A Funny Thing Happened At The Course…

How many of you have bought a driver off the rack, or won one in a tournament?  How’d it work out for you?  Think about this:

The majority of drivers sold off the rack will NOT work for you.  Period.

Case in point: a friend of mine recently won a new driver at our league awards dinner.  Nothing too fancy, a Powerbuilt driver.  We went out that Sunday; it was his first time hitting his new club.  He brought the old one- it was a part of the 14 club boxed set he already owned- “just in case”.  He ended up switching out back to the old one by the 13th hole.

He let me look at both of them.  The Powerbuilt was about an inch longer, heavier and had a thicker grip.  I have absolutely no idea about the flex… the PB had an “optiflex” shaft in it, and his package driver had a similar “catchphrase-so-you-don’t-know-what-the-hell-it-is” flex.  As an aside, if there’s any ingenious types out there, maybe there’s a market for a reliable-yet-basic frequency meter.  One that fits in the side pouch of a golf bag, that doesn’t weigh it down too much.  But I digress…

Needless to say, these weren’t identical clubs.  His best drive came from the old driver, but it was a “drop kick” (where the club hits the ground before bouncing up to the ball) that went about 240 yards in the fairway.  The ensuing conversation:

My friend:  “I think I’m going to stick with the old driver”

Me: “Cool!  Just make sure to dropkick every drive!”

Now’s a good time to mention that people tell me I have the natural ability to say not-so-nice things in a nice way…  Honestly, I don’t see where they get that idea.

 Just switching clubs isn’t a magic fix-all for your game.  If you’re a chronic slicer, as roughly 80% (according to guys like Michael Breed and Frank Thomas) of us are, a new club bought off-the-rack most likely won’t cure your ills.  A proper fitting will.

For the majority of us, we don’t need a complete teardown and rebuild, we just need the basics.  For a driver fitting, it’s Loft, Length, Grip Size, Swing Weight, Overall Weight and maybe Face angle.  A Common Sense approach.  Paying extra for something like “optimization” is a waste of money… if your slice is that bad, save that money for a few lessons.

Hold up… “optimization” is a waste of money?!

Yup.

Think about it: not even professional golfers swing exactly the same way every single time.  I like to teach people to swing every club the same way for simplicity’s sake… but no one really does it every single time.  It’s just the way it is.

  • We have different levels of flexibility every day
  • We have different levels of pain tolerance every day
  • Our mentality fluctuates daily
  • What we “feel” (release point, arm height on backswing, etc.) varies

We aren’t robots.  Maybe someday we could become something more like RoboCop or Cyborg (from Teen Titans).  Personally, I’d be fine with either.  It sure as hell would make a driver fitting easier to get done, but that’s part of the challenge, really.  Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there to having reliable cybernetic replacement parts, so we have to live with being imperfect humans…

But that’s why we don’t waste money for “optimization” fittings.  A good driver fitting will get us as close as we need to be, but to strive for absolute perfection is a route to madness.

 Seriously, there’s even a book that has that in the title: “Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect”, by Dr. Bob Rotella.  If you know you’re not going to land your ball exactly where you plan it, or stroke your putt absolutely perfectly every single time… why go through the futility of trying to perfectly fit your clubs to our beautiful imperfections?

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