Whether you are a scratch golfer, hacker, casual player, weekend warrior, or a beginner, it’s important that you play with the right equipment. Specifically, equipment that is meant for you by being fit to your individual swing, playing style or skill level. There are many different options out there for players to use in order to get their game and/or equipment analyzed but THP decided to check out one of these options first hand. Secret shopper style so no extra attention to detail was given. THP went to GolfTec to see if it’s ‘Set Analysis’ service could shed any light on this tester’s game and equipment make up. Did I learn anything and just as important am I using the right equipment out on the course? Check it out.
Did You Know?
- GolfTec was founded in 1995
- Over 350 PGA Professionals are employed year round by GolfTec
- 20% of all lessons given in the United States are by GolfTec
- Over 200,000 clients have used GolfTec services
- GolfTec’s footprint covers 70% of the United States
It’s a bright and sunny Saturday morning on the East Coast so why wouldn’t it be a good time to go inside and see if I have any other flaws in my game beyond those I already know about? I tell myself that it’s something I’ve been needing to do but putting off for whatever reason so I grab my golf bag and into GolfTec I go. I’m quickly greeted by ‘Chris’ who informs me that my instructor is just finishing up a lesson and that I can begin to hit some balls in one of their testing bays to get ready. The testing bay I was in had just about everything you could ever want to see how good or bad your sewing is. Video cameras shooting every angle of you and your swing, motion capture cameras focusing only on your club at impact and computers calculating distance, trajectory, etc. I’m already a little intimidated and I haven’t even hit a ball yet. About 15 balls later my instructor ‘Pete’ walks in and it’s go time! He starts out by asking me about my game, my swing, what kind of shots I like to hit, what kind of shots I don’t like to hit and how long I’ve been playing. After the golf small talk is wrapped up, ‘Pete’ asks me for my height (6’1”), measures my hand (L) and then measures me from my wrist to the floor. Here I thought I was going to get my clubs and club set up analyzed but there is a method to this madness so stay here with me folks.
Next he pulls all my wedges out of the bag and proceeds to measure each one for overall length while noting the lofts (PW 46* GW 52* SW 56* LW 60*). Next he pulls my putter out and gets those measurements too (34”). ‘So far so good’ he says so now I don’t feel too bad about what’s in my bag! Now he pulls out my 6 iron, measures that, and then hooks up the Mizuno Swing Optimizer to it and tells me to hit 3 balls. This is the first experience I’ve had with this cool little device and it’s a simple, fast and effective way to measure your swing speed. You definitely should check one out for some instant feedback on your club head speed (speed of club head and shaft during the swing), tempo (speed of transition from back swing to downswing), shaft toe down (bowing of the shaft during downswing), shaft high angle (forward bending of shaft during downswing), and release factor (how/when the clubhead and shaft are releasing). My 3 swings with the 6 iron netted me an average swing speed of 80mph and a tempo number between 7 and 8 which ‘Pete’ said was very good on both accounts. Then he puts some impact tape on the bottom the face and sole of the 6 iron and brings out a lie board. He then asks me to hit 3 shots and after doing so he sees something I’ve always thought but never verified, my club is hitting the ground predominantly out on the toe. The result from this is the club being pulled open right before impact which potentially can rob me of power, distance and accuracy. The feeling of getting this information confirmed was like finding out your parents are Santa Claus even though you kind of expected it all this time.
Next he measures my hybrids, fairway wood, and driver while noting their lofts as well just as he had for my wedges. Now he’s ready for me to take 3 swings with my driver to measure my driver swing speed. The video camera comes on and away I go dreading what my swing looks like on film. After blasting balls into the net my average driver swing speed was 98mph which Pete said was great for only having a few warm up swings. My swing results? For the most part I’m pretty on plane but can get a little over the top at times. The cause of this? Sometimes I set the grip too high at address where it points to my stomach instead of my belt buckle which starts the over the top move. When I saw this it’s no wonder I have a tendency to not close the club face at impact because my hands are trying to compensate for other things going on. Video, such a benefit but it can be a rude awakening to finding flaws in your swing that you never knew were there. To borrow a term from football, the eye in the sky don’t lie.
Looking at my ‘static numbers’ across my set, ‘Pete’ says I’m pretty good numbers-wise as far as lofts, gaps within lofts, and the length of my clubs go. But there are improvements that can be made so let’s get into those now.
