If Ben Hogan was alive today, I bet some smart aleck hacker like me would tell him the secret is not in the dirt, it's on a TackMan launch monitor. Only if I had about $20,000 and high ceilings.
About a month ago I picked up the new Titleist 913D2 driver with a Diamana S+ 62 (R) shaft, hoping to get a lower, more penetrating ballflight than my TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0. Like my old TM R9 driver and R11 rescues, I knew the 913 had adjustable loft and lie. What I did not know was the shaft can be easily changed with a couple clicks of the torque wrench. A month later, here I am with 3 additional shafts, trying to find the ideal combination of carry and roll.
- Diamana D+ 72 (S)
- Aldila RIP Alpha 60 (R)
- Matrix Ozik HD6 (R)
The HD6 seemed to work best for my swing but I couldn't be sure. It's difficult at the range to see how far your ball really goes and it's just too much hassle to change shafts during a round. There had to be a better way than buying random shafts from Discount Dan. It was time to get on a launch monitor with a club fitter.
I've read good things about Cool Clubs so I booked a driving fitting for a dizzly Saturday afternoon. Here's how it went.
Got to Mariner's Point Golf Center, where Cool Clubs is located, about 40 minutes before my appointment time to warmup and hit a few balls. Wasn't hitting it that great, but oh well, I have an appointment to keep. With my old driver, new driver and 3 extra shafts in hand I meet my club fitter at the old Golf Mart mini store that Cool Clubs took over.
My club fitter is a little surprised I had so much equipment with me, so I explain to him how I've been trying to self-fit myself. He wanted to know if I was just interested in hitting my drivers and shafts or wanted to try other combinations. I tell him I'm completely open. If he can find a better head/shaft, I'm not married to my current setup.
So we head back to one of the fitting rooms. He asks me what ball I play and I tell him Callaway HEX Chrome or Wilson Duo but that I've played Titleist NXT and Bridgestone in the past. I had some HEX Chrome in the bag but apparently to get better measurements they put a tin foil dot on the ball, so he pulls out some Bridgestone B330S with the tin dots for me to use.
Frankly, I was a little surprised by the choice of balls since the B330S is a tour caliber ball, requiring tour swing speeds and producing tour spin. I suppose it's better to get measured with a spinny ball, to see the effects of different heads and shafts.
I'd first hit the SuperFast 2.0 then the 913D2 w/ each of my shafts. As expected, the SuperFast launched higher, landed much steeper and spun a lot. All my numbers were horrible. Too negative of an attack angle, way too much spin, path and face angles no where near zero. My smash factor was decent, 1.48 for the SuperFast and 1.47 with the 913D2 w/ the HD6. The 913D2 w/ the HD6 was about 7 yards longer due to a better landing angle. Same carry, but the SuperFast had a 32.1 descent angle while the 913D2 was only 26.5, resulting in more roll. On average, I was about 11-12 yards off target (left).
The most interesting takeaway was the longer shaft in the SuperFast resulted in slower club head speed. This confirms Andrew Rice's findings that longer shafts (46"+) actually reduces club speed. Titleist also found that longer shafts reduce swing speeds and that's why they've kept their drivers at 45 inches. I'm done with extra long shafts.
Then we tried hitting some other heads (R11, RBZ Tour, Razor Fit, 913D2 w/ more loft) and shafts. Nothing really seemed to be working and I was getting tired. Don't underestimate how tiring it is to hit a lot of drivers in a short period of time. Almost an hour into the fitting we try the Miyazaki Cua 43. I'm familiar w/ the Miyazaki because a week before I bought the 913 I picked up a Cleveland XL with a Miyazaki Cua 39 on sale from TGW. I didn't like it because it felt too light and seemed no better than my SuperFast.
With the Cua 43 we had a winner. Paired with the Callaway Razr Fit head, the Miyazaki Cua 43 gave me the most distance, 13 yards more than the SuperFast, 6 more than the 913D2 w/ the the HD6. My angle of attack was still too negative but much better, my club path was much better (just -0.1), my club face angle was much better (0.5) and my smash factor was 1.50. My side disperson was only 4 yards.
We then went outside to hit a few balls. Outside swing confirmed inside numbers. The Razr Fit with the Cua 43 was straight and looked pretty long relative to the other. Unfortunately, they no longer carry the Razr Fit head. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, the new Razr Fit Xtreme is coming out January 18 so I would have at least waited until then.
His overall recommendation, wait until next year's heads come out before doing anything. I really appreciated this. He could have pushed me toward the RBZ Tour head (also produced good numbers) to get a sell but didn't.
He wrapped things up by taking a look at the rest of my clubs. They have machine for measuring frequency, flex and swingweight, so he did that for my irons, 3-wood wood and 2-hyrbid. Almost took 2 hours, which I don't think is typical (they advertise it as a 1 hour session).
Overall, very interesting day. I'll probably go back for an iron fitting next weekend. Base on the initial measurement, my iron flex is a bit too soft. The engineer that I am, love all these numbers, even if they're not going to help me improve. But as the saying goes, knowing is half the battle.