Miles of Golf, my local pro shop was offering a free club evaluation this week, so I went in to have them take a look at how well my driver fits my game.
The test confirmed what I already knew: that I am a short driver, who really should be using a club with a regular shaft. My current driver is a TaylorMade 425 with a stiff Fujikura shaft. I think I need to get into a Burner, or a Cleveland XLS with a regular shaft.
Miles tests equipment with a system called the Trackman, which incorporates Doppler radar to measure club speed, attack angle, club path, vertical swing plane, dynamic loft, face angle, ball speed, verticle and horizonal angle, spin rate, spin axis, maximum height, carry, flight time and landing angle. It’s the same technology used in recent golf broadcasts such as the Masters and the Players. As with those broadcasts, the system not only collects numbers, but also shows a graphical representation of your ball’s flight.
My swing and driver were tested by Shawn Zawodni, who was terrific at explaining the system and walking me through the process. First, he entered my current club’s model and specifications into the computer, and then had me hit a series of balls. After each swing, the machine showed the stats for my swing and the ball flight.
After six swings—all of which I hit pretty consistently—the machine averaged the results. Shawn then used the computer to “normalize” the results, compensating for the weather: temperature, altitude, pressure, humidity and ground type. I don’t think, however, that it compensated for the fact that I was hitting with range balls. I’m absolutely convinced that I’m ten yards shorter with range balls.
The results of the test showed that I hit the ball fairly short, with a high spin rate. My clubhead speed is right around 90 mph. I may be slightly faster in actual practice—those enclosed bays with the roofs make me nervous and I consciously slow down my swing. My launch angle was 14 degrees—the club is 9.5.
My accuracy is dead on, however. A print of the shot dispersal shows that all of them fell to within a couple of yards to the left of center. That much was good.
Shawn also put a strip of impact tape on the clubface. That also showed that I was very consistent. I hit one ball right after another on the same spot. Unfortunately, it was on the hosel side of the face. That, Shawn said, is costing me yards, and giving my ball flight its characteristic looping fade. Getting the impact further out on the face likely would add more than a couple of yards.
I also was able to try out a couple of other clubs while I was there. I had some moderate success with the Callaway FT-i, and with a Cobra, but once again, the Cleveland XLS was spot-on. I’m going to have to give the Cleveland some more serious thought.
In all, the club check took about 20 minutes. I came away with several print-outs of the data and the confirmation of my suspicions.
Miles of Golf also has an extended fitting program which costs $150. For that, they’ll run you through a battery of tests and find the club set that fits you best. Twenty five percent of the fee can be applied to a new club set that you buy. I think if you’re in the market for a new set of irons or driver, getting fit is a good buy.