November 21, 2011
I was able to go through a Belly Putter fitting this past Saturday at Club Champion Golf and I wanted to take a few minutes and share my experience. I will start by saying that going into the fitting I was very skeptical towards belly putters. As far as I was concerned it was just the next fad in golf. More than that I was expecting the belly putter to be awkward and not for me at all. I love my current traditional putter, but my curiosity towards the recent trend and towards wanting to putt better led me back to Club Champion to check them out.
The fitting started by me hitting a handful of putts with my current putter on the SAM machine. My stats really weren’t bad other than my path swings a bit to the inside on my follow through. Next I used an adjustable putter to find what length felt best for me. I landed right around 40 inches and started hitting some putts. At first it was definitely awkward. I wasn’t really sure why this would be an advantage since it seemed so foreign.
Once I got a few tips on how to properly use the belly putter it started to make more sense. The biggest thing about the belly putter for me was how easy it was to replicate the set up. All I had to do was put the butt end right above my belly button and get my hands in the right spot and I was ready to go. I felt extremely comfortable that my set up was the exact same over and over again and this is not a feeling I get all the time with the conventional putter. Once the set up was right it was all down to getting the ball position correct and swinging the putter.
I was surprised at how much I had to break my wrists down on the back swing and follow through to properly release the putter and hit good putts. Once I got the hang of the new feeling it was surprisingly simple and comfortable. It takes a lot of the mechanical thoughts out of putting which is a big advantage for a lot of players. As I expected I hit certain putts much better and more confidentially, but not ALL putts.
It really came down to preference for me. I am planning to stick with my conventional putter for now, but my interest in the belly putter fad definitely increased after using one. If I were to go down the belly putter road I would get fully fit for one that fits me best and I would commit to using it for an extended period of time and practicing with it a ton. It is very different from conventional putting and I assume it would take a lot of work to become really good with one.
I do, however, think that if you are a weekend warrior golfer and don’t have a ton of time to practice your putting it could help you out. Like I said earlier, I think it takes a lot of the mechanical thinking out of putting which can be incredibly helpful. I could easily see using the belly putter as an advantage simply because the set up is so repeatable and once you get your aim right it is a simple hinge swing. I think truly great putters would shy away from the belly putter, but for the majority of golfers who are not great putters there is something to it. I would suggest checking them out if you are the least bit interested. I know I was surprised by them even though I wasn’t totally sold on them.
September 20, 2011
A few weeks ago I did a full iron fitting with the guys over at Club Champion. I wasn’t sure how a fitting would really help my game because I wasn’t sure my swing was repeating enough to require a certain club, shaft, etc. During my fitting I was surprised to find that my swing speed, angle of attack and path were pretty consistent. Once I saw this I began to see how different combinations of shaft length and weight could get my ball contact more towards the sweet spot. I didn’t change a single thing to my swing during my fitting and I started hitting the sweet spot more often.
In the video Michael Thornburg (@mthorn316) explains in greater detail exactly what he did during my fitting to get me hitting the sweet spot. If you have ever considered getting fit for clubs I highly suggest it and you will see why in the video.
Here is the video from my fitting…check it out!
August 25, 2011
I wrote a previous post about how I was toying with the idea of paying for a club fitting for my Irons and potentially my driver. I went back and forth on this subject and got some mixed reviews from friends on whether or not the service was really worth it. I came to the conclusion that it was in fact worth my time and money to take a more in depth look at my equipment and if it really fits my game. The bottom line, for me, was that getting properly fit for clubs has the potential to help my game.
I am in the market for new clubs at the moment and if I am going to spend a ton of money on clubs I want to make sure that I get the right ones for my game. I don’t always feel comfortable hitting balls at places like GolfSmith and getting “fit” for clubs there because I don’t think it is a true fitting. It feels like they have you hit a few clubs, make a recommendation, try to sell them to you and move on to the next guy in line waiting to hit clubs. Plus, any club you buy there is stock from the manufacturer and not in any way shape or form customized to you. What are the chances that a club straight from the manufacturer is perfect for me and my swing? Possible, but highly unlikely.
I found a place that was right up my alley the other day in downtown Chicago. The store is called Club Champion and when I walked in to check them out I immediately got the feeling that the place was different. Their downtown store is located in an upstairs loft space and it isn’t a traditional Golf store by any means. It is truly a “Fitting” store. By that I mean that their primary focus is spending time with customers getting them fit for every area of their equipment. To make things even better, you can schedule a block of time to come in and get fit and have a dedicated fitter spend time finding the right clubs for you. No lines at the hitting stalls, no teenage (non golfers) working the register up front and no hard sell on clubs that probably aren’t right for you anyways.
The thing I am looking forward to the most about this fitting is the fact that I am going to be able to hit any Iron on the market paired with an array of different shafts. This process is really about finding the right clubs, but let’s be honest, it is really cool to be able to hit clubs you read about on the “hot list” or have always been curious about. It makes me feel like I am getting a tour pro experience which for a Golf nut is a dream come true. Club Champion has the inventory and the ability to place any club head on any shaft out there in the market and let you hit it on the spot. They also take the time to measure your club head speed, ball speed, lie angles, loft, and spin rates with all of the different club combinations. How can I go wrong with this amount of attention to detail?
Below is a video that outlines the Iron fitting process from Club Champion themselves and I am going to take a little home movie myself from my Club Fitting on Saturday to share an inside perspective on the process. I am really curious to hear what they have to say about my current set of clubs and what recommendations they come up with. I am very excited about making the decision to do this and I hope the new Irons help my game for when I head out to San Diego for my “Friendly Major.” I will post the video of my fitting early next week and then follow up with a post about how the new clubs are working out for me once I get them and play a few rounds.
Check out the video and you can also follow Club Champion on Twitter (@clubchampgolf) and Facebook.