The Importance of MOI

Since we’ve covered center of gravity in another blog, it’s time to continue our journey into golf’s alphabet soup with moment of inertia, or MOI. 

MOI is the measure of how resistant the clubhead is to twisting — the higher the MOI, the more resistant to twisting the clubhead will be. The more twist-resistant a clubhead is, the more forgiving it will be, too. 

It’s pretty straightforward: higher MOI = more forgiveness. This applies to every club in the bag from your driver all the way down to your putter. 

Now, similar to CG and to the game of golf in general, the same thing isn’t going to work for everyone. Not everyone may want high MOI clubs in their bags.

So should you go with a high or low MOI? Well, there are general rules for both. 

Highly skilled golfers may not want as much forgiveness as the average golfer and may expect more workability from their equipment. These players would prefer less MOI because less clubface twisting hinders their ability to hit a draw or fade as desired. If ball-striking isn’t a problem for you, low MOI allows you to achieve the distances you want while not restricting your ball-shaping abilities.  

On the other hand, the average golfer benefits from a high MOI due to improved stability at impact. That way, ball speed isn’t sacrificed on an off-center shot. If you want your golf club to be less punishing on mishits, high MOI is for you. With a high MOI and thus, more forgiveness, finding fairways becomes a bit easier.  

Should you let MOI affect how you choose your clubs?

It should certainly be considered! 

If the biggest concern with your game is accuracy and/or consistency, high MOI clubs will play a crucial role in improving those issues for you. If shot shaping and distance are your main concerns, a low MOI will generally assist with those specific needs. 

When you come to get fit, discuss your goals with your fitter — they’ll be able to send you on a path to the right amount of MOI. The beauty of a custom fitting is that there’s no standard or one-size option. The best golf clubs for you will be the ones that work with you, as always.

Finding the set that works best for you is always of utmost importance to us. So, if you learned a little something about MOI today and think you want to start making some changes to your bag, head to clubchampiongolf.com to schedule a fitting. 

Club Repairs at Club Champion

We’ve made a name for ourselves in the fitting realm of the golf industry but little do people know, we can perform club repairs, too.

Every Club Champion location has its own miniaturized version of our Chicagoland build shop and can perform repairs in-house depending on the intricacy of the required repair.

Say your clubhead comes loose or a grip is shifting, just get in touch with your fitter/club doctor. Touch-ups like that are easy-peasy and shouldn’t need to be sent off to our Chicagoland facility.

Club length, as well as loft, lie, and swingweight adjustments can usually also be done in-store. Every Club Champion Master Fitter is also trained as a Master Builder. They’re trained to understand the entire club building process partly so they can be an even more effective resource in the fitting bay but also so they can perform the adjustments you need.

Whether your clubs are built by us or not, we’re still inclined to improve your game with the best possible equipment. So, regardless of whether your clubs were built or fitted by us, we can still facilitate repairs! Just head into your local Club Champion for more info.

Say something more severe happens to your club like a club face dent or a shaft snap. Issues like that will usually require a warranty submission, but our team can help with that. We may be able to send certain breaks or damage to our Chicago shop for a fix but anything more intense will have to go through the OEM for a warranty replacement if the break is applicable under their policies.

Regardless, always start with your Club Champion fitter as a resource when your clubs need a little TLC.

If you have any further questions about our repair services or need to schedule a repair, shoot an email to info@clubchampiongolf.com to learn more.

Club Champion University: The Master Club Fitter Education Program

A Master’s Degree doesn’t just fall into anyone’s lap. It takes grueling study and masterful practical sessions to be able to call yourself the Master of anything.

That said, you don’t have to go back to college for this Master’s degree and you won’t even have to plead a case to Jedi Master Mace Windu.

All you have to do to get this club fitting Master’s Degree is to take a seat in Club Champion University (CCU).

The Curriculum

The road to becoming a Master Fitter begins at the Club Champion Headquarters in Willowbrook, IL. Once there, fitters and their fellow classmates begin a four-week training program constructed to make Master Fitters out of every single new hire, regardless of background.

