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11.11.2013 - Would you buy a tuxedo for your wedding without getting it fitted? No. Would you put any new tires on your car? No. The Art & Science of Clubfitting with NOVOGOLF

Would you replace your kitchen cabinets without measuring them first? No. Would you buy a set of golf clubs without getting them fitted? Sadly enough 70% of those golfers who purchase new golf clubs do not get fitted. Might as well throw your money down the ball washer.

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“Every golfer can benefit from a proper clubfitting,” according to Bill Cho, president of NOVOGOLF.

When it comes to buying new golf equipment most golfers rely on slick advertisements, “hot list” reviews, and friend’s recommendations-nothing like getting good advice from a 20 handicapper.   “Every golfer can benefit from a proper clubfitting,” according to Bill Cho, president of NOVOGOLF, a Tappan NY top-50 clubfitter.  “What we have actually found is that the higher handicap golfers generally benefit the most from a proper clubfitting.   Reason being is that if you are a scratch golfer you are already hitting the middle of the clubface and just need refinement  but if you are a 25 handicapper you tend to be making contact all over the clubface.  For the higher handicap golfer looking for a new driver the correct shaft, flex and loft can make all the difference in the world.” Clubfitting is also relatively inexpensive, starting at around $100/hour.   Considering that some high-end custom driver head/shaft combinations can go for over $1,000 the benefits of a proper fitting pays for itself in the first round. 

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"For the higher handicap golfer the correct shaft, flex and loft can make all the difference in the world.”

Having recently gone through the paces with Bill I can attest that a proper fitting should not be treated as a luxury but as a requirement before purchasing any new equipment.   After two swings with my current set-up, Bill quickly stated “that club is swinging you, you’re not swinging the club.”  Bottom line: my current driver set-up was all wrong-wrong shaft, wrong flex, wrong head and wrong loft and probably wrong golfer too.

After trying what seemed like an endless amount of head and shaft combinations, using NOVO’s proprietary fitting system, the result that gave us the best performance, feel as well as passing the eye test were a 8.5 degree Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme head with a Diamana B Series 55 gram shaft in R flex.   This new combination was “pured” with a SST Pure machine to get the most stable playing position of the shaft.  “We feel that the patented SST PURE alignment process ensures that the performance of every shaft will not only be consistent but will perform like a perfectly straight/round shaft,” stated Cho.  “While today’s new shafts are built with a much higher degree of tolerances than shafts of yesteryear, every now and then we’ll find a shaft that is out of sorts.  PUREing shafts takes out one more variable.”

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Callaway’s Razr Fit Xtreme is their “lightest Forged Composite driver crown" ever.

The PUREing  of the shaft is just part of the science of clubfitting. NOVOGOLF’s fitting includes all the latest in hi-tech camera work and technology, including in depth analysis by Trackman. The Trackman launch monitor data includes ball speed and spin, launch angle, side spin, smash factor, angle of descent and is a big component in the fitting.  It is one thing to have a laundry list of data and another to know what to do with it.  Bill knows what to do with it and that is “art” part of it-interpreting the data and optimizing its use.  The other part comes from the golfer.  Does the golfer like the look of a certain club or ball flight?   As with eating a good meal the first thing you do is take it all in with your eyes.   If the head isn’t visually appealing then you’ll have little success no matter what the data says. 

When you combine the proper art with the proper science you can come up with something special, not Tiger Woods distance special but something that can enhance one’s own game.  For some, that means hitting a few more fairways per round, for others an extra 20 yards off the tee.

Novo Fitting

NOVOGOLF’s fitting includes all the latest in hi-tech camera work and technology, including Trackman.

When asked by Bill what I wanted to get out of the fitting, for me it was simple:  distance, then distance and finally some distance.   As a 1 handicapper I generally put the ball in play but age and a creaky back has made me lose a few miles per hour off the old fastball.  The result from NOVO’s fitting certainly delivered.  Although it is one thing to get numbers optimized on a launch monitor it is another thing to see results in the real world-the golf course.  Net. Net. The results after few rounds on a familiar track were an increase in distance of up to 25 yards with a beautiful high launching, low spin trajectory.

