Last December 2014, my son called me and told me he had good news and bad news. I chose good news first. The good news was that he had won a set of golf clubs and a fitting. The bad news was that I must “fly” to New York City (Plaza of the Americas), or the Biltmore in Miami, or a golf club in the Bahamas (where Tiger is moving his own tournament next year) to get fitted. I have only flown once since 9/11. I made flight arrangements to fly Frontier on January 8, 2015 (Frontier just added that route to Miami in January) returning January 9, redeye both ways. In the meantime I read everything I could find on the internet and in magazines about new equipment and fittings and the company doing the fitting and providing the clubs, True Spec Golf . True Spec was less than a year old then and had a temporary website, with contacts in their locations with both men and women famous golfers, many shaft and club suppliers, lots of pictures and blogs.
I began golfing seriously when I was almost 40 and since then I have always pieced together my bag with clubs, sometimes new but even then usually a few years old, if you get the picture. I got in touch with golfing friends from Texas, California, Florida and Georgia. I talked to several young PGA assistants at courses where I regularly play. I went to several retail establishments that had trackman equipment and hit different clubs. I read Golf Magazine and Golf Digest surveys of new clubs. I had way too much information in my head for sure, which happens to me on the course sometimes (my golf friends would say that was an understatement). I sent the Master Fitter my bag information, age and relevant (probably irrelevant) thought processes. At one time I thought I would go Callaway (all-the-way) but in the end I decided to just go with the Master Fitter’s recommendations.
The flight there was a breeze and I was able to ride the tramway to the car rental building and get to the Biltmore before they put out the morning breakfast buffet which was great. I called Andy (the Master Club Fitter) and let him know I had arrived in time for the 8:30 a.m. fitting. Before we started Andy introduced me to one of the investors and happened to mention that he was fitting another possible one that afternoon. I had played a few times right up to the middle of December, but had not played even a hole of golf for 3 weeks. I warmed up with a few stretches and a half bucket of balls. The fitting was magical, this club, that shaft. Suddenly more than 3 hours had passed. Just before we got to the driver, a blood blister under a callus on my left hand ring finger popped. I had a few band aids in my wallet but I was done. I am not sure how many shots most people hit during a fitting but I hit a lot. During a regular round most people might hit 50 or less full shots. I must have hit 3 times that many, who knows? I was swinging very well I thought, and still do think. You sometimes wonder what a real great golfer or for that matter a Master Fitter really thinks about the conversation or the fitting if you know what I mean?
We ended the fitting and I left the Biltmore to head to Boca Raton to spend a few hours visiting special friends there. I took I-95 to Boca Raton to get to their home. The ride was intense. People yelling and honking. Need I say more? I got there and had a great time visiting and having a fabulous lunch. The couple had bought a home on one of the local golf courses in the Vail area from me and then I helped them sell it many years later after great get-togethers and golf outings. We kept in touch regularly and discussed golf and other matters. He died from the cancer he was fighting before I received my clubs from the fitting. I returned to the car rental building late in the early evening.
Having had some experience with car rentals, I had asked the desk person when I got the rental if I would need to fill the tank before I returned. He asked me my itinerary and when I told him what it was, he said it would not be necessary. Notwithstanding that, upon the return the check-in-guy said it would be a $55 dollar charge since I did not fill the car. I had plenty of time and said I would drive out and fill it, not of course at the pump just outside the rental car building. We negotiated. $15 did it. This experience about the gas does not seem relevant to you yet, but if you have read this far, you will understand why soon.
I rode the tramway back to the airport and went through the security apparatus and checks without incident. When I got to the Frontier counter, I realized that all of my email communication with Andy and his counterpart in New York had disappeared. It could only have fallen out of my briefcase (the only baggage I had brought) in the car in my frustration and fiddling with papers with the check-in-guy at the car rental building I thought. Since I had plenty of time before the flight, I decided to go ride the tramway back to the car rental building (maybe a half mile) to look for it-bad decision. Talking to the desk person, and locating the car, and checking it and the trash where it was cleaned and the tramway both ways took about 2 hours and was not successful. I was not a happy camper when I got to Security. They notice those things and I got quite a pat-down at Security. I was still in plenty of time before the flight to get a little meal. In actuality I had time for a feast since the flight was on a hold because of weather in Denver, a very localized ice storm which left at least 1/4th inch of ice on the car and made it difficult to open a door. Defrosting it enough to get the ice off of the car windows took added time even with my Vail ice scraper. The ride to Georgetown was a nightmare but from there on to Vail the sky and interstate were clear. The next blog will cover waiting for and receiving the clubs and subsequent play with them.
It’s a beautiful day in Colorado, Bob