// The Maserati of Club Fitting Studios
(Written By: Sara Hurwitch) It can be argued that equipment is the key foundational element for any golfer to perform to their best capability. I have approached my own golf game with this mentality, and thus have visited over a half-dozen club fitting facilities in my career ranging from local golf shops to certified club fitters with their own shop. None of those could compare to the winter of 2011, when I first walked in to Cool Clubs.
I remember walking in to the 2,800 square foot building, and feeling like I was entering into a Maserati dealership. Every golf club was displayed with Hollywood-esque backlighting, most of which are custom clubs proudly displayed in glass cases, making you feel like you're getting a sneak peek at the 2016 Granturismo. Before walking out of the store, I knew this wasn't going to be your typical golf fitting studio, and I scheduled my first club fitting that same week.
// The Technology
Cool Clubs was founded by Mark Timms in 2007 as an effort to bring a high-end environment to club fitting. They are able to achieve this high-end atmosphere through the use of advanced technology to assist the fitting process with every customer. Cool Clubs uses Trackman launch monitors to capture 20 data points on every swing. At most other club fitters, data is viewed manually and an attempt is made to interpret it.
They have their own proprietary software, which holds extensive performance data on over 25,000 head/shaft combinations they have in the store. This software also computes a shaft frequency between 0 and 8, similar to the numbers used in the Rifle Scale. Their software interprets the data collected from Trackman, and through their database, it is able to pinpoint the best shaft option in each brand they carry and what frequency it needs to be built at to produce the best results for that golfer.
Club fitters will give you a couple options and the data you’ve seen in your fitting will help you understand the expected difference in performance of each option. The good, better, best scale helps those players that may be on a budget. The "good" options are typically for stock shafts at a lower cost. If you're looking at the "best" option, this usually indicates a shaft upgrade, costing upwards of a few hundred dollars more than the stock shafts. This database is so precise, that for every shaft it recommends, it also provides the club builders the numbers they need to build your club to your precise specs, including a min & max frequency they can build the shaft to based on flex. If you ultimately prefer to have them install a shaft they didn't recommend, their software still provides the builders the necessary data in order to build the club for you.
// The Equipment
The back of the studio consists of a wall organized with square holes to store all their club heads in. Hanging above these holes, are what looks like hundreds of interchangeable shafts, all of which have color-coded Pure Golf grips to indicate which company the shaft can be assembled with (Ex: TaylorMade-White Titleist-Blue Callaway-Red). Every shaft is also labeled with its length and frequency (Not all identical shafts come out at the same frequency).
// The Analysis
Every fitting starts with the club fitter analyzing your existing clubs on length, swing weight, and frequency measurement based on Cycles Per Minute (CPMs). Once they record your club data, its time for you to hit a few balls to warm-up and then begin recording your swing data. Since my first club fitting at Cool Clubs in the winter of 2011, I've worked with Sue O' Connor for every club fitting. I remember my first visit, she measured my old hybrids and they came out to -.4 frequency, which is about as close to a limp spaghetti noodle as you can get. By the end of the fitting, I was put into new hybrids that were at a 3.5 frequency.
Sue has not only done a fantastic job getting the right clubs in my bag, which can be attested by the fact that they have lasted me through the entire Tour season this year, but also, from the minute you meet her, she is someone you know that genuinely has a passion for getting the right equipment in every golfers bag. The same also goes for every fitter there. For anyone who is a "tinkerer" with equipment, you know how difficult it is to go months at a time without trying to change some component of your clubs. After seeing the results i've had over the last 9 months with the same equipment, there is no ones opinion I trust more than Sue's when it comes to my equipment. I know that what they fit me for is going to give me the best chance of performing well every time I tee it up.
My most recent visit with Sue this past week before teeing it up in the AZ women's open. I have struggled with keeping my driver in the fairway the past few months, so first thing we did was get some data numbers with my driver (RBZ Tour 9 Accra tour z m3 55+).
After hitting enough shots with my driver to get warmed up and gather consistent Trackman data, she analyzed my numbers, along with the club configuration recommendations, and came back in with a Titleist 913 D3 head set on D1 (open) for me to hit with a Graphite Design BB5 S flex. I instantly increased swing speed by 1 mph, and ball speed went up almost 2 mph. The ball flight lowered, and the ball carried shorter, however, the spin rate went down about 500 RPMs and total distance went up.
// Trackman - Data Summary
We continued this testing and analyzing with 5 other shaft and head configurations and compiled the data shown below. All club configurations that were tested were based off of recommendations in their software database. I spent approximately an hour testing these clubs, and the final result concluded that the first club tested, the Titleist 913 D3 head set at C1 with either the BB5 s flex, or my current Accra Tour Z M3 55+ shaft would produce slightly better results than my current driver. (click to enlarge - photos below)
// TOUR - The Workshop
After hitting enough shots with drivers to last me through what felt like 10 rounds of golf, Sue took me on an eye-opening backlot tour of the entire Cool Clubs operation. Cool Clubs experienced enough growth in business that prompted them to open a brand new, 2,500 square foot club building workshop last Winter, in addition to their fitting studio.
Their club building workshop consists of 5 building stations, two SST Shaft Alignment machines, and a room with all four walls covered with their shaft inventory. This new facility has helped them to increase productivity as well as speed up their turnaround time on building clubs for their customers.
After viewing this well-organized facility firsthand, it solidified proof that they have every tool necessary to get golfers of all skill & ability level into clubs that can maximize their performance on the course. Mark Timms has achieved his mission to provide a high-end club fitting experience for every customer, and once you visit Cool Clubs yourself, you too will find their method and approach to equipment second to none.