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JBones

My Driver Fitting Experience

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I was trying to figure out where to put this thread and I decided to put it here, as it's a story and a review.

 

Intro

After I figured up my fairways hit stats for the last season, I decided that I was going to get fit for a driver. I'm sure you are wanting to know what those stats were, so here they are.....I don't remember the exact number of tee shots, but I do remember the disgusting percentage..37, thirtyfreakingseven% of fairways hit on the season. I think that is pathetic enough to make anyone want to get fit. Let me also add that I am a mid single digit handicap, so this wasn't all caused by my swing, which made my decision to get fit much easier.

 

Part 1 - The Search

I started this journey by visiting every fitter in the area, looking over their selections, and talking to the fitters/salesmen. I say "fitters/salesmen", because you can tell a big difference between someone who is a knowledgeable fitter and a fitter that is more of a salesman. After visiting the last place, I knew where I was going, no question; they had the best fitter, best selection, and it just looked like an indoor tour van. That place was Golf Etc in Evansville, IN.

 

rsz_golf_etc.jpg

 

Part 2 - The Process

On my first visit to Golf Etc, I spoke to Mike Robinson, who is one of the nicest, most knowledgeable fitters I have ever talked to. We spent about an hour talking about my swing and what I was looking to get out of a driver fitting. By the end of that conversation he had an idea of what shaft he was going to put me in and he hadn't even seen me swing.........I ended up getting that shaft, yeah, thats how good he is. So the next step was to set a date for the fitting, that date was yesterday 1/23/2013, a day that will go down in my golfing history.

 

Part 3 - The Fitting

I went in yesterday with my current driver (Cobra S9-1 Pro w/USPG Black Ops XS), a glove, and a box of my gamers (Maxfli U4/X). After warming up, Mike collected all the specs of my current driver, 46", D6, 7.1 flex (using the Rifle scale). I hit 10 balls with my driver to get the following averages (without deleting any shots) 283 overall distance/1.41 smash/163 ball speed/115 swing speed/17.1* launch angle/3400 RPM spin. Our goal was to bring my launch angle and spin down to maximize distance and accuracy. First he selected the heads, Adams Super LS, TaylorMade R11S, Ping I20, and Ping Anser. Next was to find a shaft that we could test in all those heads; first up was the Oban Kiyoshi Black 7X. Mike put the shaft in the Super Ls, set at 9.5*. It was obvious off the get go that this was not the shaft for me, so I'm not even going to go into those numbers. He went to get the "beefiest" shaft that he had and that was what we were going to test in all the heads; it was the Fujikura Motore Speeder 7.2 Tour Spec XS. After hitting a few shots with this shaft we knew we had to crank that Super LS down to 8.5* to cut launch and a little more spin. After hitting shots that were still spinning a little too much, we took a break to look at ALL the numbers. We both suspected what my problem was (and I even mentioned it in a thread on here about a week ago) was that I had a poor Angle of Attack. Mike pulled up the AoA of each shot and we were both shocked at what we saw, I had a perfect +5 AoA on 90% of the swings, even the poor swings where I lunged at the ball were in the +3 range. Here are the results below. NOTE, I only hit my preferred ball, which is why I brought them.

 

(All number are avearges with no shots deleted, distances are overall distances)

Adams Super LS 8.5* w/Motore Speeder 7.2 Tour Spec XS - 285yds/1.42 Smash/163 BS/114 SS/15.5* launch/2900 RPM spin

TMag R11S 9* w/Motore Speeder 7.2 Tour Spec XS - 277yds/1.40 Smash/160 BS/111 SS/16* launch/3500 RPM spin

Ping I20 9.5* w/Motore Speeder 7.2 Tour Spec XS - 287yds/1.43 Smash/163 BS/114 SS/15* launch/2600 RPM spin

Ping Anser 9* w/Motore Speeder 7.2 Tour Spec XS - 290yds/1.44 Smash/163 BS/114 SS/13.0* launch/2400 RPM spin

 

So, based on the numbers above, you can see that I hit the Ping Anser with the Motore Speeder the best. We were both excited about these numbers as that 290 average was brought down quite a bit by hitting a few really poor ones in the 260s. I was excited until he brought up the price, $400 for the head and another $450 for the shaft, for a total of $870 after the complete build. I knew I could never swing that with the wife, so I asked to try a much lower priced shaft, knowing that I may not get comparable numbers......boy, am I glad I did. Mikes suggestion was to try the Oban Devotion, but he only had it in a 6S. He put the Devotion in the Anser 9* and I took a rip with it. The first swing as a bit of a high spinner, but it went 299yds; the second swing sold it to me, it came off with a 16.5* launch, 1700 RPM spin, and had a carry of 301 with an overall distance of 320yd. WOW, I'll take two (not really, but I was stoked). I hit about 10-15 balls and got the below averages, which included the 320yd'er and an almost miss that only went 253yds.

