I Couldn't Hit My 3-Wood So I Went For A Fitting... Here's What Happened!
We’ve all heard by now the importance of getting properly fitted for clubs if you want to produce your best stuff on the course. But what happens when you’ve fallen out of love with something you were fitted for in the past? That’s the predicament I found myself in with my 3-wood.
It's a club that strikes fear into many golfers and it isn’t an exaggeration to say it had become an ornament in my bag. I would hit it occasionally on the range and completely overlook it on the course. It meant I didn’t have it as a back-up when struggling off the tee with my driver, nor did I know how to hit it from the fairway if I wanted to go for a par-5 in two. I had made compensations in my bag set-up to minimise the impact, but it was still far from the optimal solution.
So, five years on from my previous 3-wood fitting, I dipped my toe back in the water and hooked up with TaylorMade’s Dan Morris at the Kingsfield Golf Centre in Linlithgow to see what the Stealth 2 range had to offer. Check out the video and article below to find out how I got on...
‘The fitting starts before you’ve hit a ball’
A club fitting can be quite daunting for an amateur. We lack the consistency of pros and are far more likely to simply have a bad day with our swings. Luckily, it’s about more than just the shots you hit on the day, which Dan explained.
“The fitting starts before you've hit the golf ball," Dan said. "I'm trying to gather as much information on what you see, where you play and what you like to see.
"So, in terms of what we offer, we have three fairway woods: Stealth 2 Plus, Stealth 2 and Stealth 2 HD. I'd already discounted the HD before we started. For a lot of golfers that'd be perfect but for Andy it wasn't the one. Then it was just a case of working out as a starting point which head combination with which shaft it was going to be.
“I had my eye on the Stealth 2 Plus immediately with having that little bit more adjustability. The fact that Andy’s launch angle, flight and dynamic loft was so low, to have that adjustability in the 50-gram weight, I knew was going to be priceless.
“I started in a neutral setting, which I'd always do, because then when I moved the weight into the back position, Andy’s eyes lit up and it was night and day. For that little bit of movement you can see how much performance you can gain for somebody by just moving that sliding weight track.
“As for the shaft, it’s a similar weight to what he had before but it has more feel, more torque and a little bit more flight. It launched high with a bit more spin and the ball speed, ironically, didn’t drop. The fact that the lie angle sits flatter as well suits his eye and the shape he wants to hit."
No stone left unturned
When you go to a fitting, you want to know you're leaving with the best possible club for your unique swing traits. They can be quite expensive after all. So, even though myself and Dan were really happy with the progress we’d made, there was no point leaving any potential avenues unexplored.
"We tried a few different things. We even tried to create a 3-wood out of a 5-wood with the Stealth 2 model which, based on how we measure the MOI, is more forgiving. Andy hit it well but from my numbers, the ball flight and Andy’s feedback, I knew we’d be going back to the Stealth 2 Plus.
"When we’d settled on the winner and Andy relaxed more, the ball flight he was creating was incredible. He just wanted to keep hitting it and that's the best part of the job. We’ve found something for him that is producing great numbers and gapping his set properly, and we’re seeing a flight that is allowing him to build the trust and rapport he’d previously lost."
Therein lies the beauty of a club fitting, a good one anyway. It’s not just a case of turning up and being told this is the right club for you; there’s far more nuance to it than that, and your own feedback rightly carries value.
My previous 3-wood was set up for maximum distance. The Hzrdus extra stiff shaft was pretty rigid and unforgiving and the head was set to low, meaning on the rare occasion I caught it out the middle, it would go upwards of 280 yards, almost as far as my driver.
This almost never happened, admittedly, but even if it was a shot I could rely on, it wasn't one that I had much use for and it left me with a massive gap in my set from my driver (290 yards) to my 2-iron (220 yards). It's not like I could get comfortable taking some yardage off either as I had to work extremely hard with my swing just to get the ball into a semi-useful flight window.
So, I went in to the session looking for two things: a 3-wood that was easy to launch and that carried around 250 yards. A look at the numbers above from one of the best shots I hit on the day shows how dialled in Dan was able to get me. The carry number was on the money and the spin rate was up, which will give me some control when attacking greens.
This was my first club fitting for a while and I had forgotten how valuable they are. I thought Dan he had his work cut out to restore my confidence that had been eroded by years of hitting this horrible low and left shot, but his expert knowledge shone through.
He was able to quickly identify I needed more inherent launch and torque in the shaft and delivered exactly that at the first time of asking with the Kai'li Blue 70X. Never before have I felt a shaft make so much difference. Even though it weighs the same, it feels a lot lighter, which increased my confidence massively, as did the visual profile of the Stealth 2 Plus and the feel off the face.
Getting a 3-wood that is right for your game is far from easy, which explains why golfers, amateur and professional, tend to stick with a model they like for years at a time. But if you're serious about getting better, there is arguably no club more important to get fitted for.