By GolfWRX Member: VAGolfer86
As many of you know, I was fortunate enough to win the recent WRX/Cally give-away for the signed Lefty driver, a trip to Carlsbad to visit Callaway HQ, and a full bag fitting of the latest and greatest gear – putter through driver. After a very long and anxiety filled couple of weeks, I finally made it out there from Wednesday until tonight. My primary contact was Chad (HashtagChad on here) and he was awesome from the initial travel arrangements, to walking me out of HQ for the final time last night. I didn’t get a TON of photos, but enough for my scrap-booking purposes and some good ones to share on here.
I flew out from DC, making the flight about as long as it could have been. The anticipation was killing me, and I’m pretty sure I beat everyone off my flight to the rental car shuttle. When I picked up the rental, I sped up I-5 as fast as the 4-banger Mazda would go, paying no attention to the blur of gorgeous mountain/coastal scenery in my peripherals. There was no traffic and I made it up the coast in under 30 mins, so I called Chad to see what the plan was for the afternoon, it was about 1:30pm at this point. I was starving and hadn’t eaten since 7am EST, so food was my first question when Chad got on the phone. Unfortunately, the Callaway Cafe had already closed, so I inhaled a meatball sub from subway and made it on over to Callaway. Finally!
Chad came out to the front lobby and escorted me back to the ZooCrew bat-cave. I got to meet just about everyone, including Scott, Luke, Doc, Matt, and the man, the myth, the legend…Harry. Mr. Arnett was quite the character. It’s easy to see his commitment and work ethic right here on the forums, but the man has a true passion for golf, the company he works for, and the people he works with. His demeanor and attitude can be contagious, and it’s no surprise everyone under him in the Callaway hierarchy have followed suit.
After Chad and I shared some laughs with Harry, Hashtag and I went on a scavenger hunt around the office. We found some pretty neat equipment lying around…like Jamie Sadlowski’s new wedge, fresh of the press. I guess he likes Top Gun too!
or Ryo’s bag from the Masters…
a sandblasted x-forged iron, and Roger’s gunmetal painted x-forged iron with the matching UST Mamiya Recoil shaft, and the only Master’s version of the Odyssey #7putter (phone pics, sorry):
Then Chad took me for a tour of the fitting bays upstairs with the proprietary Callaway Performance Analysis System (CPAS), that is used for Callaway Tour pros and anyone else who has access to a Callaway Performance Center.
Here we had one of the head instructors training a new employee on how to extrapolate swing data from the CPAS output, and make it relatable to a prospective customer. (I think we made the trainee nervous by standing in.) So much analysis can be done, and it sucks to think there are computers out there that can quantify how flawed our swings are!
After the hitting bay tour we went down to the newly renovated area for a putter fitting. Here I am messing around with a few lefty putters laying around.
At this point, it was just about quitting time, but Chad and I headed back to the bat-cave for a quick game of corn hole, or, as he called it, “Baggo”. Don’t ask, it’s an Arkansas thing… I pulled out a narrow victory after he took an early lead, but have no pictures to support. That’s my fault!
I left for the day and was told to be back by 9:30am sharp, for a tour of R&D, lunch, and then my fitting! I left, and went back to the room and relaxed. After researching some local places to eat, I read a lot of good things about In and Out Burger. Many claimed it to be superior to Five Guys, so I obviously went to see what the hype was all about. Bottom line: didn’t agree in the slightest and I left disappointed. Not even close to the amazeballs Cajun fries. Sorry for the tangential rant. I was really upset by this. Moving on..
I had no problem sleeping, and snapped this shot before going to bed. Looks kinda fake, but it was pretty. (another phone pic).
I got to HQ and hung out with Chad until I was ready for the tour. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any pictures due to the sensitive nature of the tour itself, especially the club side. Very cool stuff. The rest of the tour was about the manufacturing process for their golf ball line, or as I recall, graduate level chemistry. Paul gave me the tour- but lets call him Walter White, because for all intents and purposes, that’s who he resembled. He even had the lab equipment to match! I never knew such craziness went into golf balls. My head was spinning after that one.
