Before you test new equipment, copy 1 thing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy always do
You’ve officially booked a session to test a gaggle of drivers you’ve been eyeing for the last few months. The level of excitement is palpable as you count down the days until the big day. This is going to be the year you find a driver that turns you into Iron Byron off the tee.
We know the feeling and want you to embrace your inner kid on Christmas morning. In the midst of all that excitement, just remember to follow one simple tip from two of the biggest names in sport (Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods) to maximize your testing session: Make sure you’re swinging well before you test.
I once asked Tiger W during a one-on-one interview when he typically tests equipment. Some elite golfers choose to test during the offseason; others will test throughout the year. Tiger, on the other hand, will only test when his swing is in a groove.
“I’ve always tested, though, when I’m actually hitting well,” Woods said. “I don’t want to test when I’m hitting poorly because then I think you can find a club that’s going to Band‑Aid it, and you really don’t know what truly is going to happen when your game turns around. And so I would push off testings until I worked on my game.”
Like Tiger, Rory is another high-profile name who prefers to dial-in his gear and conduct testing when he’s feeling it. It’s one of the reasons why he didn’t mind testing TaylorMade drivers at Colonial when he noticed his spin rate was slightly down.
“He feels like he’s in a really good place swing-wise,” TaylorMade Tour reps Adrian Rietveld told GOLF.com. “When you’re in that place, that’s the best time to test equipment. That’s the best place to dial it in and find your base level.”
Rory’s good enough to discern if a dip in spin is swing or gear related.
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The average mid-handicapper isn’t anywhere close to Rory’s level in the swing and feel department, but you can still glean something from how the four-time major winner tests. Chances are you don’t know how you’re swinging from one round to the next, but you likely know when the rust is off and you’re in a place where you feel somewhat confident.
This is a nice way of saying that you should never show up to a testing session rusty or when you’re in-between swing thoughts or adjustments. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll see numbers on the launch monitor that aren’t indicative of your usual swing. Even the best club-fitter in the world can’t figure out what you should be playing when you’re searching for your swing mid-testing session.
And if you’re unsure how many sessions will ensure you’re fresh to test, follow Tiger’s rule of thumb: “Generally I’d do two or three days of practice sessions prior to a testing.”
If the greatest golfer of the modern era logs two or three practice sessions prior to testing, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit.