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Help - just awoke from 10 year slumber and golf has changed


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#1 marckilgore

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

First a bit of background so you know where I'm coming from... stopped golfing for 10 years because of all the kids activities, slow play on the course, etc, (was a not serious 15 handicap before)... this July the kids were moved out and I decided to hit the course again. I took 3 lessons from the local pro to get some of the rust off again, and dropped to a 10 after two months of playing.  I'm hooked again. During my second lesson, I snapped the head off my old Greatest Big Bertha driver and the head went about 40 yards down the range and almost hit the poor guy driving the golf ball retriever/tractor... the pro laughed and said, "You need a new driver", and "getting lessons was a smart decision". . :-D

Went out and bought a Razr Fit off the shelf since it was a Callaway like my irons ( I didn't even take a single swing with it since I had no idea what was good, what wasn't, etc).

I'm using the same 1996 Callaway gold irons with stock stiff shafts and a set of Big Bertha FW (3,5,7) (also stiff shafts) that I purchased new back in 1996, and I am completely overwhelmed by how much the technology has changed and improved. Hybrids didn't exist back then - they look ridiculous to me but everyone is telling me I should try them. Seems strange to me...The pro said that I really ought to get more modern clubs, as the stiff graphite shafts on these old Callaways were fairly new back then and consistency is not very good on them. He started talking about how everyone gets fitted for clubs and shafts now - kind of overwhelming.

So that led me to here. The internet is awesome when you become obsessed with something. I see this talk about players clubs, game improvement clubs, etc... how do you really know what you should be looking for?

I went to Golf Galaxy and went through an iron fitting. I tried many different clubs and hit the 7 irons all about 150-155 except for the Titlelist AP1 712's on a regular shaft that I hit 175 yards repeatedly. This seemed a bit ridiculous to me and I thought he was screwing with the computer so that I would buy some new clubs. How the heck can a different club all the sudden make you hit the ball 25 yards farther? He just laughed and said, "the technology has changed a bit in the last 15 years, sir.  That's why we do things on the computer now."

I said 'thanks" and left without buying anything to do more research as I thought I was getting scammed on.  Honestly, EVERYTHING I hit during the fitting felt ALOT better than what I am playing with now.  I realized my equipment probably sucks so badly that even the new bad stuff seems good.

I'm wondering if I should not be going to a big chain store for a fitting? There's this rather impressive looking place (totallydriven.com) just a few miles from my house that looks like that have all the new gizmos to measure whatever. Could just be overpriced nonsense - I have no idea as it was all over my head. They seemed nice enough when I dropped by to look at the place. $350 for a full bag fitting seems steep to me, but I guess if they are that good... When I bought my last clubs, I did it at the golf course during a Callaway demo day on the driving range. I could hit real balls outside and watch the flight. Apparently nobody around here does that anymore - you do it inside with a launch monitor. I'm not sure I trust the things, but apparently that's the way it's done now.

How do you know when you are at a point where your swing is getting consistent enough that it's time to start looking at your equipment to get to the next level? I have no aspirations of getting on the tour, but just want to get back to the 5 HCP range that I used to be at years ago. I have a tendency to go WAY overboard when I get an obsession and have been struggling not to just go on a spending spree without having a clue what to buy.  :-D  I think the golf sales people are frothing at the mouth when I walk into the store and see the look on my face... I'm fearful of walking back into Golf Galaxy with that gold Amex in my pocket. A lack of self control on my part, and then eager salesmen is not a good combination.

I got a new Taylormade 'Spider' putter for the heck of it - I can't believe how much easier it is to putt than my old Ping... dropped 3-4 putts per round immediately... feels almost like cheating (even though it looks like some weird flying saucer on the end of a stick). I also have to remember that I'm hitting that Razr Fit 40 driver yards farther and straighter than I ever hit my old Greatest Big Bertha, and all I did was pull it off the rack and take it to the register without any demo.

Are all the new clubs this much better than the stuff from the 1990's, or did I just make a couple lucky picks with that driver and putter? I'm feeling like an ignorant idiot that is going to get raped at a golf store.  Launch angles, spin rates, shaft torques and flex points... cripes this has become much more scientific and I'm kind of overwhelmed.

