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Greens Professor

The Greens Professor is a simple electronic unit designed to improve your cognizance of whether the face of your putter is open, square, or closed at impact. If you have problems getting your putter face square during your stroke, the Greens Professor can help.

You attach a reflective mirror on the toe of your putter, turn on the unit, and take a putting stroke. The device fires a laser that reflects off of the mirror to determine the alignment of the putter face at impact.

Unfortunately, practicing with the Greens Professor can be repetitive and boring, and the build of the product feels a little shabby because its design is predicated on attaching a mirror to your putter head with a piece of double-sided tape.

SCORE
83
GRADE
B-
Setup
96
Teaching Value
89
Fun
80
Construction/Durability
79
Cost/Value
83

Pros:

  • Simple concept
  • Value pricing available if you look around

Cons:

  • Difficult to use with a ball…and not much fun to use without a ball
  • Doesn’t have the look and feel of a polished product

Retail price: $49.99


96 / A

SETUP

The Greens Professor isn’t particularly difficult to set up. The only trick is applying the double-sided tape to stick the reflective mirror on to the toe of your putter (why is the backing of double-sided tape always so hard to remove? Grrrrr…) Otherwise, you just set turn on the unit and set it on the ground.


89 / B+

TEACHING VALUE

There can be many different faults in a given putting stroke, and determining what is causing your putts to go awry can be challenging – is the path of your stroke incorrect, is the alignment of the putter face at impact open or closed, or are you just reading the break incorrectly? The Greens Professor provides a nice way to determine if you have a clubface alignment problem and provides a practice method that can help provide a cure.

The Greens Professor is designed to build a stroke in which you consistently square your putter face at impact. It does so by providing visual feedback on whether the face is open, square, or closed at impact. The product consists of two pieces – an electronic unit that you lay down on the ground, and a reflective mirror that you attach to the toe of your putter with a piece of double-sided tape. The electronic unit emits a laser beam that is reflected back to the unit by the mirror on the toe of the putter. When you make a putting stroke, the unit determines whether the face is open, square or closed based upon the reflection of the laser beam, and shows the result on a small display window on the top of the unit.

The Greens Professor Video

Greens Professor video

You can use the Greens Professor by making putting strokes without a ball or with one. Using the device without a ball works pretty well, and we can see how repeated training with the Greens Professor can improve your putter face alignment over time. We weren’t big fans of using the Greens Professor WITH a ball because in order to determine whether the face was square or not, you have to look at the device’s display exactly at the moment of impact. What that seems to mean to us is that you are actually training yourself to look away from the ball during your stroke, which doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

Suggestion Box: A better design would be for the Greens Professor to continue to display the result for a few seconds after impact so that users can wait until after their stroke is complete to look up.


80 / B-

FUN

As stated above, we don’t recommend using the Greens Professor while actually stroking the ball, so that means that your practice will be repeating the stroke over and over again without a ball. We don’t doubt that this will improve your putter alignment, but we can also vouch that it isn’t a ton of fun.

For the first few minutes, it’s kind of interesting to see whether you have any specific tendency (open, closed or square). After that, we found ourselves just swishing the putter back and forth making phantom strokes and finding it difficult to stay focused.


79 / C+

CONSTRUCTION / DURABILITY

The electronic unit is made of plastic, but is constructed solidly enough. Where we got hung up is the fact that in order for the Greens Professor to work, you have to stick a mirror to the toe of your putter. The process itself is simple, but unless you don’t mind using different putters for practice and actual play, you will have to detach and re-attach the mirror between rounds. The Greens Professor comes with 3 extra pieces of double sided tape – after that, you’ll have to buy your own tape and cut it to the appropriate size. The mirror is small (about 1” by 1”), so you will want to keep close tabs on it. If the mirror breaks or is lost, you won’t be able to use the Greens Professor until you replace it.


83 / B-

COST / VALUE

Priced at $49.99, the Greens Professor doesn’t break the bank (at least not within the ridiculously expensive golf products universe), and it helps address a fairly important concept. At the same time, $50 isn’t chump change, the device doesn’t feel or look like a high tech product, and extended training sessions with it get pretty monotonous.

