Guide to clubfitters: Club Champion vs. True Spec as custom-fitting options for the avid golfer

Golf Advisor's Jason Scott Deegan and Tim Gavrich each recently visited specialty clubfitters on their respective coasts. Jason visited a Club Champion location in San Francisco, while Tim went to True Spec Golf’s flagship Miami location.

Afterwards, the two compared their experiences.

Senior Writer Tim Gavrich: Jason, I’d venture to say it’s been a pretty good last couple weeks for us in the golf equipment geek-out department. It sounds like you’re going to be unleashing some pretty huge tee shots the next time we tee it up.

Senior Writer Jason Scott Deegan: I sure hope so. About a decade ago, my first experience being custom fit for a driver propelled my handicap to single digits for the first time. I'm hoping my latest driver fitting - at Club Champion in Danville, California in the "East Bay" - sends me back into single digits again. I'm living proof that getting fitted for your clubs does make a difference. Lord knows my swing is one of a kind. I'm on my fourth or fifth fully fitted driver, because I've played with enough rental clubs during my travels to know I need something tailored to me or it's going to be a miserable round.

Tim, what was your experience like at True Spec?

Gavrich: Whereas you went with a driver fitting, I went whole-hog at True Spec: a full-bag (and nearly full-afternoon) fitting. Since the only clubs I’ve really been fitted for in my life have been a couple sets of irons, and since I’ve got a couple tournaments coming up, I figured I’d take the opportunity to get a few things situated.

Andy Victoriano, the True Spec fitter I worked with, couldn’t have been nicer or more knowledgeable. Within the first 10 minutes, I learned something fairly shocking about the driver I’d been using, and particularly the shaft. Rather than the standard length of 45 inches, it plays at a very long 46 1/5 inches (competitive long-drivers use 48-inch drivers). This means that even though it’s listed as an X-flex, it actually plays more like a Regular-flex shaft, putting it totally out of whack with my other clubs by acting much whippier than is right for me. It’s no wonder that I’ve often felt more confident in my 3 wood and 5 wood than the driver of late.

What was your biggest technical takeaway from your driver fitting?

Deegan: Two things: First, I'm amazed at how much a single change in shaft could affect the ball's performance so dramatically. My fitter and master builder, store manager Derek Westover, would know within two to three swings if the shaft wasn't right for me, and quickly yank it out of the rotation.

Second, seeing the TrackMan numbers are always eye-opening - good and bad. Westover was stunned at my "Smash Factor," a number used to determine how efficient a player hits the ball at impact. I averaged 1.51, above the PGA Tour average of 1.48, he said. I even set a store record on one swing with a 1.53. So why was my best drive only 240 yards? My average swing speed of 87 miles per hour is just way too slow to generate any distance. And to think Tiger Woods' 129 mph at the Valspar is the highest on record this season on tour.

Probably the most exciting moment was when Westover put the PXG 0811X driver in my hands. I'd never hit PXG clubs before, and their reputation had my heart pumping. I wanted to like it just for the 'cool factor' and bragging rights to say I owned a $700 driver. It produced solid TrackMan data but not enough to put in my bag. Ultimately, it was Callaway's latest driver technology, the Rogue, that is on order.

Any new equipment you were glad you tried?

Gavrich: Let me tell you about the putter fitting portion of my afternoon at True Spec. Putting has always been the weakest part of my game, so I’ve accumulated a closet full of putters, mostly picked up on the cheap from the “USED” racks at golf stores. One day, I walked into my local Play It Again Sports location and walked out with three wonderfully grimy, vintage PING putters, for $24 total. Unfortunately, they don’t make putts either, so my search had continued…

…until I hit a few putts on the putting green with an Evnroll ER5 that Victoriano handed me. Evnroll has received some buzz online for its face groove technology, which is graduated such that putts hit slightly toward the heel or toe are supposed to lose less power and stay straighter on line than competitors. Perfect for someone like me who somehow has an easier time hitting the ball flush on 150-yard shots than on 10-foot ones. After holing a couple 30-footers in a row, as well as a raft of 6-footers, I’m fixing to put some pro shop credit I have at a nearby course toward a new Evnroll. With any luck, it will be in my bag for years to come.

True Spec Golf in Miami has a high-speed camera setup called Quintic that its fitters use for putter fittings, but it is only set up for righties. They're looking to transition to ForeSight's new putter fitting camera, though, which will be easy to use for both righties and lefties. To me, putting is about feel, though, and I didn't feel shortchanged by doing a more "old-fashioned" putter fitting on a real putting green.