Any suggestions for how I should proceed? More lessons and playing before I bother shopping for new equipment? Or am I hindering my progress by not going to a quality fitter and getting all new equipment? One of my new golf buddies says I should just go buy some stock AP1 712's like the guy at Golf Galaxy said. He did make a good point when he said, you're already shooting 79 frequently - say you get down to 75 next year. Do you really think you're going to shave off that many more strokes because your equipment isn't "perfectly fit"?  So that's the question... is he right?

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#2 NickGerst

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:39 AM

IMO- getting fitted once a year is the best thing you can do for your game. Checking the loft and lie of your irons every three months is another thing that will help out.
I went for a driver fitting and I rarely miss the fairway now, but before I had two or three big sweeping hooks OB a round.
I plan on getting fit for irons next week. Why would you not spend ¼ of the money of the club to find the best one for you?  This will also help the mental game. You will believe the club is exactly for you. You will play better golf by doing a fitting.
Don’t go to a big box retailer unless you know the pro working there.  You are ready for a club fitting if you are hitting the ball consistently.
Now the big question: Will you play better golf? I believe so and here is why.
  • With the proper fitting your shot dispersion will be narrower
  • With the proper fitting you will have a club for every yardage
  • With the proper fitting you will gain mental confidence that you have the clubs to perform
After you get fitted, the only thing left to do will be practice your short game. Good luck with your game.

#3 kellygreen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

First off, welcome to wrx..and welcome back to golf.

Depending on when you stopped playing, you are going to find that a LOT has changed in the 10+ years.

1. The biggest difference is the golf ball.  The first generation of hybrid covered balls (ProV1) was a breakthrough over wound balls....but over the last decade, they've really been able to dial in the spin rates to maximize distance off the tee, without sacrificing stopping power on the greens.

2. Launch monitors.  Ball and equipment manunfacturers have been able to (with the use of launch monitors) to once again manipulate spin rates to find the best balance of spin and launch angles for your given swing speed and ball speed.

3. The wide availability of fitting. There is NO excuse in this day and age to play with clubs that aren't properly fitted.

4. Wide availability of aftermarket shafts to allow the fine-tuning of their game.

5. Hybrids.  They are threatening to make the long iron extinct.  Easier to get into the air, and much more forgiving than any long iron...and more accurate and versatile than a fairway wood.

Here's how I would proceed if I were you.

1. Read a lot of equipment reviews on this forum and on others just to get a sense of what is out there equipment wise.

2. Go get fitted.  Period.  If you have really no idea of what you want, and simply want to put yourself in the hands of a fitter to guide you...you probably should go to a custom fitter who has no particular loyalty to any one brand.  If you have some idea of what it is you want, than any club pro or decent salesman or sales rep in one of the big-box retailers should be able to give you are reasonable fitting for length, loft, lie angle...and get you set up with a decent shaft choice.

3. If you are hitting your irons as far as you say, then you have a number of choices out there that rae open to you.  I would suggest that you focus on either game-improvement irons (GI) that are geared towards better players (the 712 AP1 is a good choice)....or "player's cavity-backs" that are engineered to have a measure of forgiveness (like the Titleist 712 AP2 or the Ping S56).   You'll find that these kinds of irons will give you nearly the same sort of forgiveness that GI irons from 10 years ago used to give...but in a smaller package that will allow you to work the ball much more easily.

As a former 5 handicap, I'm betting that you will be very pleasantly suprised by what "multi-material technology" (tungsten heel-and-toe weighting) has been able to do with this particular class of iron.

4. Get fitted for you wood (shafts) as well.  While you want to be careful in trying to drive spin rates too low (spin is control), you want an accurate ball speed measurement on your woods so that you can get fitted with a decent shafts...and make sure you don't have spin rates so high that you are throwing away lots of yards.

...and unless you are dealing with a modern driver that has been specifically engineered to keep spin rates up so that they remain "workable" (like hte Ping i20 and Titleist 910/913 D3) you are going to be shocked at how much longer and more forgiving modern titanium drivers are compared to the early generation drivers you were used to.  

5. Fairway woods haven't changed all that much.   I sometimes pull out old clubs for sh!ts-and-giggles...and I have an old set of TM V-steels that I would put up against any FWs that they are currently making (except for the distance robbing steel shafts that are still in them).   But I have a Titleist 983K that was one of the best drivers I used to have....and after a few swings it quickly goes back in the closet.
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#4 jwrogers

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

You'll find that the biggest difference between your irons back then and your irons now is that the weight of the shafts is much lower now.

You still have good old clubs-- those were good designs.   But with the lighter weight shafts you can swing a little bit faster, and swinging faster brings more distance.

Go get fit, for sure, and listen to what the launch monitor tells you.   But your instincts are good-- I think the real test is on green grass.   I've been fit for a lot of really nice clubs on launch monitors but they didn't translate well to the course.   For instance, I picked up 12 yards on a launch monitor with a Nike VR_S driver this spring.   Which was AWESOME... until I realized on the course that I had no idea which direction that extra 12 yards would be going.   For some people it was the holy grail but for me, I couldn't hit where I was aiming.

#5 Lefty94

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

Definitely get fitted. I would be a little leary of the big box chains as they tend to not be as knowledgable and tend to fit you for equipment that isn't necessarily best for your game. I would suggest that you go to the pro where you are taking lessons and have him fit you, Most pros can do this, if not find a really good clubfitter in your area. Since people on this site are from all over the world, chances are someone on here can recommend someone in your area to get fitted by.

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#6 memphishorn

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

I can appreciate what you are dealing with because I stepped away for a while for between 2000-2005. When I started back in 05 I was playing Steelhead Plus woods and Cobra 2 irons and an Anser 4 putter.

While the world of equipment had changed a lot in those 5 years, it's nothing like the next 5 years.

Enjoy the new world of technology and the fun associated with shopping for new stuff.
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#7 awil

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:38 PM

Go to totally driven  I was fitted their for my whole bag and could not be happier . Andy is a class act ! They also have putter fittings and a wide variety if shafts

#8 awil

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:40 PM

Also where do you play oak marsh that's a nice course I was out there for a tournament over the summer

#9 Gbyeball

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

View Postawil, on 21 November 2012 - 11:38 PM, said:

Go to totally driven  I was fitted their for my whole bag and could not be happier . Andy is a class act ! They also have putter fittings and a wide variety if shafts
  

There is your answer, nothing beats a personal endorsement.

I know exactly where you are coming from about going overboard when you become obsessed with something. I have done this with every hobbie I have had. Spend whatever is necassary to get properly fit, the benefits will be worth it. You will satisfy your spendingurge and get the correct stuff at the same time.

Welcome back to golf and to this site. If you like being obsessed this is the right sport and place for you.
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#10 marckilgore

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    No, I didn't use a wedge for that tee shot.

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful advice - I sincerely appreciate it! I've decided to get fitted at totally driven, but since it's almost December, I'd better wait until after Christmas or my wife will yell at me for making it harder to find gifts for me.  :derisive:

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#11 Stick Shootin

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

Definitely get fitted!

#12 JJensen

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:59 PM

View Postmarckilgore, on 29 November 2012 - 03:16 PM, said:

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful advice - I sincerely appreciate it! I've decided to get fitted at totally driven, but since it's almost December, I'd better wait until after Christmas or my wife will yell at me for making it harder to find gifts for me.  :derisive:

Honestly i would wait until next year... as in Mid-Summer... then your swing is grooved, and you will get the most out of your fitting.
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#13 Pinsplitter59

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:55 PM

Stick Shootin,
did club fitting say you had to buy the FG59's??
i got a set of those by good luck, lovely clubs, but i can't see any computer or golf fitter saying these are the ones for me.
my experiences tell me never to buy a club without swinging it outside on grass in real air.
for some strange reason clubs feel different inside off a mat, usually feel better than they are then i get let down in real air.
OP, if you want to get back to a 5 hcp, do not buy any of the modern "game improvement" irons.
they are all cr*p, yes all.




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