Hank Haney Ultimate Putting System

The Hank Haney Ultimate Putting System is a putting mat with an electrically powered ball return. The hole is set on a slight incline to promote the concept of getting the ball past the hole.

Calling it an “ultimate” putting system is probably an overstatement – we were disappointed in the quality of the putting surface, and as a “training aid,” it doesn’t do much other than provide a green strip on which to practice. The putting surface is so thin that it takes on the quality of the material below the mat – if it’s placed on thick carpet, the putts will roll extremely slowly, while setting it on a hardwood floor will result in quick putts. In addition, because the putting surface is so light, it tends to retain any creases or bulges from when it is rolled up.

The ball return works fine, but note that it must be plugged into an electrical outlet, which may constrain where you can actually set up the putting mat.

Even evaluating it purely as a putting mat, we were disappointed enough in the putting surface to conclude that there are better options on the market.

SCORE
79
GRADE
C+
Setup
85
Teaching Value
80
Fun
89
Construction/Durability
79
Cost/Value
79

Pros:

  • Nice ball return mechanism, which will send the ball back regardless of whether you hole the putt or not, so long as you hit it far enough

Cons:

  • Thin putting surface is difficult to flatten out, and can be fast or slow depending on the type of floor/carpet on which you place it
  • Ball return must be plugged in, which may limit where you can put the mat

Retail price: $49.99


85/ B

SETUP

One would think this would be easy to set up – after all, you should just need to unroll the mat and then plug it into a nearby electrical outlet (its power cord is 5’4” long) to power the ball return mechanism. Unfortunately, the mat itself retains lots of wrinkles and bumps from when it is rolled up, so we spent lots of time trying (with only limited success) to smooth it out.

The mat is 9’1” long, making it the longest entry level mat we tested by just a hair, and it is a relatively standard 1’ wide.


80 / B-

TEACHING VALUE

Hank Haney Ultimate Putting SystemHank Haney Ultimate Putting System

Click for images

Other than its misleading name (“Ultimate Putting System”), the device doesn’t really profess to be anything other than a putting mat that will kick the ball back to you. The one thing that it does teach is putting with enough oomph to get the ball past the hole. It does so through two design elements – first, the hole is on a slight incline, which develops muscle memory for a stroke sufficient to get the ball past the hole when you actually attempt flat putts, and second, because the ball return will only send the ball back if you hole the putt or reach a trough located past the hole, you have plenty of incentive to add a little pace to your putts.


89 / B+

FUN

The Hank Haney Ultimate Putting System is saved from being a medium for a tedious chore by the consistent ball return. Practicing putting is monotonous enough without having to fish balls out of the hole or track down wayward putts. The ball return zips the ball back, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

Note, however, that Ultimate Putting System is designed such that the ball return shoots the ball back on a line NEXT to the putting mat, and not ON the putting mat. As a result, if you lay the Ultimate Putting System down on a hardwood floor, the returning balls may zip right past you if you’re not paying attention.


79 / C+

CONSTRUCTION / DURABILITY

As mentioned above, the material from which the putting mat is made is too thin, which results in the retention of any creases or bulges from when it was rolled up. Somehow, we doubt that this replicates the condition of the greens at your local muni…and if it does, you should go play somewhere else. In addition, because the putting mat has no real heft to it, it will replicate the speed of the surface upon which it is placed. This is most problematic if you’re using it on a thick carpet, in which case it becomes like putting through heavy rough.

We also had some concerns about the plastic frame upon which the “hole” area is built – the plastic isn’t substantial enough, leading us to fear that it may crack over time or break if it’s stepped on.


79 / C+

COST / VALUE

Priced with an MSRP of $49.99, the Hank Haney Ultimate Putting System isn’t the most expensive putting mat on the market, but it doesn’t do much to stand out from the competition either. We liked the ball return mechanism, but our perception on value was driven down by the inferior quality of the putting surface.

PING iPING Cradle and Putter App

PING has released iPING, a putting training and fitting app for the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch (4th gen) that measures the rotation of the putter face during the forward stroke (ranging from straight to slight arc to strong arc), the alignment of the putter face at impact (square, open or closed), and the tempo of the swing. Developing consistency in these areas will lead to better putting. iPING records your results and based upon this data, generates a “Putting Handicap” to measure your consistency. iPING lets you compare your results to those of PING touring pros. You can even share and compare your results with friends by posting to Facebook or Twitter.