The Diamana B Series shaft is the 3rd generation “Blue Board” following the original Blueboard and Kai’li.  Available in regular, stiff and X flex in weights from 55 to 87 grams the B Series is manufactured with an entirely new kind of carbon fiber-“pitch fiber.”  By stabilizing the butt section Mitsubishi has been able to generate maximum energy transfer without sacrificing control, feel and feedback.  According to Mitsubishi, “We created a new generation of M.D.I Technology that allows us to layer carbon fiber in different directions along the entire length of the shaft.  The 3G M.D.I. Technology allows our engineers to fine-tune both the E.I. Curve (Bend Profile) and the G.J. Curve (Torsion Profile) to increase the overall controllability and minimize ovaling.”

Misubishi Rayon is unique in that it makes all of its shafts from scratch.  Not only do they manufacture the shaft but they also make all of the critical raw materials that make up the shaft including the carbon fiber, resin and prepeg.   This means that they can make any number of resin/fiber combinations and not rely on outside suppliers for limited raw materials.The B Series, with its eye-pleasing graphics, incorporates ground breaking technology into a shaft with unsurpassed feel and playability by building on the success of their signature smooth bend profile.  While the B-Series is smooth like Kai’li™, its stiffness of the mid and butt section has been increased slightly while the tip section has been slightly decreased.   These modifications allow a layer to better feel the head position throughout the swing, especially during the transition at top, without sacrificing control. 

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Many in the clubfitting world will argue that the shaft is the most important component.

What does that mean?  I’m not quite sure but what I am sure of is that this shaft delivers the goods.  Many in the clubfitting world will argue that the shaft is the most important component of the club, even more so that the clubhead itself.    Similar to a high performance sports car, the B Series responds when pressed making it a snap to turn the ball over yet not producing a snap hook.  High, low, fade, draw the B Series does it all and is a must try for those looking for a high performance golf shaft.  With all the different flexes and weights this shaft will work for golfers of all abilities.

Callaway’s Razr Fit Xtreme is their “lightest Forged Composite driver crown" ever, and the lowest CG of any fully adjustable driver in golf for greater distance. The Forged Composite material in the crown is lighter and stronger than titanium, allowing us to improve forgiveness by precisely controlling thickness.” In English what that all means is that the forged composite construction is all about saving weight in the crown that can be redistributed elsewhere in the driver, and in the Xtreme’s case, to allow for a lower CG placement.  At 440cc it is a smidge smaller than today’s standard 460cc offerings,  giving it a compact classic pear shaped old school look.  While looks are subjective I found the Xtreme quite pleasing to the eye giving the golfer an understated level of confidence when addressing the ball.   

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"Golf shafts and clubheads remind me of a good wine/food pairing", author Stuart Goldstein explains.

As the ball explodes off the clubface one is instantly rewarded with a perfect sound.  Unlike other  Callaway offerings in the past, the sound of the Xtreme is just right and sounds like what a driver should sound like.  It is not a thump, nor a twang but a beautifully muted sound that lets you know you have made solid contact.  More importantly it lets your partners know.  I call it a quiet intimidation.

Designed for golfers seeking enhanced distance the Xtreme is fueled by Callaway’s Speed Frame Technology that creates incredibly fast ball speeds all across the face for longer, more consistent distance.  This technology helps optimize the CG, offers more forgiveness, and is designed to provide more consistent sidespin for accurate drives.  While not fully adjustable the RAZR Fit Xtreme does offer Optifit Technology whereby the OptiFit Hosel adjusts the face angle to an open, square, or closed position at address to dial in the settings for improved accuracy and trajectory. The OptiFit Weights (13 grams and 1 gram) also shift the clubhead's CG to help you play a draw or neutral ball flight off the tee.

Golf shafts and clubheads remind me of a good wine/food pairing. Individually they may be quite good but when properly paired something special happens.  This is the case for this golfer with the Callaway Xtreme and Diamana B Series. The result of this pairing is a driver that is the complete package.   Increased distance, tighter dispersion and easy to work, this driver/shaft combination fits the bill and exceeds all expectations for what is often called “the most important club in the bag.”

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