Connect with us

Equipment

A common sense approach to club fitting, from the guy who fits Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel

Published

on

Next time you hit the range or golf course, take a good look into your golf bag. Is there a specific, meaningful reason that each one of those clubs is in your bag? If not, it’s probably time for a change.

Recently, I spoke with Craig Allan, Master Club Fitter at Sea Island’s Golf Performance Center, about the misconceptions among gear heads, how Tour pros select their clubs and the importance of fitting for all golfers.

“Don’t change just to change, change because it matters.”

Allan says he’s been a club junkie since he was 10 years old, and now has his dream job; he’s a fitter at Sea Island where pros such as Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel not only call their home, but tinker with and dial in their equipment. He works with golfers of all skill levels, however, so he knows the mistakes amateurs and beginners make, as well as what they can learn from the pros.

Zach and Billy

Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel made news in the equipment world this offseason with their switch to PXG, a new equipment company headed by billionaire Bob Parsons. And both players made their switch to PXG under the supervision of Allan, so he saw first hand what a major equipment and sponsor change is like for a PGA Tour player.

What made them switch?

“Tour Pros don’t switch unless [golf clubs] are better,” Allan said. “The irons are undeniably better. [PXG] hit a home run with its irons.”

Allan said he and Johnson not only tested PXG’s new clubs on Trackman, but also took them out to the course to see how they would perform.

“He [Johnson] was peppering flagsticks with them,” Allan said.

While Allan says Johnson takes a very thoughtful and calculated approach to changing equipment, Horschel is less scientific. For example, Allan said once they find a shaft or club that Horschel likes and performs well, Horschel says “OK, I like it,” and it goes in the bag.

The different approaches to making equipment changes varies greatly between Tour pros, and Allan says he’s “seen it all.” Without naming names, he said “there have been some great players (who he has worked with), reluctant to make changes even when a club is better.”

“Sometimes [PGA Tour players] won’t switch because of familiarity with a club, but [a club] always has to be better before it goes in the bag,” Allan said.

Beginners aren’t good enough to get fit?

Should beginners bother getting fit, or should they build a solid game first? It’s a classic debate, and one a PGA Tour Master Fitter is more than qualified to answer.

Craig Allen

Craig Allan, Master Fitter at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center

“A beginner can absolutely get better [through a club fitting],” Allan said. “A fundamentally sound setup is most important, but if they have the wrong equipment in their hands, they will have to make compensations.”

He says any beginner who says he or she isn’t good enough to get fit is making a “flawed statement.” That’s why he encourages all golfers to get fit for golf clubs, even if it’s not a 14-club set. Of course, golf is expensive, and can be quite intimidating at first.

“If a player just wants to get a driver, or a wedge, 7-iron and driver, or a set with alternating irons, it doesn’t matter,” Allan said. “Just get golf clubs that fit!”

But seriously, who benefits most from a club fitting? According to Allan there are two types of golfers who benefit the most from getting fit. One is a golfer who is too stubborn to change his/her swing. They can see drastic improvements from getting proper equipment. Allan also says golfers who are constantly changing their equipment can also see huge gains… as long as they stick to them. They’re going to change anyway, so it might as well be into the correct clubs, right?

Misconceptions

The golf equipment world is littered with information — some of it is the truth, some of it is very misleading. Allan breaks down a few of the common misconceptions he hears and reads from misguided golfers, which you might also hear in the GolfWRX Forums, below.

Myth No. 1: “Any shaft can fix any club.”

Allan says: All shaft companies can make a shaft that does certain things, but it has to marry to the club head. A lot of people think that they can put an expensive shaft in any club head and it will perform. That isn’t right. The club head and shaft need to be a marriage. Different shafts give you options to find that right mix.

Myth No. 2: “Tour players change grinds based on course conditions.”

Allan says: People think these guys are changing grinds for each course or for weather conditions. That’s just not true, most of the time. They play the wedges that are best for their game and swing.

Myth No. 3: “PGA Tour players are always changing equipment, so I need to keep up with what’s best, too.”

Allan says: Fine-tuning is more common through the year than equipment changes. Some guys are really sensitive to change, some not so much. But working with Tour players is easy because they know what they want, even the feel players.