 

Ping Anser 9* w/Oban Devotion 6S - 294yds/1.44 Smash/163.5 BS/114 SS/12.7* launch/2500 RPM spin

 

While I'm only keying on the distance, I will mention that every shot with the Anser/Devotion finished in the fairway; I would say about 85-90% of all my shots finished in the fairway. What is being ordered is the Ping Anser 8.5* (adjustable +/- .5*) with a Oban Devotion 7X (Mike thought by going with the lower lofted head and a 7X would cut those spin numbers enough to get it closer to a 300 average). Also with the price difference in shafts it dropped it below $600, which the wife agreed was "doable". The Devotion was also the shaft he had in mind a month before, after we had our conversation.

 

The Finale

I know Mike follows MGS on Twitter, but I'm not sure if he is a member of the site, I hope he is so he sees this. He was amazing to work with, very knowledgeable and spot on with his suggestions. I would strongly suggest that anyone living in the Evansville, IN area go see Mike at Golf Etc and drop the $75 for a fitting. Even if a new driver isn't in your budget, you can at least see the potential gains you have by getting fit and you can start saving your pennies. I can't wait to get my new driver and get out on the course, unfortunately due to the weather and my wife wanting to get this driver for my birthday, it won't be until April. Golf is going to be a lot easier from long in the fairway.

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Cool write up JBones! I always like to hear what you're doing as It's always seemed to me that we have pretty similar games, similar handicaps and similar struggles. You are definitely longer than I am, freakin beast! I am in the 265-270 avg. range.

 

Having just gone through a fitting myself, although one where TaylorMade was the only option, I'm curious to see how your fairways hit numbers are impacted once you get the thing on the course and have some time with it (also noticed that the R11s was the worst of your potential candidates. . that doesn't make me happy!). My fairway percentages are similar to yours, I am pretty much 1/3 hit, 1/3 right, and 1/3 left. While those are pretty pathetic numbers at first glance, I think the real story is told in where the misses are and how I'm going about missing them. If there's trouble right, and I'm missing left, not missing badly, and not missing where it hurt me. . .well then imo I hit a good shot, fairway be damned, I accept that miss before I even swing the club! Also, if I'm just barely off, but made a good swing and got good distance and again am not in trouble, well, again, not bad imo. The killers as you know are the shots that hurt. The ones where you're trying to play away from trouble but put it right in it, and just the plain terrible shots that get away right or left.

 

I've been thinking about tracking my stats to gain a bit more info than just left/hit/right to include something more like left fail/left acceptable/hit/right acceptable/right fail. Maybe I'm just thinking of a way to feel better about my stats! I guess my thing is that if hitting fairways were my main goal, I could do that, I could club down and increase those stats and there are definitely times where hitting the fairway is critical. When it is, I don't hit the driver, So in some ways, just pulling the driver is in itself a decision that hitting the fairway there, while always the goal, is not the most important, there I'll take an acceptable miss and the distance.

 

I'm just kind of getting my game back in line. I went from a 8.5* TM SuperDeep to a TM R11s 9* set at 8*. Don't know the shafts without looking at them but they were comparable in specs, basically I was already set up pretty good, partly through educated guess work and just some dumb luck. I do think the R11s seems to be a more forgiving and a bit longer club so I'm hoping to see a better fairway % than I'm used to. I am not really sold on the look of it at address but I'm getting used to it. You saw a much more dramatic change in your numbers between your previous driver and the new one so you should see a much greater improvement on the course than I expect to. This could be your year! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

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Cool write up JBones! I always like to hear what you're doing as It's always seemed to me that we have pretty similar games, similar handicaps and similar struggles. You are definitely longer than I am, freakin beast! I am in the 265-270 avg. range.

