Your golf equipment choices are endless. So much so that working with an experienced golf club fitter is essential to selecting the proper equipment for your ability, agility and strength. In a white paper written by GolfSmith several years ago it was noted that premium golf club fitting is the most effective tool for selling golf clubs. That message has been embraced by golf equipment retailers. COMMERCIAL golf club fitting is offered by every big box store with an interest in promoting golf equipment. Several years ago when I asked the owner of a multi site golf equipment fitting business what the hottest driver head was he replied, "the brand paying the largest incentives to my fitters."
ETHICAL Golf Club Fitting puts the interest of the golfer ahead of the incentives and profits of selling golf equipment. An ethical fitter might tell you that your current equipment is well suited to your swing. He is willing to say that you should not expect game improvement from new gear. Should you want game improvement, you should see a swing or fitness coach. The most you are likely to get from new gear is game assistance. Equipment can stabilize your swing dynamics, it cannot fix it. For that, an ethical fitter, with all the equipment he brings to a fitting session, will tell you to seek out a swing or fitness coach. You should expect to pay an ethical fitter for his time, that time has a value and is separate from the cost of golf equipment.
Your Fit2Score fitting session is guided by your golf objectives and your budget. I do not like using the term game improvement in conjunction with golf clubs. Golf clubs, at best, can assist your game by matching your swing with an appropriate set of clubs. Game improvement comes from motion training and fitness. Below is a brief review of some of the products I specialize in. Many of these products are offered as fully custom built. They are assembled by me from individual heads, shafts and grips that exactly match your fitting session results.
The pro shop at The Golf Center at the Highlands is fully stocked with all the top name brands in golf. The fitters are all highly skilled swing coaches with years of experience. Outdoor fittings are done using fully equipped fitting systems from Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno, Nike, Ping, TaylorMade and Titleist. Your clubs are ordered to your needs from the custom building departments of these companies. Our fitting objective is to improve your golf game and love of the sport.
Miura makes forged iron heads in a family owned foundry in Hmeji, Japan a region that was the center of samuri sword making. The steelmaking skills in that area are generations old. Katsuhiro Miura and his sons Yoshitaka and Shinei participate in the production of Miura irons as well as club fitting. They maintain their art through active participation. The designs are born and refined from their experience. The heads are handcrafted and the quality control is second to none. Over the past few years we have seen other brands enter the market with premium prices that lacked the quality control of the Miura family. Miura suffered from not offering an easy, forgiving head in the high end market. North American distribution reorganized and supply was eratic. The new distribution channel is stablizing and new products are now being introduced.
Miura has always produced what might be called a traditonal iron head. The designs were limited to blades and cavity backs. Those that appreciate forged blades know that Miura is the best that money can buy. The Miura product line is expanding as new, somewhat forgiving designs are in development. The MC-501 released in the spring of 2018 and has quickly become the most popular Miura model. If you are looking for the best forged head in the business, look no further. There are numerous boutique designs in the market, but nothing that I have seen equals the quality and variety of Miura.
Miura irons are not in everyone's budget. A set of 8 custom made irons costs roughly $1900. I very often make a single test 6i for clients committed to the purchase of a set of Miura irons. I speak from personal experience when I say there is no better feeling in the game than a well struck iron shot with a properly fit Miura iron.
Fit2Score is one of the few Mizuno head only accounts. This means I can fit and build Mizuno clubs with any shaft. Mizuno offers this option to a limited number of elite fitters with building experience. The Mizuno iron fitting cart has the widest range of shafts of any of the factory fitting carts. I have added a number of shafts to my Mizuno fitting system to offer options not available in the factory cart. The ultralight Nippon Zelos, the entire range of Nippon Modus3 and the unique Mitusbishi OTi carbon fiber can be tested with the entire spectrum of Mizuno heads.Mizuno has been in the forging business over 70 years. Models are kept in the line for 2 years, making adding to your set or replacing a lost club effortless. Mizuno long has been THE brand in forged irons. What few realize in the marketing buzz generated by the bigger golf brands is the 2013 Mizuno JPX-800 had a .82 COR, close to the USGA max. It was pushed to .830 in the JPX 850 with a larger sweet spot and an improved sole and further expanded in the JPX 900's.
This year the MP heads were updated. An enhancement to the Mizuno grain flow forging process increased the density of the MP-18 faces. There are 4 models which look so similiar to each other, discriminating golfers can mix and match their iron sets. The MP-18 MMC replaced my long time favorite the MP-25. A titanium insert on the muscle back pushes more head weigh out to the toe and heal, making the head more forgiving. A tungsten weight is added to the toe further increasing the sweet spot of the head. If you are distance challenged on your longer irons, and see your gaps get narrower as your clubs get longer, the MP-18 FLI HI, with a hot face, can replace your long iros without compromising the overall look of the set. The sole in narrow, the back design is uncluttered and the top line is thin at setup. Having a little pop on your long iron faces is an interesting idea for us older guys as well as the tour players that put it in their bags. If you find yourself on thin Texas fairways you will appreciate how much easier it is to pick a ball clean with the narrow cambered soles of the MP-18's.
If you think of Mizuno as a players brand only, you should have a look at their game enhancement designs. Mizuno is one of the one of the largest sporting goods companies on the planet. They offer a wide range of heads for every golfers needs. The JPX irons have traditionally been Mizuno's best selling irons. They deliver game assistance without being offensively large to look down at. In 2017 there were three unique designs. The JPX 900 Tour is a classic Mizuno Forged head with a new shape muscle back cavity shape. A bit more game assistance comes from the JPX 900 Forged. It has the same Boron reinforced face as the MP-25 creating one of the hottest iron faces in the business in a traditionally sized head. The JPX 900 Hot Metal is Mizuno's first cup face iron. Cup faces have long been used in drivers and fairways to create huge sweet spots. The JPX 900 Hot Metal does just that. Those challanged to find the center of the face consistently are going to appreciate this head. If you are looking for a iron head designed to deliver distance, there is nothing better in the market at any price.
The S18 wedge is a winner. I do like the feel of forged wedges. And I disagree with those who state there is no difference. Wack vs Click. The T7 and S18 wedges wins the feel contest in my hands. With a huge matrix of lofts and bounce/grid and shaft options, you can get a custom FORGED wedge at a competitive off the rack price. The S18 has weight removed in the center which is pushed to toe and heal, creating cavity back like forgivness.
One round with the JPX 900 fairway and it became my favorite all time fairway head. It has it all, a hot face, slotted sole making thin strikes launch and a large, high MOI head. A center weight track positions the center of gravity for the spin you need. A new light weight shaft tip allows for up to 2 degrees of loft adjustment in either direction. Retrofitted with a Mitsubishi Thump or a Graphite Design AD Fairway shaft it is easy to launch while delivering tight dispersion. The 2018 ST 180 Fairway is much the same without the sliding weight. If you are looking for a fairway head that is easy to hit, a custom fit ST 180 should be at the top of your list. There is only one consideration, you have to like blue.
Fit2Score is one of the golf club fitters selected by TaylorMade as a Tour Preferred Dealer. You can experience our wide range of shafts in any TaylorMade head. This program makes tour level fitting available with TaylorMade products. The Fit2Score fitting system features TaylorMade Drivers, Fairways, Hybrids and Irons. My TaylorMade iron heads have been equipped to accept the wide range of shafts I feature from AeroTech, KBS, Mitsubishi, Nippon, TrueTemper and UST.
