By Ken Lye
Photos : Ken Lye & Natasha Wong
The conversation about golfers getting fitted for their clubs is a polarising one with anecdotes abounding of those who’ve relegated fitted drivers to a corner, and of others who swear they were fitted to Thor’s mystic hammer, Mjolnir. With a myriad of shaft and club setup combinations available for today’s modern drivers, how does one find the best driver fit?
Understanding swing speed and how it relates to choosing the right shaft is but one small part of a much larger picture, and when terms like ball speed, spin rates, attack and launch angles, dynamic loft, smash factor and the like come to the fore, it can get downright confusing for the uninitiated. GolfAsia’s Hubert Tang, Ken Lye and Natasha Wong spent the better part of a day at the Titleist National Fitting Centre over at Sentosa Golf Club to demystify club fitting with Titleist master fitter Andrew Rogers, who also comes with playing and teaching credentials. Three different swing types with three different drivers, would a custom fitting with Titleist’s new TSi drivers give us a performance advantage over our existing gamers?
As a note of worth, Titleist’s TSi drivers have since become the most played driver on both the PGA and European Tours since its introduction on tour late last year, with more than 150 players putting a TSi model into competition.
The fitting process began with a quick evaluation of our current driver performance, and we were asked what we would like to gain from the fitting. Then using Titlieist’s premium balls and a Trackman launch monitor, Andrew fitted each of us based on data and through a constant exchange of communication.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the details were revealing to say the least. Once we were dialled into the optimum fit with the TSi drivers, the following was observed:
a) Increased average gains saw +4m in ball speed, +7.9m in carry distance and +11.9m in total distance. The biggest increase in average ball speed was 7.3mph. The best increase in average carry distance was 12.4m. The biggest gain in total distance was 18.5m.
b) Reduction in average spin rate – 352 rpm
c) Increased average smash factor – 0.5
d) Benefits from swingweight changes for better feel enabled a more repeatable sweet spot strike for more consistent distance gains.
e) Changes in the lie angle, shaft weight, flex, and length enabled better control and a more consistent impact. The effective loft of the driver was tweaked to achieve optimum dynamic loft at impact, as it was shown that for two of us, a lower lofted driver produced better performance whilst for the third, the opposite was needed. This was done in concert with shaft type fitting as the characteristics of the shaft design e.g. tip-stiff, counter-balanced, higher kick point and more, all had a part to play in the overall performance of the driver.
There are two distinct TSi drivers with the revolutionary ATI 425 face – TSi2 is for players seeking speed and accuracy across the entire clubface, while TSi3 is for the player who already achieves consistent impact yet requires more precise control over the centre of gravity placement to improve spin and ball flight characteristics.
Lighter and stronger than the regular 6-4 titanium used for drivers, ATI 425 exhibits superior elasticity and ductility (30 percent higher). At impact, the thinner face launches the ball with less deformation and a faster rebound resulting in increased distance, while redesigned aerodynamics show 15 percent less drag for faster clubhead speed.
Weight saved has been repositioned to increase the Moment of Inertia (MOI). Beyond improving heel and toe forgiveness, sole to crown MOI performance is now improved by 13 percent, delivering more speed with a tighter launch and spin on high and low face impact.
All things being equal, it was observed that the less consistent ball striker was best fitted into the TSi2, partly as a result of the slightly heavier head; and the more consistent ball striker was best suited for the TSi3, as the faster of the two models helped the more consistent ball striker see the best gains in carry and total distance.
And despite a marginal drop in swing speed for the player hitting the TSi2, there were gains in carry and total distance over the TSi3. This same player saw an increase in swing speed while hitting the TSi3, but didn’t achieve any increase in overall performance over the TSi2.
Andrew Rogers, Titleist Club Fitting Specialist for Southeast Asia, shared, “Some say you have to choose control over distance or distance over control. Effective fitting can give you the best of both worlds and that’s true for everyone of all abilities and all clubs in the bag.
Really effective fitting is about trying to get the best of all those elements compiled into something that is really playable that you can last 18 holes with, play a couple of days of golf a week and still don’t feel tired while getting the most out of it. It’s also about making bad shots better so you can swing freer and not worry too much about your bad shots.
The TSi is such a big step forward for us. Super stable, really reliable anywhere you hit around the face. They kind of act like a heavier head, you get heaps of inertia, heaps of transfer of energy but they are not that much heavier. The gains we are seeing here at the National Fitting Centre are massive, regardless of swing speed – medium, low, and high speed swingers; high or low handicappers, because they are just that forgiving.”
So before you decide to part with your hard-earned cash for that latest driver, schedule a custom fitting session to get the most bang for your buck for no more than the purchase price of a new driver.
Try the new TSi Metals at a Titleist Fitting Day in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. To find an event, visit www.titleist.com.sg/golf-clubs/events.
To book a free fitting with a Titleist Product Specialist, visit www.titleist.com.sg/golf-club-fitting/appointments.