So what can gear heads and golfers like myself learn from Allan’s years of expertise and work with the world’s best golfers? Before making a change in equipment, make sure it’s actually better; don’t change just to change.

Your Reaction?
  • 452
  • LEGIT70
  • WOW19
  • LOL10
  • IDHT11
  • FLOP28
  • OB4
  • SHANK59

He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Ray G

    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Find a fitter that tells you the truth, knows what he’s talking about and tells you the truth. I’m fortunate to know a guy like that. The biggest factors in fitting are lie and shafts. I’ve been going to the same guy for about 3 years and have seen real improvements. I’m down to a 5 handicap some due to his fitting and some due to consistent lessons. The bottom line in golf is to shoot the lowest score or kick your buddies butt in a match. If your serious about the game, find a fitter. In the Hartford CT area, Todd at Prove It Golf is the guy!

  2. Speedy

    Apr 17, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Club fitting is usually a scam, directly tied to full-price “custom” equipment. The average sap is easily swayed by cascading data and convincing rhetoric of better scores. Too often, the club-fitter gets it wrong, due to ill-conceived biases and wonky readings and analysis.

    Figure out the flex and the lie on your own nickel, and you’ll be most of the way there. The rest is playing and practice. Lots of it.

    • doc G

      Apr 18, 2016 at 9:57 am

      i have always had the same feelings about “fitting”Cynically speaking it is just a new way of selling clubs!

    • hawk

      Apr 19, 2016 at 8:30 am

      I agree with this. Most club fitters also only have one or two cart brands, usually Titleist, Ping, Mizzy, and maybe TM. To me you can’t get a real fitting when the guy is trying to marry you to the latest Titleist and isn’t even considering other irons.

      A real true fitting would be one with hundreds of shaft options, and club head option with true controlled testing. I do my own testing at my local golf shop and they love watching me do it. I keep everything controlled. I use the same shaft and switch between different heads I like, so I can see which club head is actually better for me. I also use the same club head and change shafts to find the right shaft for me. Of course every visit is different too! Some days a MP-5 with a xp95 S shaft is perfect. Other days a MP-25 with KBS tour 90 is perfect.

      However; like you pointed out, when a club fitter is involved there is always a sales pitch to something. I recommend anyone who can turn an allen wrench try out their own club head and shaft setups at the golf shop. Use a fitter to get lie and length but then do everything else yourself.

  3. Loser Smizzle

    Apr 14, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Gosh I wish somebody would pay me loadsamoney so that I can star in some cool black&white commercials touting the sweetspot as big as Yexas and not a win a thing all year since the switch and then blame it all on the balls because PXG doesn’t make balls

    • AllBOdoesisgolf

      Apr 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

      gosh, I bet I know when you were born…. instant give me wins now I want everything for free

  4. 8thehardway

    Apr 13, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    One woman who Peppered the flag Was Dottie and it was probably because she wore those great hats. I saw her during a practice round at the (then) Marriott Seaview and she asked us why New Jersey golfers were so polite; i said “None of your business.” and she laughed.

    I think getting fit is a great idea but don’t expect to swing like Dottie Pepper.

  5. Lowell

    Apr 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Sometimes it’s the arrow most of the time it’s the Indian.

  6. Steve

    Apr 13, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Get fit or do not get fit but make sure you are buying and playing what you totally want…in other words do not get fit into anything but the ones you been dreaming of playing. If you have been longing to play Ping (or any other clubs) get fit for them and do not give in to these clubs will improve your game thing…..It cost a lot of money to play golf and besides getting in a good round the feeling of have a bag full of clubs you love is part of the fun.

  7. Jordan

    Apr 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    “Some guys are really sensitive to change,”

    Jordan Speith cracking his driver head was reported like someone he knew died.

  8. Simon

    Apr 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    What does his statement about tour pros only switching to “better” clubs actually mean? All clubs are built to the same tolerances. They are mostly the same in terms of performance. Players will switch if they like the look and feel over their current clubs. They will switch because of sponsorship. I think trackman can play a roll with drivers because of the adjustability on offer these days. But iron and wedges not so much.

