I was at the driving range a few weeks ago during Taylor Made demo day trying to work the kinks out of my golf swing and the local pro sauntered up and asked me if I’d like to try the new SLDR ($399) and JetSpeed ($299) drivers. I politely declined, as I was working on my swing, but he had set up shop in the stall next to mine and after about 20 minutes interrupted again to tell me how I could get 20-25 more yards of distance with the latest instruments. Not wanting to be rude, I hit a half dozen with each new offering and then returned to my Big Bertha FT3, for comparison sake, and promptly cranked it past the newer models, somewhat humbling my demo pro.
With the advent of more indoor facilities and fancy launch monitor technology, would you buy a new $400 driver without seeing actual ball flight?
I’ve never been drawn to indoor facilities, at least since I bought a Taylor Made R7 driver several years ago, after hitting it on a launch monitor at the local Golf Galaxy, and then finding out I was totally dissatisfied once I got to the range and observed real ball flight. As a traditionalist, and previous club builder, I’m in the camp that golf needs to be played outdoors, on real grass (or at least on driving range mats), and that there’s no substitute for seeing the ball fly.
Admittedly, back in November of 2012, I saw master club builder Wade Heintzelman at the Golf Care Center in Bethesda, MD, and he fit me for my new Mizuno JPX irons and did it exclusively with indoor technology. Now Wade has worked with PGA Tour professionals and is not some assistant pro du jour that was pulling sticks from a rack of R7 drivers in a retail store. I rightly put my complete faith in his abilities and am a very satisfied customer, despite not seeing any actual ball flight during my two-hour fitting. My only twinge of concern was when he said I had hit a 3-iron H4 217 yards on the monitor and I know I can’t hit a 3-iron that far, but chalked it up to the field goal kicker in a dome syndrome.
So my view on indoor facilities is mixed. I understand that folks in colder climates, or in areas where it’s just too expensive to enjoy golf on a course (Japan comes to mind) might be more suitable for indoor facilities. But to answer the question, no I would not buy a $400 driver without seeing actual ball flight, unless someone of Wade Heintzelman’s reputation were doing the fitting.
What is your opinion about indoor golf facilities?