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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Buy yourself a better golf game (Part 2)

The Putting Green

In last month's column, I described how seniors can buy themselves a better golf game through custom fitting. This month, I am completing my experience with custom fitting and asking some important questions about the makeup of your set.

Two things to note before I continue with my custom fitting experience (the first is really important, and I forgot to mention it in last month's column): First, golf technology is advancing very rapidly and the quality in golf clubs is very high, so try different clubs and different shafts before narrowing your club selection. In my case, I swung many different clubs and narrowed my choice of iron sets to a Wilson C200 and Cobra Fly-Z. These are not the latest new technology in irons, but they were among the newest last year when I did my custom fitting.

Second, custom fitting can be done at a golf course, at an off-course golf store such as the PGA Superstore, and at a specialty fitting store, such as Champions Golf. The prices for custom fitting range from free to a couple hundred dollars. As you might expect, the options in terms of equipment also have a price range. I add this because price is one of the most important variables in purchasing new irons. For example, the new irons sets from PXG cost $300 a club. A new shaft to fit your swing can cost upwards of $250/club. Getting custom fit for a putter can cost hundreds of dollars and take hours to complete, depending on the analytic equipment the fitter is using.

Before continuing the fitting process, let me add that the number of options that go into selecting the proper shaft, lie, length and weight for your new clubs is staggering. The goal of the club-fitter is to fit the golfer with the best possible set of clubs. In some cases, this means fitting you with a more expensive shaft. It's now up to the golfer to decide whether or not the extra money is worth it.

In last month's column, I was looking to purchase a steel shaft for my irons, but my fitter, Jordan Twidell of Wilson Sporting Goods, told me that he wasn't quite satisfied with my spin rate. He told me that we needed to increase my spin rate to optimize my club selection. I don't remember the exact analytic on Trackman, but it was enough for him to ask, "Have you ever tried graphite shafts?"

Twidell told me that today's graphite shafts come if different weights and are available in senior, regular, stiff, and extra-stiff flexes. I can verify that graphite shafts can fit any golfer because two of my regular golfing buddies use graphite shafts, and their swing speeds are vastly different. It's also good to remember that the only way you can increase your distance is by swinging faster.

At this juncture, Twidell handed me two 7-irons with graphite shafts. I hit about five shots with each one and noticed two things. The ball was going five yards farther, and I felt that I was swinging faster without losing my balance. The clubs also felt lighter to me than the steel shafts.

While I felt good swinging these clubs, it was time to visit the Trackman to determine whether my results corresponded to my feelings. Twidell and I went to the monitor and he pointed out that my distance was slightly longer than with the steel shafts, my dispersion pattern was a little less, and the spin rate he was looking for from the graphite shafts had improved.

Now, it was back to see how these graphite shafts compared to the Cobra Fly-Z. A look at the two showed similar results in terms of speed, with the graphite shafts hitting the ball slightly longer and with less spin. A couple more practice shots, and I was now convinced that I needed to purchase a Wilson C200 set of irons with a graphite Adila Rogue Pro stiff shaft with the standard length and lie.

There remained just two important questions to answer: Did this set come with a hybrid 3 and 4 irons? If so, how much more did they cost? More importantly, could I hit these hybrids on the course before purchasing them?

The second question was equally important: What type of wedges should I put with this new set of irons or was it OK to use my current setup of 52, 56, and 58 Cleveland wedges?

Due to space considerations, I can't provide the answers to these questions. If you like a column on these two topics, simply send me an email.

For now, I will simply leave you this word of advice. In my opinion, every golfer can buy a better a golf game. You need to demo different clubs, see an expert and always get custom fit. And if you haven't replaced your 2, 3, and 4 irons with hybrids, you're missing out on a lot.

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