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The Henry-Griffitts Fitting Experience

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We first met Randy Henry in the Palm Springs area during the beginning of winter 2008.  Easygoing but professional, we were immediately impressed by his ability to tell us everything about our game just by seeing us swing a few times.  Indeed, we had just met the “human launch monitor” as others had called him that has over 40 years of teaching experience under his belt.  This first encounter was just the tip of the iceberg of what we would learn about the Henry-Griffitts history, fitting system, and the people behind the name. 

Randy Henry started playing golf with his family when he was very young and became quite passionate about the game.  A serious accident changed the way he looked at the game in the 1970s.  He became more aware of the golf swing and the actual equipment itself.  It was apparent to him that equipment could make or break the game for many golfers.  With Jim Griffitts he founded Henry-Griffitts in 1983.  These golf pros wanted to focus on equipment that was not made for the masses but for an individual golfer’s game.  They wanted a smaller company that would give them total control over the way the clubs were fit and built as opposed to the “one size fits all”, off-the-rack concept that permeated the industry at the time.  Whatever the Tour pros played at the time was what was sold on the shelves of golf shops.  This, Henry-Griffitts recognized, did not serve the average golfer very well at all in most cases. 

During our first encounter Randy Henry and his son Randall brought out the familiar HG fitting cart full of right-handed gear to try out.  The cart has a plethora of possible shaft and head combinations and one is fit based on their swing and lie angle among other factors.  The righty and better golfer of us spent the next half hour fine-tuning his swing with Randy. 

 

Before I go any further let me tell you a bit about “us”.  The righty is a high swing speed, lower handicap golfer that has played for many years.  He’s about 6’ and an ex-professional athlete that is has been put in X flex shafts for every fitting that we’ve been to.  The lefty (that’s me) is an average swing speed, higher handicapper that has played just about 4 years.  I’m always fit to men’s regular flex shafts and this is likely due to being 5’10” and athletic.   

You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that Mr. Henry had the righty hitting a driver blindfolded.  I’m not kidding.  Randy knows how to get a golfer to focus on the part of his swing that works and encourages one to use their natural swing or what comes easily to a golfer.  In addition, he is honest about what you need to be successful and does not give you tips to fix a swing that isn’t broken or try to fit you to a particular mold.  Some golfers can hit any equipment and be good.  Other golfers benefit immensely from specific equipment.  The righty was in the first group and I fell into the latter according to Mr. Henry. 

The next time we saw Randy was in Orlando at the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show.  Again, he was talking people through the mechanics of a golf swing in the aboutGolf simulator that was set up.  Although this encounter had nothing to do with an actual fitting, it is worth mentioning because of the interesting people we met with the HG/aboutGolf group.  We met the first tour player to use Henry-Griffitts clubs at this function, Mr. Homero Blancas.  Knowing that I was sitting at a table with a legend of the game I couldn’t help but ask Mr. Blancas to tell me stories of the game of golf in his lifetime.  He obliged and told us that he learned the game because his father was a groundskeeper at a golf course.  He played as often as he could and eventually became very good.  He once shot an impressive 55 in a college tournament on August 19, 1962 and told me that he didn’t quite realize what was happening as he played the round.  He said that playing one hole at a time was the secret to his success for this accomplishment.  Indeed, it was a treat to hear his recollections.

Our third encounter with Mr. Henry was again in the California desert.  This time he concentrated on what could improve my game and had the cart full of lefty options.  One thing that he immediately pointed out was that my follow-through needed a bit more of a following all the way through as far as my wrists were concerned.  I tended to have a horrible slice at times that sent the ball well off of the fairway.  Where one professional had suggested I open the clubface more, Randy suggested I leave it in its natural spot when on the ground and completely turn my wrists over at the end of my swing.  When I did the ball went straight in front of me as it was meant to each time.  Imagine that.  The other thing he told me was about my lie angle.  Five degrees flat, he said, and followed up with other famous pros with the same sort of measurements.  HG claims that over their history they have observed that a majority of golfers are playing with incorrect dynamic lie angles.  Therefore, the keystone of an HG fitting is determining this piece of information.

