Here’s what to expect when you consult these four top club fitters in Colorado.
By Susan Fornoff
I love my driver, but I’ve had it through six years and a major swing change to protect a worn shoulder. The experts tell me this is the club that wears out faster than the others in our bags because of its thin face. So, for a little experiment that would hopefully inform and enlighten other CGA members, I lined up driver fittings with our friends at Golftec, Lenny’s, PGA Superstore and PXG.
I took my driver to each appointment and was up front about why I was there: I didn’t really want a new driver, but for this article, I wanted to find out what it would be like to be fitted for a new one. Of course, if anyone could get me an extra 10 or 20 yards, I’d be open to a change!
For each appointment, I put on comfy clothes, golf shoes and golf glove. After one hair-in-the-face debacle, I also wore a hat. I took my 9-iron for a warmup and my fairway hybrid along with my beloved driver. My fittings were all complimentary, but I asked to have the same experience any other CGA member would be given.
To my surprise, every experience was a little different. And, once I got over my self-consciousness of hitting ball after ball at a screen, every experience was a lot of fun. I recommend all of them.
I do not recommend getting four fittings if you’re in the market for a new driver, but I do hope one of these sounds like a match for you.
$125 for a two-hour full-bag fitting and $50 for a one-hour long-game, irons or putter options
This Denver store opened only about a year ago, but it’s been the national brand’s No. 1 producer almost every month since. Store manager Derek Rush introduced me to my friendly fitting specialists, Bobby Shoemaker and Craig Phillips, and we went to our bay. Our HUGE bay. If you’ve sprung for an hour or two at any of Colorado’s golf lounges, just know that my fitting bay and TrackMan screen were bigger than most.
Bobby and Craig had already sized up the clubs I’d brought and noted that I have a “souped up” driver. So Craig launched into a conversation about weight, using a relatable example of how we go bowling and pick up a heavy ball and struggle with it, then get a lighter ball and a lighter one until we find the one that’s just perfect.
“Every driver that exists is borderline illegal,” says Craig. “Once you understand that, it’s all about getting the weight right.”
That’s where PXG’s new Gen6 technology comes in. For comparison, we chart a few shots with my current driver. I’m a short hitter with a slow swing speed, so I’m fitted with a 29-gram Lite Shaft from PXG’s wall of sticks. I try a few shots with the standard Gen6 head. Next, Craig moves around some weights on the head and we find that with the lightweight shaft and back weighting on the head, I’m connecting for that extra 10 yards that seems so tempting.
Soon after I got home, I received a colorful Trackman report with the proof.
PXG perks: Anything you order will arrive in 10 days, and then you have a 30-day trial during which you can return the club for a 10 percent restocking fee. … PXG’s customer service is ongoing, meaning you can bring that club into one of those big bays for a no-cost, 30-minute “spec check” any time you think something needs adjusting. … Derek Rush is a longtime teacher of the game in Colorado, so you might pick up a tip or two.
GOLFTEC (Highlands Ranch, with 14 other Colorado locations)
$300 for a full-bag fitting and $150 for a 60-to-90-minute fitting for a driver, irons or wedges
Not a half-hour in the dozens I’ve spent with my Golftec coach over the past four years has gone to waste. Drew Brumley gives me his undivided attention at the mat and sends me home to a video later that reinforces everything he’s said. So who better to fit me for a driver than the man who has been fitting me for a swing?
“Your coach already has a lot of knowledge about your game,” says Golftec spokesman C.J. Perry. “And that just helps make the club fitting process that much more seamless and successful, because the coach already has all that information about your game.”
Not that Drew would be skipping any steps for my fitting. Oh, no. His approach is a methodical one: Have me hit a few good drives with my current driver and let the Foresight software measure my spin rate, launch angle, descent angle and other stats, then start tweaking shaft and clubhead until we find the optimal combination.
“I approach it as a fact-gathering mission,” Drew says. “At the end, I’m not going to sell you a golf club. I’m going to get you the information you need to make a decision.”
So for the next hour I’m slugging balls with a rotating combo of shafts and clubheads. Numbers on the monitor call it a tie between TaylorMade’s Stealth2 HD, with its carbon face, and Callaway’s Paradym, which makes sense because these are the two distance-centric driver makers and I need distance. Inexplicably, I like one of them better; it is the one recommended, with order info and price, in Drew’s email that evening.
“It absolutely matters which one you like the look and feel of better,” he points out, “because you’re going to make a more confident swing.”
