By Larry Feldman
What in the world have I been thinking about?
I’ve been playing this stupid game for nearly 40 years now and, despite my moments of brilliance (maybe a slight exaggeration) over that period, I found out that I was doing it with the wrong clubs the whole time.
I guess I am as dumb as I look.
The nice folks at TaylorMade Golf invited me down recently for a fitting and to try their new R11 driver. You know, that bright, white club that nearly everyone on the PGA Tour is hitting these days and that every mere mortal who plays this game wants under their Christmas tree this winter.
I jumped at the chance since I have never gone through a club fitting and my driver, despite performing admirably for nearly five years now, was obviously obsolete in this new age of supreme technology.
After getting loosened up at their swank practice facility at Aviara Golf Club, I was greeted by Tom Fisher, a lovely chap from England and one of TaylorMade’s fitting specialists. Fisher and I discussed a variety of options in club selections, and then he asked me to hit a few shots so he could start dissecting my game.
Well, as if the stars were aligned, I started creasing one six-iron after another, making Fisher feel as though I actually had some talent. But, as my game often does, I started pulling my shots a little too far left.
Fortunately, Fisher told me not to worry.
Fisher then took me inside and hooked me up in black armor, sensors attached to nearly every joint on my body. These sensors are designed to detect every move the body makes, from nearly every angle: top, bottom, behind, swing plane, etc.
After hitting five or six shots with a variety of clubs, I was offered a viewing of my swing. Well, to nobody’s surprise, it was revealed that my swing had a few flaws. The results, however, were consistent with my ball-striking on the range. That is, I was taking my club a little too much to the inside on my takeaway, which caused my ball flight to go right-to-left a little more than desired…he did say that my trajectory had some of the same characteristics as Kenny Perry, only not so drastic. I could live with that as I’ve worked hard over the years to rid myself of a persistent fade.
To give me greater perspective, they aligned my image up with that of Fred Funk and Dustin Johnson. The one consistency was that they were not as upright at address as I was and their finishes were much more complete. The most enlightening part, though, was to understand exactly where I needed to make adjustments if I wanted more consistency.
After a few more shots, Fisher gave me two choices…either work on my backswing so it didn’t come to the inside as much or keep my swing and flatten my lie by 1.5 degrees on my irons as the toe of my clubs were slightly elevated at address, accentuating my draw into an occasional hook. In other words, my “off the rack” set of irons were not right for me at all. Fisher quickly reached into a TaylorMade golf bag filled with about 30 different clubs, plucked the appropriate club and, abracadabra, Larry Feldman, aspiring Champions Tour professional, was back hitting six-irons 170 yards and straight.
Fisher then asked me to describe the wedges in my bag. I told him I had four: pitching, 52, 56 and 60 degree, and that I consistently hit my 60 degree fat. He told me there would now be three wedges in my bag and the reason I was hitting the one wedge fat was my bounce factor was incorrect. He prescribed 53 and 58 degree wedges with a high bounce, which would cover nearly any distance needed through my pitching wedge and that fat shots would be a thing of the past.
From there, we ventured to the dreaded 3-iron. When I told him that I preferred an easy five-metal, he slapped a new TaylorMade Rescue club in my hands. All I can say is, “Rescue me!”
We then moved down the bag to fairway woods, where I demoed the new R11 3- and 5-woods. I highly recommend this new technology for the low and high handicapper alike.
Then, the moment of truth arrived.
Fisher unveiled Taylor Made’s “White Lightning”, as I like to call it. The R11 Driver. I was so excited, you’d think I just saw Megan Fox!
Well, it was that and everything more. The ball literally jumped off the club face. No wonder why Dustin Johnson launches it by everyone. Sign me up. And, since Taylor Made now has a number of fitting centers all across the country, I highly recommend a visit before your next round of golf.
The only problem I have, now that I have been perfectly fitted by TaylorMade Golf, is that I am virtually out of excuses when I play poorly. Oh well, I’ve been blaming everything in sight for years now, I guess it’s time I started owning up to my shortcomings.
Taylor Made Performance Labs
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