CCU Professor and Master Fitter Brad Syslo

“There’s no hands-on training experience like it in the golf industry,” CCU Professor and Master Fitter Brad Syslo said. “We’ve built a program from the ground up and put together some of the best fitting knowledge in golf into a single program.”

With Syslo and our Founder/Dean of CCU, Nick Sherburne, at the helm, trainees learn the ins and outs of a Club Champion club fitting from over 50 combined years of club fitting experience. The two teach lessons, assign homework and allow the trainees to perform practicals and hands-on fittings in the Chicagoland stores.

“It’s one of, if not the most, intense fitting courses you can find,” said Sherburne. “We’ve teamed up with other minds to ensure that every fitter that comes through CCU earns the rank of Master.”

The Content

CCU has a textbook with over 200 pages of instructions and hypothetical examples of different fits. This textbook is paired with over 250 hours of online task portals that are tracked throughout the training process.

The bookwork provides a great foundation before each trainee is put to the test with practical sessions. Dispersed amongst multiple Chicagoland locations, each master-in-training gets hands-on experience with real golfers, conducting actual fittings with trainers observing in the bay. Trainees are also taught how to build and adjust clubs so they understand a customer’s golf club from the component stage all the way to the customer’s bag and beyond.

“Sometimes, you just have to run before you can walk,” Sherburne said. “The trainees are being supervised by Master Fitters during their first couple of rounds but after that, they’re expected to have grown from their training.”

Many of the fitters hired at Club Champion already have prior golf industry experience, but it isn’t required to become a Master Fitter. A familiarity with the golf industry is always preferred but passionate golfers with no previous experience can sometimes turn into the most effective fitters since they have a hunger for the process.

Included in the course is in-person presentations provided by OEM partners like TaylorMade, Mizuno, Edel, Bettinardi, and many more to ensure that every fitter knows the ins and outs of the current technology. Graduating from CCU is only step one!

The Graduation and Epilogue

After the four weeks are up and the fitter has completed their training and earned certifications from the OEM partners, it is time for them to officially graduate from Club Champion University as Master Fitters. The new class of Master Fitters are then sent to one of the many locations nationwide to help lower the scores of golfers everywhere.

But, unlike the usual graduation ceremony where you may have received a copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss and you’re sent off to live life, this Master’s Program has an Epilogue.

To ensure Club Champion fitters are consistently the most highly trained in the industry, they receive bi-weekly training so the process remains the same from coast-to-coast. The online portal they gain access to during training stays open so they can take recurrency exams and have all the up-to-date information on new products. This level of training is unmatched by any other golf club fitter you’ll find.

“As a PGA professional who has taught thousands of lessons and conducted hundreds of fits, it is impossible to reach your fitting potential without proper knowledge of the art,” Mike K. of our Owings Mills store said. “It was not until I started fitting for Club Champion that I realized the power of what we do here as fitters, CCU is game changing!”

Club fitting in general is game changing, but the steps Club Champion takes to make sure our Master Fitters match our process truly separates us from the rest of the pack.

To learn more or to book a fitting with one of our Master Fitters, head to clubchampiongolf.com.

Club Connections: The Key To An Agnostic Fitting

For over a decade, Club Champion has provided golfers with a massive number of possible club combinations in a fitting. That number has steadily grown over the years and now sits at over 50,000 hittable options in each store!

But it’s easier said than done — the secret’s in the sauce and at Club Champion, the secret sauce is the quick connects system.

The quick connects is an adapter piece, not entirely different from the loft sleeve, that allows a fitter to pair any head and shaft from the demo matrix to create a custom club that can be tested in real-time. This piece allows Club Champion to uphold their cardinal tenet of brand agnosticism to fit golfers into a club or set of clubs that works, regardless of brand.

Say you needed an extremely stiff True Temper HZRDUS Smoke Green shaft paired with your Titleist TSi4 driver head so you keep high spin and responsiveness without sacrificing launch. The quick connects systems can join those together to create a level of synergy only comparable to the likes of peanut butter and jelly, Jordan and Pippen, or lemonade and iced tea.

