Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks. After being custom-fit for a driver early in the season, 70-year-old Bob Radin has a new lease on his
(golfing) life. “I had back issues the past three years. My swing speed has slowed, and the new driver compensates for it with a more flexible, lower-kickpoint shaft,” he said. “And, the clubhead is hotter with a larger sweet spot than my 7-year-old, custom driver.”
In addition to the loss of speed, the retired dentist had accuracy issues with his old club. “I’d tend to miss to the right of the target, or hit a duck hook,” Radin added. “That’s no longer the case with my new club.”
This just goes to show that a quality custom-fitting session can make a big difference for players bouncing back from injury or who’ve previously been custom-fit.
In March, Radin went through the driver fitting at Club Champion’s headquarters outside of Chicago. He teamed up with Drew Koch, one of the company’s club fitters. Koch used the TrackMan launch monitor to collect comparative performance numbers during the session.
Radin, who began playing golf at age 44, came away impressed. “The entire [fitting] process was data driven. It’s interesting to see the differences in performance for my swing, with all the name-brand equipment,” he said. “The [new] clubs are all very good, but for my swing dynamics, one combination really stood out. I suppose that holds true for everyone.”
We outfitted each club in Radin’s bag with the Arccos Caddie shot-tracking system, enabling us to gather valuable on-course data in real time. The chart below summarizes 20 rounds played through mid-to-late summer.
Statistically speaking, he’s hitting five percent more fairways with the new club. “The dispersion on off-center hits, which are the majority of my shots, is narrower, so a greater number of balls are in play,” Radin said. Even more impressive, the average drive travels 19 yards longer than before. “I definitely have more confidence off the tee. And, shorter second shots mean there’s a decent chance to par every hole.”
Besides that, Radin’s “strokes gained” figure with the new stick is better off by 0.18-strokes per shot. That’s more than a two-stroke improvement (based on 12 drives) per round.
The upgraded driving is contributing to lower scores, too. Radin’s handicap index dropped this year from 17.3 to 14.1, which is the equivalent of four to five strokes per round. “I’m considering new clubs next season,” he said, referencing the rest of his bag. “My current set is five years old and I wonder if a new fitting, and technology, would give some improvement. After all, the rest of my game is better because the drive is setting up the hole.”
Good idea, Bob. It’s worth a shot. Or four.