iron and shaft combination to improve my game.
He began by having me warm up with my 6-iron. Once I was ready, I hit 3-4 shots with my current clubs to create a baseline to work from. Kyle also asked me if I had any specific irons I wanted to try and we selected four different heads. He also checked the specs on my irons, + ½ inch length and 2-degrees upright. While I was warming up he disappeared into the shop and bent each of the heads to my current specs, and then reappeared with a few different shaft options to get started.
The Trackman launch monitor is an amazing piece of technology that has brought “Money Ball” (think baseball and numbers) to the game of golf. Kyle was looking at swing speed, ball velocity, smash factor, launch angle, ball spin rate, attack angle and much more. The main thing he wanted me to focus on was the carry distance (153-yards) and spin rate (6845), which is what we needed to improve on from my current set.
Kyle then collected club heads and a few shafts. He put together the first combination, Srixon 765 irons with Aerotech Steelfiber shafts. I was blown away! The average carry distance was 168 yards and the spin rate dropped to 5512. A whopping 15-yard gain! The iron also felt soft and my shot dispersion was tighter.
We continued the process going through a variety of shafts and iron heads, swapping them out quickly, analyzing the data and finding the right combination for me. Incidentally, Club Champion is one of a few fitters who fit for swing weight. They tested multiple weights in an individual shaft to find what worked best for me. Once we narrowed it down to the Srixon 765 irons with the Aerotech Steelfiber i95 stiff shaft, he put me on the lie board just to make sure the upright clubs were best for me, which we confirmed. I have to give Kyle props as the above iron and shaft combination was the first one he selected after watching me hit only four shots. To steal a phrase from the PGA Tour, “that’s why these guys are good.”
We also went through a wedge fitting where I selected the Cleveland RTX 3 Black – 54 and 58 degrees with the same Aerotech shaft. Club Champion costs range from $80 for a wedge fitting to $350 for a full bag fitting.
Kyle then reviewed with me all the data, the club combination that performed the best for my swing, and the process of how they built each club right in their club-building factory. That was where I really started feeling like a PGA Tour player. He explained to me how they perform shaft “PUREing” on each club, which analyzes the structure of each individual shaft and identifies the most stable bending plane. Then they install the shaft so it performs the most consistent on every shot.
My new clubs are on order and I feel like I have new life injected into my golf game. I have been through the process of club fitting before, trying to identify the best stock shaft options that are available. The Club Champion process takes fitting to the highest level. Imagine what PGA Tour players go through to get fitted and this is that same experience.
Serious golfers take notice. If you are going to invest in a set of new irons or woods, going through a Club Champion fitting will improve your game immediately. It doesn’t matter if you are a 20-handicap or a 3-handicap like me. I know already that going through the process and the new clubs are going to take strokes off my game. Why wouldn’t you want that for yourself?
This is one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in golf and fully believe it will become this generation’s leading way to buy equipment and will immediately lower your scores. For more information visit www.clubchampiongolf.com or call 888-340-7820.