GolfTec takes all the data gathered up until this point, puts it into its database, and generates a custom set analysis for the golfer. All the data from hand size, shaft flex, shaft material, club loft, club length, grip size, and swing speed are used and then explained to you during your final review session of ‘Current Specs and Recommendations.’ What was my analysis you ask? Here it is:
Club, Length, Flex, Loft, Notes:
Driver 44.75, S, 10.5, Perfect set up for my swing
Fairway 43, S, 15, May need to be shortened 1/4-1/2”
Hybrid 40.5, S, 20.5, Hybrid gaps may be too close together
Hybrid 40, S, 23, Hybrid gaps may be too close together
6 iron 37.5, R, N/A, Lie is too upright
PW 35.5, R, 46,
GW 35.5, W, 52, 50* wedge may be better, test on course
SW 35.5, W, 56, Good
LW 35.25, W, 60, Good
Iron set make up is 6, 7, 8, 9
After printing off my session report, ‘Pete’ walked me through the entire report to make sure I knew what the Set Analysis would mean for my game, what action items I may want to take, and what things I did not have to worry about at this time. This was a very enlightening experience for me although it felt like drinking from a fire hose at times. Thankfully you are given a copy of the report to take with you which is a huge plus in the event you want to take it with you to the pro shop or your favorite golf retailer to use to get your new clubs. Worried that you’ll lose your information, forget what your swing looks like and what you need to improve upon? No worries. Once you have a service done at GolfTec you have an account set up that is a repository for all of your reports, notes, swing videos, etc. Talk about full service!
First he walks through what your current specs are. The areas for improvement that the computer tells me I should look into trimming my 3w down a 1/4-1/2” I explained that it is already cut down to almost a 4w length so we agreed that was not a main area of concern. My hybrid gaps may be too close together so the next time I’m at the range I’m going to pay extra attention to what distances I’m truly getting and will evaluate whether I need to remove one of them or not. The primary concern for me is in my iron set makeup. It turns out that the lie on my irons need to be bent 1* flat. In addition to that, it was suggested that I use an iron set that has more of a ‘player’s look and less of a GI iron’ as my ball striking was better with a narrower head profile. Perhaps I concentrate more? I’m also playing a shaft in my irons that is too ‘soft’ for me and need to be playing a stiffer or tour flighted shaft. How do they determine this? Remember the Mizuno Optimizer and all the data it collects? The driver and 6 iron swing speed readings? Check out this chart and you’ll see I’m on the edge of a stiff shaft and an extra stiff shaft. GolfTec provided me with specific OEM shaft recommendations based on my information and desired ball flight but in the interest of keeping this review about GolfTec only, I’ll let you know what those recommendations are in the GolfTec Review thread on the Forum.
Lastly, the computer recommends that I have a 50* GW to come in after my 46* PW rather than my current 52* GW. I explained that I have a 50* specialty club that I use for this gap but in looking at the data I may need to remedy that situation. Oh I almost forgot to mention that my hand measurements told them that my standard grips are just fine for me but if I wanted to add a little tape under them I could do that as well. Overall though I’m a standard grip guy so those don’t need to be changed.
So what will I do now that I’m armed with this knowledge? Here is what I’m thinking in order of importance. I’m currently deciding whether I need to change my entire set of irons and have a new set built with new shafts and adjust the lie on the clubheads or do I just replace the shafts and adjust the lie on the clubheads? Also, I’m debating whether I want to revamp my wedge set from 46*, 50*, 52*, 56*, 60* to 46*, 50*, 54*, 58* Finally I’m going to determine if I need to be carrying 2 hybrids or only 1 hybrid. No matter what I decide it sounds like I may have a spot opening up in my bag. The information that GolfTec gives you can be exciting yet maddening at the same time. But I’d rather have this information than not have it at all.
Honestly, this was some of the best money I’ve ever spent on golf since I’ve been playing. I couldn’t have been more happy with the service, professionalism, and attention to detail at the GolfTec Main Line facility. Worried that you’ll lose your information, forget what your swing looks like and what you need to improve upon? No worries
Besides the Set Analysis that I went through, GolfTec also offers other services like Swing Evaluation, Personal Club Fitting, Lessons, and Custom Club Building. Click on over to www.golftec.com and see what the location near you has to offer. The experience has opened up my eyes to something or somethings that may have been holding back my golf game that was totally within my control. Don’t be stubborn or arrogant like me and do yourself a favor, get your clubs checked out. Just 45 minutes could revitalize or save your golf game from certain frustration!