TaylorMade Performance Lab Orlando, Grand Cypress Academy of Golf
Last week, I had one of the coolest experiences of my golfing life. I was given the opportunity to receive a custom club fitting out at the TaylorMade Performance Lab at the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf.
Now, to most people, a custom club fitting consists of nothing more than going to your local golf retailer and hitting some balls off a launch monitor and analyzing the contact tape to see where your ball strikes. That type of fitting doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what these guys do for you.
I’d like to preface this review by saying that I really hope to be able to do them justice, but I feel my words will probably be lacking of the profound coolness that is the TaylorMade Performance Lab.
The first thing you encounter when you enter the lab is this security vault style door, pretty intimidating thing to see in person! 🙂
When I arrived, I was introduced to Travis Kent who is the manager and master club fitter at the performance lab. He explained to me how the custom club fitting works and what the plan of attack for the day would be. So pretty much, here’s how it goes…
- Evaluate your existing equipment and discuss outstanding problems you’ve been having with them.
- Don the sensor suit (my name, not theirs, I dunno if they have any really cool name for it.. :))
- Swing some clubs and evaluate the output.
- Based on the data collected, build a set of demo clubs for you to hit on the range.
- After you see the awesomeness that is your golf game when you have a custom set of sticks, you practically throw money at Travis to build you a set. (literally…..no seriously)
So he took a look at my existing clubs and after a couple of poorly masked cough chuckles he mentioned that my irons are all about 1/2 inch shorter than the standard length of todays irons. We discussed my game and I told him that I suffered from a slight to moderate power fade (to be read, insane boomerang slice). For those that don’t know yet, I’m a lefty golfer so a slice for me means my shots head to the left.
After discussing my clubs and my game, Travis says, “Alright, let’s get you suited up and create your
avatar!” (Disclaimer: This part is freaking cool!!!!) So, by getting some of your vitals (height, waste and shoe size) and putting this sensor suit on you, they create your avatar.
As you can see in the picture to the right, they attach 26 sensors to your body which are read by the nine high speed (180 FPS) cameras that are strategically located throughout the room. Once you’re all suited up, you stand in the middle of the room and they turn the cameras on and take a snapshot of your body structure and upload it to be used during your fitting. Thankfully, it’s rather slimming and does a good job of masking the expanding girth.. 🙂
The whole club fitting process utilizes (initializing copy-paste) Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade technology (MATT) to provide golfers with an experience that far exceeds anything previously available to the public.
MATT gathers vital swing information and statistics using multiple high-speed cameras. MATT distills that information to create a remarkably sophisticated three-dimensional computer-animated image of your swing viewable from every angle. MATT also executes a multitude of calculations and measurements to develop a data-driven personal club recommendation.
MATT provides a superior club-fitting and/or instructional experience by supplying club-fitters and instructors with an unparalleled level of practical data, giving them the power to analyze your swing and identify your needs with remarkable precision. Your clubs will fit better, improving your game — and your score. (end copy-paste)
For my fitting, I hit three clubs, a six iron, driver and putter. I hit about four shots with each club and after every shot we’d analyze the shot on the big projector screen they have set up. MATT captures every aspect of your swing and it can be viewed a couple of hundred different ways. Here’s a slightly complete list of the different aspects it captures.
- Clubhead Path
- Swing Planes
- Speed Planes
- Center Of Gravity
- Body Line on Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Toes, and Spine
- Face Angle
- Target Line
- Ball Position
- Head Position
- X – Factor ( Relationship between Shoulder Turn and Hip Turn)
- Shaft and Shoulder Plane
- Wrist Cocking Angle
- Shaft Line
- Shaft Deflection
- Posture Lines
- In/Out Path of Club
- Up/Down Path of club
- Hand Speed
- Clubhead Speed
- Effective loft of the club at impact
- Ball Speed
- Launch Angle
- Side spin
- Ball Trajectory
- Computed Distance and Roll
Here’s a video I captured of one of my swings. It’s only showing the swing planes, but you can imagine where it can go from there…
For my swing, Travis concluded a couple things; On ALL of my clubs (driver, irons, putter) my clubface is open at contact, my swing plane varies pretty significantly from the take away plane to the downward motion plane, and he surmised that it was probably due to the fact that I’ve been hitting clubs that were too short for me. So instead of going straight back and straight forward, I’m taking the club back and while doing that, I’m pushing my hands forward which is causing my head to drop a bit and then i’m pulling the club in at impact which is causing my open club face and causing me to come across the ball putting some sideways spin on it.
Not only was Travis able to identify my swing troubles, he showed me how to fix it. Soooo, real quick, totally awesome custom club fitting session AND an Orlando golf lesson! It’s been some solid advice too.
Once the fitting is done, the system uses some sophisitcated algorithm and compares your swing to 1,500,000 others and comes up with a recommended set of custom TaylorMade clubs for you. The master club fitter then looks it over, makes any corrections he/she deems necessary and then sets out to build a set of demo clubs for you to go to the range with. The recommended driver for me was the TaylorMade R9 460, 10.5 degree loft and the clubface closed two degrees. The irons were the 2009 TaylorMade Burner Irons 3I-PW -.5 degree flat.
We went to the range to hit these custom fitted clubs and after a couple swings, I was bombing them down the range. It was such an awesome feeling! Needless to say, I’ve since ordered a full set of TaylorMade Burner irons that should be arriving this week. Stay tuned for a review on those 🙂
After the fitting was over, he burned all my swings onto a CD as well as the club recommendations for me to take home. I spent a good while just replaying my swing and checking out the different components.
I asked Travis who he thought would benefit most from a custom club fitting and he said, “Honestly, everyone. Whether your a low, mid or high handicapper, a custom club fitting can be a huge benefit to you and your game.”
Alright, if you’ve managed to read down to this point, got some good news for ya! Well, two pieces of good news, the first (and most important);
If this is something you think you want to do, call Travis and mention that you were referred by Dave from OrlandoGolfBlogger, he’s going to give you a $100 discount off the custom club fitting!
Here’s his contact info.
TaylorMade Performance Lab
Grand Cypress Resort
1 North Jacaranda Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836
Lab: (407) 238-0577
Mobile: (407) 760-0609