Writing about golf for a living does not, as it turns out, automatically make you a better golfer. Nor does it make you fitter, stronger or more pliable. But it does occasionally give you chances to make smarter decisions about the game you do have.
Enter my recent trip to Callaway HQ, a golfer’s playground in Carlsbad, Calif., where they ran me through a test of their latest line of drivers: the Epic Speed, the Epic Max LS and the Triple Diamond LS.
For background, I’m a former college golfer who spent a couple years battling on the mini-tour circuit before switching to the far more heroic task of writing for the website you’re currently reading. I used to think of myself as someone who hit it fairly far but as I stare down my 30th birthday have started to come to terms with words like “crafty,” “clever” or “consistent” as positive identifiers instead of anything power-related. Sigh.
So I arrived in Carlsbad with some trepidation. But I left encouraged, enlightened and empowered (literally) with a new weapon. If you’re thinking about getting fit, here are three things I’d recommend:
1. Check your ego at the door
Your car door, the pro shop, entrance to the range, whatever. It’s just not useful. My perception of how far I carry the ball — what Max Homa calls “the biggest lie in golf” will only hold you back from facing reality. Here’s what he said on the Russillo Show last year:
“My Dad will hit one 4-iron in his life 220 yards, and then every time he’s 220 hits 4-iron and tells people he hits 4-iron 220. It’s like, ‘Dude, you just don’t. That’s not your normal number. Yes, it could happen, but you could also play golf on a hill, you could hit it way down that hill and yes, the ball will go farther.’”
Try your best to take that advice. If you want to hit it further, we can work on that! But you’re not going to suddenly make Bryson gains mid-fitting. Be yourself.
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Callaway Epic Max LS Driver
Remember, your fitter has seen better players than you and he or she has seen worse players than you, too. There’s no judgment happening here. It’s natural to feel self-conscious, but seriously — there’s no point.
Unless you, too, happen to be on camera for your fitting (like I was in the video above), think of it like a doctor’s appointment. Your records aren’t suddenly going to be released into the wild. Your shot dispersion is safe with your fitter, and your fitter is here to help.
So relax! Get a swig of water. Have a proper warm-up. (This bit’s important; if you’re anything like me, your swing will speed up as you get warm.) This isn’t a test where you’re trying to remember the answers. Instead you’re just showing the fitter your normal swing. The closer to “reality” you show them, the more effective the fitting will be. Once you get going, it’s fun. You’re picking out a new toy, after all.
3. Trust the numbers
I liked the looks of the Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS the best. If I’d walked into a golf shop and picked one without hitting it, that would have been my selection. The profile is slightly smaller and more visually appealing. But it wasn’t the club for me.
Instead, the Epic Max LS was the better fit. A winter in soggy Seattle has transformed my tee shots into moon-balls, which launch high but spin too much, costing me distance. I hit the Epic Speed first but was still spinning it too much. But the “LS” in Epic Max LS stands for Low Spin, and sure enough the launch and trajectory improved immediately. My ball speed jumped into the low-to-mid 160s, which won’t soon be challenging Phil Mickelson in the “bombs” category anytime soon but was reliably a few ticks higher than the other two clubs. My contact was far more consistent with the Epic Max LS than the Triple Diamond, and so we had a clear winner.
Feel is important. The look of your club is important. The sound is, too. But the numbers don’t lie, and a proper fitting will collect enough data to show the right driver for you.
You can see more from the fitting in the video above.
Want a driver fitting of your own? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.