Hole By Hole
It's about golf.
New guide to the club fitting process
July 8, 2005
(Part two of a two-part column)
Some folks bring a sort of messianic zeal to their work that can be pretty compelling, even to those who donít share their enthusiasm for the same subject.
Itís an added bonus if they also maintain an essentially cheerful attitude about their lifeís calling, as is the case with Tom Wishon and Tom Grundner, the authors of The Search for the Perfect Golf Club, (Sports Media Group; $24.95 SRP).
Wishon is a former club professional who developed a keen interest in designing, making, and custom-fitting golf clubs. What started out as a sideline became his professional career. He is a long-time member of the Golf Digest Magazine technical panel, a technical advisor to the PGA of America, and heís written dozens of articles on clubmaking technology. Wishon also worked for several firms designing and fitting clubs, including the Harvey Penick line.
Tom Grundner, Wishonís collaborator, is a full-time clubmaker with over ten years in the business.
Fortunately for their readers, both men also write well, a true blessing when one compares this part of the golf world to some other parts.
After all, itís not that hard to write an emotionally stirring piece about a great shot or a comeback from competitive adversity. Itís not nearly so easy to write about loft angles and optimum shaft designs, and keep the average golf fan from falling asleep.
It also helps that Wishon doesnít insult his readersí intelligence. He can explain why most golfers should experience a real improvement in their game by using the proper clubs for the way they play the game, and doesnít hesitate to include a hefty amount of technical data to support his advice.
In addition, heís found several ways to express his arguments that make intuitive sense almost immediately. For example, Wishon notes that most clubfitting services are sought by avid, experienced golfers, when the reality is that the beginning golfer is frequently the one that most needs the help. Itís one of those statements that just hits you immediately with its logic, and then makes you wonder why you never heard anyone say it before.
I also thought this next little reality check was particularly noteworthy:
Wishon describes a few examples of the clubfitting work heís done for several pros, including Payne Stewart, Scott Verplank, and Bruce Lietzke. All three experiences differed significantly from each other in many respects, but the basic goal remained the sameócreating a set of clubs that would feel right for that particular owner.
Wishon details some of the problems with quality control and quality assurance that affect even the most well-known club manufacturers. He describes the clubmaking process from initial design to construction at the relatively few foundries around the world that can do this work, and the shortcutting that goes into producing components at the low end of the market. He and Grundner also explain how the grips, shafts, and other parts affect the total clubfitting results, sometimes in significant ways.
Even if you think youíll never be able to move up from the C or D flight of your club championship, Wishon and Grundner show that tweaking your clubs can pay some real dividends in creating more consistent results. Nonetheless, they are also careful to remind their readers that you just canít buy a game, either off the shelf or with a custom clubmaker by your side.
Wishon and Grundner have created a useful, intelligent book about a part of golf that is overlooked by the vast majority of its players. Those who follow their advice should enjoy the results.
Demo Day at Golf Park
The folks at Ruddoís Golf store arranged for a club demo day at Rehoboth Golf Park on Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Golfers visiting the driving range across from the Park-N-Ride lot on Country Club Road can try out the latest models from Callaway Golf, Taylor Made, and Ben Hogan.
For more information, call Ruddoís at 302-227-1520.
Click Here to Order
The Search for the Perfect Golf Club
By Tom Wishon with Tom Grundner
to Hole By Hole
© Frederick Schranck 1998-2005