My American Golf fitting experience

Oddsocks

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As some may know I was one of the lucky two selected by GM to complete the driving fitting at the New Malden branch of American Golf. We were due to meet around 9am, so in an effort to get warmed up I had arranged to meet up with Mullins there around 8am. Upon arrival one thing shocked me, just how big this AG was. I have visited a few stores across the country but this was huge, and more importantly very well set out. A massive clothing range as you walked in, with all the clubs down the back near their club building/gripping section and the indoor trackman fitting bay. It was quite clear from the layout of the store that AG want to be know more as a fitter, than just a shop that sells golf stuff. Their fitting bay was very nicely set up, 3 nice big LCD tv's outside so anyone in the shop could see how far below forum average your stats were, a big glass full view window for everyone to watch, it was a really nice set up and id go as far to say if not the best i had seen so far.


After heading out onto the range and hitting a few balls and warming up as much as you could, myself and Mullins headed inside to meet the guys. Paul & Tom were there setting up and having a giggle, and it was real easy to merge in, talk golf and a forum stuff and feel pretty at ease. We were introduced to Zee our fitter it was decided that Mullins would fire off first, ok I’m being honest I sent him in as my lab rat…. But don’t tell him that as he was under the impression he was pulling rank. :thup:


While Mullins was being fitted it was time to do my intro with Tom, this didn’t take long so it was back to having a laugh and a chat, golf & forum related of course. all while looking at Mullins stats. What was nice is that it comes across that GM value the forum as opposed to running it as a PR exercise. It seems most of our threads get viewed at some point by one of the staff, so I am now on my strictest behaviour…. Big brother is watching.


So my fitting is up, and first of all I have to hit ten shots with my current driver. All pretty decent strikes by comparison, but as expected the burner is causing too much spin which is what is causing the balloon flight and loss of distance. Club speed was around 108-110 (maybe due to the shaft being very long in the burners), but the spin was up into the 3900-4100 range. After it was perfectly clear that this was the wrong driver Zee asked if I had tried anything or if anything took my fancy. After a short chat I had my 6 demos to try. What was good was the fact that we sort of ruled them into 3 categories. Contenders, thought about & not thought about, but what was confirmed is that I should demo 9.5* stiff and go from there.


So, my 6 demos are as follows.


Not Thought About.


A Yonex Ezone SD – not one id looked at but this was Zee’s candidate for “outside the box thinking”


Cobra AMP – this is craws and scottjds fault, but fitted with a decent shaft as stock had to be worth a try. This was my candidate for “outside the box thinking”, plus I hate orange so needed to hit this just to rule it out.


Had Thought About:



Nike VRS – id heard good things about this, and fitted with a known decent spec shaft thought it had to be an option to try.


RBZ – I had to try this as logically it was a replacement for my current bat so was good to gauge improvements if nothing else.


Contenders:



Cally Razr Fit – Having tried this already this was tied as number 2 contender.


Ping i20 – Again having already hit this also, this was my 1 contender based on a previous night at the range..


So from there it was onto the range first, Zee wanted me to hit the 6 candidate clubs and rule 3 out, putting the other 3 through for when we went back onto the trackman to assess them further. It was good to hit them on the range as you could see ball flight, shot consistency and carry to rule out the bad ones so to speak. What I did think was nice is Zee did not want to be present while you done this. He wanted no influence on your decision, but he would be back at the end as I was hitting the final few.


The Yonex – No likey….., on address it seemed to look closed slightly, I didn’t like the head shape and with one practice swing I wasn’t inspired to progress further with it. Even in stiff, it still felt a very week shaft. I think it got the pleasure of one ball, but it just didn’t appeal.


The RBZ – I didn’t like the noise or feel off the face, and I didn’t get a shed load of faith looking down on the white head. This didn’t even make a maybe pile, it was ruled straight out with the Yonex.


Nike VRS – Surprisingly a very nice club. Not a brand I have looked at as I’m one of those who are narrow minded enough to think Nike make trainers…. But after 5 or 6 hits it made the maybe pile. Was very nice off the face, gave a nice sound when hit and looked very nice at address, the dispersion was a bit wide, but this was swing based and at no fault of the club.


Razr Fit – No matter what I did, I just couldn’t catch this one well enough to have it in the contender pile, it hit the maybe section with the Nike, but wasn’t in my must have.


I20 – felt great, went well, sounded nice… yes, I could take this home no issues. I really liked the shorter shaft too, but I still wasn’t sure on the stealth finish on the head.


Finally – the Amp. Now anyone there will confirm I wanted to hate this club, hated the grip colour, head had a nice shape but ive got a real dislike orange as a club colour, so just wanted to rule it out. BUT…. Paul was telling me how great it was in the US when he hit it, come with a tuned Rip 55 shaft in, which is a little softer than the 60 so made sense… WHAT A CLUB, straight and an awesome strike first ball.


