Club Champion – The Nation's #1 Premier Golf Fitter
-By Gordy Ginsberg, GolfSpy

As an aging (senior) golfer I have seen my scores rise and my enjoyment of the game decrease. My shots no longer soared high, far or straight. I was so frustrated I was ready to throw in the towel on a sport I truly enjoyed.

My decision to have a club fitting at Club Champion was a golf lifesaver for me.

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With the cost of a full set of quality golf clubs approaching that of my first used car the best thing you can do for yourself and your game is to get a professional club fitting. That is exactly what I did at the Club Champion fitting store in Minneapolis.

For less than the cost of a new driver, you can be custom fit for a completely new set of clubs (driver, fairway, hybrid and irons) and purchase them at the same price as a big box store. Even if you only need a driver, a set of irons or just a putter Club Champion has an economic program to fit your needs.

Why get a custom fitting?

First of all, everyone’s swing is different plus our bodies and swings change over time. So, why buy clubs “off the rack” when a custom fitting will maximize the distance, accuracy, and consistency we all desire. By combining the right club head, shaft, loft and lie a professional club fitter can add distance, increase accuracy and consistency across all the clubs in your bag. Second of all, it is economical considering the price of new clubs. Most importantly, it will make a difficult game easier and more enjoyable.

What is a typical fitting session like?

In my case, I needed new irons. The strength of my game was always my iron play. My current irons, which were top of the line when I bought them years earlier, were no longer doing the trick. Long irons were hard to get in the air. My reliable draw had gone away. Once deadly short irons were missing the mark. So I made an appointment and headed over to Club Champion.

For an iron fitting, all you need to do is dress comfortably, bring your current 6 iron, golf shoes, a golf glove and an open mind. Once inside you will meet your fitter (mine was George Smith), give him some information about your game and what you hope to accomplish. Next, you will go to one of the hitting bays and warm up using your own 6 iron. Then the fun begins.

Each Club Champion store has the latest club heads and shafts from all the major manufacturers (see their website). In addition, all heads and shafts are interchangeable and can be switched in mere seconds. This means 1000’s of combinations. Club Champion hitting bays are equipped with the same Trackman launch monitors used by most tour pros. A Tracman will tell you swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, club path, spin rate, distance, direction and more.

After warming up you will hit 15 – 20 shots with your club. The Trackman records each shot and in addition gives an average of all the shots. Your trained fitter may then delete a few of your worst mishits with the remaining shots being your baseline. In my case my 6 iron flew an average of 152 yards in the air, 54’ high and anywhere from 10 yards right to 15 yards left of center.

Based on my amateur swing speed of less than 80 MPH George ruled out all tour level type clubs and any sort heavy stiff shafts. He asked me what I liked in an iron and I told him a thin top line with soft feel. George then picked out a few different irons form an array of manufacturers and a couple of different shafts from top of the line shaft makers. The beauty of custom fitting is that in a few seconds any shaft can be combined with any club head to come up with the perfect fit for you.

What happens next is where the magic begins. A trained fitter can hear, see and look at the numbers to come up with just the right mix of head and shaft to maximize your ability. Some of the club head and shaft combinations just did not work for me. Distances dropped. Accuracy suffered. Club head speed decreased. If I liked a certain club head look and feel but we were not getting the results then we switched to a different shaft using the same club head and hit another 20 shots. Then we tried other manufacturer’s club heads and so on and so on until we found the optimal club head and shaft combination that worked best for me.

Let me tell you that the results were amazing! My distances increased by nearly 15 yards per club. I was launching them higher and straighter. My swing and ball speeds increased with no extra effort on my part. It turned out my existing irons were too heavy, too stiff and too long for me. It wasn’t me…it was the clubs!!

After the fitting session

When you are finished hitting balls your fitter will print out a detailed Trackman data summary of all the different club combinations you hit. The two of you will look at the numbers and determine what combination worked best for you. Then you will get a detailed price quote for the club head, shaft and even the grip you want. Your custom order clubs will normally be delivered in about two weeks.

Suggestions for a successful fitting

First and foremost, come with an open mind. Don’t be fixated on any one manufacturer. In fact, I preferred to not even look at the club I was hitting. Same with the shafts. I didn’t want the name to influence me in any way. Let the TrackMan numbers be your guide. Second, don’t do an entire bag fitting (irons, woods, hybrids) in one session. Trust me, you will be too tired after hitting 60 – 100  six irons to hit any drivers or hybrids. Come back a few days later relaxed and refreshed before fitting other clubs. Lastly, trust your fitter. They are trained to help you enjoy the game by fitting you with clubs that match your swing.

About Club Champion

Club Champion has over 20 stores nationwide and should have over 30 by this time next year. All stores are company owned and not franchises. Besides club fitting, they offer club repair, re-gripping, re-shafting and more. They also offer a club trade-in program where they will purchase your current equipment. In addition, Club Champion can host corporate and private events at their stores. This is a great way to socialize with friends and colleagues. You can also give the gift of a custom fitting with easy to buy gift certificates. This is a perfect reward for co-workers or a nice birthday gift to an avid golfer.

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