The TaylorMade 2017 M1 driver head design was so good it was hard to imagine another design that improved it. The 2018 design is a significant change to the head, not merely a fine tuning of an already great driver head. There are two versions of the M1 head, 460 and 440. The 440 is narrower, taller and not as deep. This puts the center of gravity forward, creating a propensity to launch lower. When I fit, I match the shape of your impact dispersion to the head shape, when I see horizontal dispersion, I recommend the 460 head, for vertical dispersion, the 440 is a better fit. The most significant update is called twist face. The horizontal face bulge is typical horizontal. However the average golfer's impact pattern on a driver face is low heal to high toe. Twist face changes the face bulge from horizontal to align with the typical impact pattern, low heal to high toe. A friend pointed out that this was recommended in a golf science paper many, many years ago. My experience with this is nothing short of amazement. When I first put mine into play, my buddies were playing it also by the fifth hole. They continued to do so until I got them their own heads.
The forward weight track has been removed to make room for a feature called hammerhead. This is a low center face insert in the sole compression slot. The technology was first seen in the 2017 M2. It was significant enough that a number of tour pros were using the M2 rather than the M1. Hammerhead is now on both the M3 and M4. The weight track on the M3 flares in the rear to allow for off center positons that change the head to be draw or fade biased. The M3 lost about a gram of weight over the 2017 M1. This is a great improvement bringing the native weight of the head close to 203 grams and much more inline with the needs of the average golfer.
My fitting experience aand playing experience to date with the M3 head has shown it to be exceptional. Outfitted with a shaft to match my clients motion skills I am seeing more shots in the fairway.
The updates to the M3 fairway are not as apparent as the driver changes. A lighter five layer carbon crown and sole plate free up weight of create a lower center of gravity. The movable weight is a few grames heavier at 29 grams. The speed pocket is slightly larger, improving low face strike ball speed. Those that carry a single fairway should consider the 3HL 17 degree launch. With 2 degrees of adjustment in the hosel, this can be set to the traditonal 15 grams or moved up to 19 degrees, typical in a 5 wood. The retail price of the M3 starts at $300. Premium shafts can get that price to $500. I have sold countless fairways with premium shafts. For the many golfers who have their first experience with a low torque premium shaft in a fairway there are two reactions. First, OMG, I never hit a fairway like that. Second, sticker shock. The simple fact is that you will not see anything but premium driver shafts in the fairways of golf professionals. A fairway shaft from Mitsubishi, the Diamana Thump, gives premium like shaft performance without sticker shock. Come prepared with your fairway swing, I have a bag full of low tip torque, high launch shafts that make your fairway a pin seeker you can trust.
My first hybrid was a TaylorMade Rescue. I struggled with that club; I could hook it around a barn. At the time I did not know that a soft tip shaft designed to add launch had too much torque to keep the head square. By making the TaylorMade Rescue head available to tour preferred dealers without a shaft you can now get a tour level fit with this classic hybrid head. The M3 has a sole slot, filled and hardly noticable, adding distance to a low face strike. The adjustable hosel facilitates fitting with different shafts. There is a sliding weight to draw or fade bias the head. I have a wide selection of hybrid shaft options, ranging from ultralight graphite to steel. Yes, steel. Steel, especially lighter weight steel, like the KBS CTaper Lite, delivers dispersion control to strong swingers at a reasonable price. My fitting system includes great Hybrid shafts from Graphite Design, KBS and Mitsubishi. The Diamana Thump Hybrid has been reintroduced with a .370 tip for the current generation of hybrid heads.
The TaylorMade M4 is much like the M3 without the adjustable weights. It features the Hammer Head speed slot, TwistFace and loft adjustable hosel. It is slightly lighter at 200 grams and slightly less expensive. The HammerHead Slot creates a massive sweet spot that pushes the limit of ballspeed to produce distance and forgiveness across the entire face. The reinforced outer portions of the slot allow for a lighter, more flexible face, while the cenrter portions of the slot increases ballspeed on low face strikes and drops spin for more distance and accuracy.
Taking an imaginative approach to clubhead design, TaylorMade's Geocoustic technology utilizes advanced sole shaping techniques to deliver a solid and explosive sound with exceptional feel. The recessed sole contour also frees up volume to produce a larger clubface with a 67% larger sweet spot. The M4 has the largest sweetspot TaylorMade has ever designed.
The M4 Fairway is a slightly larger more forgiving fairway head. The M4 Tour is a smaller head in the style of the M3. Both have a larger speed pocket than the M3. New internally split weights provide increased MOI and perimeter weighting for better stability. Additionally, the ultra-strong Ni-Co 300 steel face insert allows for a thinner, faster face for optimized ballspeed. A new 5 layer carbon fiber crown shaves 8 grams of weight that has been relocated lower in the clubhead fo higher launch and lower spin.
The only downside to this head is the lack of an adjustable hosel. That means shaft fitting must be done with an M3 head. The M3 is available in a full range of lofts while the M3 tour is offered in only 15 degree #3 and 18 degree #5. The #3-HL 16.5 degree version of the M4 is a great option if you are launch challanged on a 3 wood. Without and adjustable hosel on the M3, it is a optimum choice for many golfers. If you only carry one fairway, it should be your loft of choice.
The M4 Tour head is slightly smaller with a front center weight port. This hot face head is likely to see tour play and that means it needs weight options.
I fit fairways with a small number of premium shafts from Mitsubishi and Graphite design. These shafts feature the low torque of premium aftermarket driver shafts. If you have never experienced a low torque fairway shaf reflect on this comments from a recent fitting, "Went away to Atlanta for a golf weekend with the new Diamana Thump shaft in an M2 3 wood. I was embarrassed hitting it consistently 250 yards in the fairway and 10 yards past my partners' driver tee shots. Didn't bother pulling out my driver the last 36 holes. Too bad it can't help my putting!"
The M4 Rescue looks to me like a small version of the M4 fairway. This is a head that lives up to its brand name, Resuce. Like the M4 fairway, it does not have an adjustable hosel. Shaft selection must be done with the M3 rescue. I like the long slotted sole design of the TaylorMade M4 Rescue. It extends from heal to toe. Hybrids deliver more forgivness on toe and heal strikes than the irons they replace. Having the sole slot extend to the toe and heal makes sense. Having the ability to put the shaft that continues your iron fit into your long iron replacement clubs also makes sense. The TaylorMade component program makes that option affordable. This head is a larger than the M3. To my eye, it occupies a middle ground between a fairway and a professional hybrid design. The deeper the head, the more forgiving it is on off center strikes. If that is what you need, this is the head of choice.
I tested the M4 on the range against the hybrids that have been in my bag for the last 6 years. The forgiving design allowed me to add enough length to the shaft to get back the distance aging has taken away. My favorite hybrid shaft, the Diamana Thump is back in production with .370 tips. The M4 is in my bag and I am aiming at greens with it. It creates enough height that I can count on the ball stopping on the green.
There is not much more I could write about TaylorMade irons than Benoit Vincent says in this 2017 interview. In late 2017 TaylorMade released the P790 iron. It has quickly become my #1 seller and is in my bag with Nippon Zelos shafts. The face not only hot, but has the largerst sweet spot of a blade looking head I have ever played. It has a tour like sole, shallow front to back, minimizing turf interaction should you get to the ground slightly before the ball.
Fit2Score is a TaylorMade Preferred Dealer. This program makes heads available to the custom builder without shafts. You can be fit into the wide range of shafts I feature from AeroTech, KBS, Mitsubishi, Nippon, TrueTemper and UST. Your clubs are then built to your exact shaft fit with shafts not available through the TaylorMade custom department. TaylorMade is now offering a large number of iron shafts from their custom building department. I have added all the available shafts to my fitting system. You will have access to TaylorMade custom build irons at retail price with the complete range of shafts they now offer.
The Fit2Score golf shaft database, the basis of the GolfShaftReviews web site is now used by and ever increasing number of golf club fitting studios. Golf shaft knowledge is essential for fitting golf shafts. There was nothing available when I entered the business. I inventing and manufactured a golf shaft measuring instrument. Over many years I developed and extensive database of golf shaft profiles. To learn more about the shaft database visit the link below