As I progressed further it was clear that the I20 and Amp were the best 2 with the Nike standing an outside chance. After finishing up under Zee’s supervision it was now time to get back on the trackman. I think my stats with my driver were 108-110 club speed, with a spin rate of 3900-4100 and after hitting a few with my old driver, we had some poor stats, carry about 215/220 with about 15-20 yards roll out. This would equate to a Sunday best being around 240 max but averaging around 235.


Up first was the i20. The shorter shaft dropped the club speed down to around 102, the spin rate down to 2600-2700 thanks to the shaft spec, but the carry was up to 235, with around the same roll out at 15-20 yards. So all in I’m getting the i20 to about 250 (just) but with a better ball flight, and a strike rating of 89%, the i20 seemed to be coming slightly out the heel, and I mean slightly, but the rest of the stats were good
.

Now.. the AMP, the more I hit it, the more I hated myself because I knew this was coming home. Strike percentage was 91%, spin around the same as the i20 at 2450-2600, club head speed a little quicker at 103, but distance was around another 10 yards longer than the i20, some carries got into the mid 240’s, with a similar roll out. But its not all about distance, from the 2 this had the lowest dispersion rate of around 6-8 yards over 5 balls and a more desired & consistent ball flight.


It was the Nikes turn and after 3 swings she was shelved and I was now faced with the decision.

A few more balls with the I20 and the Amp, when myself and Zee were both in agreement that the Amp was the one, much to the amusement of Mullins, Tom and Paul. Zee looked at the stats and said that with the figures being where they were in regards to spin rates, launch angle of around 12*, strike quality, we would be hard pushed to find a shaft to deliver better results and he was pleased with the choice I had made. I had hit the d9 fitted with a rip 60 a few days previous, and the 55g rip felt a little softer, which may suit my swing speed better as the shaft felt spot on, not to stiff but stable. Now before he wraps the club up and sticks a bow on it, he wanted to check my hand size, something that come as a bit of a shock but I suppose he wanted to make sure the fitting was correct. It turns out with my hands I require a stock size grip, but with 2 extra layers of tape. So off my new light sabre goes to have the grip blown off, extra tape added, and re fitted… all part of the service.


In summary I have never done a fitting like this before. If I have ever wanted a new driver for example, I would go to the range, choose one I like, if it was better than my current one it would normally find its way into my bag, dispersion, launch angles, spin rates and smash factors all unknown. Now having gone through this process with Zee/AG, I appreciate more the fact that the 2 final contenders would have been hard to split on a range, especially when hitting 60/70/80% range balls. I could never have worked out that I was carrying 10 yards longer with the amp on a range as the balls are such poor quality, the same with launch angles, and spin rates, there was such a slight margin of improvement for the amp over the i20 that I would have no doubt took the i20 based on looks, feel and if I’m honest brand name, when there was still improvement to be had all be it a very by a very small margin. I am just awaiting delivery of the 3 woods into the UK before Zee is going to get me back on the trackman for round 2, so this shows that the educational process worked.


Thanks again GM & AG for providing these days. It’s nice to see big retail stores supporting the industry leading magazine, and the magazine passing the opportunities on to us mere hackers to enjoy. It was definitely an education going through the process, and now would be the only way I would part with money for new sticks.
 

Scottjd1

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You should have done it in chapters like any good book...

Just kidding, great write up mate and Im sure you and you're new orange friend will safely see you into single figures soon, thanks for the name check :whoo:
 

USER1999

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Sounds fun, and the usual good stuff from GM/AG.

I'd change the grip on the club if it was orange. That would put me right off. I assume the orange on the head is not visible at address?
 

Oddsocks

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Murph, the orange is solely on the sole regarding the clubhead, so at addreess all you can see is a nice metalic silver head, but the grip is niggling. i will no doubt save the grip and put a multicomp golf pride on there, just trying to work out which colour. The head cover is a complex work of art too,orange, leather, orange, air vents etc did i mention orange, so i may opt for a lfaming golf pompom one in more subtle colours...
 

Oddsocks

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yes monty, cobra, but not any cobra... an orange one.

no doubt the smaller AG's will still just have the nets, but i know 3 of my local big ag's that are assigned to ranges all have trackman bays now so you can get a half decent fit. Being totally open i told my range at croydon that id been selected for a AG fit at malden, and they were happy to build 4 drivers to my spec to try on friday so i had some idea of what i did and didnt want. its quite clear that some of the AG branches are really going all out on a customer service level to try and get the CF business, and i hope they get the rewards for it.
 

Aztecs27

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I fell asleep in the middle there, but woke up towards the end.

I'm very envious of you mate! They look awesome.

Good to hear the fitting was thorough too.
 
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Bratty

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Good write up OS. Like the sig change too.

Looking forward to seeing the orange beast soon.
 

Matty

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One thing puzzles me a little about the process - they measured your hand at the end of the process and will be adding tape to the grip on the actual club you'll get supplied - right? So, would that not have been something to do earlier so that you are hitting something identical to what you'll actually be supplied or does it not make a huge difference?
 
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