I have felt for some time now that I have been ‘fighting’ with my current clubs (Titleist Ap2 irons, Titleist 910 Driver, Fairway Wood and Hybrid), that the club was in charge and not me.
Anyway, work and college dictated in early 2017 that I should take a short break from the game I had fallen in love with. A long seven months later and I’m ready to reconnect with the fairways and greens again but this time I want to go back on my terms. To that end, I decided that when I go back I’m going to give myself the best chance of making some genuine progress by having a professional fitting done. No more “two steps forward and three steps back” for me anymore.
Essentially I wanted to know if my clubs, (bought second hand a number of years ago), were the underlying problem with my swing inconsistencies or was it more fundamental?
After some careful deliberation and no small amount of research I decided to travel to the much-lauded ForeGolf located in the grounds of the beautiful Killeen Castle Golf Club, Co. Meath.
From the moment I picked up the phone to book an appointment I felt my experience was going to be a positive and worthwhile one. Don answered the phone. He warmly welcomed my enquiry about which package to choose and gave me some sage advice. I finally plumped for the bag check appointment costing €100 and booked for the following week. This type of check would normally take 75 minutes, he said.
When I got there I was impressed with the surroundings and the facilities. After being greeted by the lovely receptionist and the offer of a cup of coffee I made my way to the small but perfectly formed range to warm up with a bucket of complimentary balls.
Once I was warmed up I made my way back to the fitting studio, where Dave did the bag check with me. From the off he set me at ease with his relaxed manner and knowledgeable but easy to understand explanations of the process. Using Trackman (a first for me) to track my shots and assess my club speed, ball speed, spin rate, club path, smash factor, carry distance, overall distance among other things (you get the picture) he quickly built up an understanding of what my swing looked like and, most importantly, what the data told him about what clubs might suit me. I began by hitting a fair number of 6 iron shots with my own AP2’s.
Dave had taped the face of my 6 iron for this exercise and I learned something immediately. I hardly managed to hit the ball in the same place on the face twice! The ball came off the middle, the heel or toe, high and low so that when I had finished the tape had multiple marks on it. Trackman told him my swing was reasonably consistent with regard to path etc. but the strike pattern on the face told it’s own story. The results were understandably inconsistent too as you can see from the Trackman results below.
My Trackman results (extract) 6 Iron Titleist AP2
Dave informed me that the clubs currently in my bag were definitely not best suited to my game. They were too long for my height, too upright for my set up and too heavy for my swing speed (around average for my age and build according to Dave). I have long felt that I wasn’t fully in control of where the golf ball was going despite lots of work on my swing and this confirmed it. I realized that I have been wasting precious hours on the range trying to perfect the impossible with unsuitable golf clubs. Understandably my results on the golf course were just as inconsistent.
Thank God I thought! It’s not just me – I’ve something else to blame other than my swing. Joking aside, this wasn’t a revelation to me but it did confirm my feeling that a change was necessary for me to progress with my game
Anyway, it was down to business now. Dave decided to deal with the irons first. I tried out numerous brands and models from the racks he had at his disposal. Every major brand was available to try from Callaway to Titleist and including PXG etc. I tried out plenty including a couple of the current Mizuno range which had a lovely feel by the way. All the while Dave was changing the shafts and irons until we found a combination that not only felt very comfortable in my hands but gave me a consistent ball flight and distance.
We finally settled on the Taylor Made P790 Irons with a Nippon 850 GH Stiff Flex shaft. What a difference a club can make! Properly fitted the P790 7 Iron was performing way beyond my wildest dreams. I was now hitting this club 190 yards (carry 179) every time with minimum dispersion. That type of performance and distance was not something I thought I could achieve until I that day in Fore Golf. On top of the exceptional distance, the feel was sensational. I was sold!!
My Trackman results (extract) 7 Iron Taylor Made P790 Nippon 850 GH Stiff Flex
We then went on to discuss the Fairway wood and Hybrid. I explained to Dave that I wasn’t overly keen on these clubs in my bag (Titleist 910) due to the uncertainty about where they would go on the course (or not go!). We went through the same process as the irons with the fairway wood and then the hybrid.
Interestingly enough the results, in terms of the brand that suited me best, were not something I would have predicted. The clubs I had the best results from were the Cobra King F7 2/3 Rescue and the Cobra King F7 ¾ Wood with different shaft combinations for each club.
I would never have picked up a Cobra club from a golf retailer because they don’t appeal to my brand preference biases but having hit them, reviewed the data on Trackman, and compared them to others including the Taylor Made M1 and the Callaway Big Bertha, I was convinced.
In between the iron and the wood check I was brought a coffee and a biscuit, which was a nice touch I thought. Dave checked my wedges, which he thought were suited to me just fine, and which I could hit from the middle every time, so I will be keeping them in the bag.
Something else came up on the day that spoke volumes for the lads in Fore Golf. We tested my driver and although I tend to hit a lot of fairways I don’t hit it a long way. Dave advised me that my swing speed with the driver wasn’t fast enough to warrant a change of equipment. Changing the driver would give me no performance improvement so best to leave well enough alone on that front. He advised to work on the swing speed over the next number of months and if I could find an extra 10-15 mph it might be worthwhile to look at it again. I thought that this was good advice and I was happy to accept it.
My session with Dave was over. I was tired after hitting hundreds of balls but immensely satisfied with the results. I spent another 30 minutes chatting with Dave, Don (the club builder) and Christine at the end and they really do take the time to make you feel special. I can’t really express how unbelievably brilliant the trip to Fore Golf was. It has opened my eyes to the possibilities that golf fitting brings to the average golfer.
If I could give you one piece of golfing advice it’s this – book a club check with Fore Golf – now!