Tag Archives: Wade Heintzelman

What Is Your Opinion About Indoor Golf Facilities?

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?

Game improvement. Next step: Big Step.

Earlier this week I finally addressed an issue that has been bothering me for quite some time; my equipment.  Since moving to Titleist DCI 822 OS irons around 10 years ago, my ball striking and GIR stats have been a continual source of frustration.  Everyone has bad ball striking days, but experienced players can feel a good swing born of balance, power, speed, and agility, and on too many occasions, I’ve felt the good swing and dealt with a substandard result.

On Tuesday, I laid down on the proverbial swing couch of master club builder Wade Heintzelman, of the Golf Care Center, and presented all my issues.  Wade has been building clubs for 28 years and has many excellent players as customers including several from the PGA Tour.  I figured I’d go to the best to finally get my issues addressed.  Over the course of my nearly two hour fitting, I learned that the 822s are designed for a lower caliber player that has an outside to in swing.  The clubs were one inch too long, had shafts that were too light, and the heads had too much offset and bounce.  Wade informed that often players adapt their swings to their equipment, and after receiving this information the pieces of my swing puzzle fell into place.  I had been coming up and out of my spine angle to account for the misfitted length, and the poor swings coupled with the added bounce on the iron heads were causing all the thin pushes that have plagued me inside 130 yards, as well as the thinned chips around the green.

During the fitting, Wade identified my proper loft, lie, length, total weight, shaft flexibility, grip size, and swing weight.  We discussed my set make up, what ball I played, and how I liked to approach the game and what shots I relied upon under pressure.  Then we discussed my wedge game and developed a plan to cover the yardage umbrella between 80 and 100 that I was previously covering with swing modifications.  I did not have any preconceived notions about manufactures or options and told Wade to make a recommendation solely based on his experience and what would be best for me.

I left the shop feeling very positive and taken care of and I realize I’m going to need to hit the delete button on all the frustrations of playing with misfit equipment over the last 10 years.  You’re probably thinking, “the carpenter is blaming his hammer for the bad house he just constructed,” and you may be right because I’m a big advocate of spending scarce resources on swing instruction over equipment changes, but this one feels like the right thing to do.

My new set should arrive within a week and I’m eager to game test it.  After making such a significant change, I’ll need to adjust to the new feel, change in distances, and hopefully regain some confidence in my natural ability.  I think a good read will require about 10 rounds, and I plan to have these played, as well as plenty of range sessions logged, before the 2013 trip to Myrtle Beach in May.  What do you think of this approach?

The old vs. new set makeup and specs:

Old:

  • Irons: 3 – PW, Titleist DCI 822 OS, Titleist NS Pro 650 (stiff)
  • Gap Wedge: Cleveland Tour Action 533, 49 degrees, Dynamic Gold S-300
  • Sand Wedge: Cleveland Tour Action 533, 56 degrees, Dynamic Gold S-300
  • Lob Wedge:  Taylormade Rac Tumble, 60 degrees, Uniflex shaft

New:

  • Hybrid Irons: 3, 4.  Mizuno H4, Dynamic Gold S-300 shafts, Tourwrap 580 grips, swing weight D2
  • Irons: 5 – PW, Mizuno JPX 825 Pro, Dynamic Gold S-300 shafts, Tourwrap 580, swing weight D2.
  • Wedges:  Cleveland CG 16, lofts 50, 54, 58 with specs commensurate to the irons.