Review McLovin's Club Champion Experience - $100 Promotion Full Bag Fitting

Nippon Shafts

McLovin

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As many others on the forum members have done, I took advantage of Club Champion's promotional Full Bag Fitting at $100. Today I had my fitting at the Orlando, FL location.

Goals
Thanks to the great people at Mizuno and the amazing opportunities THP gives us members, I am participating in the Victory Cup next month. We are receiving irons and wedges, so I wanted to get fit for the Mizuno Pro 223 irons and T22 wedges. Not for purchase, but for specs to assist my choice when it comes time to order for the event.

Another of my goals centered on fairway wood. I have a Mizuno STZ 5w that I really like, but I'm not very consistent with it. My goal was try to find a shaft that gave me better consistency using the head. But I was also open to making a wholesale change if the head just didn't work, and we found a combo that performed that much better.

My goal with my hybrid was identical to the fairway wood. Love the head, but wondering if we can find a more consistent shaft. But also open to a wholesale change if the numbers justified it.

My last goal centered on my current irons. They're a recent(ish) acquisition, but something I've had an eye for a long time. I thought the setup would be really good for me, but the results have been mixed. So I was hoping to find a more consistent setup that maximized the performance for some great head-to-head battles against the Mizunos.

Iron recap forthcoming...
 

Snickerdog

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Sounds like a great time and a good fitting.
 

jmix18

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Can't wait for the write up!!!
 

McLovin

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Irons
We started with my gamer 6i, and saw most of what I see on the course. Best strikes were carrying around 170, with a pretty tight grouping. Interestingly spin was lower than I've seen on my personal launch monitor, as was peak height. But attack was also pretty shallow (a theme for the day), which imho is likely due to hitting off mats and protecting golfer's elbow as well as a pre-arthritic wrist. Smash averaged 1.39. The irons spec'd at D2 swingweight with Nippon 950gh stiff, are standard length, 0.5* strong off standard, and 1* flat from standard. Essentially exactly where I expected them to be.

We discussed shaft options, and I told him I really wanted to try graphite. We tried Aerotech Steelfiber Private Reserve, Mitsubishi Chemical OTi, Accra iSeries, LA Golf A series, and VA Composits Raijin. Everything was in the 80g range, except the Raijin that was in the 70g range. The OTi was an immediate no, as was the Accra. LA Golf was immediate success, very tight dispersion and a big jump in ball speed and smash. Steelfiber Private Reserve was no slouch either, really putting up a great fight. The Raijin was an immediate no.

I asked to hit a heavier shaft, so we put the LA Golf 105 in, and BAM things really started to click. Ball speed jumped 5 miles an hour. Carry almost 10 yards. Launch up 3*. Peak 15' higher, and land angle 4* steeper. The dispersion circle tightened up very impressively as well. All of this with identical swing speed.

For fun I then hit DG 105 and while swing speed stayed unchanged, ball speed dropped.

Then we moved to the Mizuno 223. We tried the stock Steelfiber and Recoil Proto. In fairness I was starting to feel a little gassed, so I don't believe I gave this head my best stuff. We liked the Recoil the best, but I was more inconsistent. When it comes closer to order time, I'll reach back out to my fitter to get his input. I'm pretty well set on Recoil assuming they're available.

This really was quite a shock. I didn't expect LA Golf to be so impressive. While the Steelfiber Private Reserve did surprise me, the performance of LA Golf was amazing for me.

Next up was hybrid...
 
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mikeg_74

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What ball were you testing with??
 

McLovin

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Hybrid (or not...)
As much as I would say I struggle with my hybrid, and as much as I felt like I was struggling with this club during the fitting, the results were very good. Carry was 195, smash 1.48, but peak was inconsistent (strike-related). And the dispersion wasn't terrible.

We bounced around a lot in this testing, moving among heads and shafts frequently, instead of finding a shaft then matching the head. We tried Srixon, Cobra, PING, and PXG, as well as my gamer TSI2. For shafts we tried Accra FX (something with green writing), Ventus blue, and LA Golf A-Series 85.

Here's where I may start a different thread, and why I'd really like to see Club Champion (maybe the company, or maybe just this location), expand their options. See, all hybrid shafts were built to 3H length, and all hybrid heads were 3H. This really confounded the testing imho.

I did not like any of the heads we tried except my gamer. And I didn't like any shaft other than the LA Golf.

The manager of the store had made his way over by this time, and was helping with the fit (I gathered he had nothing else to do lol). Part of me wishes he hadn't because I enjoyed my fitter Jake's style more than the manager, but two heads are often better than one. While I was struggling to find any consistency with the hybrids, the manager made a suggestion and came back with a very different animal.

Callaway Apex UW. With the LA Golf shaft, the numbers moved to where we wanted them. Ball speed jumped almost 10mph. Smash was 1.50 - 1.52. Launch dropped 1*, but peak didn't move much compared to the higher lofted gamer hybrid. Carry jumped 20y, and we had a nice gentle fade with a tight grouping.