When comparing the loft sleeve to the connection system, they’re similar in the sense that they allow for quick adjustments; however, unlike the loft sleeve, the quick connects system allows the shaft and clubhead to be completely separated to swap something else in.

The most powerful characteristic of the quick connects system is its ability to give you access to literally every combination. Many golfers come to a fitting with a brand or model in mind because that’s what they’ve experienced in the past. At Club Champion, nothing is off-limits because their Master Fitters aren’t limited to just stock options or a few bags of pre-built clubs.

Okay, so what’s the catch? Frankly, there isn’t one but a common counterpoint to a quick adapter system like the one at Club Champion is that it adds weight to the clubs you’re testing. While this is true, the weight is minimal and it is taken into consideration by the fitter during your session when deciding on final specs like swingweight. If we want to test every possible combo to find the best fit, we have to have a system sturdy enough to take the force of repeated golf swings to do it — the alternate option is to stick with pre-built clubs that can’t be customized. As hundreds of thousands of fitted golfers can attest, the positives completely outweigh the negatives. Pun intended.

All in all, there are many factors that make Club Champion fittings the best in the industry. But the 50K+ combinations in every store are an incredible asset to any golfer looking for their best possible equipment and it’s all made possible by the quick connects adapter system.

Take a closer look at the club connection system during a fitting! Book here.

How often should you get fit for clubs?

It’d almost be too easy to write, “Get a custom fitting every year so you can have the latest, greatest and shiniest products from the top brands in golf!” See? Incredibly easy.

However, regardless of what you might hear, there’s absolutely no reason that every golfer should be fitted that frequently. That’d be the definition of overkill and pretty expensive, so let’s pull back and take a look at the optimal (and realistic) cadence for custom club fittings.

Woods

The boomsticks in your bag will typically last you around 2-3 years after a fitting, depending on how you age and how the club ages as well. If you’re starting to top and slice the ball or you’re not getting the same distance you once were, it’s time to go get re-fit.

Keep in mind, a fitting doesn’t always result in a brand new club. You may need a loft adjustment or a more optimized shaft or even something as simple as a new grip. The club technology available today is arguably still going to be incredible in a couple years, you just have to make sure it’s still incredible for you.

Rule of thumb is to check in with your club doctor (fitter) every couple of years to make sure you aren’t leaving distance on the course and aren’t working against your natural swing motion.

Irons

Irons are a little longer lasting than your woods. Fitted irons can get you through about 4-5 years without needing any replacements. But there’s one caveat: lofts and lies.

Your fitted irons are built to precision and are made to last. Part of this is the design and technology, part of it is sheer use percentage. But the lofts and lies of your irons change over time from use and also storage, leaning on clubs, repeated impact on practice mats, etc.

You should be getting your lofts and lies looked at annually, but you can hold out on a whole new set for a few years after a fitting, barring any big swing or body changes.

Wedges

Wedges are all about that bite, baby. Their lifespan isn’t quite as long as irons — an average of 1-2 years depending on usage — but there are a lot of variables that go into a wedge’s longevity. You never want worn grooves in the bag but you may pull the trusty 60 degree wedge three times as often as you pull anything else, so that wedge’s lifespan is unique.

Rule of thumb with your wedges is to replace them every 80 rounds or so, but monitor the wedge face and keep an eye on performance. If those grooves aren’t grinding for you, it’s time for a replacement.

Putter

The putter is the wild card of the fitting world. It’s also the most impactful part of your bag, but we’ve covered that in previous posts. Wear and tear isn’t as big of a factor with the flatstick so your putter might last you literal decades if you check in on loft and other metrics, and regrip as necessary.

But if you start missing left or leaving putts short, or if you make a big change in your putter grip or even your body type, it can’t hurt to bring your gamer in and check your stats on SAM PuttLab.

