Knowing that it is the archer and not the bow but hoping that there is some cure for my ailing game, I registered for club fittings at Club Champion (20 store locations) for $350 (metal woods, irons, wedges, and putter) and GolfTec (25 stores pending rollout to their 172 locations) for $250 (metal woods and irons).
How the same process can be so different is amazing. While both were very professional and very thorough, to me I have a preference of one over the other.
However, a fundamental problem with growing the game was discovered. The recommended cost was $1,910 from Club Champion (Callaway Apex Irons 4 – W) and $1,960 from GolfTec (Callaway Epic Pro Irons 4 – W). An entire set of custom built clubs might easily cost over $5,000. Who can afford to play this game? Note that the Callaway Epic Pro Irons were not available on May 22 when the fitting was performed at Club Champion. The results may have been the same but I ponder is Callaway right for me? Why were PXG, Ping, or other heads not tested? I wondered if the fitters had a bias to Callaway though both agreed Titleist clubs were “average” and not for me.
The Club Champion experience started with completing a survey as to my game. An important question that was not asked was “what am I willing to spend on a new set of clubs.” My answer would have been $900 – $1,200 for irons exclusive of wedges. Thus, when I got the cost estimate for the clubs, I sort of felt like I wasted my time.
The fitting started with me warming up hitting six irons monitored by Trackman Pro. What was nice that the screen I was hitting into was a golf simulator in which I could immediately see the ball flight as though I was playing golf.
The fitter had me test four different heads with six different shafts. The criteria being made included distance, dispersion, smash factor, launch angle and the apex of ball flight. My ball flight was very low – 60-foot apex. What was clear was that my current Titleist AP2 is not the right club.
To see the recommended club report, download here Download. The distance was the primary criteria on the club selection recommendation at Club Champion. To see the cost of the clubs, download here. Download.
For GolfTec, the club fitting started more informally talking about golf and my inspirations. The fitter was flicking balls into the net while we talked. No written questionnaire nor qualifying what I was willing to spend on the new clubs.
I then warmed up hitting seven irons into a net with a center tape as an aim point. To the side was the monitor showing ball flights – in my case a pulled draw. To the fitter’s credit, he saw a swing flaw and immediately gave me a suggestion of opening the clubface more and trying to hit to “right field.”
GolfTEC (technology, equipment, and conditioning) has developed the SwingTRU™ Motion Study system that is a fact based swing analysis system. It is very impressive. After testing four different heads (Callaway Epic, Apex, AP2 716 and Mizuno) with four different shafts, their system ranked ordered the clubs as to what best fit me. To see the recommend club iron report, Download. Interestingly, GolfTEC did not provide me a copy of the analysis report their system provided that was incredibly detailed as to the basis for their recommendation. Being very detailed focus, I would have like to have seen the report but wondered if it was proprietary.
At Club Champion, I liked hitting into a simulator vs. merely a net. They the fact that they immediately adjusted my clubs with the Mitchell machine to the proper lie angle (2 degrees up) was awesome. What I also liked about Club Champion was the putter fitting. Their putting report is simply fabulous. Absolutely worth the $50 invested for those insights. Based on my path, they recommended a mallet and indicated that I was striking the putt at a 2.7-degree loft vs. a recommended 2.0-degree loft. Made an adjustment in my stroke that has produced positive results. I also liked that Club Champion could do club repair and they replaced my worn grips within 24 hours. They were also very high on “puring” and aligning the seam in the shaft properly. However, they are so busy at the Highland Ranch store, the two fitters could use an administrative aid to handle scheduling and follow up calls. They are clearly overworked.
At Golf Tec, the comprehensive analysis report they produced of the four clubs tested and a formal recommendation that I should purchase the Callaway Epic was awesome. GolfTec mentioned that “puring” the shaft was not essential, provided a ball recommendation giving me two two ball packs to try, determined that I needed 1/16 oversized grips, and indicated that when the clubs arrived, they would adjust the lie angle for each club individually. Loved their preciseness. Also liked that GolfTec offers lessons though I did feel like I was being upsold on purchasing a practice subscription or more lessons than I had already scheduled.
While I love the putter fitting at Club Champion, I would recommend GolfTec due to the sophistication of their technology in assessing what the proper club is.