Consistent with the iron testing, the best performer again shocked me with the lower-spinning UW and the LA Golf shaft. Definitely not what I would expect for myself.

Next up, fairway wood...
 
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troyefl

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interesting on the hybrid offerings only 3h. That is a miss, especially for the players who use alot of hybrids and less long irons in the bag.
Do they think they would all be the same set up? No mixed bags on the hybrids?
 

Just_Brad

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I am unfamiliar with how Club Champion does their fittings. You mentioned how the hybrids are all 3 hybrid, but with the irons, are they not all 6 irons?

I've never done a fitting on anything but driver or irons. Would multiple lofts normally be available on standard fittings for woods/hybrids?
 

McLovin

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Fairway wood
Fatigue and some swing issues really started to show at the start of this testing. I struggled with my gamer, but to be honest I struggle with it on the course too. I was hitting wipey fades that barely carried more than my hybrid. Smash wasn't terrible, but the consistency was not good.

Similar to my beef with the hybrid options, the only options they had were 3-woods. I DO NOT LIKE 3-WOODS. It bothers me to see such little loft at address, and my dynamics don't make any sense for a 3w. They did have a Mizuno 5w to try, but everything else was 3w.

Again here we tried some different head and shaft combos in a (to me, anyway) somewhat haphazard way. For heads we tried my gamer Mizuno STZ, Callaway Rogue (not sure which model), Cobra LTDx, PING G425 Max, and PING G425 LST. For shafts we tried Ventus Red, Fujikura NX Speeder, LA Golf A-Series, VA Composites VYLYN, and VA Composites DRAGO.

The only head we hit that I hated was the G425 Max. Even the fitter said "Give that back to me, I hate the way it sounds" lol. I didn't mind the other heads, but one definitely stood out above the others, and to continue the theme of the day it's the last head I would have ever picked for myself: PING G425 LST.

For shafts, I didn't at all like the Ventus Red or LA Golf A-Series. The NX Speeder felt really good, but for whatever reason it changed my delivery and spin dropped too low. Both VA shafts were good, but the DRAGO unlocked a different gear for me.

Unfortunately the Mizuno continued to underperform for me, with the slowest ball speeds and highest spin.

While this is not apples to apples numbers since the Mizuno STZ is a 5w and the 425 LST is a 3w, the differences are still pretty stark. Club speed jumped 7mph. Ball speed jumped 13mph. Smash increased from 1.44 to 1.50. Launch dropped a little under 2*. Carry increased 20y. But probably the most shocking change of all was peak height: 10’ higher, pushing almost 100' which is insane for me.

So yet again, a low spin head and a purported low spin shaft won the day in every measurable category.

Now, onto wedges...
 
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McLovin

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Wedges
This will be short because I don't have the numbers, and everything stock was all kinds of perfect. We really focused on which grind made the most sense. We focused mostly on the 56*, trying the low bounce C grind, mid bounce D grind, and high bounce S grind.

While my miss is thin, we both agreed after some testing that the C grind was too unforgiving for me.

We moved to the D grind, and it was super consistent. I was chipping the balls within a very tight circle, with very consistent spin. Sure my issues popped up, but even on decent swings small mishits the results were very good.

We tried the S grind since my issues would seem to encourage the highest bounce, but the sound changed in a bad way, and the distances and launch were very inconsistent.

Back to the D grind, and back to more consistent shots.

He gave me the 60C to try, and through the mat it felt exactly like the 56D, with crisp contact and good spin. For fun I worked on some 50y half(ish) swings, and just peppered the center line with spin consistently in the 9k range. That was super impressive.

From what I could tell, this location is not set up to test different shafts in wedges. Whether this was a result of that or the honest truth I don't know, but the fitter said S400 was the perfect fit for me. And in testing full swing, half swing and chipping, I would agree the S400 really shined.

So the wedges were set: 50S, 56D and 60C all with stock Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400.

Onto some bonus putter work...
 

mikeg_74

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What golf ball did you use for the fitting?
 

bbutler

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All sounds good. Have a fitting scheduled for Tuesday.
 

McLovin

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We had about 45 minutes left on our allotted time, and had touched every part of the bag I had intended. He knew going into the fitting I am in love with my driver and would not be changing, and also that I love my putter. He said since I wasn't interested in a driver fitting and honestly was kind gassed, I could come back when the TSR is released and test it at no charge. But then I confessed something to him and wanted to see if putter was an issue. In a regrettable moment of frustration with my chipping woes, I hit a particularly bad shot in a recent round and took my anger out on my putter by hitting the grip with my wedge. It was the closest thing by me. Not my finest moment. Ever since then, I've been missing a lot of putts and having distance control issues. So it's in my brain that I may have damaged the putter. He said we could go hop on the S.A.M. with our remaining time.