Golftec perks: Fitting is included in Golftec’s popular “Game Plan” packages, but one does not have to be a Golftec student to be fitted for clubs. … Brands include Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping and Mizuno. … Students at Golftec’s indoor centers may try different clubs during their lessons and simulator sessions and ask coaches for recommendations on when it’s time to consider an upgrade.
PGA SUPERSTORE (Greenwood Village, also with a Westminster location)
$100 for an hour with a Studio fitter
Shoppers can still walk into a PGA Superstore and get a complimentary quick fit in one of the small bays that use Foresight’s GCHawk launch monitor. I can recommend that if you already know what club(s) you want. But if you want to know what’s best for your game, wait the weeks it takes to get into the Studio for a one-hour TrackMan session with one of the store’s trained fitters.
I’m lucky to have scored time with Ken Bragg, the winner of the Willie Brooks award, which store manager Jacob Woodford tells me is the corporate equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. The 6-foot-7 Bragg has been fitting golfers since he was a 14-year-old growing up in Georgia. Yes, 14! The head pro at the club where he worked hated fitting, and Bragg found out he loved the work.
“My reward is hearing you say, ‘I can’t wait to hit that again,’ “ says Bragg, now 33. “If you had fun, you learned a little bit and you got excited about hitting the golf ball again, that’s where we want to be.”
Bragg had me warm up with a GolfForever swing trainer and then we went to work. Lots of golf swings with lots of clubs mixed with lots of conversation, so I got little rests and he got to know my game. After analyzing the stats, we focused on closing my face so the ball would release forward instead of tailing right. Many shaft and head changes later, the winner turns out to be the same driver Drew recommended at Golftec.
We finish our session teeing off at a simulated hole at Bear Dance and giggle at the ridiculous roll I’m now getting.
PGASS perks: New clubs come with a 90-day “playability guarantee” that starts on the day players receive them. Fitters work to tweak them if there’s a problem, or players can have full store credit to try again. … Brands include the big names plus Cobra, Cleveland, Tour Edge, Wilson and more. … Woodford says the Studio putter fitting is not to be missed.
LENNY’S GOLF SHOP (Aurora)
Complimentary fittings by appointment
I head for Lenny’s expecting a mom and pop operation where I’ll be hitting into a net. Walking into a store overflowing with golf clubs, I do get a mom and pop greeting from Lenny’s son, manager Nick Nosewicz, but Mike Maloney fits me in one of two new Foresight simulator bays.
Service is personal at Lenny’s and I’ve heard about Mike from friends. He’s taught golf and has been fitting for 10 years, and he likes to start with a full-bag evaluation before we go to work on the driver. He tells me that every mph we can add to the ball speed is worth 2.6 yards, but soon he sees that the way my ball tails off slightly right is costing me yardage down the middle. So we watch the lines that show up on the simulator as he changes my shaft weights and lengths, rotating different heads into the mix.
Finally, he lights up. “OK, I’ve seen enough. I’m going to go get you the driver you’re going to love.”
It’s a newbie to me, Callaway’s Reva, and I’m as delighted as I have been with the Paradym and Stealth.
I realize that I’ve spent an hour with Mike and gotten the same intensive experience I’ve had elsewhere, so I ask Nick if fittings are going to continue to be complimentary at Lenny’s.
“We never charge for fittings because my dad believes if you buy a suit you shouldn’t pay for being measured,” Nick says. “We make a margin on golf clubs, I don’t need to make a margin on fittings. If you buy shoes, you don’t pay a guy to tell you you’re a size 12.”
The only exception, Nick says, is the golfer who wants to use the fitting to spend their club winnings in their own pro shop. “Then you should pay the fitter,” he says. “Or bring a box of Pro Vs.”
Lenny’s perks: Your fitter will want you to go play outdoors with your new clubs five times and come back for a checkup. If the clubs aren’t right, you can return them. … Brands include all the biggies, plus Cobra, Srixon, Cleveland, Mizuno and box sets from TourEdge. … Lifetime tuneups come with every club purchase. … You might find a driver here that comes only as part of a set elsewhere or has been used a few times. “If you come in with a budget, we’ll set you up,” says Mike.
The Last Word
So, of course now you’re wondering, did all my research prompt me to rethink my loyalty to my current driver? Absolutely! Each fitter found me that extra 10 to 20 yards that might help me reach some greens in regulation! Today’s technology is better than the technology of six years ago.
Did I buy a new driver? That answer is … drum roll … not yet! But I will!
Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own GottaGoGolf.com. She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.