    • Ronnie Smith

      Apr 13, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Simon you are the only one rite $$$$$$$$&$$$$?

  9. Leon

    Apr 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    “Tour Pros don’t switch unless [golf clubs] are better,” Allan said. “The irons are undeniably better. [PXG] hit a home run with its irons.”

    What a joke. They change because the money. And since Zach and Billy changed their equipment, I never saw them finished inside top 10 this season. How about their performance of the last season?

    • Tom

      Apr 13, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      good post Leon

    • Matt

      Apr 13, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Zach 5th at Bay Hill

      • AllBOdoesisgolf

        Apr 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

        shhhh don’t cloud their vision with facts

    • ComeOnSense

      Apr 13, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Well said !!That’s right, ever since they switched to… “better golf” , Horseshoes & Johnson’ game went south quick.
      And also,remember they are getting paid less to play PXG… yeah right .lol
      So they switched to club brand that’s not giving them good results , they earning less and they got fitted using common sense? lol

  10. Regis

    Apr 13, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Everything he says is true. But most golfers (even avid golfers) are not going though the process of getting properly fit. Secondly, most don’t have repeatable enough swings to justify anything more than a basic fitting session. My alternative : If you know your swing look at the clubs with the most shaft options that fit your swing speed (Taylor Made, Titleist and Callaway all have a pretty hefty selection of no upcharge options with their drivers) With the irons its more limited but some do offer multiple options when it comes to both steel and graphite iron shafts. Then go to your local guy or even a big box store if they have the ability and choose one or two newer models with different stock shaft options and always test them against your current gamer.

    • john

      Apr 14, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      you are right that a chopper doesn’t have a consistent swing. You are wrong in thinking that their swing changes THAT much – 2mm out from the center of the face and weird stuff happens to the ball… But mostly, your dimensions don’t change, your height, arm length, hand sizes and physical strength don’t change from swing to swing, saying “i’m not good enough to need fitted clubs as i’m not consistent enough” is wrong. Your body is consistent.

  11. Matt

    Apr 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    “What made them switch?”

    Money.

  12. Ike16

    Apr 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Soon as title of the article came into view the thought jumped out that you had something from the real master fitter Tom Wishon. You see, Tom Wishon wrote the book “Common Sense Clubfitting”. Such are the disappointments in life!

  13. Philip

    Apr 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

    This article has as much misinformation as information … tour players don’t change unless the new gear is better. Once again, political correctness within an industry = misinformation.

  14. Ian

    Apr 13, 2016 at 11:44 am

    “golfers who are constantly changing their equipment can also see huge gains” – I stopped reading after that…

    • Bob Pegram

      Apr 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Ian –
      You obviously didn’t even read the rest of the sentence, let alone the rest of the article. The rest of the sentence said, :… as long as they stick to them.” In other words, as long as they stick to the properly fitted clubs and quit changing clubs, those properly fitted clubs will benefit them.

      • Tom

        Apr 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

        It means you/we can’t ell Ian anything cause he won’t listened.

  15. MIKEYP

    Apr 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I am as average as golfers get and I have tweaked my clubs, shafts, lies, lofts etc. alot over the past few years. I have seen changes and improvements in ball flight, length and feel but my scores have stayed pretty consistent. The article says PXG irons are better but the guys playing them are not winning tournaments.

    • Desmond

      Apr 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Is it their iron play? or the rest of their game?

      • Sad Smizzle

        Apr 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        but they were “peppering the flagstick” supposedly lmao

    • Mike

      Apr 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Great Observation! If I were “peppering” flag sticks with my irons, I wouldn’t have to be a decent putter to win. I would be winning at all levels. Of course, unless everyone was playing the same set of irons….

    • birdy

      Apr 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      you’re the type that runs out and buys a certain brand of club the same week a guy on tour wins with that brand. like the guy who wins tournament with great putting so you look at the witb and rush out to buy that same putter……because so and so ‘won with it’ lol

    • c smizzle

      Apr 14, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Spot on. Even if trackman is picking up small improvements on the range fact is Johnson and Horschel are playing worse.
      There is the odd driver ( 2004 burner) or 3 wood (rocketballz), or even ball (prov1) that did give measurable improvement on the course for a lot of players, but its the exception not the rule.