 

Having just gone through a fitting myself, although one where TaylorMade was the only option, I'm curious to see how your fairways hit numbers are impacted once you get the thing on the course and have some time with it (also noticed that the R11s was the worst of your potential candidates. . that doesn't make me happy!). My fairway percentages are similar to yours, I am pretty much 1/3 hit, 1/3 right, and 1/3 left. While those are pretty pathetic numbers at first glance, I think the real story is told in where the misses are and how I'm going about missing them. If there's trouble right, and I'm missing left, not missing badly, and not missing where it hurt me. . .well then imo I hit a good shot, fairway be damned, I accept that miss before I even swing the club! Also, if I'm just barely off, but made a good swing and got good distance and again am not in trouble, well, again, not bad imo. The killers as you know are the shots that hurt. The ones where you're trying to play away from trouble but put it right in it, and just the plain terrible shots that get away right or left.

 

I've been thinking about tracking my stats to gain a bit more info than just left/hit/right to include something more like left fail/left acceptable/hit/right acceptable/right fail. Maybe I'm just thinking of a way to feel better about my stats! I guess my thing is that if hitting fairways were my main goal, I could do that, I could club down and increase those stats and there are definitely times where hitting the fairway is critical. When it is, I don't hit the driver, So in some ways, just pulling the driver is in itself a decision that hitting the fairway there, while always the goal, is not the most important, there I'll take an acceptable miss and the distance.

 

I'm just kind of getting my game back in line. I went from a 8.5* TM SuperDeep to a TM R11s 9* set at 8*. Don't know the shafts without looking at them but they were comparable in specs, basically I was already set up pretty good, partly through educated guess work and just some dumb luck. I do think the R11s seems to be a more forgiving and a bit longer club so I'm hoping to see a better fairway % than I'm used to. I am not really sold on the look of it at address but I'm getting used to it. You saw a much more dramatic change in your numbers between your previous driver and the new one so you should see a much greater improvement on the course than I expect to. This could be your year! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

That Ping Anser is the real deal. When he put it on the shaft, it was stuck at 10* and I was still hitting it significantly lower than anything else. He ended up muscling it and getting down to 9* and I was just beasting that thing under a 14* launch every time I hit it. Being that I got such good numbers with the 9* he decided to put me in the 8.5*, which can go to 9* or 8* and will cut the spin even a little more. I knew most of my problems were due to poor fitting equipment, but I didn't know it would have that much of an affect. I'm like you though in the fact that I will put one 20yds into the right rough to avoid trouble left and vice versa, so my stats are a little skewed. My swing was a little off yesterday too, I had a stiff neck and my SS was affected 4-5 mph and I was also hitting a baby fade, which I NEVER do, I would say that the majority of my shots on the day were high off the face and slightly towards the toe. With the lower spin combo, my misses were pulls and pushes, instead of pull hooks and push fades, which will dramatically help my stats. I can't wait to get this in the bag and get to the course. The first hole on the course that I frequent is 332, slightly downhill and usually down wind; 10 years ago I drove it on a regular basis, the last few years I killed it to get within 30yds. I'm hoping that this new setup will at least get me onto the fringe. When I hit that one that went 320, Mike and I looked at each other and said "Wow, where did that come from?", he said "well now you know the potential it has when you flush one".

 

That R11S was definitely not for me. I didn't like anything about it, the look, the sound, and definitely the results. I still can't get over how awesome that Anser is though; I guess thats why the head only is $400.

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Awesome write up, except now I want to spend $600 on a new driver...

I know, I don't want to wait, even though I couldn't hit it if I had it. I never dreamed that I was shorting myself that much distance and accuracy by having a poor fit driver. The Black Ops is definitely going to be my back up; I think it could be a beast in the Anser. Tim definitely knew what he was doing when he sent it to me; he slightly tipped the XS that he sent me and it CPM'd out at 7.2 on the Rifle scale. I averaged longer carry with my Cobra than anything I hit yesterday, but the spin and launch angle gave me no roll at all. The Cobra was also the least accurate, which before I would have said was the shaft, but I think it is all in the head.

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Excellent write up JB!