Another issue I have had recur with my game is not enough launch from the ball.  I can get a respectable distance but when I get a bad one off it resembles a line drive from a baseball bat.  Throughout the fitting it didn’t matter how poorly I hit a shot, he was quite encouraging the entire time.  It never seemed forced to me at all, I saw a golf enthusiast with such a love for the game that he wishes everyone who picks it up to succeed. 

Just over a week after this final fitting, new HG clubs arrived on my doorstep.  I was more than excited to try the HG GL II irons out and just had to get to the range.  I’ve got a late uncle that swore by his HG clubs that he was fitted for back in the late 1980s and I would finally see what he was raving about.  How much better would I hit the ball with these new irons than my three-year-old X-18s that I really loved?  These Callaways that I was gaming had been fitted to me and recently had the loft and lie angles adjusted so they would be at the correct specs to not have gaps between the clubs.  I had many lessons and had developed a certain swing that compensated one way or another in order to play.  Mr. Henry told me that the correct clubs would make a significant difference for me.

 

So far…he’s right.  Sure, I’ll hit a bad one every so often – after all, nobody is perfect even with perfectly fit clubs and all the concentration in the world.  What I do notice?  My signature slice doesn’t rear its ugly head so often anymore.  In addition, I am getting a lot more height under the ball.  One of the best things about this whole experience is having wedges that I can actually hit with a result that they are supposed to have instead of some crazy shot that looks like I’ve never picked up a club before.  I’m quite excited by these new clubs and can’t wait to game them a few times to see if my score improves at all.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but I mean it…so far I am very impressed with these clubs.  Even more I’m excited to have learned a few tidbits from such an experienced pro like Randy Henry.  The value of the entire experience is not lost on me at all. 

The info on the HG website for these GL II irons is as follows: 

The GLII is the evolution of the best selling Henry-Griffitts GL line and features a mid-size head design, 431 stainless construction, tour-grind leading edge, and a bottom weighted, offset blade with a lie range of 7° flat to 6° upright.

#                      Length             Loft                 Lie                   Bounce

1-iron               39½ in.            15°                   59°                  

2-iron               39 in.               17°                   59½°               

3-iron               38½ in.            20°                   60°                  

4-iron               38 in.               23°                   60½°               

5-iron               37½ in.            26°                   61°                  

6-iron               37 in.               30°                   61½°               

7-iron               36½ in.            34°                   62°                  

8-iron               36 in.               38°                   62½°               

9-iron               35½ in.            42°                   63°                  

P-iron              35½ in.            46°                   63°                  

T-iron              35½ in.            50°                   63°                  

S-iron              35 in.               55°                   63½°                12°

Lob-iron          35 in.               60°                   63½°               

So let me clarify a few things – Henry-Griffitts and aboutGolf joined forces in late 2008 to make a software version of Randy Henry.  Actually, Randy and his son Randall are working to produce advanced software that uses artificial intelligence that will integrate with HG’s custom data measurement system to create a virtual Randy.  The goal is to provide teaching and fitting advice and guidance.  They call this “TechCentric Club Fitting” and the two components – data measurement and fitting software will make it possible for others to have nearly the same experience of being fit by Randy Henry himself. 

HG has also recently introduced a new line of irons:  The new OS-1 Irons.  Here’s the scoop straight from HG’s recent press release.  I’ve not seen these in person or tried them for myself – this is the only info I have:

The successor to the RDH 3 Iron Series, the OS-1 features a Curvilinear Sole to offer improved consistency, control and playability.  The Curvilinear Sole is designed with optimized weight distribution — a lower center of gravity, strategically placed tungsten/copper sole weights, wide sole and cutout back design. The result of the Curvilinear Sole is apparent at club-ball impact. Even off center hits are improved and the ball launches into the air faster and higher.

