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Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Fitting Encounter

Playing golf with off-the-rack clubs is akin to chewing a steak with store-bought teeth. You can do it, but the experience is far from optimal. Fortunately, just as there are plenty of specialists to properly fit new choppers to your mouth, there are numerous places in Westchester to get measured for perfectly fit golf clubs.

There are three basic ways to go. One is to a golf retailer, where a salesperson will use several devices to make sure the sticks you buy match the peculiarities of your swing the way a tailor will match your 30-inch inseam to your 42-inch waist. The second is to the golf club pro shop, where a PGA professional will lend his or her considerable expertise to the process. The last is to a club fitting service, where the technician will measure most of the moving and some of the non-moving parts of your golf swing, your anatomy, and maybe even your psyche. They use radar, lasers, ultra-high-speed cameras, strobe lights—you name it, they measure it. Then they feed it into their computer and come back with a profile of what happens when you swing a club at a golf ball.

My first experience with high-tech club fitting was with Rick DeMane, a third-generation golf technologist located in Greenwich, CT. It was fascinating to hit the ball in his studio surrounded by mysterious gizmos, then take a peek at the instantaneous feedback that explained in excruciating computerized detail why my last swing looked like something spectators should wear helmets to watch. After I tried out several drivers, he modified a couple of promising ones to my specs that I then took to the driving range. While the results aren’t Tigeresque, I came away with a club that pounds the ball a respectable distance and even hits the fairway (slightly) more often than not.

It's hard to tell if the results came from increased confidence or the technologically correct implement in my hands, but I've been pretty happy with it either way.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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