 

I also want everyone that claims to hit 300 yard drives with a 100mph swing to read this

Yeah, not happening without a cart path or wind. Although, I hit three of my shortest drive on the day with swing speeds of 119-121 and three of my longest drives came with swing speeds between 111-114. Can I hit it 330 with a 120mph swing, sure, but it's going to be about 1 out of 100.

 

I didn't put this in the first post, but he did have the Flightscope set to the correct elevation for the area, so the numbers are as legit as it gets.

 

And one other crazy thing, my normal swing was giving me around a 112-113 swing speed, if I backed off to what I felt was a 80% swing, my SS went up to 115-116.

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And one other crazy thing, my normal swing was giving me around a 112-113 swing speed, if I backed off to what I felt was a 80% swing, my SS went up to 115-116.

 

Heresy!!!! ;)

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Heresy!!!! ;)

That should tell me something, right? Nah, next time I'm out there, I'll be trying to swing 120 again.

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Man I've gotta invest in something like this - I would love to have the swing checked out.

 

Nice job on the review! I enjoyed the part where you asked for a lesser priced shaft - I'm sure the salesman groaned a bit, but you need to hit the right price point to sell the product.

 

Question - the fitting price - was that only for a driver, or were you looking at different clubs, i.e. irons etc?

 

It's got me at the threshold of considering getting this done.

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Man I've gotta invest in something like this - I would love to have the swing checked out.

 

Nice job on the review! I enjoyed the part where you asked for a lesser priced shaft - I'm sure the salesman groaned a bit, but you need to hit the right price point to sell the product.

 

Question - the fitting price - was that only for a driver, or were you looking at different clubs, i.e. irons etc?

 

It's got me at the threshold of considering getting this done.

He was a fitter foremost, he wasn't trying to necessarily sell me anything, which is what I liked most about the whole process. He brought up a chart with all the shafts that fit into my swing profile and it had all the pricing. I asked him if there was anything cheaper that would work and he said the Devotion was it and it might not even give me the same numbers as the Motore.....turned out it worked out the best and saved me some money.

 

The $75 was for a full wood fitting, since I just got the driver, I wouldn't have to pay more if I wanted to go back and get fit for a 3W or Hybrid. I'm not sure how much they charge for an iron fitting, but they frequency match each shaft and they do distance gaping.

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JBones, great write up as usual and great story as well. Don't you hate when the wife pulls those you can get it but not until X day. Don't they know we love them already we just want to be happy with our new toys!!!! :P

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JBones, great write up as usual and great story as well. Don't you hate when the wife pulls those you can get it but not until X day. Don't they know we love them already we just want to be happy with our new toys!!!! :P

I know. I tried to sweet talk her last night, but she wasn't having it. Maybe after we see what we are getting back from taxes, I can revisit it.

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Nice write up! I had a fitting with Mike a couple years ago, he knows what he's doing. At that time I couldn't afford to get what I wanted so I had to get a shaft for my R11(never found the love for the R11 either). Ended up selling the R11 a few months later. Is the Adams still the only head that can be bought outright or any other companies jump on board? I wanted the 910D2 at the time but it was gonna be over $700 by the time I got the shaft I needed and the club. He was gonna have to switch out the adapters because Titleist doesn't sell the OEM adaptors outright.

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Really nice write up. I have to say that throughout I was wondering, "But he was worried about his accuracy." So you kept me in suspense until the end you dog.

 

I hope it works out on the course as well as it did in the shop!

 

I have to say that I'm ridiculously accurate with my new driver - I haven't experienced the distance gain that I was hoping for although I'm up a bit because I'm hitting more drives at my top end - but I'm ridiculously straight - took lines on 15 and 18 yesterday that made my playing partners flinch - they thought I had pushed the ball on both of them and I said, "Why not - I'm hitting this thing straight at whatever I'm aiming at every time." Both shots got me two clubs closer to the green and gave me birdie putts.

 

Acuracy counts for something!

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Back in the day I used to be "Bubba long" and I didn't care if I was in the fairway. After getting older and fracturing my wrist a couple times, I lost 40yds. A lot of my misses were playing well away from trouble, mainly because I didn't have the confidence to play to a part of the fairway away from trouble. I'm looking for the perfect combo of distance and accuracy with this fit. If I can double my fairways hit at 290yds, then I'll be back down to a 2 in no time.

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