  16. Jaacob Bowden

    Apr 13, 2016 at 11:11 am

    “Tour Pros don’t switch unless [golf clubs] are better,” Allan said. False. Tour players switch for a variety of reasons, for example contractual obligations to help sell the latest products, better incentives, personal relationships, brand identification, the allure that something else might work better, etc. The clubs don’t always end up being better.

    • Bobtrumpet

      Apr 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Jaacob, are you saying that pro golfers intentionally play clubs that aren’t as good for their game as they could be? I know you guys can make just about anything work, but isn’t draining to have to work extra hard to make a club perform when there’s an easier (read: better) one available?

      • Scott

        Apr 13, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        I think that he is saying, “Since Brand X is now paying me, these are much better than my old sticks”.

      • RG

        Apr 14, 2016 at 8:46 pm

        That’s ridiculous “Better?” So Tiger and Rory switched to Nike because they were better than his Titleist? PLEASE!!! So the $250,000,000 they each got had nothing to do with it? PLEASE! Bryson DeChambeau is giving up his Edel set immediately because the set from Cobra is better? PLEASE!!THEY ARE BEING PAID TO PLAY THOSE CLUBS! Come to your senses man. There is no “better” there is only different.

    • Mark

      Apr 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Does Rory come to mind with a huge Nike contract.

  17. Christosterone

    Apr 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Great article as usual…it was fun to see smylie Kaufman play the Cleveland XD from a few years ago painted to look like a woodie with a brass face…
    They are selling new on eBay for like $60…

    -Christosterone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whats in the Bag

Chris Baker WITB 2020

Published

on

chris-baker-witb-2020
  • Equipment accurate as of January 2020

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Triple Diamond (9 degrees, D1 setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 65

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees, NS setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

5-wood: Cobra King F9 Speedback Tour (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

Irons: Cobra King F9 Speedback (4), Miura MC-501 (4-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-08F, 56-10S, 60-06M)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130 (50), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron TSB Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke SS2R

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Your Reaction?
  • 7
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

All-new Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw and tour-inspired T-Grind wedges

Published

on

Callaway Raw MD5 Wedge

Callaway is adding to its successful Callaway Jaws MD5 lineup with a new grind and a new look: MD5 Raw and T-Grind wedges.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 story

As we covered in the original 2020 Callaway MD5 launch piece, these wedges are more than just a stepping stone for the engineering team at Callaway, and instead are a complete evolution of how they design and manufacture their wedges. Here’s why: By reinventing the overall groove shape compared to previous models, they have succeeded in increasing both spin and total control on full and less-than-full shots.

The proprietary groove design of the Jaws wedge gets the contact radius right to the limit set forth by the governing bodies. How closes are we talking?” So close that the initial response from Callaway’s manufacturing partner was “Sorry, we just can’t do this” because the failure rate was close to 50 percent of heads becoming nonconforming.

The solution for Callaway? Changing the cutting tool used on the grooves every 15 wedges. Sure, you could attempt to get more life out of each tool, but when you have everyone from recreational players to the world’s best putting them in play, you can’t make sacrifices.

Callaway 2020 MD5 JAWS Wedge Grooves

2020 Callaway Jaws MD5 wedge: groove detail

The end result is the MD5 Jaws spins over 10 percent more on shots hit around the green compared to the Callaway MD4 and launches lower by one degree. Lower launch is important, because if you talk to any short game coach with a launch monitor, or Roger Cleveland, in Callaway’s case, you will quickly realize that being able to control launch with a wedge is just as important as it is with a driver. A lower-launching wedge means the coefficient of friction is higher since the ball isn’t riding/sliding up the face—and boom, you have a greater ability to hit the “low checker.”

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-lineup

The raw finish

After many years of limited retail availability, raw wedges have come back in style in a big way thanks to more golfers understanding the benefits of an unplated wedge—it also helps that the most popular finish option in professional golf is raw and unplated too.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw is made from 8620 mild carbon steel to offer a soft feel. Over time, the unplated finish will patina to reduce glare—nothing worse than trying to hit a wedge shot on a sunny day and having the full reflection of the sun nearly blind you in the process.

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-face

The Raw MD5 maintains all the other design features of the already available MD5 wedges, including the four ports and medallions on the back of the head to raise CG for greater trajectory control—but also gives golfers the added option to customize through Callaway Customs.

The T-Grind story

Just like how raw finishes have grown in popularity, so have wedge grinds that offer greater versatility on full and partial shots around the green. The new T-Grind (available in 58 and 60-degree lofts) is a popular choice because it has a higher measured bounce in a standard neutral playing position, but thanks to the crescent sole with heel, toe, and trailing edge relief, the leading edge can get closer to the ground on shots played with an open face.

This puts bounce where you need it and takes it away from places you don’t. Compared to the similar-looking X-Grind (available in 54 and 56-degree lofts) the T has less bounce which can also help players that are more shallow or play in softer more lush conditions.

The new T Grind will also look different from address compared to the standard higher lofted MD5 wedges because they have a slightly thicker topline to raise CG for controlled ball flight.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new MD5 wedges will be available for purchase at retail and online starting June 4, and the retail price is $159.99

Lofts – (Italicized are the new grind options)

Right Handed:

  • 50° S Grind,
  • 52° S Grind
  • 54° S and X Grind
  • 56° S and X Grind
  • 58° S,  X, and T Grind
  • 60° S, T, and X Grind
  • 62° C Grind

Left Handed:

  • 52° S Grind
  • 56° S Grind
  • 60° S Grind

The wedges come with 3 premium stock shaft options, Steel: Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S200. Graphite: ProjectX Catalyst 80, and UST Recoil wedge F1 ( Ladies flex only )

Your Reaction?
  • 64
  • LEGIT8
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges

Published

on

@clevelandgolfeu

In our forums, our members have been discussing Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges. WRXer ‘hammergolf’ wants to hear from single-digit players who are currently playing the wedges, and our members have been sharing their thoughts on the clubs with plenty of praise for the wedges in our forums.

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

  • cfmgolf: “I am definitely a believer. Tried it on a whim at a PGA SuperStore in FL last fall and was stunned by the consistency of it. Changed from a RTX3 to the CBX2 in my 52* gap within a couple of weeks. Now that we are back in OH for the summer, I changed out 3 wedges (Ping Glide 3.0, and 2 of the RTX 4’s) for an entire bag of the CBX2’s. I am trying the full face in my 56* and found it to be very good also. Biggest benefit for me has been the consistency of the CBX line. Shots out of the rough that can be high on the club don’t really lose much – i.e. more forgiving. I go between a 6-8HCP, and short game is my strong point. Very happy with them so far.”
  • JCRay33: “6 handicap here and bought a couple CBX’s (54 and 58) from 2nd swing a couple months ago and absolutely love them! Way more forgiving than typical blade wedges (had vokeys before) and great feel as well. It’s easy for ego to get in the way and not want to get these, but once you realize, all that matters is performance the choice is a no-brainer and results speak for themselves really.”
  • mortimer: “CBX2 50. Excellent gap wedge for full, 3/4 shots and chipping. Forgiving, consistent and more than acceptable spin numbers. Also offset is fine to my eye. Having said all that I would not game a 58/60 degrees one if you like to manipulate the face for different shots around the green as I do. Intrigued though with the new full-face but have not seen one in person yet.”
  • Simp: “I have a set of 58, 54 & 50 raw CBX2’s allegedly tour issue, and I love them. The 58 has a grind that is lovely. I’m a 0 FYI.”
  • nicelife: “I have Srixon irons and Mizuno T20 wedges. I found the CBX2 50 was the perfect transition club between sets. LOVE the Srixon/Cleveland V-Sole. Visually the face has more grooves than I would normally like to look at, but its performance more than makes up for it. I really like the satin finish. So much so I’m thinking about refinishing my irons. Go for it you won’t be sorry.”

Entire Thread: “Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges”

Your Reaction?
  • 13
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending