Custom Club Fitting

As you probably know technology has really changed the way we select golf clubs. I know of many golfers who play regularly, who have simply walked into a shop and bought a set of clubs off the rack without being fitted. This seems mad to me. Golf is a difficult sport anyway, why not give yourself the best chance of playing well?

As I already know the advantages to getting fitted properly, I thought I would take a trip to one of my local golf stores to have a chat and do a fitting to show you how it works and see if I could learn something new.  I contacted House Of Golf (Epping) where I spoke to a Matt, a great salesman who was more than happy to oblige in helping with the process.

I must admit, the thought of getting a full fitting scared me a bit. Will I be hitting it well? Will the results I see reflect what I see on the course? How much will it really help my game? So, let’s find out what it’s all about.

The first thing that struck me was the personal nature of the fitting. It started with a lot of questions about me and my game. In particular what I was trying to achieve. This gave Matt a good idea of my attitude and the direction I wanted to take my game. I was quite clearly looking for a ‘players’ club that offered some help. Their range is very extensive so narrowing the choices down quickly is a really good thing.

A quick measure of my height and arm length established the correct length of shaft I should be playing.

He then went on to look at my swing and assess the type of club that would suit me. I was given quite a few practice swings to warm up and when I felt like I was swinging okay he gave me a club with a funny looking blue box on it. This would measure the swing speed, tempo and flex in the shaft. As I have covered before, the shaft can have a real impact on the flight of the ball.  I personally feel that this is the most important factor for your new set. After measuring a few swings he entered the results into the computer program and found my ideal shaft options.

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

This process also gave Matt a chance to see my swing and think about head options to match all the things we had discussed. The computer also gave its suggestion and that is where we started. After hitting a few models that we thought would be the best options, we made a decision on the head.

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

The next thing to see was the lie angle. He placed a white strip on the bottom of the club. I proceeded to hit a few shots off a hard plate. This measures the lie of the club at the point which I strike the ball. Clubs can be adjusted ‘flat’ or ‘upright’ to match the players swing.

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

Matt then went on to measure my grip size. He stated that too many golfers don’t even consider this as a factor.

After hitting a heap of balls with the chosen club the computer analysed my distances, spin rates and smash factor. The computer program then suggested full club options from 3 iron to wedges. Giving us some choices of the wedge gapping. I chose my wedges on a distance factor rather then a loft factor. This would involve ordering my wedges to be custom bent to the angles that suit my swing. These clubs can then be equally spaced leaving me no awkward distance gaps in my set.

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

After all of that the irons and wedges were decided upon and I thought we were done. Wrong. Matt was very keen to look at putters. He says that custom fitting a putter is really important. As we all know almost half of our shots are on the green so getting the right putter is vitally important. Now, I must admit, I have never considered this before. I’ve always just used one straight off the rack. We went over and had some further discussion about my putting and chose a few models that I preferred. We used a board to see where my eyes were lining up and the data told us that some putters would be a better option than others.

Next we went back to the launch monitor and Matt fitted me up for a driver. This was relatively straight forward because we already had so much information about my swing and because the adjustable nature of drivers makes them very accommodating. Matt selected a few drivers and we adjusted them to match my swing to get the optimal launch angle and spin rates. After hitting a few, I decided on the driver that felt, sounded and performed to my liking.

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

Matt was leaving nothing to chance. We then discussed the importance of balls and which models might suit my game and preferences.

All in all, Matt was very thorough. What I really liked about this fitting is the time he took to understand me and my game – not just look at the computer generated numbers and make recommendations based on them alone. He showed a genuine interest in me and helping to find the clubs that will improve my performance.

Based on my experience, I would recommend any golfer get a custom fitting when buying a new set of clubs. I found it insightful and interesting.

Of course, if you’re local to Melbourne, then be sure to visit Matt at House of Golf (Epping).

Custom Club Fitting, House Of Golf

This is Matt. Go and see him for a fitting on your next new set of clubs.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

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Review: Mandalay Golf Course

Mandalay is one of the newest courses on offer for Melbourne golfers. It’s a par 72 Peter Thomson designed championship course and is located in Beverage approximately 45 minutes from the CBD.

This is a traditional estate course with housing surrounding many of the holes. The course is very wide spread with a distance between each tee and green. It is set in a grassland environment with lush rolling hills forming the backdrop. The course also rolls with undulating fairways and many elevated tees. You can usually clearly see where to go with the exception of a few holes which cleverly bend and dip or rise.

The condition of the course is amazing. Quite notably the greens were in fantastic condition and rolled very true and smooth. The tees and fairways were also in great condition with a lush cover and well manicured turf. One of the features of this course would have to be the bunkering. There are quite a few well placed bunkers, but many can be easily avoided by selecting appropriate clubs or shots. As mentioned above, this course emerges from the surrounding grassland. The fairways are generous which is good because the rough is, well, rough! I also know that this particular area is a wind tunnel and you will almost always have some wind to contend with. When I played the wind was moderate but by no means strong. Still, I found that the ball was being pushed quite a long way.

I think this course has an interesting and challenging layout. It will test even the best of golfers. I was playing okay and made plenty of pars with a few good opportunities for birdies. When I was in the fairway, the holes seemed quite straight-forward with good sized greens to hit. However, and it is a big however, roll even the slightest into the rough and the ball is most likely lost. I lost four out of five balls hit into the rough. I lost one ball that landed only slightly long of a green, took a bounce and…gone! This also happened to my playing partner as well. With the amount of wind, distance control was difficult and the consequences were huge for even the smallest misjudgement. Personally I’d like to see the rough a little more forgiving. I’m not saying mow it to the ground. If I miss a fairway, I do deserve to be penalised. But a lost ball every time is just soul destroying and can ruin a good round very quickly.

All in all, this is an excellent golf course in fantastic condition. The layout is varied and interesting with many challenging holes that will not let you relax till the very end. I’d definitely recommend coming to Mandalay Golf Course for a game if you want to try out your skills against a championship course.

Here are some of my favourite holes.

The 3rd: A 182 meter par 3. You tee off from an elevated tee to a large green that sits horizontal to you. Distance control is the key here. Long will be better than short as there is a large mound at the back and a deep bunker at the front. Putting should be fairly straight forward once on the green.

Mandalay Golf Course, 3rd Mandalay Golf Course

The 15th: A 202 meter par 3. A very long par 3 guarded by a dam short (really wont come into play unless you really hit a bad one). Bunkers short and long with a lay-up area left. Shoot for the green and hope for the best!

Mandalay Golf Course, 15th Mandalay Golf Course

The18th: A 391 meter par 4. A fantastic finishing hole. Long with well placed fairway bunkers and a guarded but generous green. Shoot for the centre of the fairway and play a long to mid iron into the green. Will really change depending on the wind. A tricky putt if you finish above the hole here.

Mandalay Golf Course, 18th Mandalay Golf Course

On an extra note. I must say that I really enjoyed the back nine. It had many great par 4’s that weaved through the fields to a scenic hilly backdrop (may change as housing continues?).

Mandalay Golf Course

 

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Tip: How to fix ferrules

I’m sure that most golfers would have had this problem at some point. You look at your club and the ferrule has come up or lose. The first things that slip into your mind are; is the head coming off? Is the shaft breaking? Or maybe just – my beautiful clubs don’t look as good as they could.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Don’t worry. This is a fairly common problem and one that is easy to fix.

Firstly, let’s check if the head is actually coming off. There are two ways you can do this:

1) Put the head between your feet and try to twist the shaft. Is there a clicking sound? Does the shaft move? If so, stop using it and re-set the shaft (I will be covering this soon).

2) Check the length has not changed by placing the club next to the clubs either side of the club. For example, if it is your 8 iron, stand it next to your 7 and 9. Look at the length of the clubs.  Does the size graduation look right? Does it fit between them evenly? If not, the head may be coming off.

length of golf shafts

You can see here that the lengths are equal and even. Pictured is my 6 iron to Pitching Wedge.

These are not fail safe tests, however, it is most likely that it’s just the ferrule coming lose. Now, let’s fix that.