The catch is that to make use of iPING, you have to find some way to attach your iPhone or iPod Touch to your putter. Never fear, Ping has anticipated your every need, and has developed a plastic cradle that holds the iPhone or iPod Touch (there are two different cradles, so make sure you buy the right one) and snaps on to the shaft of the putter.

The good news is that the iPING app is absolutely free from the iTunes App Store! The bad news is that the cradle is priced at $29.99. You could probably try to jerry-rig some method of securing an iPhone/iPod Touch to a putter, but given the low price of the cradle (at least within the ridiculously expensive golf products universe), we’d recommend just shelling out the 30 bucks.

SCORE
94
GRADE
A
Setup
94
Teaching Value
90
Fun
92
Construction/Durability
100
Cost/Value
94

Pros:

  • Provides great data on what you actually do during your putting stroke
  • Easy set-up
  • Great price point

Cons:

  • Doesn’t actually teach you how to fix what you’re doing wrong
  • Data can be skewed by whether you properly square up the cradle so that it’s perpendicular to your putter face

Retail price: $29.99


94 / A

SETUP

The first step is to go to the iTunes App Store and download the iPING app. Once it’s on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you simply launch the app. The app immediately presents a slideshow of five introductory options, including a video that shows how to set up the iPING. Unfortunately, the first option shown is “Tap to get fit for your Ping Putter.” Aw c’mon PING, can’t you wait until you’ve shown us how bad our putting actually is before you start shilling your products? The setup video is option #4.

In any event, even if you don’t find the setup video, installing the cradle is pretty intuitive – just snap the plastic cradle on to the shaft of the putter, slide in the iPhone/iPod Touch, and rotate the cradle so that it’s perpendicular to the putter face. Easy peasy.

Our one caveat is that your results will be off if you don’t properly position the cradle. The mitigating factor is that, as discussed below in “Teaching Value,” the main focus of the app is with consistency, and not with the exact recorded stroke type, impact angle or tempo. So even if the data isn’t precise, it should at least be consistently skewed in the same direction in a given session (unless you adjust the cradle between putts, in which case you will not be comparing apple to apples), which won’t affect your consistency rating.


90/ A-

TEACHING VALUE

iPING uses the accelerometer and gyroscope built in to the iPhone 4/iPod Touch to measure linear acceleration and rotational speed, respectively. The app will record the rotation of the putter face during the forward stroke (ranging from straight to slight arc to strong arc), the alignment of the putter face at impact (square, open or closed), and the tempo of the swing.

  • Stroke Type. The app determines the closing angle of your stroke, which is defined as the amount of face rotation from the start of the forward swing to impact. In layman’s terms, this is the arc of your putting stroke. iPING defines face rotation of less than 3.5 degrees as a “straight” stroke, between 3.5 degrees and 7.5 degrees as a “slight arc,” and more than 7.5 degrees as a “strong arc.”
  • Impact Angle. iPING measures the angle of the putter face at impact, relative to what it was when initially addressing the ball. For a right handed player, if the angle of the putter face is left of what it is at address, then iPING defines this as “closed” and if it is right of what it is at address it is “open.” For a lefty, these values are flipped. More importantly, iPING shows the magnitude of how many degrees open or closed the face actually is.
  • Tempo. The final measurement provided by the iPING app is tempo, which is the ratio of back swing time to forward swing time (up to impact). Most golfers have somewhere near a 2:1 ratio (the back swing is twice as long as the forward swing).
PING iPING Video

iPING video

iPING takes the data in a session of five putts to generate a “consistency” score. The app will also average consistency scores across recent sessions to produce a “putter handicap” for the user. The app focuses on consistency as an end goal, under the premise that there are no particular values that are optimal in the three areas it measures, so long as you achieve the same putting stroke every time.

We tested iPING using both a Z Factor Perfect Putting Machine and a Putting Arc MSIII, two devices that guide the putter through a defined stroke. With the Z Factor, we varied our sessions among set-ups that created “straight back / straight through,” slight arc and strong arc strokes. The Putting Arc MSIII only guides the putter through one type of stroke, a slight arc. Our findings were that the iPING consistently detected the appropriate stroke type and also was spot on in recognizing that the devices were squaring up the club face.