Once we got done with the chemistry thesis, Chad, Scott, and I went to lunch. At this point, the nerves had set in, as I had never gone through the true fitting process before – #leftyproblems. I had put in tons of range time over the winter anddoubled it once I found out about the trip to Carlsbad. I am in the middle of a swing revamp that started last fall, so getting some of that stuff committed to muscle memory was important. Sure didn’t wanna come out here to snap hook all day.
So we pull up and the facility was ridiculous. I mean it was just silly. Not a thing out of place and I could see all the left handed equipment waiting for at the range. Nirvana, indeed.
Here I am trying to soak it all in. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many lefty sticks in one place! There were 3 other racks just like it, and multiple bags with hybrids, woods, and drivers. Lefty overload. This is my perplexed face.
Nick Arther was my fitter. Let me just say something about him briefly. I have never, I mean never, ever, seen a golf equipment/swing mechanic/physics encyclopedia quite like him. He knew everything about everything and I am still in awe at the wealth of knowledge he demonstrated in the few hours we spent together. He didn’t even need CPAS, heck, he probably invented CPAS. Just goes to show how the tour level personnel, from every facet of the game, is on a different level than the rest of us.
My nerves spiked once he handed me the PW to take a few initial swings to get warm. I remember shaking as I set the club on the turf. Earlier in the day Chad and I debated the direction of my first shot. I said fat and a chunk of grass would travel further than the ball. As I took the club back, I just tried keep my eye on the ball and make decent contact. I wanted to hit a decent shot so Nick didn’t think our entire conversation about my swing and long term goals was a figment of my imagination.
A straight worm burner right down the pipe. I could only laugh and tell him where I was at mentally. Then he said something that made sense to me: “Look, there is no way you are better than the best player I’ve seen, and there is definitely no way you are worse than the worst player I’ve seen. So just swing. Don’t worry about an impression.” Probably common sense, but it helped me calm down and the next few shots got progressively better. Once I got a few beads of sweat going, we were in business and went to the 6 irons of the X-Forged line. I took probably 30-40 swings with different shafts combos as Nick watched and performed CPAS analysis in his frickin head like the super computer that he is. Every few swings became a physics lesson as he described the shaft technologies and properties, and how they related to my swing. Incredible. We did the same process for the X Hot Pro irons, and only a few swings with the X Hot series. They were a little big and chunky for my taste.
Then we moved to 3woods and hybrids, which was fun, since I hadn’t hit anything below a 6 iron all winter… We agreed to wait on the wedges until the new line comes out in a month or so. After that we went inside for the putter fitting. Here are some pics from the range:
Perplexed by another pearl of wisdom…
Getting ready to swing the boomstick:
Fitting me for a putter:
Reaffirming that my short game needs a lesson:
MEAT AND POTATOES!
Ok so the finished product that was recommended by Mr. Arther:
Head Model: RFX 10.5
Face angle/ cog setting: S
CG setting: 13gm Heel
Shaft specs: GD Tour ADDI 6 S
Other: -1/2” length
Head Model: X-Hot 3Deep
Shaft Specs: GD Tour ADDI 7 S
Other: -1/2” length
Head Model: X-Hot Pro 18 and Pro 20
Shaft Specs: GD Tour ADDI HYB 85 S
Other: std length
Head Model: X-Forged
Set Makup: 4-P
Shafts: KBS Tour Stiff
Other: +1/4” length and 2 Degrees Upright Lie Angle
Grips: Lamkin Crossline Round at +2 Wraps Tape
Head Model: Odyssey Protype 9
Specs: 35” and Std Lie Angle
This was the end of the trip. We went back to HQ and hung out for a bit, discussing how much fun it is to be planning a wedding (we are both grooms). Chad walked me out one final time and the X-Dream was over.
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or better hosts. Everyone made me feel like I was one of the group and it was a trip I will never forget. They have a championship team over there and the product to back them up. I absolutely can’t wait to get the clubs in and get out on the course with fellow WRXers. I apologize for the length, but I wanted to share. Thanks for reading and hope everyone enjoyed it half as much as I did.
Let me know if I left anything out!!
Thank you to Callaway and Golf WRX for putting this on. If only I had this much luck at the craps tables!!
And a special thanks to HashtagChad for being such a great host and making sure I had everything I needed before, and during my trip. I can’t exaggerate how seamless everything was.
Let me know what you guys think about the set up!