As part of my plan to self-educate my way to some kind of level of middle-aged competence in the field of “Golf Technology”, I recently booked a session at the TaylorMade Performance Lab in Brisbane.
I have to say, it was nothing short of mind blowing.
Here’s a diary of my day:
It was my first sortie at one of these facilities so when the morning of 23rd July 2014 came along, I was filled with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and the overwhelming urge to trim my nasal hairs (it’s a Senior Tour thing.)
12 o’clock and I arrived at the TaylorMade Performance Lab at the Golf Central Brisbane Airport. Waiting in the car park was Manager and Master Club Fitter Luke Arnott. Luke is a fit, enthusiastic and athletic looking Golf Professional who represents the new-age Member of the Australian PGA. It was clear we had a lot in common.
Eight years ago, Luke joined the team at TaylorMade and has embraced the challenge of converting the latest in golf technology into an easy-to-understand formula for us real people. He now spends most of his day making sure no-one leaves his facility without a club that will not only work better for their particular swings but actually embrace their swing issues and turn them into a strength. In other words, Luke is a God!
My clubfitting session started with me being led to the entrance of the Performance Lab by Luke, or Taylor Madeus as I know knew him. I was impressed even before I walked into the facility by the door. It could have easily been something out of a Marvel Superhero movie. A giant vault-like door which looked like it should have been housing the latest Iron Man suit. I was a little nervous to enter but Luke assured me he wouldn’t be replacing my right arm with a missile launcher.
He showed me a computer image of Jason Day, Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose hitting an iron on a large screen and said, “That’s them actually hitting a 6-iron. The computer converts them into a 3D figure and I can zoom in and rotate it to any angle I need. It will also give me a bunch of readings which I’ll use to change a player’s ball flight. What we’re going to do is put yours up on the screen and see how I can improve your flight characteristics.”
I asked if he had any images of Martin Kaymer’s Father, Hoost, just in case mine doesn’t stack up the 29-year-old US Open Winner.
Next thing I know I’m having all these sensors placed on my body including my feet and I’m hitting 6-irons into a giant screen. With the help of the six high speed cameras placed all around the room, up pops Larry Canning on the computer, (I’ve since given up carbohydrates). Sure, my swing speed was more akin to Hoost’s than Martin’s but with a few changes to the club, suddenly I was a potential US Open winner!
The driver was almost a sexual experience. Since I first drew the head cover off my Dad’s Bruce Devlin 1 ½ wood and left a filthy big sky mark on the top, I’ve struggled with too much spin on my driver. My ball has always spiralled up in the air like a shuttlecock in a head wind and for years I’ve been attempting to battle this dreadful affliction by using drivers with less and less loft.
With the new SLDR Driver, instantly the spin is now lower by about half, which meant my new penetrating flight, had to be launched higher. 11 degrees of loft was a bit of a shock but it worked an absolute treat! I now have one of these bad boys in my bag and am seriously considering playing golf with one of my sons again.
1.30 PM and I’m driving out of the TaylorMade Performance Lab waving to Taylor Madeus and wondering how many golfers out there are unknowingly working too hard for their golf clubs instead of having them work for them. Isn’t the game hard enough already?
I think the more I learn about golf technology the more I realise how bloody important it is…. How little I know!!… and how much I now respect Hoost Kaymer’s golf swing.