We also tested the app on golfers of different putting abilities, from a single digit handicapper to a complete beginner, and found that the app made accurate distinctions with respect to the consistency of the golfer being tested.

Our review staff found the iPING to be a great tool as one part of an overall putting improvement regime. The cold hard results are a great reality check on whether you’re on track for a repeatable stroke. We note, however, that those looking for some kind of instant fix to their putting woes are in for some disappointment, because while the iPING is great at telling you what you’re doing and how consistent you are, it doesn’t really tell you how to fix things or become more consistent. Our sense is that iPING is best used in conjunction with other instructional books, videos, drills, or putting aids to mark progress in developing a better stroke.

Suggestion Box: How about incorporating some instructional videos of drills, and pointing users to the appropriate ones based on the results of the measurements?

There is an added bonus within iPING, which is the putter fitting feature. Based on the measurements within a five putt session, the app will recommend a putter. For example, it will suggest a face-balanced putter for a straight stroke type, a mid-hang for a slight arc, and a toe-down for a strong arc.


92 / A-

FUN

Our review staff found the iPING app to be surprisingly entertaining. Because it just clips on to the shaft of the putter, it’s portable enough to be used either in your home, office, or on an actual putting green. The iPING app makes practicing an interesting exercise, as it fires up the competitive juices in seeing how you grade out with the flat stick. Comparing your statistics with those of touring pros helps keep things in perspective as well.

Of course, whether the ball actually goes in the hole is what ultimately makes putting fun or not, but you won’t get better without practicing, and by adding some spice to the practice routine, the iPING app actually makes it more likely that you WILL practice.


97/ A+

CONSTRUCTION / DURABILITY

The iPING cradle is made of sturdy plastic and is thick enough that it can be dropped or mishandled without any fear of breaking it. The piece that grips the shaft of the putter is solid enough that we didn’t worry about the cradle (and of course the expensive iPhone it was holding) falling off.


94 / A

COST / VALUE

The download of the iPING app itself is free, and the cradle retails for only $29.99. What you get in return is a fun way to measure the consistency of your stroke, either on an actual putting green or on a practice mat. We found that the app recorded variations in strokes as well as much more expensive devices like the TOMI (albeit measuring fewer aspects of the stroke). For the low price at which the iPING is offered, we highly recommend the iPING app and cradle as a helpful tool for analyzing putting strokes for golfers of all skill levels.

Convertibles That Fit Golf Clubs With The Top Down

So you’ve decided to want to maximize your Vitamin D while not in your cubicle? A convertible is just what the doctor ordered. If you are having difficulty justifying this purchase to your spouse, keep in mind that auto manufacturers do indeed design these cars to work with child seats (the time to starting working on that golf scholarship is NOW!).

What might not work in a convertible when the top is down, however, is a set of golf clubs. So for those searching for a 2011 convertible that can hold a set of golf clubs in a standard carry bag with the top down (makes it nice to leave your clubs in the car at all times, or to get extra rays to and from the course), here’s a list of what we found:

Audi A5. As one of the few soft top 4-seat convertibles on the market, and a reasonably large car, would you expect a lot of trunk space. Most players will be able to fit their own set of clubs into the trunk, but you’ll be hard-pressed to fit two sets. In most cases players will need to remove their driver, and perhaps one or more other woods, from their bag in order to get them to fit as well (my driver barely fit diagonally, resting on top of my bag). There is easy trunk access even with the top down (not the case with all convertibles), so you can put the clubs in before the top is lowered or after. If you need to get to the course just that much faster, don’t forget about the S5 convertible!

Bentley GTC. For those who have won the lottery, have already donated to their favorite charities, and still have more money than they can spend, consider the ultra-exclusive Bentley GTC convertible. The 0 to 60 time of 4.8 seconds will ensure you make your tee times, and that’s with the top down and two sets of clubs in the trunk (this is claimed by Bentley, though unfortunately we couldn’t confirm this…but we sure wish we had the opportunity).

BMW 1-series. The soft top saves enough space to let you to store your set of clubs in the trunk (makes me wonder if customers might shift from the hardtop 3-series to the 1-series just for the trunk space!). Depending on length of driver you may have to remove from your bag, but still can fit in the trunk. Overall the trunk space is similar in size to the old soft top 3-series with soft top, so you can squeeze in two.

BMW 3-series. Such a great car, but sad to say, it has virtually no room for any luggage with the top down. We miss the days of the 3-series soft top with spacious trunk. If you are looking to stick your clubs entirely in the trunk, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to use the pass-through (largely intended for skis) into the back seat area. And you’ll need to do this while the top is up – after the top is lowered access to the trunk is severely limited (not large enough of a gap to slip much in or take out, certainly not a set of clubs).

BMW 6-series. So you say you’re an investment banker, lawyer or doctor? Or just have the ability to splurge? The BMW 6-series could be just the ticket. The largest BMW convertible made, it is also the only one that can fit a set (actually 2) with the top down – ahh the benefit of a soft top plus lack of a spare tire (the 6-Series vehicles use run-flats).

BMW Z4. No soup for you! While you can fit two with the top up, without using the pass-through you won’t be able to squeeze a set in the trunk (and only one set will fit through the pass-through).

Chrysler 200 Convertible (aka Sebring) . An spacious trunk will let you consume American-style. And even fit 2 sets with the top down. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Chevrolet Camaro. Alas, with a small opening and little room, the golf clubs would have to join you in the passenger seat.

Chevrolet Corvette. You’re good to go in the late-model Corvettes…drop the top, and load it up…and peel out. The corvette actually even advertises that two sets can fit with the top down, the only manufacturer that seems interesting in answering this question straight up on their website.

Ford Mustang. American cars are supposed to be big (right?), and in this case, the trunk certainly is. You’ll be able to stash two full sets in the trunk with the top down. You won’t be able to pump all the jams you want, however – two sets can fit as long as you avoid the Shaker 1000 audio system.

Infiniti G37. The Infiniti G37 convertible isn’t a small car overall (4 seats), but the trunk space is completely disappointing. As the salesperson lifted the trunk and then began to put the partition in place (to divide the area where the top collapses from storage area with the top down), we hoped to still have enough area for a set. When he was done, not only was there no real storage space, it was the smallest area of any convertibles we checked out. Enough room for your shoes, glove and some suntan lotion, but don’t count on much more. The purpose of the partition it seemed is only to remind drivers that they can’t keep have anything in the trunk when putting the top down. Bummer!

Jaguar. I would have expected Jaguar to cater to clubs, but such is not the case. No clubs can fit in the trunk of this car, instead they’ll have to ride in the back seat. C’mon Jaguar… Just for that, I’m not going to buy this car.

Lexus IS C (250/350) . I didn’t believe the car was going to be able to fit. When the dealer pulled the trunk divider (this separates the area where the roof is stored when down versus area to keep goods stored in the stunk) in place, the room left to fit anything with the top down shrank considerably. No chance of fitting serious luggage or a large roll-bag in here with the top down. And I didn’t think a chance of fitting a set of clubs either, but lo and behold…the entire set fit (perfectly – almost as if this car was designed specifically to hold a set of clubs), even with the woods left in the bag! Lexus managed to leave the interior sides of the trunk, usually occupied by the structure for raising and lowering the top, open to store the set. Aside from the bag and clubs there isn’t not much room left…maybe a pair of shoes, but not much for additional bags.

Maserati GranTurismo. With no chance to check this car out in person, we can only say that those who have checked this car out describe its trunk as very small. If you were thinking of purchasing this car via eBay Motors, you may want to check it out in person first.

Mercedes E-Class. These soft-top convertibles (E350 and E550) let owners enjoy a lot of trunk space, continuing the spaciousness of the CLK series. Enjoy 2 sets of clubs in the back without any issues. Well done, Mercedes! Now about the cost…

Mercedes SL-Class. This convertible unfortunately can’t take a set of clubs in the back. Salespeople indicate that the 2012 Mercedes SLK will have a wider trunk to accommodate a set of clubs. I guess enough players walked out of the dealership in 2011 that they got the picture…

Mini. Like the name says…”Mini.” Little car, little room. No clubs in the “trunk.”