Rule of thumb here isn’t a rule so much as a guideline: if you’ve never been fitted for a putter, do it. If you have, maintain your short game health by checking in annually and listening to your body if you feel like something is amiss.

Long story short, “new” isn’t necessarily better. It’s tempting to test all the new toys but at the end of the day, the latest club technology isn’t (usually) blowing last year’s models out of the water. So if your clubs are performing to the best of their ability and you’re performing to the best of yours, then we’ll see you later on! If they aren’t, we’ll see you soon!

Aftermarket Shafts vs. Stock Shafts

There’s a lot of hoopla out there about “aftermarket” shafts and their superiority over the stock/standard shafts that come in clubs bought off-the-shelf. So what’s marketing and what actually makes a difference?

“Aftermarket” by definition describes a shaft that’s made with higher quality materials and is generally not mass produced the way a stock item might be. For example, many aftermarket shafts are hand-rolled in small batches, versus most stock offerings that are created in bulk by an assembly line system. This variance in the creation process allows for more quality control with aftermarket shafts, since the process is more controlled from the outset.

But what other differences are there between the two, and is an aftermarket shaft really worth it? Let’s explore.

The Makeup

To begin with, we have straight-up looks. There’s generally not a lot of visual cues to tell you that a club is stock or aftermarket. The paint jobs tend to be the same, though there are many companies that sell only aftermarket options or will allocate certain shaft families as an aftermarket purchase — this means there is no “stock” version of that shaft model.

Then there are the raw materials used to actually create the product. An aftermarket shaft will utilize better materials, like high-end carbon fibers, and a more sophisticated blending process to create strength and durability where it’s needed most. Generally, these blended materials make the shaft more resistant to unwanted and unnecessary twisting during the swing, especially on impact with the ball.

In short: it makes your swing smoother and more consistent.

Stock shafts tend to be made with lower-quality materials because of sheer volume — when you’re producing hundreds of thousands of clubs, you aren’t trying to spend a ton of the shaft when the clubhead is the main focus. In some cases, stock shafts can cost literally pennies on the dollar for larger OEMs with massive outputs.

Because of the material and production differences, there’s usually a price tag difference as well. While they may look identical on the outside, the aftermarket version of a shaft is housing better performance and for most golfers, that’s worth a slight increase in cost.

“People are under the impression that a form of graphite is just mixed into these shafts and they don’t really get why aftermarket shafts are more expensive,” said Club Champion founder Nick Sherburne. “There’s much more to it than that, and the great thing about a fitting is that you can see the results for yourself. I nearly never see a stock shaft outperform an aftermarket option and when I do, there’s usually another factor like a budget constraint playing a role.”

The Results

Speaking of results, PluggedIn Golf conducted a study with Club Champion to show the difference in distance an aftermarket shaft can provide. The study found that aftermarket shafts can be swung faster, have faster ball speeds, and provide more carry distance and overall total distance.

It’s worth noting that there’s nothing wrong with stock shafts, necessarily — many OEMs are partnering with shaft companies to offer more than just run-of-the-mill steel or low-end graphite offerings. However, like anything else with a custom club fitting, the point isn’t to find what works; it’s to find what’s best. Any shaft can help bring the clubhead around and into the ball, but you may be sacrificing distance, accuracy, repeatability and more, or even risking injury, by sticking with something that doesn’t suit you.

Stock shafts are created to serve the largest number of people, and therefore take your unique qualities out of play. Aftermarket shafts can more effectively be fine-tuned to your needs. Any golfer who’s willing to get fitted will see the benefits of aftermarket options in their data, and in our experience, the extra 10-20 yards or tighter dispersion or better feel (etc., etc., and so on) is worth a slightly more expensive price tag since it translates to real results on the course.

If you have any further questions regarding aftermarket shafts, send a note to info@clubchampiongolf.com to learn more.

Ready to get fit for your perfect shaft? Click here to book a fitting.

Breakdown: SAM PuttLab Technology

To continue our month-long celebration of the flatstick, we’re breaking down the Science & Motion (SAM) PuttLab technology found in every Club Champion studio and how it helps fitters to find your perfect putter.

