Since I chose this great little South Texas city of 70,000 as EIDOLON's home – and we are two hours to Houston, San Antonio or Austin – as you might imagine, EIDOLON's factory is the only fully equipped golf shop for miles around. So, even though we keep a rather low profile, more and more golfers are turning to us for insight and work on their golf clubs. To accommodate that, we've set up a parallel custom shop, where we not only build custom wedges, but we also build and re-build irons, drivers, fairways and hybrids. It’s been quite enlightening.
Because I've been in this industry for 30 years now, I've seen a lot in the way of equipment. And with the new models coming out with such frequency and volume, it's hard to keep up with all of them. So, to be honest I don't really try. It would fry my brain, I'm sure. My approach to helping golfers optimize their equipment is simple. Whether it be irons or a driver, or anything in between, find a head design you like (and that’s right for your game) and get the shaft right. That’s how to optimize your skills. The next-level step of actually being fitted for the right length, lie, etc. is icing on the cake, but if the head and shaft combo isn’t right, then all that other stuff is wasted.
Let me relate three stories to you that somewhat prove my point.
Story #1 – Helping a lady golfer get more from her equipment.
A friend from my club had us build his wife two new wedges, and asked if I could look at his wife’s equipment and see if we couldn’t help her get more distance and height on her shots. She’s a 14 handicap player that has a pretty good swing. They bring in her bag and it’s full of old original Ping Eye irons, with men’s stiff flex steel shafts in them! No wonder she can’t hit them above eye level or very far. And she doesn’t have a hybrid at all. Sheesh. So, I re-shaft the 4-9 with UST Mamiya Pro Force V2 75 graphite shafts, in an ‘A’ flex, build her an EIDOLON 50* Gap and 57* Sand wedge on our new SCoR Lite graphite shaft, and a 23* hybrid, also with the V2 ‘A’ flex. After her first round she’s delirious.
The moral of this story is that the shaft is the engine of the golf club and it can make a big difference.
Story #2 – A Frustrated Assistant Pro
We have a new assistant pro at our club who is pretty fresh out of college. We call him “Grasshopper”. Since he’s only been in the PGA program for a little over a year, he hasn’t gotten on any company’s staff yet, so his bag is full of “hand-me-downs”. A set of Titleist irons that have worn out faces and that have been re-shafted at least once, with soft R flex shafts. As soon as I put them on the frequency machine, I asked him “you don’t have any idea where these are going , do you?”, to which he replied “not really.” So I looked into my back room and found a set of prototype Sonartec blades (which never came to market in the U.S.) that had strong Firm flex shafts in them, adjusted the lie angles and sent him on his way. He called me that night to tell me that it was “unbelievable”. Now we can turn our attention to the rest of the bag.
Story #3 – Getting A Pro Back On Track
Our first assistant, Joe, is a really good player who tests his game at the competitive level often. Because he’s playing with these young guns on the Adams and Hooters Tours who hit the ball a mile, Joe recently switched to a more aggressive cavity back, jacked-up set of irons to get more distance. Of course, his natural, rehearsed draw turned into a bigger hook, and his iron play deteriorated. His scores have climbed to the low- to mid-70s. He was in the shop working with me on driver analysis, and I convinced him to go back to his blades and his old putter. Two days later, I drew him as a partner and he shoots 64! With a holed out wedge for one eagle, and three birdies from within 2’. Needless to say, he’s happy again.
The point of this article today is that a lot of secrets can lie in your equipment. If you’ve never done it, visit a good independent clubmaker who has a fully-equipped shop. Have them analyze your equipment and you’ll be amazed at what might be there. I’m going to continue this topic for the next couple of Fridays, as I have more interesting stories to share that I think will help you understand the nuances of the tools we use to play this crazy game.
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Cool article T. Great to see you in a position and disposition to help peoples games like that.
Here's one for ya: I had been playing Dynamic gold S300 shafts in my irons up until last year, my ballflight was practically orbital but mostly straight. 90-100 swing speed. I had a chance at a pulled set of Precision rifle 5.5's, trajectory was lower but picked up a fade. Recently upgraded to Project X rifle 6.5's, ballflight is much more where I want it and incredibly straight but now picked up 10 yd pull. Any words of wisdom on this vague amount of detail?
Very nice article Terry. The devil is,indeed, in the details.
I would love to do this one day when the money is available. i just tried to keep everything consistent this year with all stiff shafts and same grips. that is the best i can do on a budget. any other tips for someone with limited funds?
@sepfeiff - i did the same thing. 6.5s rule. As for the pull, it's probably your swing. The strait ball with the S300s is because of the way the shaft was loading and unloading. The DG S300 is a more flexible "stiff". Like a factory stiff on a driver, so you can get away with a lot more in your swing. The 6.5 are closer to stiff - xstiff and much more precise. The ball will go strait, but they're a little different to swing because of the way the shaft loads. My fix, turns out, was in shoulder alignment. It was a visual thing i was doing subconsciously- aiming my shoulders a touch left at setup which resulted in a slight pull. Fixed it and now i'm hitting strait - strait again instead of strait - pull.