Saab 9-3. Another one of the increasingly rare 4-seat convertibles still sporting a soft-top, it can fit 2 sets with the top down. And before you ask…yes, this car is still in production. Well, kind of. Consider its operations more on a day-to-day basis. If you are interested, you better buy while you can – no telling how much longer Saab is going to be around!

Volvo C70
The C70 has a spacious trunk which two different “tiers” (somewhat like a swimming pool with a deep end, though the deep end is in the middle of the trunk). Volvo also has a rather ingenious design that allows the owner to, which the top is still down, raise a portion of the roof enough to be able to access the trunk area, put stuff in to take it out, and then lower the section again. This in contract to other vehicles like the BMW 3-series where you would need to put the clubs into the car before putting the top down.
You can fit a bag and clubs in the vehicle with the top down, and you can alllllmost fit a driver and fairway woods as well, but unless you want to put a little flex on them, you’ll want to keep those in the back seat.

So until our return visits to check out the 2012 models, there ya go. Happy shopping!

Advice on Custom Golf Club Fittings

If you are like any of the folks we play golf with on a regular basis, you probably have a barrage of reasons why you’ve never considered being fit for clubs by a professional:
Your current clubs fit well enough that you won’t gain any performance improvements from being fit (you will). Based on testing out equipment at your local retail store or demo day you can pick out the right match for your swing (you can’t). You aren’t “good enough” for a fitting (you are). That the fittings cost too much (they don’t).

For those who haven’t read our reviews of golf fitting and performance centers, know that we are big fans of being professionally fit for golf clubs. We’ve visited seven different centers to date and offer some observations and advice based on our sessions:

  • You don’t need to be a scratch player, as most every player (as long as you can consistently hit the ball) will benefit from a fitting. It will greatly help if your swing is repeatable, however, no matter what your level or handicap. Although fitters can try to fit for the direction your game is headed, if you are in the midst of a significant swing change with a teaching professional, we recommending conferring with your pro before signing up.
  • Don’t fear being scrutinized by the fitter. Like your Primary Care Physician, they’ve seen it all before, so take as many shots off the hosel as you like. We did!
  • Fittings aren’t meant to be lessons, and most fitters will avoid providing any type of swing advice. Some will suggest small changes as appropriate (I need to have a positive angle of attack with my driver…roger that).
  • In general, fittings don’t cost an arm and a leg. The majority are in the neighborhood of $100 per component, generally divided into driver, fairway/hybrid (though sometimes these are included with the driver), irons, wedges and putter. Bundled pricing for set fittings are often also available at a slight discount. Prices range from the free fittings at the Cleveland Fitting Studio (well done, Cleveland!) to those costing thousands of dollars and can include a set of clubs or physical evaluations (check out the TaylorMade Kingdom and Titleist Performance Institute and Tour Fitting).
  • Bringing your current set of clubs to the fitting will provide a good starting point for the fitter, and let you see the performance differences between your current clubs and those custom-fit. As a bonus, some of the fitters will adjust your current set of clubs to optimal lie and loft angles at no additional cost.
  • Hitting off an astroturf mat will add a few extra yards to your estimated distances. On the other hand, the clubs tested during the fitting, as they have connectors to fitters to swap shafts and club heads, will have slightly reduced yardages. The finished clubs, as they won’t have the connector, may feel slightly better to you as well (maybe you can tell, maybe you can’t).
  • Assuming the same level of expertise between fitters, we give extra points to those fitters with all the latest technology. FYI, most fitters with outdoor sessions use the same technology that is used to fit the pros (such as the Titleist Tour Fitting, held at the same range shown in their ads in golf magazines…awesome).
  • Let the fitter lead you. It can be challenging, but we found the best results came when we bit our tongue and didn’t express a preference for specific brands or models. If there are features in a club that you believe are necessary, such as how thin the top edge (line) of an iron is, let the fitter know. Just make sure to first take a step back and ask yourself if these features really are a “must have”, or if you will be willing and able to adjust to something different, either in name or look.
  • The fitter will “throw out” your mis-hits from the final set of data, so in the end you may only have 3-5 shots used for comparison purposes. I can’t believe our math professor would qualify this statistically significant, though it’s the norm. Some of the most important data varies little between swings (such as swing speed and tempo), and these are the components on which fitters tend to focus. The more swings you have with each club, the better. If you have a way to warm up/stretch out beforehand to optimize your session time, great.
  • A fitting doesn’t have to result in a recommendation of a wallet-busting custom set. We appreciated fitters that provided recommendations across a number of different levels – good (stock), better (a custom shaft), and best (the top-performing custom set, cost be damned).
  • Most fitters, though not all, will accept orders for the clubs if you decide to make a purchase. For those that take orders for stock clubs with your specs, the prices are what you would find from your big-box retail store. And we didn’t have one situation where we felt that that fitter was giving us the hard-sell to purchase clubs.
  • Fitting sessions vary quite a bit between different companies, so make sure you have an understanding of the environment and what they offer: indoor or outdoor fitting, if they have the specific clubs you just must try, whether adjustments (such as to lie or loft) to your current set included as part of the fitting, etc.
  • Most fittings have heavy reliance on the fitter, which is a good thing. All the technology in the world doesn’t make a difference without an experienced fitter.
  • If you have a copy of the Golf Digest article where their test subject gained a whopping 44 yards through a club fitting, please take it and throw it in the trash. Right now. If you are the 0.0001% of people with a set that is incorrect for your swing in every way imaginable (and we haven’t met anyone for whom this is the case), you may experience significant yardage gains. Otherwise, don’t expect that the fitter will find a club that suddenly allows you to hit the ball as far as Bubba.