For most golfers, putts make up around 40% of the strokes on a scorecard. In nearly every round, you’ll use your putter on every single hole — it’s the only club in the bag that gets that much mileage. So why not employ the gold standard when it comes to putter fitting technology?

Let’s break down how the technology actually works. SAM uses ultrasound scanners and lasers to track the core function of dozens of different putting parameters. There are a lot of factors that go into a putting stroke and SAM takes all of them into account. The machine tracks where you make impact, how your striking speed differs or compares to your tap-ins, your stroke path, and many, many more elements.

The SAM Triplett tracks the motion of the club during your stroke.

You’ll see a funny-looking machine in a Club Champion putter studio, called the SAM BaseUnit, that uses attachable lasers to show precisely where the putter is aimed. There are also overhead projectors that illustrate the correct break of the green and motion capture systems to track the “before,” “during,” and “after” of the stroke.

All the tracking and data is recorded in real-time, so you’ll be able to see what you’re doing while you’re doing it. But the comprehensive analysis reports that SAM provides are where the real magic happens.

Based on the information generated from first testing your gamer and then testing a few other putter options, your fitter will be able to recommend the best combination of elements to suit your unique needs. Putter length, toe hang, head style, loft, even grip size — everything can be dialed in using the data generated by SAM and the knowledge of a Club Champion fitter on both the fitting tech and the putter options available on the market today.

After a putter fitting, 40% of your game can be 100% fitted to you. Book a Club Champion putter fitting on the unmatched SAM PuttLab at Club Champion today — and don’t forget, for the month of September, that fitting is FREE when you purchase a putter!

Fitting existing sets

It may come as a surprise, but we love to fit existing sets at Club Champion. Golfers frequently bring in clubs that are 5, 10, 15, and sometimes even 50 years old! While we always recommend the equipment that performs the best, sometimes that means sticking with the tried and true.

For those with an attachment to their current set, there might be a reason: maybe there’s an emotional attachment but sometimes, we see older sets that can perform wonderfully. The ol’ “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is not lost on the golf industry.

The moral of the story: not every club fitting results in a brand new set.

But you might be wondering, “How does that change the fitting process?” Great question.

We’re going to take those Titleist AP2 712 irons from 2011 and have you set some baseline data with them so we can ensure that you aren’t sacrificing performance for nostalgia. We’ll analyze all your data points, your striking, etc. and see if there are small tweaks like loft and lie adjustments that can milk even more out of the set.

At that point, we’ll discuss shaft upgrades or other updates. Sometimes we keep the clubheads and upgrade the rest; sometimes all you need is a quick loft adjustment and a new grip. It’s all relative and we have thousands of ways to optimize what you already have in the bag. It’s all about blending the old and the new for the best possible performance.

Some golfers might ask, “If I’m spending the time to get fit, shouldn’t I just roll with the latest technology?”

Take it from me — I play Select Model Pro Design irons from before I was born. I got them adjusted and I’ve never played better golf. We’re talking about saving seven strokes (or more) per round compared to pre-fitting Danny. Had my fitter found something that blew these out of the water, I would have absolutely considered a new set. But sometimes, the devil you know leads to better scores than the devil you don’t.

If you’re sold on upgrading your existing set, just talk to your fitter about your options. The great thing about custom fittings is that they’re, well…custom. Let us help you find the best configuration, even if that means holding onto elements from back in the day.

Click here to schedule a fitting.

How to prepare for your fitting

So you want to upgrade your golf game.

You’ve heard great things about custom fittings and that Club Champion is the best place to go, so you booked an appointment and you’re dreaming of lower scores. But how do you get the most out of your fitting?

Here are some of our best tips to maximize your time and fitting session:

1) Bring your current clubs

Whether you want new clubs or just want to upgrade your current set, you’re going to need to bring your existing gamers. It seems self-explanatory, but in order to hone in on areas of improvement, we need to set a performance baseline with what you’ve got. 

Note: For travelers or people who do not currently own a set, we can still perform a fitting without your existing clubs. We just recommend against this so we can show you measurable improvement by comparing your baseline to the combinations we try in the bay.

2) Wear comfy golf clothes

It’s not so much about style as it is about being comfortable while you’re hitting. We’ll explain it further down, but it’s important to wear clothes that don’t hinder your swing. Further, it’s important to wear clothing that will keep you comfortable over the course of a few hours.

3) Be on time

Make sure you know the address of your Club Champion and plan to arrive about 15 minutes ahead of your start time. You are paying for time, after all, so be ready to maximize every minute. This also gives you plenty of time to stretch, which is highly recommended.

4) Know your goals

One of the first things your fitter will ask is what you want to get out of your fitting. Wanting lower scores is a fine answer, but we need a plan of attack to get you that lower score. For example, do you want to hit the ball farther? Do you need more accuracy on your approaches? Do you three-putt every time? Knowing the specific areas of your game that you want to improve will only make your fitting session better.

5) Be ready to swing

Depending on the type of fitting you’re getting, you could be hitting hundreds of golf balls. That’s right, hundreds. Bolded and italicized. 

That’s why we mentioned wearing comfy clothes above. You could be in the fitting bay for hours. Make sure you don’t come to your fitting right after you run a half-marathon or if you’ve just eaten a hefty portion of chicken alfredo. You probably won’t feel at your best during your fitting, which means you won’t hit your best. 

We already mentioned stretching, but keep strength and stamina in mind as well. Our stores have snacks and water to keep you hydrated and energized, but you’re welcome to bring your own energy-boosters as well. 

6) Know your budget

Talking money is never fun. But, it’s extremely important that you communicate with your fitter about your budget and cost concerns. We have stock options and lower-price points available because we want to fit everyone. 

You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable making your budget known to your fitter because in the long run, he or she will be able to fit you into realistic components that best suit your game and your wallet.

7) Have an open mind

This is critical for golfers who’ve never been fit as well as returning customers. We’ve built our company on brand agnosticism — we now have over 50,000 hittable club combinations and club components from over 50 manufacturers. Our fitters are trained to be brand agnostic, but many of our customers aren’t.

More often than not, someone who comes in with a specific brand in mind ends up finding better numbers with something else. Golfers are more than welcome to test the latest and greatest from their favorite brands but we try to encourage branching out so we can be sure that brand is truly the best for your specific needs. Fittings are meant to find the best option for your swing – not the option that hooked you with the best commercials.

8) Have fun!

Your fitting shouldn’t be a stressful process. A bit tiring, sure, but the tips above should help you get the most out of your fitting. Many golfers have never experienced any fitting, let alone the comprehensive process at Club Champion, so relax and enjoy the process!

For more information or to book a fitting, please visit clubchampiongolf.com.

Why does Club Champion fit indoors?

We get this question a lot.

What consistently makes us the top club fitter in the nation is our consistency across our 80+ locations. The weather in all of our locations will be perfect and there will be no external variables hindering your data.

All of our fittings are in a temperature-controlled environment without wind, humidity, or other unpleasant weather phenomenons. In a static indoor environment, you don’t have to worry about anything other than you and your swing.

The most common follow-up question is about grass versus artificial turf. Again, consistency is key.

In each of our fitting bays, we use Fiberbuilt mats that perform very close to turf and the TrackMan technology has proven that. Some small outlying factors may exist, but Fiberbuilt has been tested and performed at levels proven to be very similar to grass. The low friction fibers in the Fiberbuilt mats avoid grabbing or twisting the club on iron swings, while fairway woods and hybrids sweep through for pure ball contact. This yields accurate launch angles and ball spin, with no club head bounce. You can consistently swing down and through the Fiberbuilt, leaving ground deficiencies out of the equation in your swings. This also eliminates any issues with uneven grass, dryness, or other variables that might come along with natural grass.

Consistency is massively important in the game of golf, so it should be a no-brainer in your club fitting.

Book yours: clubchampiongolf.com

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