On Monday morning I had a great practice session out on the Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens. My real point of emphasis that day was to spend some time around the greens hitting a variety of shots, and I can feel my short game reaching a new level. That afternoon, I got in my car and drove to Edisto Island, SC, to spend the night with my vacationing parents. I had a relaxing evening with them and then a great beach-front run Tuesday morning before driving down the coast three hours to Sea Island Golf Club for my Titleist club-fitting session.
I had never been "fit" for golf clubs before Tuesday, and though I was excited, I was a little bit skeptical about the whole process. For a guy who likes to keep golf as simple as possible, the idea of thinking about shaft torque, ball spin rate, and fractions of degrees of change here and there all seemed a little technical. I was dead wrong. The club-fitter with whom I was working (Craig Allen) was brilliant, and he helped me understand what we were doing every step of the way. It was all very intuitive, too, which was a pleasant surprise. I could not believe some of the things I learned and experienced. My current driver is not a terrible fit for me, but after trying many different head and shaft combinations, we found a new driver that allows me to launch the ball faster off the clubface with less spin which will result in greater accuracy and distance. Through a lot more experimenting we also found a three wood with which I was comfortable; I haven't been comfortable over a three wood in years, so that was very exciting. We also found a shaft to put in my hybrid club that allows me to use that club more effectively off of the tee while not sacrificing its versatility as a weapon for attacking long-range approach shots. The most eye-opening part of the whole fitting, however, came with my irons. I've been using the same irons for quite some time now, and I never imagined that they would be very far from what is ideal for me. Again, I was wrong. My irons were a full degree too flat which forces me to square the clubface with my hands at impact, and the shafts in my irons were too weak. After experimenting with a lot of different head and shaft combinations, Craig and I nailed down the perfect iron for me. Even someone with no golf knowledge could easily see the improved ball-flight that these new irons produced compared with my current set. It is incredible to me the difference that being fit for these golf clubs is going to make in my game. I thought that getting fit might put complicated thoughts into my head about my equipment, but in reality it has done just the opposite. I know that my new clubs are going to help me be more consistent and that my equipment absolutely will not hold me back.
Now, with all that said, I still do believe that good swing will produce a good shot with any club; I just now know that proper clubs can make it easier to achieve good results. My new clubs have been ordered, but I will not be getting them until mid-week next week--after the start of my first tournament. That means I'll be playing my first event of the year with the same set of clubs that I used to win the Tennessee Amateur in 2009 and two State Opens last year. Poor me, right? I know that my new clubs will make golf easier for me, but I also know that I can win with my current set, and that is exactly what I plan to do next week on Hilton Head.
In fact, after driving back to Callaway Gardens on Tuesday night, I got up yesterday morning and had one of my very best practice days of the year on Wednesday. I did a couple of my putting drills and spent a solid hour working on my wedge play before doing some chipping practice, and then I went out on the course with my friend Taylor Hall for a match in the afternoon. We both played very well, but I avenged my one-shot defeat from Sunday with a one shot victory of my own! We played the shorter course at Callaway Gardens but both played very well. I shot 66 and held off his back nine charge.
My game feels great! I am absolutely thrilled about the club-fitting and my new clubs that are on the way, but I feel ready to go win with the clubs that I already have. It should be a fun weekend of preparations here at Callaway Gardens before I leave for Hilton Head and my first tournament of the year Monday morning! Keep it right here for more updates!
By the way, if you read this whole post, thank you so much for being a true supporter of my career. I feel like I got a little long-winded in my excitement!