"The OS-1 is exceptionally forgiving, but gives the player the freedom to play all shots," says Randy Henry, founder of Henry-Griffitts. "The sole has great playability and allows a wide variety of shots for all golfers – zero to high handicaps."

OS-1 Irons will be available in May 2009 from Henry-Griffitts Certified Teachers nationwide.  The suggested retail price for the OS-1 irons from Henry-Griffitts is $160.00 per club (steel shaft) and $175.00 per club (graphite shaft).

OS-1 Iron Features

Tungsten/Copper Sole Weights: Lowers the center of gravity, moving it away from the face to produce a higher launch angle. Strategically located to increase the moment of inertia and stabilize the head through every shot.

Cutout Back Design: Reconfigured to allow for a more optimal distribution of weight and increase the consistency of ball flight.

Fly-Cut-Machined Faces: Guarantees absolute flatness of the face.

Machine-Engraved Grooves: Machined scorelines improve consistency, especially when combined with an absolutely flat face.

Curvilinear Sole : Designed for performance from any lie on any ground condition.

Softest 431 Stainless Head: Using the softest 431 Stainless available to construct the head allows greater lie angle options and superior feel.

OS-1 Iron Specs

Availability: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, TW, SW

Lie: 6° up to 7° flat

Weight: Adjustable, dependent upon shaft length and material

Body: 431 Stainless

Weights: Tungsten/copper

Face: Machined flat (fly cut)

Grooves: Machine engraved

Overall, I truly enjoyed my entire experience with the HG fitting system and everyone that I met along the way.  I’ll revisit my enamored feeling after a few months to see how satisfied I remain but so far – so very good!  These are great clubs for those who aren’t hung up by carrying a major OEM label and desire the more personalized experience.  Yes, there is a price for this customization and it’s not a treatment for the golfer that feels the need to change clubs every 60 days or so.  For the player that could use some help from meticulously fit equipment or those with the budget and taste for this personalized treatment, Henry-Griffitts fits the bill.

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  1. Sean

    Jul 18, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve see you play with the Callaway’s and the HG’s. You are much better with the HG’s, but not as good as the righty!

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Swag Golf proto putter

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Product: Swag Golf proto putter

Pitch: From Swag “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do. ”

Our Take on the Swag Golf Proto putter

Though relatively new, Swag Golf has been making a big splash in the industry for their high-end and striking headcovers and accessories. Perhaps less talked about when it comes to the company is their putters – something which I feel is likely to change after testing out their prototype rainbow finish flat-stick.

The putter is beautiful from whatever angle you look at – but especially at address. Extremely smooth lines, and with full-shaft offset, the blade’s shoulders and bumpers are flawlessly balanced to frame the ball and let the putter sit perfectly square. The single line alignment aid enhances the look and is positioned right in the center of the blade’s sweet spot, while the CNC milled flat-stick delivers perfectly smooth edges – noticeably on the neck for a sublime and soft profile.

With a head weight of 354g, the putter from Swag feels exceptional in your hands over the ball. Every detail matters when investing in a premium putter, and the sensation of the stable and firm feel of the flat-stick as well as there being no wavering of the head, makes the putter feel like an extension of your body when standing over a putt.

The sound and feel of the putter is an area where Swag has knocked it out of the park. With a fly milled face from 303 Stainless Steel, the flat-stick delivers an incredibly soft feel at impact.

No vibration is felt on impact, even on long-distance putts. It never feels like your hitting the ball but more caressing it, which is a pleasant sensation when putting from downtown. What you get in terms of sound at impact is a low, deep pitched note from a putter which rolls beautifully on its axis and produces no vibration on slight mis-hits.

To nitpick, the company’s “black mid pistol tackified kangaroo leather grip” took some getting used to. Initially, it took a little away from how impressive the flat-stick feels in your hands, but it gradually becomes more comfortable.

Overall performance-wise though, the putter from Swag provides everything you could hope for from a high-end putter. Exceptional feel at address, painfully attractive profile and precision at impact.

As of now, the company boasts self-confessed “putting nerd” Kevin Streelman as their PGA Tour ambassador. Streelman is currently gaming the brand’s Handsome Too proto, and after experiencing the Swag rainbow proto for myself, the highest compliment I can give is that I would be surprised if he (and PGA Tour newcomer Rhein Gibson) are still the only Tour pros to game one of the brand’s flat-sticks in 12 to 24 months time.

In terms of an Anser-style putter, Swag packs a hefty punch with their numerous offerings. While I personally love the eye-catching rainbow finish (which has been blasted to remove some of the boldness), I realize it’s not for everyone. However, the company has plenty more traditional finishes on their array of flat-sticks, which you can find on their website here.

Whatever finish you prefer your putters to come in though, it’s unlikely that any department of Swag’s flat-sticks will leave you disappointed.

 

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New Mitsubishi Chemical ZF shaft in play at the Tour Championship

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Even after winning just a week ago, Justin Thomas has put a new MCA Diamana ZF-Series shaft into play for the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup Final this week at East Lake Golf Club. JT is using the 60g TX version in his 9.5-degree Titleist TS2 driver (see Thomas’ BMW Championship-winning WITB here).

MCA has confirmed the new shaft and given us some great information on why it is are adding this fourth profile to the Diamana line—something the company has never done before.

The new Diamana ZF has taken the easy loading bend profile from the BF-Series and tweaked it in certain spots along the length to further maximize the design and find greater performance for players across swing speed ranges.

“The result is a profile that makes ZF a little more explosive and easier to accelerate.” -Mark Gunther, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for MCA GOLF.

Like the other shafts in the Diamana Fourth Gen. Series, the Diamana ZF shafts owe their stiffness and stability to two unique technologies. First: the MCA-developed MR70 carbon fiber material, and the second: Boron fiber. MR70 is found in both the butt and tip sections of the shaft and is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials, with a 10 percent greater modulus (a measure of stiffness). These designs have additional strength thanks to Boron fiber in the tip section to create the exact EI curve desired.

When you compare the new ZF to Diamana BF-Series, the ZF-Series shafts are a slightly stronger profile and built to have increased stability in both the butt and tip sections. They feature a softer, more active middle for better energy transfer and clubhead acceleration.

A cool feature for those looking to get a bit more distance but are on the lower end of the swing speed spectrum: There will also be a 40-gram version of the ZF, which is the lightest shaft of the fourth generation Diamana family.

“We’re extremely happy to have a 40g option within Diamana™ ZF,” says Gunther. “This opens the performance benefits of these unique Mitsubishi Chemical materials to a whole new range of players who prefer to play an ultra-lightweight shaft.”

Mitsubishi Diamana ZF-Series Availability and Specs

Diamana ZF-Series will be available September, 13 2019 at MCA GOLF authorized retailers and dealers nationwide, with a suggested retail price of $400.

Weights and flexes

  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 40 (R2, R, S Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 50 (R, S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 60 (S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 70 (S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 80 (S, TX Flex)
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Forum Thread of the Day: “Are 919 forged irons really that good?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from 9ironiscash who asked fellow members what they thought about Mizuno’s 919 forged ironsOur members dish out their experiences gaming the irons, with the majority of WRXers answering with a resounding yes to 9ironiscash’s original question.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire thread and have your say at the link below.

  • Gmack1973: “I think the 919 forged are great irons. I play to a handicap of 4 and think I’m not a bad ball striker. I had the tours 6-pw, and they were great but a bit unforgiving if you don’t get them out the middle. I now have 919 forged 4 – PW and couldnt be happier. They have the Nippon Modus 120 stiff shafts.”
  • Gofguy224: “They are great irons! Had them for about a month and I’ve already shot 3 of my lowest scores ever! Very forgiving and they feel buttery soft
  • chjyner: “The whole 919 range is probably the best on the market “
  • PowerCobra98: “I like them. Moved from Apex 19’s into 919 Forged. I’ll likely be looking at a set of MP20 HMB’s though.”

Entire Thread: “Are 919 forged irons really that good?”

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