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Henry-Griffitts Keeps Rolling

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Long before custom golf club fitting became mainstream a small company out of Idaho was preaching the benefits.  Right from their beginning in the early 1980's Henry-Griffitts' (an amalgamation of names of founders and PGA Pros Randy Henry and Jim Griffitts)  philosophy was that ALL golf clubs needed to be fitted.  With golf swings, abilities, and physical stature all very individual things, "off the rack" was just not in their vocabulary.  Lie boards and interchangeable clubheads for fitting are among the standards they were responsible for.

Turning to 2010, more than a quarter century has passed but the passion of HG remains.  The entire golf industry realized that maybe fitting WAS the way to help golfers get more out of their equipment and HG is still adhering to that policy – just as they have from the day they sold their first golf club.

We recently spoke with current Henry-Griffitts President Randall Henry, the son of Randy Henry, about the state of HG and what they have in store for 2010 and beyond.

Even in a time of turmoil in the golf equipment business they feel their approach has carried them through nicely. Henry says that because of that their market position does not vary much from what it has in the past.

"We still always try to think of ourselves as innovators and forward looking," he explained.  'We are still in-line with the certified teacher/fitters and very much believe that are key in the golf business.  They have a distinct knowledge and advantage  over somebody going online to buy clubs or somewhere else where that knowledge and experience is not available.  That is our market; we still only do custom fit golf clubs."

Henry says having a strong and stable relationships with the fitters and pros who sell their equipment has been a real advantage as the markets have ebbed and flowed.  "That is really the reason why we are still around, because we have found good people and they rely on us just as much as we rely on them.  We feel our teachers and fitters are the best in the world and they feel the same about us.  That is the relationship we have."

From an equipment perspective he says that symbiotic relationship has advantages for the consumer.  "They (the fitters) guarantee to give the best fit that they can and we guarantee that what they get is exactly what they order every time."

The company backs that commitment with a 100 day fit guarantee.  "We really encourage our customers to take a look at the clubs when they come in so they get exactly what they ordered," he explained. "That is how we differ; we make sure the people get exactly what they order, every time. Our quality control is second to none," he boasts.

Henrys says their customers are not numbers, they have been "names" from the very beginning and they choose to preserve that level of service.  Often the first time customer becomes a long-time customer and they want to ensure the interaction with the company is as good as it can be right off the hop.

As they move forward Henry says they are taking more steps to keep the communication with the fitters and the customers even more active.  It is all part of their focus on customer service.  "We like to think we'll go the extra mile – that the golfer not only gets a set of golf clubs but an evaluation system and an experience that shows them they are now in a relationship with Henry-Griffitts."

Although proud of their custom fitting heritage Randall says they are not bitter in any way that most major manufacturers have adopted custom fitting and stormed into their niche.  "It's just nice for the people like my dad and everyone at HG to see it being embraced.  From the start it was about the golfer getting to have a better golf experience so we think it is great to see."

On that note Randall also mentions that when he started out his father went to many major manufacturers to talk custom fitting and he was often dismissed and told that basically, "he was crazy," and they could never offer that.

In some ways they still don't, according to HG's President.  'They may offer club-fitting but what we do is the furthest extreme of it.  The same level of service that a tour player receives is what we feel the customers gets with us."

He continues, "Many of them have good fitting systems; it's just nice to see people realizing that equipment does affect motion.  That is always what we have said and the big boys are kind of jumping on board with that now."

Although they have plenty of laurels they could rest on HG is firmly focused on where they are heading next while still utilizing the traits that brought them to where they are today.

"We probably have more plans for 2010 than we have had since the early days," Randall claims.  "With the economy a lot of people are hitting the brakes but we plan to hit the gas."

At the PGA Merchandise Show next week they introduce a number of products across the board – a big occasion for them.  "We don't just come out with golf clubs because it is a new year; we come out with new products when we think it is better. We don't like to change every 6 months just for the sake of it; we do it when we feel there is something for the golfer to gain."

Plans for 2010 also involve growing their dealer network and getting more consumer recognition for what they offer and what their history has been.  "We are looking to grow in areas where we haven't been," says Henry.  He points out a focus on the American Mid-West (they have new production facilities in Ohio) and in Canadian markets as well.

Henry also lays out that the changes also involve a new look, including a fresh logo.  "There will be a lot of focus on cosmetics.  We will have a new look for HG, a little more modern."

He concludes with a promise, "There is a lot of new blood here and our staff are buzzing.  There will be a lot of new looks on everything for HG this year and I think everyone will like it."

——

This article provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine – (www.flagstick.com)

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm WITB 2020

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  • Equipment accurate as of the WGC-Mexico Championship

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees @ 16.5)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM (19 degrees @ 20.5)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8 X

Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe (52 degrees), TaylorMade MG2 (56-12, 60-TW-11)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X (36 inches)

Ball: TaylorMade TP 5 (#10)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Red/Black Midsize (1 wrap of tape)

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2020

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @ 10 degrees, D4 swing weight)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.75 inches)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 90 X

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (22 @ 19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09, 60-10 @ 62 degrees)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Mini
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Equipment

Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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