And last but not least…

  • Have fun! We found fitting professionals to be friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to work with across all companies. And with same latest technology the pros use available to Average Joes, they can find the right equipment for your swing. And that’s fun!

Golf Fitness and Exercise Equipment

You can spend a lot on exercise equipment, but you don’t have to in order to get a great workout. The items below are a select handful to get you started, and work well in conjunction with some of the golf fitness books.
It’s time to get started on your 2011 resolution to get in shape (hey, it’s only September). It’s easier to prevent an injury that to rehab from one, right?

The Basics

  • A foam roller is a great investment – very inexpensive, and highly effective way to prevent and treat a number of common injuries. Loosen your IT band (a number of us find this the most useful stretches with a foam roll), hamstrings and quads, and the middle back too. Generally available in white “standard density” (good for those just starting to loosen up), as well as black “high density” for really bringing the pain. Their use may make you wince, but it’s worth every bit of your time.
  • In addition to the foam roller, the portable The Stick (a relatively compact 17″, featuring 8 “spindles”) is another tool to prevent injury and sore muscles, and increase flexibility in the lower body. Comes in several variations, including the Original Stick (24″ long and 15 spindles) and the Marathon Stick (20″ and 10 spindles).
  • A Swiss Ball (also known as an exercise ball, balance ball, fitness ball, stability ball or exercise ball) is another must-have for any golfer keeping in shape at home. Twists, prone walk-outs, advanced push-ups, bench presses, ab exercises…the list goes on and on. Fantastic for the core. Comes in sizes generally from 54cm – 85cm.
  • Balance disc – one or two provide a great workout for the lower body, core and upper as well. Stand on these while swinging or balancing during other movments…can even be used for push-ups.
  • You can always good old school with the use of a medicine ball, which still adds to a great workout. Common weights range between 2 and 12 pounds; we find that 6 or 8 pounds is good for all-around use.
  • Exercise tubing (also known as resistance bands) – portable and can easily attach to doors, posts, and the like. Available in varying resistances, and is commonly used to strengthen the core while mimicking the swing.
  • Dumb-bells – available in a wide variety of weights. We are fans of the Bowflex SelecTech 552 dumbbells, which can adjust between 5 to over 50 pounds in a very compact package. If you get these and have the room, you might want to consider the stand that is available with them. Not necessary, but a nice addition.
  • If you have the space (and the dollars), an indoor spin bike is a great way to get a good cardio workout on a bike that is designed to make you feel as if you are cycling outdoors. There are a number of companies that offer spin bikes crossing a variety of prices – we would recommend checking out the Lemond RevMaster Sport, Spinner Sport Spin Bike, or the Stamina CPS.