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Club Fitting Demystified

COMPANY: MacGregor Golf (800-841-4358, macgregorgolf.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: VIP Forged 1025M Muscleback; VIP Forged 1025C Cavity Back; VIP Forged 1025CM Mixed Set
Wedges: VIP Forged
Woods: VIP V-FOIL drivers and fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: The company supports 400 custom-fitting carts and 1,000 professionals across the country, and promises ten-day delivery on custom-fitted orders. For the ultimate fitting, players may fly to MacGregor's factory in Albany, Georgia, to be fitted by Don White, who personally works with the company's Tour pros.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: MacGregor offers not just custom fitting but custom grinding, in which the leading edge, trailing edge and other characteristics of each clubhead are tailored to the golfer's preferences. This service, similar to what the Tour pros receive, brings the cost of a set of irons to $2,000 and requires thirty days for delivery.

COMPANY: Mizuno (800-966-1211, mizunousa.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: MX-15 and MX-20; MP-30 and MP-33; Fli-Hi utility
Wedges: MP Series; Black Ox
Woods: Blue Rage driver; 300S II driver; Blue Rage utility
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: More than 700 Mizuno fitters around the country have full fitting carts, and the company's recently introduced pared-down but more transportable fitting kit promises to expand the number of fitters soon. Mizuno also sponsors numerous demo days and one fitting van that travels the country.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: Mizuno's traditional emphasis on forged irons, which are easier to bend to a customer's specifications than are cast clubs, made it an early advocate of custom fitting. Today, roughly a third of all the clubs it sells—and more than half of its clubs for better players—are custom fitted.

COMPANY: Ping (800-352-7464, pinggolf.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: i3 O-Size and i3 Blade; i3+ and i3+ Blade; ISI-S and ISI-K
Wedges: Ping; i3 and i3+
Woods: TiSI, TiSI Tec and i3 drivers and fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: Ping pioneered custom fitting for recreational golfers more than thirty years ago with simple in-store displays measuring hand size and wrist-to-ground distance. Today, more than 3,500 trained fitters use much more sophisticated techniques, including ball-flight observation, to create highly individualized sets of clubs.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: Ping, which sells more custom-fitted, custom-built irons than any other company, built its business around custom fitting. Although it is possible to buy a set of Ping clubs off the shelf, the company prefers that every set be built from scratch to the customer's specs, and it promises a forty-eight-hour turnaround at the company's factory in Arizona.

COMPANY: TaylorMade (800-888-2582, taylormadegolf.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: RAC OS, LT and MB
Wedges: RAC
Woods: R500 Series drivers' Burner 420 driver; R580 fairway woods; V Steel fairway woods; Rescue Mid utility
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: TaylorMade has more than 3,000 driver-fitting carts in the field and 1,500 iron-fitting systems. In addition, the company sponsors numerous year-round demo days. An online "matching system" for the R500 Series drivers helps players focus in on the right driver before a fitting.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: TaylorMade got a relatively late start in custom fitting (its first fitting carts for woods appeared in 2001), but already more than 12 percent of its massive sales are custom. "Our goal is to build for each player the clubs that are the easiest to hit," says Gary Gallagher, the company's head of custom fitting.

COMPANY: Titleist (800-225-8500, titleist.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: DCI 762, 762B, 822OS and 990B; Forged 690MB and 690CB
Wedges: Vokey Design
Woods: 975J driver; 975J-VS driver; 975L-FE driver; 975F fairway woods; 975 PT fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: Titleist has a network of more than 2,600 comprehensively trained and certified fitters and an active schedule of demo days for both irons and woods. For drivers, it emphasizes matching the club to the ball type to attain optimal spin and trajectory. Many Titleist fitters have a complete "Driver Demo Pack" to let golfers sample the most likely configurations.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: The company funds two full-time "Science Vans," which crisscross the country fitting players and training PGA teaching pros in the Titleist fitting philosophy. The company places special emphasis on "eye fitting" players by watching ball flight. In general, Titleist clubs are for better players.

COMPANY: Tour Edge (800-515-3343, touredge.com)
CUSTOM-FITTED MODELS AVAILABLE:
Irons: Bazooka 350J; Comp LX; Forged V-Blade; Forged Blade
Wedges: DG3 and DG4
Woods: Bazooka JMAX driver; Bazooka J Series*; Bazooka F4 Series*; Hyper Steel*; Comp LX*
*drivers and fairway woods
FITTERS AND DEMO DAYS: Tour Edge now has 646 custom-fittingzcarts operating in the field. The company also has an active demo-day program.
COMMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS: Tour Edge has been actively custom fitting its customers since 1986. Today nearly a third of all the irons it sells are custom. "We see our niche as offering high-quality, national-brand fitted clubs at an affordable price," says company spokesman Jay Hubbard.

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