What you will need:

– Grip cloth or a rubber glove
– Hair dryer
– Epoxy glue (optional)
– Toothpick (optional)
– Acetone and a rag (optional)

Step 1:

Use the hair dryer to gently heat the ferrule in order to break the glue bond. Yes, it did pay off buying the missus a good hair dryer for her birthday! Slowly does it here, you don’t need too much heat. Just enough to loosen the ferrule so heat and try, heat and try. You may not even need any heat. I moved one of my ferrules back into place without any heat (this is where you would use glue to re-set it – see below).

Alternate Method

Mix up the epoxy and using a toothpick carefully place the glue around the bottom of the ferrule (between it and the club head). Slide the ferrule back into place and clean up any excess glue with acetone.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Step 2:

Use your grip cloth or rubber glove to twist and push the ferrule back into place. This can take quite a bit of force. Get a good grip and go!

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Step 3:

You’re done. Hit the course with your awesome looking clubs.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

 

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Junior Clinics

Golf is an awesome sport for any age. Being a teacher I see many of my students (and parents) looking for things to do over the school holidays. When a good buddy of mine said he was running a Junior clinic, I was all to happy to help promote his upcoming event. If you know a child who is still looking for a sport to play or just to try something new. Give Daniel a call.

After all the future of our sport is the children who fall in live with this game.

Junior Golf Clinic

The Golf Course Guide 2014 – APP

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The Golf Course Guide has always been a good publication. With details on over 600 courses and great discounts and deals to entice players. When I opened my emails earlier today and saw they have launched an App, I was straight in there!

The guide can be downloaded for phones and tablets (although it did tell me it was not compatible with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!). I downloaded it to my phone and, hey presto, access to all the contact details and course information any golfer would want.

How good are mobile Apps? You can search by Name, Nearby Map, Nearby List, Australia Map and even their own rankings list. I really like the ease of being able to simply click on a link to see the clubs website or even make a call to book right there and then.

Best of all the App is free! Yes free, and if you download the App and like their Facebook page they will send you a free copy of the book (for a limited time) so you can enjoy those special offers and discounts. All you have to do is pay the postage cost (for me $6).

For further details go to Ausgolf. If on a mobile device the special offer will display. Not to sure how long this offer will last so be quick.

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Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Taylormade Tour Preferred Glove

Taylormade, Taylormade Tour Preferred, Taylormade Golf Glove

To some it may seem a little silly to review a glove, but to those out there who really appreciate performance and feel and understand what a glove can do for them, I have found a great glove at a reasonable price point.

I had been using the Taylormade Targa Tour glove for some time and really loved its performance and long-lasting wear time. Unfortunately the time came when I just couldn’t find it any more, so had to make a choice on a new glove.

Sticking with Taylormade I decided to try out the new tour model; the Taylormade Tour Preferred glove. It features AAA Cabretta leather for that soft feel, a new stretch fit closure system and a moisture wicking wrist band. The glove is quite different to my previous model with larger breathing holes on the fingers and no smaller perforations over the palm and back of the hand.

The first notable thing about this glove is that it fits really well. Maybe a little tighter out of the box than the previous model but it will stretch out a little bit. Sizing is still the same for me. The leather is high quality and has that supple feel. The closure system is no doubt an upgrade. It has an elastic stretch section which really allows you to find the right feel. With a large velcro patch this glove will wear well and always provide a comfortable fit.

All in all your golf glove needs to perform well in a range of temperatures and conditions. You should always choose one that you like the feel of and that functions just the way you like. This glove is definitely a high-end glove and performs just the way I like my gloves to.

Taylormade, Taylormade Tour Preferred, Taylormade Golf Glove

Cost: You will find them for around $20

Website: Taylormade (note this is the US website as the AU site does not list the TP Glove).

 Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Gardiners Run Golf Course

Gardiners Run golf course is one of the newest additions to the Yarra Valley. Located in Lilydale off Victoria Road, this course has been built to replace the Chirnside Park course and continue to serve the local community for all of their golfing needs.

I must start by saying that I had one of my most enjoyable rounds this year. As mentioned, the course is new and only opened in May 2014. That’s just three months ago. Like all new courses in mid-winter, the lies are a bit bare, the fairways don’t quite soak up the water as well as they will and the green surroundings are a little patchy. I was surprised that these blemishes were minimal and the course is still very, very playable.

I always think that if you’re building a new course then the greens have to be right. The greens here are in amazing condition and roll perfectly and the guarding bunkers are interesting and also in good condition.

