Sunday, March 15, 2009

WITB: Richie3Jack edition (Long Post)

I've gotten some e-mails (Richie3Jack@yahoo.com) asking about 'What's In My Bag' since I was looking for some new irons. Well, I do have the new irons...just got them less than a week ago. Here's a look of my list of clubs in the bag:

Driver: Acuity TruTech 7005, 10 degree loft, Uniflex Graphite Shaft (Stiff), 45" long
3-wood: Titleist 906F2, 15 degree loft, UST ProForce V2 85 graphite shaft (Stiff)


3-hybrid: Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK, 20 degree loft, True Temper Dynamic Gold SL Hybrid Steel Shaft (S300)


4-PW: Mizuno MP-62, 1 degree strong, 1 degree upright, Rifle Royal Precision FCM Steel Shaft (5.4) +1/2"



Gap Wedge: Nickent ARC, 2 degrees strong (50*), TT DG Steel Shaft (S300), same length as my PW



SW: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled, 54 degrees, TT DG Steel Shaft (S300).


LW: Cleveland 588 BeCu, 60 degrees, TT DG Steel Shaft (S300)


Putter: Cleveland Classic #3 (35")


I had been wanting to get some new irons for quite some time. 11 years ago I had purchased some Titleist 962b's and had graphite shafts installed in them because at 6'4" tall, I wanted to make sure they were the right length for me without being too heavy. They wound up being a fine length, but I could not keep the ball down, especially into the wind. And with the offset, cavity back clubheads it was hard to work the ball. Plus they had V grooves and at the time there was no consensus as to whether or not Square Grooves helped the ball go straighter.

In other words I was desperate for some new irons.

However, I wanted to make sure I would get fitted first. I eventually wound up at The Golf Doctor (http://www.golfdoctor/) clubfitting, just outside of Atlanta. I chose The Golf Doctor because of their prestige and more importantly, they have Trackman.

The Golf Doctor is ran by a father-son team of Ed and Matt Grabowy. Ed does the fitting and Matt does clubmaking. This is my second time I've been on Trackman. A local pro just purchased it awhile ago for lesson and club fitting purposes and in the second day he got Trackman, he let me try the 3-wood I have (Titleist 906 F2) with it.

Ed did warn me that using Trackman to fit irons is a bit overkill and I tend to agree with him, but I felt it was well worth it to have the peace of mind that I'm fitted as well as anybody can fit me. I actually went to get fitted by a friend of a friend who is a Mizuno rep months before using the standard clubfitting process and the fitting from the Mizuno rep and The Golf Doctor was almost the same exact fitting, except the Mizuno rep had me using True Temper shafts instead of Rifle shafts.

The Golf Doctor will have you using a bunch of Toski fitting clubs with different shafts and lie angles. Ed was a little leery of me going back to steel, but I had traditionally been a steel shaft player (even using it primarily in my driver for most of my golf playing days) and while the irons were 11 years old, I really only used them for 2 years since I pretty much quit the game since 2000.

We eventually came down to two clubs. A steel shaft and a graphite shaft. I hit the graphite further and just as straight. But I also hit it higher and tended to 'over-cook' from time to time. Either way, I simply was not going to play with graphite in my irons anymore. While I commend Ed for doing a great job, I find that many clubfitters get too bogged down on what goes far and straight instead of keeping an eye on trajectory. It's great for woods, but with irons it's more important to be accurate and consistent than long and accuracy with irons extends to controlling the trajectory, IMO.

The shafts that I hit the best were the low bend point. I was a bit leery of hitting low bend point shafts since I have a problem with keeping the ball low. However, I knew that the reasons for my trajectory problems were my golf swing and working with Ted Fort I am confident we'll get those settled in the future. In just 4 weeks of work alone I have a better grip, better clubface positions and control, I'm no longer laid off, and I don't come over the top anymore. So, getting more lag and a better release is just a matter of time and some hard work, IMO. And if worse comes to worse, I can always change the steel shafts (I'd like to get good enough with my swing to go to some KBS Tour shafts).

Even still, I wound up hitting the ball with a lower trajectory than I did with my old irons. Graphite be damned.

Ed later told me that he felt the strongest part of Trackman from a clubfitting perspective was with the driver and the 'yardage gap' fitting. I definitely agree. Yardage gaps are definitely important and finally the golfer has a way of checking on that. And with the driver, we can now track the trajectory and the angle of descent on the ball to find the best possible driver.

I wound up only getting a 4-PW of the MP-62's. I had hit the MP-62's before and really liked them. I contemplated getting the Cobra MB irons, but felt more comfortable with the MP-62's. I actually really like hitting a 3-iron, but it's a club that you won't use much because it's usually too short to hit as a 'safety valve' club on a tight par 4 (or par 5) and it's tough to use out of the rough because the clubhead will like turn over in the long grass.

I had never played a hybrid before and wound up going to the PGA Tour superstore and measured how long I could hit a hybrid in comparison to the new MP-62 4-iron. I need a hybrid that doesn't have that crappy silver 'top line' to it and looks more like a wood. Obviously, I needed something that I hit longer than my 4-iron, but not too long. I was looking for something I could hit 15-25 yards further than my 4-iron and in a steel shaft.

I wound up getting it down to the Cobra Tour Baffler and the Mizuno Hi-Fli CLK (which I hit with the Mizuno rep and really liked it). The 20* Cobra Baffler went a little SHORTER than my 4-iron. Then I stepped up with the Mizuno and hit it about 15-25 yards further and it felt fantastic, so I went with that.

The driver is actually a $20 driver. A couple of years ago I was in Charlotte with my parents visiting some family friends who moved down there (we're all originally from NY). My dad and I were at Dick's Sporting Goods and he came across this $20 driver. He really liked the looks of it and I concur, it's a good looking club (black finish, 420 cc's). He eventually bought it and a few months later I played a round with him and after nagging me to hit one, I finally did and hit it about 40 yards past my old Callaway Great Big Bertha. From there I got one for myself and while I still like the club and it's an absolute steal, I do plan on going to see Ed and Matt for a driver fitting in the future. However, I'd like to get my swing more in line with where I want it.

The 3-wood I got 'used' as it was a demo club. However, it looks practically brand new and for $50 I jumped at the chance to buy it. That's right, by driver and 3-wood cost me $70. My hybrid cost me $130.

I have been a Cleveland wedge player for quite some time. In fact, I had a Cleveland gap, sand and lob wedge in my bag not too long ago. I was looking for an inexpensive gap wedge because I don't plan on using it on every golf course I play. Plus, I wanted something the same length as my pitching wedge. I went to the PGA Tour Superstore about 2 weeks ago and saw this Nickent ARC gap wedge that was used and the same length as my PW for only $25. I had heard the Nickent ARC wedges were excellent and I really liked the feel. So I bought it and had it bent down to 50 degrees (it actually measured at 53 degrees instead of the printed 52 degrees).

While I liked my old Cleveland gap and lob wedges, I really didn't like the Trusty Rusty 56 degree that I owned. So I finally tried my hand at a Vokey 54 and I love the thing. I hit the Lob Wedge quite well and the face is still in pretty good shape, so I just kept it around.

The putter I've had for a few months and generally it's a quality putter at an amazing price of only $70 brand new. It has the feel of a $250 putter and I think more amateurs should play Cleveland's line of putters instead of going for some overpriced Cameron model.

I actually do not go through clubs that often, but I still have some plans for some more new equipment. I will probably get one more hybrid that will be something longer than my 3 hybrid. Maybe the 17 degree Mizuno CLK. And then switch off between using that hybrid and my gap wedge depending on the course I play. The last I talked to somebody who knows one anonymous tour player very well, this tour player changes between a hybrid and a gap wedge almost every other week, depending on what the course calls for. In their words 'if there's only one par 3 calling for a hybrid shot, he feels like he's gotta put that hybrid in his bag for the week.'

I will also look into purchasing a new driver. However, it may just be the shaft in my driver 'holding me back.' Either way, the Trackman will help me find out.

And lastly I *hope* to be able to make a trip to Buies Creek this summer to see David Orr, get a putting lesson and get fitted for an Edel putter.

But, we will see.


3JACK

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