Custom fitting clubs is nothing new anymore and with so many made to measure options available from all of the major manufacturers and top class clubmakers, you can be spoiled for choice.
All of the top players in the world have their clubs, every one of them, fitted to them perfectly using computers, video cameras and attention to detail from a technician in their company. .
If you have attended any European Tour events, you will know that lining the driving range are several vans, or workshops that are mainly there to tinker, repair, renew or build individual or sets of clubs for their staff players.
But are these services offered to the general player? Well, if you are serious about getting fitted with a new set of clubs, then all of the major manufacturers can custom fit a set to your specifications given a bit of notice.
But not all them offer the same facilities as they offer the Touring professionals, except for Callaway.
At the Callaway Golf Europe Performance Centre in Chessington, Surrey, the same facilities offered to their staff players such as Monty, Campbell, Parnevik and Phil Price is available to anyone showing an interest in purchasing a new set of Callaway’s. .
|Rhys Atkinson from Callaway|
The room is dedicated to improving your game to the best possible degree just by fitting your with the correct clubheads, shafts, lofts, lies and grip sizes and all it takes it 45 minutes of your time thanks to the expertise of the PGA Qualified analysts.
It is the same Sir Isaac Performance System as used in the Callaway Headquarters in Carlsbad, California which is used by the R&D department to test all of their clubs and is used by every Callaway staff player to get their equipment to the best possible specifications for their games.
Two high-speed cameras are mounted at different angles near the mat, one providing an overhead view, the other a side view of the ball after impact and such is the state of the art technology, these cameras can pick out over 2500 frames per second. .
|Vast array of clubs to choose from|
The system carefully measures club-head speed, which tells you how fast you are swinging the club and ball speed telling you the amount of energy that is transferred to the ball at impact.
The information is translated back to the main screen on the computer and it calculates how near you get to 100% efficiency, the perfect strike. It also tells you exactly how far you hit it through the air, how much roll and how much fade or draw spin you impart on the ball. Brilliant!
Moreover, the inspiration of teeing off toward the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach is also rewarding and when you get the driver in your hands and you make the fairway, you know you have a club that could be priceless to your game. .
|Sir Isaac System Computer...brilliant!|
Callaway have discovered that in order to play to your best, the launch angle of the ball is of utmost importance and by showing you the difference between your own clubs and a Callaway club made to your specification
The difference, I can tell you, was quite astonishing. In fact, with two different five irons, one that I thought fitted me and one that did fit me, was about 12-yards!
The solution was fairly simple. After playing around with the clubheads that I liked the look of, all Rhys Atkinson, my tutor for the day, had to do is find the one I required from his vast selection of irons.
With an adjustment of loft, lie, shaft length, flex and grip size, we found the Callaway X-14-Pro Series Iron that fitted my game perfectly. It gave me both the ball flight and distance I wanted, without increasing my club head speed or swinging any harder! 12-yards with no extra effort…I was definitely interested in that!
|The X-14 pro Series Clubs|
The secret was simply in the launch angle of the ball and the spin rate I hit it at. I was hitting my Titleist 962B 5-iron with 6166. rpm at impact, which gave me a carry (in perfect simulation conditions) of 182 yards. But when Rhys gave me the Callaway 5-iron fitted with a slightly stronger shaft and a thicker grip, the spin rate was reduced to 5169 rpm at impact which translated into an extra 12-yards…a one-club improvement in my distances!
Now, I am not knocking Titleist in any way. I have used my 962B’s for 18 months on and off, and this year, I have lowered my handicap from 5 to 2 and I have always been happy with them. But when someone shows you a club that adds yards like that, offers the same sort of feel and looks pretty similar, questions have to be asked as to whether it is time to upgrade!
The differences in distance was the same with most irons through the bag, but the piece de resistance was when you get to hit the drivers!
I play with a Callaway Pro Series Hawk Eye and have loved it ever since I plainly refused to give it back after some “Media” testing quite some time ago! But when Rhys put a new Hawk Eye VFT in my hands and then the newfangled ERC 2, things took an interesting turn.
|Add lots of yards with this...properly fitted of course!|
My own distances with the driver are not spectacular for my handicap, averaging around 240-yards carry with my current driver and straight as Robin Hood. But when somebody puts a club in your hands that does exactly the same, except adds 15-yards, all of a sudden, one covets the new club!
Fitted with a shaft I could swear I was not born to hit, being stiffer than a rod of iron, Monsieur Atkinson showed me that I could keep my ball flight down, add 15-yards and still find the fairways!
It got better! The ERC 2 added yet another 10 yards fitted with a “Strong” shaft with 9 degrees of loft…Have I got one on order? Well, £500 is a bit steep, but if someone up there is looking down on me…you now know my spec!
Overall, Callaway attend to your needs in exactly the same way as they would attend to Colin Montgomerie or Michael Campbell and while nobody guarantees that you will win seven consecutive order of merits and just miss out on winning major championships, it might just help you win your own competitions and above all enjoy your golf!
If you are interested in visiting the centre, contact your local Callaway stockist and they can arrange for a fitting time. However, it does take some time to get a slot as it is always booked solid such is its popularity, but once you have been there and tested it out, you will not be disappointed.