Great topic Terry - I like to play around with shafts and love the Taylormade FCT feature on my driver, 3 wood, and Hybrid, as much for the ability to change shafts, as for the adjustability. To your point about the pace of new product introductions, and subsequent marketing that encourages frequent equipment changes, it's a challenge to seperate substance from hype. That being said, I think that once fit for the best set, there is still a period of time required to develop a "relationship" with my clubs and have the "feel" that lets me get the best out of them. For a weekend golfer this "relationship building" can certainly exceed the time-line of new product innovation. How many golfers never get to play their best because they frequently change equipment based on the the "lastest greatest" technology?
@birdieXris - thanks I've been putting extra attention into my setup, I'll check my shoulders. Now go out to the range and practice for the WAM! We're counting on you as the OOB front runner ;)
Banker: People in general are pretty understanding and actually quite generous. With this golf season winding down independent fitters don't have a lot of business right now and are willing to work with you on money. I was told I could get my entire bag fitted for free if I was to get my shafts through them. Or I could only pay $50 to just get the numbers. This isn't your basic swingspeed fitting, this is the whole nine yards with individual numbers on your frequency on shafts ect. Don't be afraid to ask for a deal, you aren't paying for products you are paying for a service, that is always negotiable.
@sepfeiff - Thanks man! I've really been putting a lot of work into it. Not just for the WAC ( i have an agenda for next year as well) but it's one of my priorities for the next couple of weeks. I have a follow up with Lisa Horst the week before WAC so hopefully it's all worked out by then : )
Next time I'm in Austin on business I will visit's Eidolon's shop ;)
Great stories. Thanks for sharing this practical information.
Great story but finding a true independent clubmaker can be difficult. In the end clubmakers have to make a living as well and stuff like incentives, margins and discounts from vendors come into play which could "influence the independence" (as I like to call it).
Is there any listing or map/search to find a local independent club fitter? I've done numerous web searches and all I can find is brand specific fitters or generic big box fitters like those at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Someday when I get rid of my walmart clubs, I'll take a look at having them fitted properly with better shafts. Until then... well... I'll just wish I was rich :)
Matt F says:
@DaveMBarb Try this one www.agcpgolf.com/ or google club fitters and see what pops up.
@mwfaith1971: Thanks a ton! Now how come that didn't pop up in the searches I did earlier? That's exactly what I was looking for.
Fun, fun, fun.
I believe that great shots have more to do with the golfer than the equipment.
A great musician can make wonderful music out of a crappy song w/o the studio, the techs, the backup band, the top of the line gear, etc.
A good musician can produce great material with the above items working for them.
But I think a lousy musician and the lousy golfer can't be improved much no matter what they use.
Terry, I love your stories and have had similar experiences, but they all involve nearly instataneous results with good to great players - Lance Armstrong running on flat tires can't win any race. The "flat tires" in golf however are not so obvious to us layfolk, so we need the Wedgeguy's of the world to enlighten us. And I suppose the lousy golfers' problems are more in their body and not their equip.
Tim Horan says:
@sepfeiff the pull you are experiencing might not be due to your alignment it may be that the lie angle is now wrong. You will not get the same "toe droop" with the Project X 6.5s and so may be the heel is digging in at contact. I did the same change DG400 to PX 6.5 about a year ago. You perhaps need a dynamic lie session with an experienced club fitter for this.
@BirdieXris, Tim Horan - I put a lot of attention into my setup and made sure I was putting a good swing on it, seems to have ironed itself out. Now on to missing the birdie putts ;)
Terry, What is your opinion about older equipment such as the Taylor Made Burner Plus Tour Preferred metal drivers and fairway woods from 20 years ago with the small heads? Do you think they are obsolete? Also, do you think long irons, especially old blades, are obsolete compared to the new hybrids? I play a mid 1980's set of Golden Ram Tour Grind 1-SW irons and I have the old Taylor Mades. I, also have a Nike Ignite driver, 3 wood, and 5 wood I bought and am experimenting with, but I wanted your opinion on the other equipment.
In many cases, the old gave way to the new becaust technology moved. The bubble shaft for example, was not as good as promised. Old blades are definately harder to hit than modern ones, especially in the long irons. But other old technology seems to prove timeless. Take them to a fitter and see what numerical results are compared to newer stuff. That will guide you.
Terry, I have the pre-bubble shaft era Taylor Made metalwoods. Mine have the dynamic gold s300's. They might be late 80's era. I love the Golden Ram Tour Grind Irons (frequency matched 6.5 shafts) and I have not found anything yet that I like as well. I bought some MP-32's with dynamic gold s300 shafts and they just feel heavy. Plus, I do not like the fact that the lofts are stronger. Anyhow, I think I'll stay with my Rams because I've had them since 1986 and they have always been very reliable and I've played great golf with them. Thanks, I appreciate it!
Terry, this may be a little off topic, but I was wondering if you could tell me approximate carry and overall distance I should be hitting my driver with a 90 mph swing speed, assuming everything is ideal with temperature, launch angle, no wind. I use a 10.5 degree nike ignite driver with a stiff aldilla graphite shaft. I saw a study that showed tests with various golf balls being hit with a mechanical swing machine set at 90 mph and the overall distance varied from ball to ball, but it was in the ballpark of 250 yards. Is that reasonable to expect? Some things I've read online indicate that that speed will only create 220 to 230 yard overall distance in tee shots. When I play, I usually will, on a 400 yard par 4 for example, will be at about the 150 marker, but I wasn't sure if I was getting an inordinate amount of roll. However, this seems to be the case on whichever golf course I play. Thanks, again!
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