Putter
Again I don't have the numbers, but basically we verified that my current Odyssey Marxman db Triple Track is pretty much perfect for me. The length of my backswing was very consistent. The arc tracked perfectly over the dotted line for an optimal strong arc. My impact consistency was spot on with the tour. Everything was very good, except the face was hanging 1* open consistently, launch was a little low, impact was a little toe down, and my aim was MILES left (paging @Luke WilliamsCG). They had Callaway balls with Triple Track, but for time's sake I did not align each ball.

He took my putter and adjusted it to add 1* of loft, and make it 1* more upright. He brought it back, and to test the change I aligned the Triple Track balls. The roll was impressively consistent. So the putter wasn't messed up, it was me. Go figure.
 

McLovin

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All in all, I had a fantastic experience. My fitter Jake was so friendly, so patient, and very encouraging. I had a lot of fun, because he made it fun and our personalities were very similar. There was zero pressure to buy anything, and knowing I wasn't going to buy the Mizuno clubs because of the event he still took plenty of time to work with me with clubs he knew wouldn't result in a sale.

I'd like to see CC invest a little money in some better mats. And I think it's a huge miss to only have 3W and 3H heads.

So while some have definitely had regrettable experiences taking advantage of this promotional offer, I personally had a 10/10 experience.
 

McLovin

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McLovin

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interesting on the hybrid offerings only 3h. That is a miss, especially for the players who use alot of hybrids and less long irons in the bag.
Do they think they would all be the same set up? No mixed bags on the hybrids?
big miss imho
 

McLovin

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I am unfamiliar with how Club Champion does their fittings. You mentioned how the hybrids are all 3 hybrid, but with the irons, are they not all 6 irons?

I've never done a fitting on anything but driver or irons. Would multiple lofts normally be available on standard fittings for woods/hybrids?
yes, all off 6-irons, which is the wrong way to do it imho. i think the fitting should be done off the 7i. it's a little easier to hit, and some people don't even game a 6i anymore.

my fitting with true spec golf last year had multiple heads and shafts of different lengths to try for fairways and hybrids.
 

SkiBumGolfer

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Great recap man. Sounds like you had a great experience. I had a very solid experience with them as well several years back. I've since changed to a local fitter mostly due to proximity, but generally liked my one Club Champion fitting.

I agree 100% on 3W and 3H only. I game a 4H and no 3H and am probably going to 4W and no 3W soon, so it wouldn't be ideal for me either. 7i also makes a lot more sense for the reasons you stated - although, I will say that with the longer club you can probably get a little better idea of forgiveness.
 

McLovin

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Great recap man. Sounds like you had a great experience. I had a very solid experience with them as well several years back. I've since changed to a local fitter mostly due to proximity, but generally liked my one Club Champion fitting.

I agree 100% on 3W and 3H only. I game a 4H and no 3H and am probably going to 4W and no 3W soon, so it wouldn't be ideal for me either. 7i also makes a lot more sense for the reasons you stated - although, I will say that with the longer club you can probably get a little better idea of forgiveness.
i agree that some added spin on a 7i could mask some mishit issues, but modern clubs are a little stronger in loft and longer in length (i think) than the 6-irons that were used for fittings way back when cc first opened. i'd also venture to say most amateurs are more comfortable with a 7i than a 6i, so why not give them a club they're more likely to swing confidently?
 

SkiBumGolfer

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i agree that some added spin on a 7i could mask some mishit issues, but modern clubs are a little stronger in loft and longer in length (i think) than the 6-irons that were used for fittings way back when cc first opened. i'd also venture to say most amateurs are more comfortable with a 7i than a 6i, so why not give them a club they're more likely to swing confidently?
Fair point - 6i is usually the mental transition point where I'm starting to think "long iron" and probably unconsciously affects the way I swing to some degree.
 

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He took my putter and adjusted it to add 1* of loft, and make it 1* more upright. He brought it back, and to test the change I aligned the Triple Track balls. The roll was impressively consistent. So the putter wasn't messed up, it was me. Go figure.
That can be very useful information.
I learned a lot of info like that when I got my fitting. Which should really help my game moving forward.
I did a lot of testing and figured out what worked via trial and error.
What I didn't realize that I needed to look at my clubs as a matched set or team of clubs that worked together!

Sort of like acing an exam. Sure you know the stuff. But getting that "A" adds confidence to your game.
 

Snickerdog

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So awesome!!! You should be knocking the HC down in no time.
 

shanewu

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I asked to hit a heavier shaft, so we put the LA Golf 105 in, and BAM things really started to click. Ball speed jumped 5 miles an hour. Carry almost 10 yards. Launch up 3*. Peak 15' higher, and land angle 4* steeper. The dispersion circle tightened up very impressively as well. All of this with identical swing speed.
Interesting and weird that the graphite options you tried initially were all so light. Did you try any others in the 100-110g range? I love seeing heavier = better (oversimplification but I keep trying to tell my dad he needs heavier shafts haha... and I hit my Apex 21 Pros with Elevate Tours, which are around 115g, as far as my standard Apex 19s with Catalyst 80s).
 

badolds

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Great write up Chris.
 

ArmyGolf

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Good stuff man! I always love reading these fitting recaps.
 

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