Getting Fit in 2014!

The winter of 2012 was a transformative one for my golf game. Following my first competitive golf experience (more on that another time) I had begun to take lessons (more on that soon, too!) and it unlocked fundamentals I simply did not know.  But what I think I most appreciated about the winter of 11-12 was my annual trip to the Toronto Golf and Travel Show where I made the time for a custom putter fitting from Ping Golf.  I was intrigued with their fitting technology which utilized a smart phone application clamped on a putter shaft to determine swing arc.  Alongside lie angle fitting and length specifications, and my selection of one of their many putter heads I had a ‘prescription’ for a new putter which I had custom made for me.  It is no surprise that 2012, and 2013, were the best statistical years of putting I have ever had.  I bought a new putter but what I feel I really bought was confidence.

And with that philosophy in mind I booked myself into Modern Golf (with locations in Mississauga and Oakville, Ontario and a new location in Vancouver, B.C.). It is visually stunning.  Spacious, modern, comfortable and literally two walls full of golf shafts; walking in I knew I was in the right place.  I had booked a day off work so I could relax and enjoy my scheduled 90 minute driver fitting appointment.  I brought my drivers with me and was dressed to hit some balls (although this was not my brilliant thinking, they wrote to me and requested I do so). After being greeting in the front – the staff there are so amazing – I was introduced to John Sawatsky who would lead my fitting appointment that morning.  John measured and recorded the specs on the two drivers I most recently used.  He outlined the process for the next 90 minutes and I proceeded to stretch.

Moving into one of their modern golf bays, we turned on the Masters coverage and I was offered a glass of water. I loosened up with some swings with an iron which took away the nervous energy (I was feeling very excited).  I then took about 10 swings with my current driver, a Callaway FT-ix (I love the square head technology, the look is very comfortable for me) and John was off to the side working the Trackman technology.  For those who are ‘feel’ players like me, Trackman may seem an overwhelming, complicated and busy array of numbers.  But the science does not lie and it helped me see important numbers like smash factor, spin rate, club speed and launch angle.  These were the numbers which John was drawn to.  I was drawn to carry distance and overall distance but the means are critical to understand the end.  John provided me a quick tutorial on the numbers and then he was off.  He returned quickly with two shafts from the wall and two new heads.  He installed the club he wanted to me to try.  I was swinging well that day, possibly better than I ever have with a driver, so this was helpful.  I took 5-10 swings with each club while John poured over the numbers and flight path of the ball.  His goal was simple:  optimization.

I loved the fact that I had a skilled fitter and all this science working for me. One club was not producing results after 2 swings and I advised him I did not like the feel.  He immediately took it away and provided me another.  In his words, he wanted to provide me optimal feel and performance. I really liked his approach!  Using shoe polish on the clubface, we could tell how solid I was hitting each shot.

My 90 minute appointment ended after 125 minutes! Like my putter, I had a ‘prescription’ for a driver with a custom shaft which is based on performance…an average of about 20 yards further than my stock Callaway club.   I’ll save up for this prescription; it is not an inexpensive venture.  But I looked back over the years and realized how much I have spent annually on clubs, hoping each purchase would be the magic elixir.

Next year, my treat to myself will be an appointment to get my irons assessed, or possibly my wedges?   I can’t recommend this highly enough to people.   My 90 minute session cost me $150 + taxes, so it was not cheap in itself, but I learned so much about my swing and like my putter fitting experience I feel I have bought myself some confidence moving forward!   Thanks to Modern Golf for a fantastic morning!

Of course, the other type of ‘fitness’ is another area I need to address…but that too is another topic for another day!! Get fit; it will help your game performance and enjoyment!