Friday, October 13, 2017

The importance of shaft fitting

                                            The importance of shaft fitting

     Shaft fitting is an important component of any fitting, and something players should give considerable attention to when buying new clubs. Modern day shaft characteristics vary significantly in weight, flex, bend profiles and torque. The different elements of a particular shaft have a big influence on the delivery of the club head affecting both performance and consistency. Because each player’s swing characteristics are different it is safe to say no two players will respond the same to a particular shaft type.
    So how does one determine what type shaft might be the best fit for them? Typically a starting point for a driver shaft is based on the player's swing speed and tempo. During the process the player will hit numerous shafts until we find the optimal one. The determining factors will be more consistent performance, increased distance and a tighter dispersion.  The player's feedback about the shaft's feel and weight is also an important consideration. 
 Here are three reasons why a player should have his shafts fitted rather than buying clubs off the rack

Not all shaft flex codes are equal - Because there is no industry standard for flex codes one shaft company's "regular" may be another company's "stiff." Hence, two shafts with different flex codes may have a very similar flex. The only way to accurately compare the overall stiffness or "static flex" of two shafts is to use a shaft deflection board or shaft frequency meter.

I want the same shaft in my new irons - Keep in mind just because a shaft worked well with one set of irons doesn't guarantee it will perform equally in a different model set. The properties of the head (such as weight mass and center of gravity) can differ considerably from model to model. The way a shaft responds to a club head will depend on the design aspects of the head itself.

I already know what shaft I need - Players often presume they need a particular shaft because that is what they have always used. Keep in mind tour players spend a lot of time at equipment companies testing shafts in order to optimize their performance. Players are sacrificing performance and consistency by not taking advantage of the same opportunity. Some players come to a fitting with their mind already made up on the shaft they want, only to leave an hour later choosing a totally different shaft. 

    No two players swing the club the same so being fit for a shaft is something all players should consider if they want to improve their game.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

My visit to PIng

   Last week my wife and I were on vacation in Arizona. We flew to Phoenix then drove to Flagstaff 150 miles north of Phoenix. We visited the Grand Canyon, Sedona and other beautiful sites in the high desert country.
    On Friday( thanks to my sales rep ) my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Tour Fitting Department at Ping's Headquarters in Phoenix. Our appointment was at 1:00 PM and we didn't leave until 4:30 PM. Simply said, the visit far exceeded my expectations.
    We were greeted by Pat Abshire, a Ping Master Fitter who had just returned from three months in Australia where he was training staff members. Pat was very personable and you could quickly tell he enjoyed what he did. 
    Our first stop was the Ping Putter Lab to be fit for a putter. I was amazed at the equipment and tools they utilized in analyzing my putting stroke. Because my srtoke is straight with very little arc rotation we chose a mallet style faced balanced model with two degrees of loft. We spent about 45 minutes in the putter lab.
    We then went to the Tour Fitting Facility located on the hitting range. They have two motorized shade structures to protect players from the sun and occasional rain. Each hitting station is equipped with a large selection of shafts and heads for irons, woods and wedges. After warming up I explained to Pat my issue of not getting enough height with my mid to long irons and fairway woods. It didn't take Pat long to find the right combination shaft and head to solve the problem. He did the same thing with my woods. He also changed my driver shaft and length that resulted in more distance and consistency. We then worked on wedges to find the correct lofts for distance gaping. Not only did the new specs produce a higher trajectory, but also an increase in distance. My new Ping clubs will be here next week and I can't wait to play with them.
    Pat then said he had one more thing he wanted us to see. We entered a room with a large safe door much like you would see in a bank. Pat put in the combination then opened the safe door. Inside the room was the famous Ping Putter Vault. It contains over 2,900 gold plated Ping putters. Each was an exact replica of the putter used to win a PGA, LPGA or major tournament. Ping also gives the winner a gold plated replica. The was started by Ping's founder Karsten Solheim to reward players who win using a Ping putter. Each putter is engraved with the player's name and the tournament.
    Our afternoon at Ping was a memorable and educational experience and one that I will not soon forget.