Testing TaylorMade custom fitted gear against off the shelf equipmentMarch 8, 2018 Golf Equipment
We headed to TaylorMade’s performance centre at The Belfry to see how our off-the-shelf selections compared to fully custom-fitted clubs
TaylorMade Custom fitted golf clubs vs. off the shelf – The methodology
Our TaylorMade custom fitted golf clubs vs. off the shelf test took place at the PGA Academy at The Belfry where TaylorMade have a state-of the art fitting bay.
Most of us are guilty of self-diagnosis when it comes to our performance on the golf course, and in particular, the performance of our golf equipment.
Some are worse than others. Then there’s our equipment editor James Savage. And worse still, advertising director Christian Maiden.
After every round there’s likely to be some excuse about loft, shaft weight, spin rate, grip size or groove width.
But don’t worry, with a few turns of a wrench they’ve dialled themselves in ahead of their next trip to the 1st tee. They should both know better but simply can’t resist the urge to tinker.
But with the firm belief that they know best, we sent the pair to essentially fit themselves into a new driver and then compare the performance to some properly custom-fitted golf clubs.
We’ve already seen the phenomenal success of the new TaylorMade and M3 and M4 drivers in their first few months on tour.
But which models would work best for James and Christian? They’d soon find out it’s far from a simple 50-50 call.
With the M3 there’s a 460cc and a 440cc head to choose from with four different loft options.
The M4 comes in a regular and draw-bias D-Type model with four loft options. But then there’s dozens of shafts, adjustable hosels and moveable weights.
Luckily, expert fitter Neil Wain was on hand…
TaylorMade custom fitted golf clubs vs. off the shelf – The results
DRIVER CHOSEN OFF THE SHELF:TaylorMade M4, 9.5 ̊, Project X Hzrdus Yellow shaft.
RESULTS: Average carry 230, average total 256. Tendency to miss left with toe strike.
DRIVER FITTED INTO:TaylorMade M4, 9.5˚ (+2˚ on loft sleeve), Project X Hzrdus Black.
RESULTS: Average carry 246, average total 267. Very tight dispersion, straight down the line.
Neil had his work cut out with James who had a better idea than most about what works best for him. But with a change to a slightly firmer shaft and adding a bit more loft, Neil was able to add 16 yards of carry and straighten the ball flight.
DRIVER CHOSEN OFF THE SHELF:TaylorMade M3, 9.5 ̊, Fujikura Pro 73 shaft.
RESULTS: Average carry 214, average total 245. Nearly every miss low and to the right.
DRIVER FITTED INTO:TaylorMade M4 D-Type, 10.5 ̊(+2 ̊), Fujikura Pro 53.
RESULTS: Average carry 235, average total 255.
The driver set-up which worked best for Christian was night and day from what he had chosen. The D-Type model along with a lighter shaft really straightened out his ball flight as it allowed him to square the face more easily. Better launch and a bit more spin increased carry by 20 yards.
TaylorMade custom fitted golf clubs vs. off the shelf – NCG verdict
With both players, we have seen a gain of 20 yards.
That’s what can be gained from properly custom-fitted golf clubs.
With Christian it was a wholesale change into a lighter softer shaft and a more forgiving head with draw bias.
With James it was simply a shaft change but the results were the same – an extra 20 yards of carry.
James was happy with the drives he was hitting with the M4 he selected originally but he wasn’t getting maximum performance.
He could have walked away with the TaylorMade M4 in the spec he selected and been fairly happy.
But when spending £350 on a new driver surely you want the performance to be optimised?
And they only way to do that is to work closely with an expert fitter, try a load of different shafts, lofts and set-ups and fine tune to product to it’s maximum potential for your swing.
To book a TaylorMade fitting, visit their website.