New Toys in the Bag for 2016

After my epic meltdown at Canterbury in 2014, I wanted to blow up and start from scratch. This included my clubs. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s the archer, not the arrows. Still, I felt the clubs I had weren’t in line with what I was looking for.

Due to a bit of luck and fortuitous circumstances in my life, I was able to consider replacements. My 14* driver with an 80g shaft was no longer optimal for my swing. While I initially liked the heavy weight I put in my irons, they became really difficult to hit well from the 15th hole onwards. I went back and forth between a couple of putters, with neither finding a permanent place in the bag.

In 2015, I replaced 12/14 clubs. Blow it up!

First was a new big stick. Then a 3w. Then irons, with a much lighter setup than my previous set. Then wedges. Finally, a new putter; not properly fitted, but one that looked good to my eye and I worked with my club builder to get the weight just right. A big thanks to Bill Weitzel from Conquest Custom Golf, The Golf Exchange, and Miles of Golf Cincinnati for allowing me to get fit and make custom tweaks to the clubs.

What remained in my bag in 2015 from my previous set were my hybrids. I played the Alpha RX Low Pros (3h and 4h). They remained mostly because 1) I had already spent a crap load on the other clubs and 2) they’re decent clubs.

I hit my very first par 5 green in two with the 3 hybrid. Hit it over the grand oak tree at Grand Oak Golf Club to reach the green; no small feat, I assure you. Unfortunately, I 3 putted for par, but that’s another story.

As many good shots I hit with those clubs, I hit some pretty bad ones too. Plenty of chunks and duck hooks. Again, that’s not all on the club; but the confidence was waning. Hitting one of those things was like a box of chocolates: I never knew what I was gonna get.

Spring forward to 2016. Through a variety of gift cards, I was going to replace the hybrids that had been in my bag for 7 years. The hybrids had done well for me, but it was time to consider something different based on my evolving game. Also, I like shiny new toys.

After about 10-15 warm-up shots, I was ready to go. It is absolutely essential to warm up before a fitting session. Find your rhythm for the day and go with it.

My fitting session reminded me the importance of getting fit. Using Trackman, we first looked at my 5 iron and 3 wood. Knowing those numbers, I could look at what would best fill that gap. I tried a variety of hybrids with different shafts. Then actually tried a couple woods; something that I had not anticipated coming into the fitting.

The Callaway XR hybrid that I hit so well during demo day did not perform for me. Throw that one out. I did hit some with the Titleist 816 H1. When I nutted it, it was great and probably the best performing hybrid I hit. However, I just could not hit that thing consistently well. Put that one out.

Of course I hit a lot of PING. Within the last couple years, I’ve become quite the PING fanboy. Those of you that follow me know that. I tried a variety of clubs in the G range, from the G Crossover, G Hybrid, and even G Fairway Wood. I was even handed a 7 wood(!?) during the fitting. Gotta try all the options, right?

A good 5 iron for me carries about 185-190 and goes 200. A good 3 wood carries 235 and goes 250. So ideally, I’m looking for a 210-215 and 230 club. What ultimately presented those numbers consistently, with the height I wanted, was the G 4 hybrid and the G 5 wood. I was not expecting to end up with a 5 wood in my bag during this fitting. I know a lot of PGA Tour pros have put 5 woods in their bag this year, but a Tour Pro I most certainly am not.

Looks don’t lie though and Trackman will confirm what you see. You gotta go with what looks good, feels good, and gives you the numbers you’re looking for.

I’ve worked with Matt from Miles of Golf Cincinnati on three fittings now. He’s great to work with. Very friendly, very patient. Gives you a bunch of different club, length, shaft options during the fitting so you make sure you’re getting the right stuff.

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