I wanted to inject something simple into this Fall Fitting Series that gave you, the golfer, a simple checklist of things to keep an eye on when planning your next fitting or taking inventory of your bag.
On TOUR, Kellen Watson (Callaway Performance Rep) is someone I brainstorm with frequently, and these are the five things he always pays attention to when working with a player:
- Clubs first or ball first – always ball first, and always start fitting from the green back to the tee. If you find the ball that spins around the green, you can fit the rest of the clubs to that ball. With the number of options we have now, we can optimize what the golf ball does with any weight shaft readily available to us. For example, when Jon Rahm joined #teamcallaway, it started with him and CSX around the greens. If it didn’t work from 100 and in, the rest didn’t matter. It speaks to how good that ball really is.
- Optimum spin windows across the bag – very important, and this is grouped in with gapping. If the spin numbers are pinpointed, then most likely, the yardage gaps are closer together. Optimal spin has a heavy hand in any quality golf shot. As a fitter, if I have the spin windows in hand, the rest is usually pretty simple. Especially on TOUR.
- Gapping– we engage in a process called the “Performance Combine.” With a 100-shot session, we can pinpoint the changes that are needed to be made in terms of loft and lie. While capturing data in terms of spin, carry, dispersion, etc., we can finalize a player’s bag and specifications to use for the foreseeable future. These combines can also tell us if we need to research or test new shafts. For example, Sam Burns’s switch to the Apex TCB was based on a similar combine to this one.
- Start lines – It’s not as important for the average golfer (higher handicapper) because the starting line could be great, but the downrange slice or hook is not intended. On TOUR, the start line and down range dispersion tell an honest story of whether the spin, launch, etc., are in a good spot. When we say the ball in the air is the great equalizer, this is kind of what we are referring to. The ball flight doesn’t lie.
- Get fit to satisfy the courses you play the most – Golf will be much more enjoyable. On TOUR, we ensure that our players have all the options available no matter what course they are playing. In the real world, we all typically play one course 80% of the time so tune your bag to that course, and the results will follow.
- Many of our players will have multiple options that they travel with:
- Long par 5s
- Long rough
- Hard, fast greens
- Tight surrounds of greens
- Long par 3s
- If the average player would equip their bags to combat some of the tougher shots on their home course (IE, long par 3’s, tight par 4’s, long rough, tight chipping areas, etc.), they would definitely see their scores go down.
Wrapping it up
Good golf is chess, not checkers, and if you notice in Kellens remarks, he never talks about hitting it further. Efficiency and control are first and foremost. Granted, PGA TOUR players hit it a mile, but there is something to learn for all of us; at a baseline level, we should all strive for control and efficiency and add speed on top of that. Easier to play well when you know exactly where your ball is going (most of the time). Of everything he talked about, the one that I’m dying to try is the 100-shot combine. I’ve seen it go down on TOUR, and it’s pretty fascinating to watch. Even better, it’s something we could all do at home.
I feel a combine coming on….feel like that could be a fun video:)
If you missed the previous articles, here they are:)