Paul Gallagher Column Irish Golfer Magazine (Feb 2019)

Paul Gallagher finds difficulty wading through the technical jargon when it comes to new equipment but recognises the need to be kitted out properly ahead of a new season  

The fine tuning has started. Up and down the country we’re like kids in a sweet shop, trying shiny new kit, getting the squad of 14 sorted for the bag and the season ahead.

The long winter months and short winter days lend themselves perfectly for some tinkering and retail therapy. What else are us golfers going to do when the white stuff puts paid to any plans to hit balls, or a sidewinder from the east rolls in to knock us all off course.

Promise of a new season just around the corner ignites something within. This is the year when the scores will stick, and the handicap comes tumbling down. To do that, we must have the right tools in the bag. And not just at the starting line, we need it now, to work on the numbers, throw those new, improved yardages into the old grey matter and hit the ground running come April.

I consider myself something of a dinosaur when it comes to equipment; never chased the latest kit. And it’s not just golf, an old iPhone several generations back will do just fine. The bag is currently full of weapons almost 10 years old with the exception of the trusty EvnRoll mallet, which Ross and the team kindly sorted for me on one of the trucks at the Irish Open in Portstewart.

The work took place in a Mizuno truck that week and it was fascinating to see the guys in action, literally create the putter exactly for your needs. I was sized up and measured up before they went about their work. Several hours later a brand-new toy was in my possession and has been part of the furniture ever since.

I’m decked out in Titleist; CB irons, Vokey wedges, an old 913 D3 driver and three-wood yet the hybrid gapping continues to be a work in progress. Like their owner, the sticks are getting on but I’m happy to say when I bought the lot I was fitted out by the best in the business, Derek Murray at ForeGolf in Killeen Castle.

Few of us will buy golf clubs off the shelf anymore. With Trackman and the likes crunching out the stats, we’ve become so much more analytical, searching for an edge. To do that we must get custom fitted.

For someone like me there is too much noise, I need a guiding hand when the geeky chat starts talking about launch angles and smash factors.

I have a mate who is the polar opposite to me when it comes to golf equipment. Matt has removed himself of the shackles of the family pub they owned and ran and he’s simply fanatical about golf. He craves the new toys. Matt is a manufacturers dream, he simply has to have it.

How do we buy our golf clubs these days? It’s a huge outlay if trying to keep up with everything the marketing gurus throw at us. It’s simply not feasible for most to upgrade at the start of every new season. However, there’s undoubtedly merit in making this toughest of games a little easier by putting the best equipment “for you” in your hands.

The Willie Lomans of the golfing world have been clocking up the miles this winter. The opportunity to try Pings, Callaway, Srixon, Titleist, the list goes on, were plentiful around our way. The guys from the big manufacturing houses have been on the road trying to sell us their wares.

During a Titleist fitting it was all the rep Peter could do to stop himself laughing when he took a closer look at my bag, especially the wedges. In his most diplomatic manner he simply said, “You really could do with investing in some new clubs…look at those wedges, they’re that old there’s no grooves left, they’re doing nothing for you. Why not give yourself the best chance rather than potentially going out there and getting beat up before you start?”

Ok, so in there is the sales pitch as well as the custom fit, but Peter’s frank observations struck a chord. And for the next hour he locked and unlocked new driver heads, swapped shafts and hey presto, the results were quantifiable.

It’s a smooth operation. If I’m to stick with Titleist, the wish list from Peter is emailed Kevan and the lads in the shop. It will come as no surprise that Matt carried out the same fitting experience and he’s already in possession of his new TS3 driver. I had a couple of hits with it in recent times and it simply reinforced the need to upgrade.

Needless to say, I have a significant shopping list which starts with the big stick and most definitely carries through to the wedges. Oh, and I need it all by yesterday – and certainly before April.

-ENDS

IRISH GOLFER MAGAZINE
February 2019

Fitted Up

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