Win A Ping Driver or A Ping Scottsdale TR Putter!
CONGRATS! - To our winners (Dean Hess - Driver) & (Chris Gauss - Putter)
It’s Time to Get Fit!
(by Dave Wolfe) Hopefully you have been reading mygolfspy long enough to know the benefits of playing golf with fitted clubs. Golf equipment can be both the boon and bane of our play. If a club fits, we have real chance to hit the shots that we want. However, if your gear doesn’t fit, only blind luck and a bad swing will sync up man with miss-fitted metal. Don’t believe me? You right-handers can go and try to cut paper with left-handed scissors. Cutting paper with scissors isn't difficult, but when the tool doesn’t fit, even the simplest task becomes arduous. I thinks that we all agree that hitting that silly little white ball is simple in concept, but anything but simple in execution.
If you want to get a new set of fitted clubs, where do you start? If you are like me these days, any purchase likely starts with sitting down at the computer and researching options. I read reviews, just like you. I look at the choices from different manufacturers, and I really try to learn as much as I can about a product before I ever hit the store. Unlike other more common purchases, buying fitted golf clubs can make us a bit nervous because we don’t really understand the parameters that are being customized.
Let’s digress a moment and look at your pants. Do they fit you? Of course they do, because when you bought them you made sure that they had the correct waist and length configuration. You understand pant fitting, knowing exactly what the effect of a too small or a too large waist would be. You are a veteran in the pants fitting game, fully understanding the correlation between pant construction and pant performance. But what about with fitted golf clubs? Do you know the effect of lie angle on ball flight? What about club length? Grip diameter? For many, these fitting parameters are total unknowns, and as such instill potential anxiety into the fitting process, again motivating us to do some online research.
Thankfully, Ping is here to help us out.
Ping May Know Something About Club Fitting
Ping has been custom fitting clubs for 40 years. Do you know that Ping sells fitted clubs? I know you do, also likely being fully aware of their colored dot system. Did you know that Karsten Solheim developed that dot system in 1972? I didn’t realize it was that long ago. He created the colored dot system with the intention of using the dots to educate the golfing public about the effect of lie angles, and the benefits of custom fitting.
Dial it forward a few decades and you now have Ping's nFlight web fitting system where, from the comfort of your home or office, you can input some simple physical information, along with some of your play tendencies, and get a preliminary list of clubs fit to you. If you have not heard of nFlight before, it’s Ping’s totally online static club fitting system. nFlight represents a great first step when you are looking for a new fitted set of clubs. Now you have something to take with you when you go to the club pro for the in-person fitting. The nFlight static fitting fits right into Ping's five-step fitting process.
Ping’s 5-Step Fitting Process
- Interview Process
- Static Fitting
- Dynamic Swing Test
- Ball Flight Analysis
- Monitoring Performance
I bet many of you have already played around with the nFlight web fitting system. Like you, I was curious about the clubs that nFlight would suggest for me. I put in my info and honestly entered my play information. Honesty is the key. If you are getting fit to play better, it makes no sense to inflate your abilities. I will never withhold information from my doctor, or from my club fitter. In this case, the nFlight fitter is a computer.
Be honest, it won’t judge you.
First you enter your physical information.
Next you enter information about your game. How far do you hit a driver? What about your seven iron? What’s your typical ball flight? What do you want it to be? What's your typical wedge divot pattern? How many wedges do you play? What’s your stance when you putt? Miss tendency? Do you have an alignment preference?
Once you enter all of the information, the nFlight web fitting software comes up with a prospective set of clubs for you. Here are the clubs that nFlight came up with for me.
Scavenger Hunt Question 1
Head over to the Ping website and go through the nFlight static fitting process.
What iron set did the nFlight web system say was right for you? Include the model and specs.
Off To The Fitter
I am sure that you noticed that I used the terms “potential” and “prospective” when I was talking about the set of clubs that nFlight selects for you. Ping doesn’t see nFlight as a way to replace an in-person fitting, but rather as one part of their five-part fitting process. A Ping-trained club fitter is definitely part of the process. The club fitter looks at the nFlight suggestions and then makes the final fitting decisions based upon what he or she observes during the dynamic fitting (aka you swinging the club). nFlight data in hand, I met up with a Ping-certified fitting professional at a local pro shop to see what alterations to the nFlight set would occur once I had to actually swing a club.
Let’s take a look at the results of the dynamic fitting:
After warming up, we went straight to the driver fitting. I was surprised, as my previous three fittings had always ended with driver. The fitter said that he likes to fit driver first, before the person getting fit gets tired. According to nFlight, I should be playing an 8.5° PING G25 driver with the stock stiff shaft, so we started there. After looking at distance and dispersal numbers, the fitter could tell that this set-up was likely dead on.
Out of curiosity, he adjusted the driver to the (+) setting, increasing loft by 0.5°. Immediately my performance fell off. The same thing happened when we switched to the tour version of the shaft. It was just too heavy for me and the numbers definitely showed it. 8.5 non-tour stiff was the call.
nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical
I usually play one fairway metal, so I can bag an extra wedge. The nFlight fit said that I should play a stiff-shafted PING G25 3W. I thought that I would be better served playing a 4W, with the increased loft providing a bit more forgiveness than the 3W with a slight loss of distance. I hit the stock stiff 3W well, and then couldn’t make flush contact at all with the 4W. The fitter was surprised. He thought my 4W idea was a good one, but something in the switch from 3W to 4W had a negative impact on my swing. Things got even better when he dropped the length on the 3W by a ½”.
How did nFlight know that I was 4W impaired?
nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical club, with length dropped ½”
I am currently only playing one hybrid, having found that I hit a 4i much better than a 4H. The nFlight suggested a 20° PING G25 hybrid, and the swings in the fitting supported that suggestion. It is worth noting that the G25 hybrid looks miles better than the G-Series predecessors. I love the shape of this head and the matte black finish of this, and all the woods, just kills.
nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical
The nFlight web fit put me into PING G25 irons, black dot, and stock stiff CFT shafts. I became a bit concerned when my dispersal pattern with this suggested set-up looked very sprinkler-like. The fitter asked what shafts are in my current set. He then put that shaft, DG S300, into the G25 head. The difference was immediate and somewhat astounding. I was way more accurate, and distances were much more typical. The fitter’s response was, “Well, that’s your shaft.” I guess I can take comfort in knowing that I have found my "it" iron shaft. Score one for the dynamic fit as nFlight would have no idea that I need a heavier iron shaft.
Next we got to work on lie angle. I have previously been fit into irons at standard lie, but also at 2° Up at a different fitting. We started the process this time by hitting an impact-taped 7i on a lie board. It was interesting to see the difference with the different dots. Based on the impact tape, we were looking at either blue or black dot.
The fitter then had me alternate between the two dots to see which one produced better shots. During the process, I actually became a bit depressed as balls were flying left and right as often as they were on target. I didn’t think we would have a winner. As it turned out, my fitter was actually having me hit four different dots, swapping in green (up) and orange (flat) dots as controls in addition to the black and blue dots. My awful slices actually were expected from the orange dot lie; so too the hooks from green. It was sneaky, but then when he said that black was the way to go, I felt very confident in his assessment. nFlight and sneaky fitter agreed on the black dot.
nFlight vs. In Person Results: Change the shafts from stock CFT to DG S300, same black dot
nFlight asks you about your typical divot during the wedge fitting process, along with how many wedges you typically play. nFlight put me into three PING Tour wedges (52, 56, and 60°), all with the standard sole width. Initially, I thought that the sole width characteristic was just another way to denote bounce. A
fter looking at, and playing with the different wedges though, I learned that there more than bounce to that width characteristic. As soon as I swung a 60° with the wide sole, I knew that I was a wide sole guy. I felt far more connected to the heavier WS head than the SS. Performance on full and partial wedge shots was significantly better with the wide sole option. It made me wonder if I had miss-entered my divot info into nFlight. The other change that my fitter suggested was to take the G25 irons through U (50°) wedge since that is mainly a full swing club for me. Two wide sole Tour wedges (54° and 60°) finished out the set. Watch out pins!
nFlight vs. In Person Results: changed from three SS Tour wedges to a G25 U wedge and two WS Tour Wedges
nFlight suggested three putters: the Anser 5, the Scottsdale Nome TR, and the Karsten 1959 Anser X. For once I didn’t need the fitter to assess the web fit because I own, and putt well with the first two of the putters on that list. Being the putter addict, I went with the Anser X because I didn’t have one of those yet. Someday I will learn that putters are not like Pokemons...
nFlight vs. In Person Results: Identical
But What About the Dots
Karsten Solheim set up the colored dot system so golfers could learn to associate his or her best fit with a particular color. I think that this was a brilliant move, as it is far easier to remember a color than a numerical value for lie. Purple is a whole lot easier to remember than 1.5° flat. Even if you know your dot color, do you really know what that dot is doing for your game? What happens to ball flight when you bend a club flat or boost the grip by 1/8”?
You may be happy to leave that information in the brain of your fitter, but if you are curious, you can learn about this stuff by watching the fitting videos on the Ping site. I was stoked to find these. I spend a lot of time on the computer looking at golf stuff, and I had never run across these videos. If I didn't know about them, then I figured you may not have either. And so, rather than me writing about the effect of the dots, I’ll refer you to Ping’s Fitting Videos page. There you can learn about their fitting history as well as all kinds of stuff about the fitting process, including the effects of those pesky dots.
Scavenger Hunt Question 2
Which of Ping's fitting videos did you find the most informative?
The Lighter Side Of Ping
What initially brought me to the Ping site was the new Ping commercials that ran during the online coverage of this year’s US Open. If you have not seen them yet, they feature Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood, and Bubba Watson playing (and goofing around with) the new Ping equipment. They are clever, campy, and memorable commercials. Lee’s wooden delivery makes me laugh. His comedic timing and delivery reminds me a lot of the gal on the Orbit commercial. You need to check these out. Click HERE to watch.
Scavenger Hunt Question 3
Which Ping commercial is your favorite?
Playing my best with Ping
Overall, I was very impressed with the Ping fitting process. The nFlight assessment was much closer than I expected it to be. Maybe that's not typical, but it really was nice to walk into the fitting knowing where to start. Custom fitting is really the way to go. Mr. Solheim was definitely on to something back in the 60's and 70's. Although the process has modernized with the addition of nFlight, the fitting system still retains the core features developed more than forty years ago. Longevity like that only comes with quality. If this system didn’t work, it wouldn’t still be in use.
Getting the right bag of clubs definitely still comes down to the trained fitter, and I had a really good one. The great thing is that there are thousands of Ping-trained and certified fitters out there. You can do exactly what I did. Start with nFlight and then head to your local Ping fitter. If you are not convinced that the Ping fitting process is exceptional, look at it this way. I am around golf gear all of the time, probably more than is healthy for any one person. Even with that volume of golf exposure, I still walked away from the Ping fitting impressed and confident that the new clubs ordered after the fitting will indeed help me to Play My Best.
Ping Find Your Dot Scavenger Hunt Rules
How To Enter
- If you have not done so already, Subscribe to the MyGolfSpy Mailing List (You must be a current subscriber to win).
- Head on over to the Ping website to find the answers to the three questions posted in the article.
- Post your answers in the comment section below.
- We will randomly select two winners from the qualifying answers
- The first person selected will win his or her choice of a current model Ping driver (stock shaft options only).
- The second person selected will win his or her choice of Scottsdale TR putters, including the Nome TR.
- Contests Ends at 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday August 2nd, 2013
- Limit one entry per person.
- Void where prohibited.
Any "copy and pasting" of other entries will not be validated. Go to the site, do your legwork, and have a shot at a couple of cool prizes.