The Loop

Ping research: Fitting makes new club technology better

Spent a full day learning about some new ideas from Ping, and one of our big discussion topics was driver fitting and just how much fitting matters.

Consider this study, shared with us by Brad Schweigert, Ping's director of engineering. The Ping team took a group of 100 average golfers and tested them with a current 10.5 degree driver. At first glance, a 10.5-degree represents a middle of the road loft that should fit a significant percentage of a population of 100 average golfers, right? Well, when Ping fitters and engineers optimized each of the 100 golfers for ideal loft and shaft, the average gain for the group was 11 yards over that initial 10.5-degree driver. Some players gained less, of course, but others gained more, as much as 35 yards.

Now, we're not talking about an improvement over an outdated driver. That's an obvious technology upgrade. Rather, this is a test of an approximate fit vs. an exact fit, using up-to-the minute technology for both drivers, and more importantly, using up-to-the-minute fitting technology. In essence, this result is purely a measure of the importance of fitting, not merely the power of new clubhead, face or shaft technology.

Still think your old driver you were never fit to is good enough? Still want to pick your new driver off the rack? Think again about what you might be missing. I'll bet it's more than 11 yards. These guys agree.

--Mike Stachura**Follow me on Twitter @MikeStachura