Overall, I came away from True Spec really impressed with how easily they were able to serve a lefty like me. A big part of their “secret sauce,” not just for southpaws like myself but for all golfers who come their way, is Club Conex, a technology they own that enables them to swap out shafts and heads in all clubs instantaneously.

I've always been a feel player (and very stubborn), so I was ready for a bit of a stylistic clash given how numbers-driven True Spec's (and other fitters') suggestions are. But in the end, Victoriano matched me with clubs that performed and fit my finicky eye. I suppose a true indicator of how well my fitting went was the fact that the following day, I played my worst round of the year so far with my old equipment!

What was most impressive to you about Club Champion and their setup?

Derek Westover, the store manager at Club Champion in Danville, Calif., analyzes Trackman data during a recent driver fitting.

Deegan: I was just impressed with the overall approach from start to finish. I was sent an email questionnaire before my fitting, so Westover could learn what my goals and expectations were. It was essentially an icebreaker, since he says most golfers show up nervous. This way, he's ready for a conversation about your game before you start swinging.

I was also impressed with the overall vibe and space. Most fittings I've been to have been in cramped, cluttered facilities with tightly packed indoor hitting bays. This Club Champion had high ceilings and plenty of light, which made it feel bigger than it probably was. Everything was new, since it only opened in April of 2017, and organized. Westover had some good tunes playing on Pandora, so it felt like I was hanging out and talking golf in a buddy's basement, not going through golf's version of a science experiment. I never once felt like he was pushing a brand or shaft on me, like you sometimes get in a big box store.

Westover believes that the people hired by Club Champion are the reason the company is growing. He said every hire must be passionate about golf and have at least five years of clubfitting experience. He was a former clubfitter at Golfsmith and still went through rigorous training at Club Champion's headquarters near Chicago to refine his skills. Every order he submits is built by a master builder to exact specifications and he said customers love that the company stands by every product. He says he regularly follows up with customers months after a fitting to find out how their sticks are performing. If there's an issue, he invites them to return to address it. I can see myself returning when I'm ready for a new set of irons.

What were your key takeaways from True Spec?

Gavrich: Speaking of that, aside from my driver shaft-length revelation, an iron lie adjustment was my most valuable takeaway from my fitting. Andy's iron specs recommendations were for lie angles about 1.5 degrees flatter than I had had. Even though I didn't end up buying new irons based on the fitting, I did take my current gamers to have their lie angles adjusted about a week after my afternoon at True Spec, and the results were noticeable. By flattening the lie angles, I was able to straighten out the pull-hook miss that's been killing me on a few iron shots lately. That was a big help, and just goes to show that even though "Only a poor craftsman blames his tools" is a valid golf aphorism, there are ways in which proper clubfitting can make an immediate helpful impact on any golfer's game. Whether it's from Club Champion, True Spec or elsewhere, a properly-fitted set of clubs is significant asset, no matter your handicap.

For more on Club Champion, click here. Prices range from $80 for a one-hour wedge fitting up to $350 for a three-and-a-half-hour, full-bag fitting.

For more on True Spec Golf, click here. Prices range from $125 for a one-hour wedge, putter, driver or iron fitting up to $450 for a full-bag fitting.

Golf Channel's Matt Adams on custom clubfitting at True Spec Golf



Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
16 Comments
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John W.

I just had my very first fitting at True Spec new shop in Scottsdale AZ.It was the most fun and educational time.
The staff and Master Fitter Tanner were fantastic, especially dealing with a high handicapper as myself.
The time was taken to make sure I was fitted properly and happy about the decisions made, and I was.
I will definitely return for the rest of the bag as this was a iron fitting. I highly recommend and thanks to all at True Spec.

Jan Storey

I went with my husband to Club Champion for his fitting. It was amazing! We went to the Chicagoland site,again amazing. They were skilled and it took over 2hours just for a 3wood and a few wedges. They really took their time and I was so excited I’m going back to get myself fitted. The best part is the fit guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied take them bac and get refitted! Great experience!

Richard c

Where in no are I locared

Bob U

Any recommendations in Albuquerque NM for getting a fitting?

mike mccormick

any places around Virginia that can do the same with proper shafts

clubchampiongolf

There is a Club Champion in Rockville, MD on the opposite side of Washington DC from Alexandria.

BobDrake553

I had a great experience at Club Champion, my fitter Alex did a fantastic job. I gained 28 yards with my new Ping G30 driver over my old driver. The fitting was thorough. Alex had me hit my own driver to establish a baseline and then went about finding the right shaft. The club wall was at least 50 feet long and had hundreds of shafts. I hit probably 25 of those shafts before Alex started trying to find the right head. With each shaft and head combination, I was able to see increase or decrease in accuracy and distance. I can't recommend them enough.

John A

Don’t know if Club Champ is any good or not. Called about setting up a fitting session, had to leave a message, they never called me back. I guess business is good.

jay

I work for Club Champion and I would like to apologize that you did not receive a call back. That is not typical by any means. In post fit surveys, our customers record a 97% customer satisfaction rate. I would like to help resolve your problem. Please call, 888-340-7820 and ask for Mike or Shawn. Please let them know what store did not call you back and reference this article. We would like the chance to earn your business. And yes, business is very good. The customer results speak for themselves. The August 2017 issue of Golf Magazine found that our customers gained an average of 22 yards off the and 13 yards with their irons.

HDTVMAN

So, your driver was 46 1/5", "X" flex, and your average speed was 87? Something was definitely wrong! The average driver length for retail is 45.5", with Ping's Alta shaft at 45.75" & their Tour shaft at 45.25". A swing speed at 87 is "R" flex. Stiff is considered low-90's to low 100's, with "X" a steady 105mph+. I fit clubs and have found that most amateurs should hit a driver at least 1" shorter, or 44.5", depending on their height and arm length. Most pros hit 44"-44.5" drivers, with Bubba hitting 44" and he stands 6'3"! It's all about control. Plus, there are so many shafts available, I suggest to customers, before they decide to be fitted, go on line to the manufacturer's site, look at the available shafts with their specs, and make a list of which ones fit your goals...high, mid, or low launch, spin, weight. If you buy a shorter driver, ORDER IT. Cutting 1" drops the swing weight by 6 and you need lead tape to bring it back up. When it's ordered from the factory, it comes in at the correct weight specs. You can also order the correct grip size. I'm also surprised your putting was not analyzed by SAM, Science and Motion. We use that system, as does Callaway Performance and Taylor Made HQ, and I recommend it to everyone, whether buying a new putter or not. Analyzing and seeing your putt, your arc, your strike, can change your game and handicap instantly!

confused

my son is 6ft2 freshman in high school taking lessons the last 3 weeks with our local pro who also coustom fits clubs he is a (kzg)rep what do you think i should consider

TimGavrichGA Staff

FWIW, my swing speed is in the 108-110mph range. I had the driver with the 46.5" shaft; my colleague Jason Deegan, with whom I co-wrote this piece based on our own separate fittings, reported the 87mph swing speed.

TimGavrichGA Staff

FWIW, my swing speed is in the 108-110mph range. I had the driver with the 46.5" shaft; my colleague Jason Deegan, with whom I co-wrote this piece based on our own separate fittings, reported the 87mph swing speed.

Jim

Went to Club Champions and was less than overwhelmed worked for an hour or more and after that was told these are the clubs and shafts you need. So I said sure, got home clubs were one inch short not bent to flat and I was hitting the ball all over the lot. Asked a rep who was there the next week told me length too short lie not right so I sold the expensive clubs to a friend and I’m not going back. Not a happy camper besides the price was outrageous, way over normal retail.

clubchampiongolf

That doesn't sound like a Club Champion fit, sorry to hear about your experience. Our full bag fitting takes three to four hours and golfers choose from 35,000 hittable options far more than our competitor. We have a Perfect Fit Guarantee that should have been explained to you. That guarantee states, if you don't see the results you saw in the hitting bay we will fix or replace your clubs. See link below:

https://clubchampiongolf.com/club-building-and-club-repair/perfect-fit-guarantee

Please call 888-340-7820 and speak with Shawn or Michael to resolve your problem, please mention the article. We stand behind our product and correct issues when given the chance. Whether its Golf Digest or Golf Magazine, they have both conducted studies on our customers and the results are unmatched. Sorry for your difficulties. Let us make it right.

John A

Your experience is about what I have come to expect from club fitters. Unless you are a pro or a golf writer, someone they want to impress, they take a few quick measurements and then hand you a club and say “This is what you need.” I have had several club fittings and none of them lived up to their billing.

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Guide to clubfitters: Club Champion vs. True Spec as custom-fitting options for the avid golfer
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