I think the course designers have done an awesome job here, creating a real members course. All too often clubs are forced to move for financial reasons and end up building an overly demanding course. Here they have created a challenging but playable course with generous fairway landing areas. This is not to say it is easy, there are some very difficult holes that play long with wind but all in all just the right balance of short and long pars fours and fives. I really enjoyed all of the par threes. They were varied and look amazing, featuring water carries and well guarded greens.

This course has quite a bit of growing-in to do but this will only help to make it a better course. I would definitely recommend a game here. Really is a refreshing and exciting experience.

Here are a few of my favourite holes.

The 1st: A 365 meter par four. What a fantastic opening hole. Long slightly dog-legging right to an elevated green. You need to hit a good drive and avoid the fairway bunkers left and right. The smart play is to leave it in the middle of the fairway and play a mid to short iron into the green. Once on the green putting is fairly straight forward as the green is quite flat.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 3rd: A 157 meter par three. A very pretty hole which requires a water carry to a long thin green. Play for the middle and try to make your putt from there. Sure to be a favourite.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 11th: A 166 meter par three. A tough little one that requires a good tee shot to a guarded green. The play here is to err on the long side, as you will find less trouble here.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 18th: A 388 meter tough par four. What an amazing finishing hole. You drive the ball up the shute avoiding the fairway bunker on the right. A good drive will leave you with a mid iron to the green which is surrounded by water on three sides and a bunker short left. Go for the center or be brave and hit at the pin but miss and you will pay the price.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

Gardiners Run Golf Club have got everything spot on here. The course is amazing and will only get better, the staff in the pro shop and bar were very friendly and welcoming and the clubrooms are perfect. You really must come for a game here, it will not disappoint. I personally can not wait to come back.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Cobra AMP Forged Irons, Cobra Irons

Appearance
A very classic looking club with a splash of colour. The finish on the face is matte where the grooves are and polished everywhere else. 3-7 irons have visible weighting on the bottom of the club and 8-G have no extra weighting. All the clubs have a really nice AMP forged stamp on the back which exudes class. 3-9 irons have a pocket cavity which is filled with rubber and is stamped ‘Cobra’. These pockets look really nice and let you know you’ve got some help out there. PW and GW have no pocket or weighting and look like traditional forged wedges.  The cavity on the rear of the face has an aluminium back-plate which is a striking orange colour and features the Cobra logo. The grips are also made to match in the orange.

As a better player I don’t like looking down and seeing a huge topline. It just doesn’t suit my eye. They have done a few very clever things with these clubs and the most striking is the bevelled topline. It has had some material taken away and gives you the illusion of a thin precise topline without losing the benefits of having more perimeter weighting. The other is that at address you can not see the pocket. They almost look like blades which I really like, as that’s what I have mostly played with.

Put these next to the Titliest 712 AP2’s and at address they look almost the same! Turn them up and look at the sole and you’ll notice that the soles on the Cobra AMP Forged are slightly wider and the visual weighting can be seen on the Cobra 3-7 irons.

This club really inspires confidence. I just felt like I was always going to hit them well.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Performance
The first thing that struck me was the feel. The forged face is soft and the ball just springs off. The clubs are weighted well and the KBS S+ shafts react just like you would expect for premium shafts.

The wider sole definitely helps out with turf interaction, allowing the club to slide through and catch the ball cleanly. I’ve only played pocket cavity irons a few times and I really like the feel of these clubs. The vibration dampeners must really work because shots feel extremely smooth yet crisp. When I middle a shot, I can really feel where the ball left the face. However, when I hit one off the toe or heel it isn’t too smooth though by no means harsh. I can still feel where it came off. This is really important to me. I like to know when I’ve hit a bad one and I also like to feel where the miss was. You can tell with these clubs.

These clubs do fly a little further than my previous clubs but I think this is more to do with the strong lofts in the Cobra AMP forged (see Specifications below). I can easily work the ball left to right, high and low. Definitely a club that will do what it’s told.

All in all they are forgiving, accurate and sweet feeling. They provide the right amount of feedback for the player seeking to improve their game and combine advanced club construction methods to give the player every advantage you can get.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Specifications
All clubs are 1 degree strong. 3 iron come in at 20 degrees through to PW at 45 degrees.

For more information see link below.

Recommendation
A huge yes! I just love them. They are in the bag and staying there for sure.

For better to mid players seeking some advantages in control and feel. Very consistent distance control with the ability to work the ball.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

For more information on these clubs visit Cobra Golf.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

All opinions expressed are my own. Information accurate at time of publication.

 

Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect

Golf is not a game of perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella, Golf Book

Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect
Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen

It’s funny how often I feel like I just don’t play to my potential. How often I seem to crumble under pressure or never really get going after a bad start. Does this sound like you?

As I was playing the other week, partnered up with a new group, I got talking to one of the players. He was telling me about how he had changed his mental approach to the game. He said he’d taken his game down a few strokes by simply focussing on the things that matter. He credited this new found focus to a book. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that cynical and am a huge believer in the mental aspect of the game and how it can help or hinder you, though how powerful could a book really be? He was convinced it could help me. So one week later, what do I think?

In one word, YES!

This book was quite a revelation. A revelation of common sense and things that I really deep down understood and knew. So, probably not that much of a revelation after all! However, it is written in a way that really speaks to me and provides a validating clarity for some of the things I often question.

The way he describes the approaches to the mental game and the stories he tells about his work with tour pros are insightful and very helpful. Bob Rotella understands that “Winners learn to accept the swing they bring to the course on any given day and score with it”. This is one of my problems. “Without realizing it, they’re (me, and probably many golfers) doing everything possible to undermine their own game”. Some of the quotes that tell me I’m doing damage to my game were spelt out clearly in this book. Things like; “A little doubt or a little indecision is sufficient to impair performance”, “Dwelling on mechanics or trying to correct a swing flaw in the middle of a round (is hurtful)” or “The important thing is to adjust (to your swing for the day). Too many players get obsessed with straightening out a hook or a slice that they could simply play with. Without realising it, they change their goal from shooting their best score to fixing their swing.” These are all things I am guilty of!

One of the strong themes that runs through this book is that “The foundation of consistency is a sound pre-shot routine.” and that confidence and deciding to be confident is very important. He describes techniques used by many pros such as visualising and having a 100% focus on what the ball will do. Some of these ideas are described in such straight forward terms like, “Confidence at the level of any shot is nothing more than thinking about your ball going to the target. If you’re thinking about the ball going to the target, you’re confident.”

Of course as golfers we know these things can be very hard to do. Dr. Rotella states, “A golfer chokes when he lets anger, doubt, fear or some other extraneous factor distract him before a shot”. This book tries to teach you about how important the mental game is and how you can work on becoming a mentally stronger golfer. He also understands that golf is about mechanics and that without sound mechanics you’re still going to have a high handicap. He gives meaningful tips about practise and how to maximise this time working on both mechanics and the mental game.

For me, this book answers a lot of questions about why I can shoot par on the front nine and then 7 or 8 over on the back, or vice versa. I can feel my mental game drifting. Sometimes, I just can not seem to get back in that place where I’m scoring well. This book tells me that it is something I need to work on. To sustain that focus and be able to stay “loose and trusting” throughout a round requires commitment and focus. My mental game needs training just like my swing.

If this sounds like you, I would definitely recommend this book. An easy read with realistic and helpful advice. You just have to be ready to hear it like I was.

“In the end, you will realise that you love golf because of what it teaches you about yourself”. Dr. Bob Rotella got that spot on. Because what I learn on the course definitely helps me off the course too.

Do you have a book that helped your game? Golf Blog Australia would love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Adam Scott Number 1!

Well, it’s been a long time coming. Finally we have another world number 1!

Adam probably doesn’t feel it’s a massive thing given he’s been around the top ten since 2004. Then again, maybe he feels like I’m sure every Australian who love the game – unbelievably awesome!

Well done Adam! It has been such a long time since Norman held the spot and I’m sure the whole nation of golfers here in Australia have the same grin I do tonight.

Send Adam a congratulations here at the PGA Australia website.

Golf Blog Australia wishes you all the best in holding the spot and a great year ahead for Australian golf.

What an inspiration. Just what the up-and-coming juniors and golf in general in Australia love to see. A world number 1!

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia