Having been an avid golfer for many years, I finally decided that after using a set of £200 clubs, bought over 15 years previously, that it may be time to upgrade. The clubs had served me well and though tired and pockmarked, they were still in workable condition and certainly usable.
There were two real reasons I felt the need for change, the first was when my brother bought himself a second hand set of new Ping irons and proceeded to smack seven and eight irons past where I could reach with a five or six. This state of affairs could not be allowed to continue, especially when this translated to him beating me with alarming regularity over 18 holes.
The second reason was that for the first time, I had enough spare cash available to ‘invest’ as I called it (‘waste’ my wife would contend) on a quality set of clubs.
Having never used a set of ‘proper’ clubs before, other than a hire set of Wilson Pro Staff I used for a round while holidaying in Florida, I had no idea what would be the ideal set for me. I must have given off that aura invisibly as I wandered around my local pro shop, trying to look knowledgeable, picking up a variety of clubs and seeing how they felt.
It was not too long before an assistant called Mal came up to speak with me about what I was trying out. I explained to him my predicament and he asked to see my current set of clubs. It was a little embarrassing to drag out my current set, given that they would probably not look out of place gracing a golfing antiquities exhibition.
I asked Mal if my clubs were a bit too old. He nodded and said that basically, if golf clubs were computers, I had been trying to match a modern PC with something akin to a calculator.
By now we had moved from the club shop out onto the range and Mal disappeared inside to get me some demo clubs to try. He said that he’d get a wide range of clubs, of varying price and see how I hit the ball so he could not only see which clubs seemed to suit my swing, but also so he could custom fit them for me.
He placed a selection of mid to low irons down next to me and proffered me one to try. It certainly felt different to my original set. The weight felt much lower down in the heel of the club, yet the club remained balanced. I tried to look nonchalant and professional as I took a couple of practice swings before addressing the ball.
Of course, the first shot with any new club is always problematic, so it was little surprise that my first effort was topped in the most humiliating of fashions, rolling approximately 30 yards down the range and coming to rest next to a chipping basket.
“That’d have been a good shot if you were aiming for that,” stated Mal helpfully.
Over the next half-hour, I tried a variety of clubs, ranging from some of the biggest names in golf and eventually I narrowed my selection down to just one. The Adams A7 hybrid series.
“They’re the clubs I use,” stated Mal, though I get the impression whichever set of clubs I would have selected, would have been the one he used.
What persuaded me was placing a ball on a tee and picking up the demo 7-iron, feeling the weight and then seeing the ball sail high, straight and true, not landing until well past the 150 yard sign on the range.
“Wow!” I said audibly.
To check the rest of the clubs were to my liking, Mal went inside and grabbed another club, the hybrid 3-iron.
Like many amateur golfers, my long irons have been my nemesis. So much so that for any shot over 170 yards, I always reverted to using a 5-wood. The new hybrid design gave me that confidence to strike the ball as I would with a fairway wood and I was delighted to see the ball fly straighter and more true than I have ever hit previously.
Also, considerably further. Much further.
“This is like playing a different game!” I laughed.
We tried the driver from the same set and while I have never been the best with the driver in my hand, a little coaching from Mal, a change in my stance and how I swung and soon I was spanking the ball 250 yards easily down the fairway.
Mal then asked me to swing and hit a ball from a special board, which measures the angle of your club face when it strikes the ball. Mal stuck a piece of paper to the bottom of my club, which baffled me initially, but after I had hit a couple of shots, it was clear to see why I had hit two straight and why one had hooked embarrassingly left.
As Mal took these results and went inside, I continued to hit balls with the Adams set, delighted at how far and straight I was hitting it. Indeed, by the time I went inside to select a putter, golf bag and wedge to complete the set, I was drained.
The impact of the new custom-fitted golf set were evident on the course almost immediately, from shooting in the high eighties to early nineties, I travelled to my local course and shot an 85. Not bad for the first round with a new set of clubs.
Over time, as I grew accustomed to the club, those scores came down still further, my handicap fell from 18 to 11.8 and I broke 80 for only the second time. Consistency had been gifted to my game and the distance I sought to achieve from trying to power the ball with my older clubs, could now be achieved by swinging the new clubs more efficiently.
The clubs had certainly helped me improve my game and I have no doubt that the custom fitting also helped. The next stage for me is to continue to improve still further, I have the clubs and now I need the knowhow, so I’ll be considering going for lessons with the professional.
After all, I can no longer blame the clubs for my failings on the course, can I?
Photos by Gorilla Golf Blog©