I'm a mug when it comes to golf equipment. I have fallen for every technological claim made by the big manufacturers and not one has resulted in a straight drive. They have, however, resulted in an empty wallet!
Then I heard about Orka Golf, a company which sells through registered club-makers, not through traditional golf stores and I felt they may be worth a try. After all, my own decisions and the recommendations of the stores I had been to had been wrong, so why not give it a go?
I emailed Orka and received a very prompt response from managing director, Stuart Johnson who put me in touch with a couple of my nearest club fitters. I contacted John Whiteside at Strike Right Golf in Upper Stowe, Northamptonshire, who put me at ease by pointing out that I was not alone in having wasted money on wrong drivers. He assured me I could walk away without committing to a purchase and there would be no pressure to buy a Orka club if something else suited me better.
As a high handicap golfer - I'm not yet a member of a club and play on local pay-and-play courses - it was with some trepidation that I went ahead with my fitting. Surely this was the realm of better players than me?
I needn't have been so anxious. John spent at least 30 minutes explaining what the fitting would entail, why some of my clubs were unsuitable for me and why many claims by some major brands were off the mark. After all, if every promise of an extra 10 yards on a drive was correct, we would all be hitting 400 yards by now and the pros would be driving the golf ball half a mile.
We measured my irons and immediately identified that I would benefit from a shortening of my shafts - totally opposite to the results that a previous static fitting had given me.
I hit the remaining drivers I owned (I still had a couple that had not found their way to ebay) and my strikes were all over the place, mostly and with a banana-shaped slice.
He pointed out that my shafts were between 44-46 inches while most pros 43-inchs shafts. The extra length was causing some of my inconsistency after a couple of swings with shorter-shafted clubs I realised we were getting somewhere. We then tried a number of heads in different lofts and spotted that more loft was appropriate for me.
The outcome after over two hours of discussion and trial was an Orka KII driver with a high loft combined with one of my existing shafts while the rest of my clubs were also shortened and re-gripped.
A week later, I was invited back to try my new clubs and grabbed the driver with anticipation. It felt good and I hit the first two shots, under the watchful eye of the monitor, 200 yards through the air with just two yards of deviation to the right. Wonderful.
Later, out on the course I was able to emulate my performance. While not every drive was dead straight, none were further right than the light rough and with no loss in distance.
Little of this report has been about the club; buying an Orka driver is about so much more. I now have a driver that I enjoy hitting as well as a bag of clubs that fit me. The driver has all the bells and whistles you would expect with a modern club, including moveable weight technology and high MOI, and I now fully understand what these mean and what they can achieve.
In the end, I had all this work done and learned so much about my swing and my game for just over £200 - less than the price of a premium brand driver off the shelf.
It's too early to tell if the Orka KII driver is best driver out there but I'm driving the ball straighter and further than I ever have and I can't offer a higher recommendation than that.
So if you are on your umpteenth driver and still have not found the right club the Orka company is well worth considering. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain from a custom-fit.
I'm now striking the ball consistently out of the centre of the club and it's going straight without any draw bias. What more affordable way is there for the average player to get properly fitted?
Tell us on the forum about your club-fitting experiences.
Greg Begy (34) is a solicitor, living in Rutland, who plays chiefly at Sudbrooke Moor pay and play course near Grantham. He isn't a club member but estimates his handicap around 24 and plans to join a club next year.
The value of a custom-fit by Orka