2005: For Your Game - Clubfitting of tomorrow

What is the future of clubfitting?

Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade’s chief technical officer, has been at the forefront of modern clubfitting. He was instrumental in the development of the MATT system (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade), which is an innovative fitting and teaching tool.

Using MATT, golfers view 3-D images of their swings and compare them with swings of touring professionals.

“We are trying to export that (MATT) to the real world,” Vincent said, “but we’re facing the (high) cost of such a piece of equipment. It requires several cameras, as well as highly sophisticated hardware and software.”

Vincent says future changes will occur slowly.

“I don’t foresee a major breakthrough in affordability or portability for the next five or even 10 years,” he said. “It will still be a selective usage, although we have endeavored to place them in very different settings – retailers, teachers, high-end resorts and destinations.

“I imagine people driving to these locations, more than the equipment being deployed all over the place.”

Dick Helmstetter, Callaway’s vice chairman and senior executive vice president, also looked into his crystal ball to talk about fitting.

“Short term, in the United States, I think we’ll see what we’re seeing widespread in Japan right now,” Helmstetter said. “Most all of the off-course golf equipment retailers have launch monitors (to measure performance) and clubfitters working those launch monitors.

“I also would expect to see more outdoor use of launch monitors. Ball speed is one of the truly critical factors in distance, and without a launch monitor you can’t measure it.”

Helmstetter also sees the fitting pendulum swinging back toward professionals at golf courses.

“One of the challenges that all clubfitters face, whether they’re on the PGA Tour or in Osaka, Japan, is this: It’s very difficult to separate a fitting from a lesson.

“We are learning where clubfitting and lessons fit together. I think that’s where the on-course person has a built-in advantage. Club pros have been leaving a tremendous opportunity on the table, but I see that changing.”

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