Last July, I was invited to experience the Taylormade Performance Lab for a custom irons fitting. I was floored by the experience and because of it, I ended up purchasing a set of custom fit TaylorMade Burner Irons.
Fast forward a year and although I’ve played quite a few different sets, I always go back to the Burners. Aside from being solid clubs, the fact that they’re perfectly tuned to my swing makes me hit them all the better and instills a bit of confidence because you KNOW these clubs are fit for you.
The level of service I’ve received with the TaylorMade Performance Lab is top notch. In January of this year, I was playing in a tournament and my tee shot landed in a funky lie. I hit my 8I (which was pretty impressive considering the lie) and my forward swing made contact with a tree branch consequently breaking the shaft. I called Travis the next day and he said “drop it by and I’ll take care of it.” Fourteen days later, I receive the club back, good as new.
So, when I was invited back out to the TaylorMade Performance Lab at Grand Cypress for a custom driver fitting, I jumped on the opportunity.
TaylorMade Performance Lab Orlando
Custom club fitting is building a club designed to match your individual swing characteristics so that you hit the ball longer and straighter with better control. There are many different definitions of custom club fitting, depending on who you speak to. Most big box retailers offer you a custom fitting, but it involves nothing more than some contact tape and a launch monitor. While this is better than nothing, it’s still a far cry from the true definition of the term.
Why TaylorMade Performance Lab?
TMP provides you with a two hour custom club fitting session referred to as “Golf’s Ultimate Fitting Experience.” Utilizing the revolutionary advancements in motion capture technology that’s used in films like Lord of the Rings and Batman, they use nine separate high speed (180 fps) synchronized cameras to capture every aspect (to be read ‘flaw‘) of your swing.
How it works.
The first thing you’ll do upon arriving at the TaylorMade Performance lab is go to the driving range, conveniently located adjacent to the studio and hit some balls to loosen up. The master club fitter (at Grand Cypress, Travis Kent) will come out and observe.
Once that’s complete, you’ll put on the sensor suit (see image), which contains over 26 reflective markers that are strategically located on your body and clubs.
With the sensor suit on, you’ll provide your height, waist and shoe size to the master club fitter who then creates your three dimensional avatar.
Next you swing some clubs to capture your swing data and evaluate the output. Nine separate high speed synchronized cameras capture the motion of the reflectors and instantaneously produce a three dimensional image of the subject.
This 3D image can be viewed in motion from any angle (from above, below, front, back, either side and transparent) and is used to demonstrate what your swing is doing dynamically. The image can easily be manipulated to provide valuable feedback for you to better understand your swing characteristics. Additional data is collected from a specialized launch monitor which is integrated in the motion capture data.
Here’s a list of most of the data captured:
- 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
The TaylorMade Performance Lab uses a custom club fitting technology called MATT. MATT is short for Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade, which 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.
When you’ve captured enough swings, using the sophisticated algorithm, the system compares your swing to 500,000 others and prints out your custom fitted club recommendations. The master club fitter than reviews the recommendation and makes any changes deemed appropriate. You’re also given a TaylorMade golf ball recommendation.
The TaylorMade Performance Lab keeps a pretty good and mostly current stock of club heads and shafts so you hit your recommended clubs the same day.
When the fitting is complete, you’re given a burned CD with all of the swings and data captured during your session.
One of the greatest things about the fitting is that in addition to seeing where your swing deficiencies lie, Travis gives you tips and pointers on how to correct these deficiencies. It’s a custom club fitting and golf lesson rolled into one.
During the custom driver fitting, the following swing flaws were identified.
- Not keeping enough separation between my knees and he recommended a beach ball visual. He told me to imagine there’s a beach ball between my knees keeping the proper distance.
- Standing too close to the ball which causes my head to dip during my forward swing. He recommended a theme park railing visual. While addressing the ball, imagine you have to lean over a waist-high railing to reach the ball.
- Shoulders open at address. He recommended during my pre-shot routine instead of walking up with the golf club in my left hand, start with it in my right hand (I’m a lefty so the right hand is my lead hand), which, when addressing the ball, starts the body at a more closed position.
My Custom Driver Fitting.
After capturing ten or so of my driver swings, Travis recommended a 9.5 degree R9 SuperTri TP driver. The shaft recommendation is the Aldila RIP 70 low torque, low spin stiff shaft. This shaft helps eliminate a lot of sidespin creating a more penetrating and straighter ball flight. The heavier shaft is to help control my takeaway tempo.
The SuperTri TP has an adjustable club head referred to as Flight Control Technology (FCT). The recommended FCT setting is neutral upright (NU) with a 16 gram weight in the heel.
The heavy weight in the heel allowed the club face to release a little quicker through impact, keeping the face more square to path of the golf club, keeping minimal amounts of sidespin on the golf ball to straighten out the ball flight. The recommended loft will help create the most penetrating flight to achieve optimum launch conditions (launch angle + backspin).
Below is a video of one of my swings captured at the TaylorMade Performance Lab during my custom driver fitting. Sorry it’s a little rocky, didn’t have my tripod!
Same as before, the Taylormade Performance Lab custom driver fitting was an awesome experience that I highly recommend you try. A cool feature about being a repeat offender is that you can compare your current swing to your former and evaluate how it’s changed since the last visit.
On the fence about whether you need or can benefit from a custom club fitting?
Check out the importance of custom club fitting.
Want to schedule a custom club fitting?
Call or email Travis and mention that you were referred by Dave from OrlandoGolfBlogger and he’ll give you $100 off the price!
Here’s his contact info.
TaylorMade Performance Lab
Grand Cypress Resort
Lab: (407) 238-0577
Mobile: (407) 760-0609