Custom Golf Club Fitters in Hudson Valley and Westchester, NY
Modern technology and expert club fitters will help you shoot lower scores
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Hot Stix Golf
Doral Arrowwood, Rye Brook
My third stop was at Hot Stix, which uses radar-based Trackman launch monitors to gauge performance on the range at the Doral Arrowwood Golf Course. The biggest single advantage of the technology is that it actually measures the distance traveled by your shots rather than computing them from the data gathered by other methods.
Certified fitter Peter Schiller started by gathering some information about my game. He not only measured my current clubs, but also the distance from my fingertips to the ground with my arms hanging by my side (to determine optimum shaft length) as well as the size of my hand (to choose the proper grip size.) Then he had me hit a few six irons in front of the monitor.
“The number one thing we need to identify is club head speed,” he explained. “That tells me which shaft fits you and, ideally, exactly how stiff those shafts need to be to activate properly at your swing speed.” I swung my six iron around 77 mph, which — like eight out of 10 golfers — put me somewhere between a regular and stiff flex for most clubs, although, as Schiller points out, “regular flex and stiff flex are kind of general terms. Every manufacturer has their own definition.”
Next he looked at the angle of attack, which measures in degrees how you deliver the club to the ball at impact. I hit about four degrees down on the ball, which is good, Schiller said, because you want to hit your irons with a descending blow. That also told him to look for a club with a mid- to low-center of gravity.
I was delighted to hear that my angle of launch and spin was “about perfect.” But Schiller also said “perfect” depends on where you play most of your golf. In Florida, where wind is a factor, a lower ball flight might serve you better. “In Westchester, where the ground can be damp a lot of the season and there are a lot of trees to carry, you’ll want to hit the ball higher.”
When it comes to deciding whether to change your clubs, Schiller says, “There are desperate needs and there are ‘wants.’ ” My irons aren’t killing me, he said, but we tried out a few different shafts just to see. It turned out that I could pick up some serious yardage — up to 18 more yards — with different equipment. He also checked the lie angle of my clubs and recommended I hit irons slightly more upright than standard.
My current driver tested well, with the ratio of ball speed to clubhead speed averaging 1.49. The maximum allowed by the USGA is 1.5, so he didn’t think I’d benefit much from a new driver. I’m sure my wife would be glad to hear that, although I still wasn’t sure.
Fittings at Hot Stix start at $100 for a driver and $200 for a complete workup on your irons. If you want to forego evaluation of your current clubs, prices are lower.
By the time all was said and done, I felt I had a much better understanding of my golf swing and what it could produce with my current clubs. I also had a serious hankering for more. More distance, more accuracy, more smackdowns of my buddies on the golf course. After I finished my fitting sessions, I replaced my irons and had the new ones tweaked to the specs recommended by the fitters. I also kept my current driver but put in a new, slightly stiffer shaft. I’ve only used the new clubs for a few rounds so far, but I can say with assurance that technology is a wonderful thing.