We teamed up with Ping to give two golfers the Ultimate Ping Play Your Best Experience, including coaching from a GM Top 25 coach and a full custom fitting
There are three ways to get better at golf: practice, coaching and custom-fit clubs. The first is very much down to individual commitment and desire, but the second and third we can help with, especially with an opportunity like the Ultimate Ping Play Your Best Experience...
Our September issue’s Fault Fixer Special in association with Ping saw experienced Golf Monthly Top 25 coach, Barney Puttick, offer expert tips on 50 of the most common faults to afflict golfers. As part of that feature, we teamed up with Ping to offer two lucky readers The Ultimate Ping Play Your Best Experience.
And so it was that in late November, Charlie Parker and Paul Britnell found themselves tucking into a hearty breakfast in the Gainsborough clubhouse close to Ping’s headquarters ahead of the big day, having been carefully selected from a cast of hundreds who put themselves forward for this incredible opportunity.
Shortly afterwards, they headed down to Ping’s European Custom Fitting Centre to warm up, before venturing out onto the closing stretch of the Lakes Course so Barney could see how their games held up in the heat of battle and provide tips and advice as required. It was then back to the Fitting Centre for some intensive one-on-one coaching with Barney based on what he had observed.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it was time for Charlie and Paul to undergo comprehensive Ping custom fittings from driver down to putter with Ping Product Specialists, Paul Rymer and Ed James, in the quest to help them both get the very most out of their swings.
Read on to find out how Charlie’s and Paul’s Ultimate Ping Play Your Best Experiences unfolded…
Charlie Parker Handicap: 9 Home Club: Chester GC
Charlie says: Having recently returned to playing regularly at my home club, I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in ball-striking and scoring, and feel I can achieve a low single-figure handicap. My current clubs have been bought for me over time and are fitted with various shafts and heads, which I feel is hampering my ability to achieve my goal.
Barney’s advice: Charlie’s lower half was a little overactive. Coming into impact he tended to spin out and lose control, especially with the driver, so we worked on getting his backswing a little more stable. Trackman also showed that he needed to get his downswing a little shallower, so we did a drill where you pull the right foot back to not only help with that, but also give him more extension down the line. He was also releasing a little early with his irons, so we used the smash bag to instil the feeling of the club releasing correctly at impact.
Driver: Ping G 10.5˚ LS Tec, Ping Tour 65 X-flex 3-wood: Ping G 14.5˚, Ping Tour 65 X-flex Hybrid: Ping G 19˚, Ping Tour 90 stiff flex Irons 4-PW: Ping iBlade, Ping Z-Z65 stiff flex Wedges: Ping Glide 50˚/SS, 54˚/SS, 60˚/TS, Ping Z-Z65 stiff flex Putter: Ping Vault Voss, slate finish, 34in
Fitter’s feedback: Charlie is 6ft 3in but had been using standard-length irons so we went half an inch longer and a degree and a half more upright as his bad shot was consistently right. We also went to a slightly lighter shaft, and the overall effect was improved ball flight and ball speed, and a much tighter dispersion. Charlie tends to get a little steep with his driver, generating too low a launch and too much spin, so we worked on that for a while before opting for a 10.5˚ low-spinning LS Tec with an extra stiff shaft. A third wedge improved Charlie’s gaps at the short end of the bag.
Charlie’s feedback: It was a real surprise to be fitted for extra stiff shafts in my driver and 3-wood, but it definitely helped me control the ball better. The lie angle tape showed I was striking it very centrally with the longer iron shafts too. I picked up between five and ten yards throughout the bag, which I was really happy with.
Paul Britnell Handicap: 23 Home Club: The Oxfordshire GC
Paul says: I’ve been struggling with two aspects recently - my ability to drive the ball without slicing it, and my distance control from 70 yards and in. I’m hoping that spending time with Barney and getting a full Ping custom-fit will help me to play my best, reduce my handicap and fulfil my golfing ambition of winning a club tournament.
Barney’s advice: Paul’s done really well for someone who’s not been playing long. He tends to lose his angles by dropping his lead shoulder, which means he then comes over the top with the club coming in too steeply often leading to a slice, so we worked on an exercise to keep him more level through the swing. He was also using too much loft near the green and getting too handsy. So we worked on pushing his hands a little further in front and getting a flatter right wrist at impact [Paul’s left-handed] for more solid contact and more consistent spin.
Driver: Ping G 10˚ SF Tec, Ping ALTA 55 regular 5-wood: Ping G 19˚ SF Tec, Ping ALTA 65 regular Hybrid: Ping G 22˚, Ping ALTA 70 regular Irons 5-PW: Ping G, Ping CFS G regular graphite Wedges: Ping Glide 50˚/SS, 54˚/SS, 58˚/SS, Ping CFS G regular graphite Putter: Ping Cadence TR Ketsch Strong, 35in
Fitter’s feedback: Our G iron gave Paul the forgiveness he wanted, while a slightly longer shaft helped with posture. To Paul’s surprise, he loved the feel of graphite shafts, and gained about seven yards with his irons. A new 22˚ hybrid filled a gap at the long end, while a G SF Tec 5-wood straightened out some of his slice tendencies. It was the same with the G SF Tec driver, where we also came down a couple of degrees from his current 12˚ model to improve spin rates and ball flight. A slightly shorter shaft gave Paul more control, and he picked up 15 yards off the tee.
Paul’s feedback: It was an amazing experience – much more high-tech than I expected. There’s so much data to analyse and the guys here are very knowledgeable. A lot of it for me was done on feel, but the numbers don’t lie – each time the numbers improved, the feel was better too. I want to get down to 18, if not lower, and feel I can do it, especially with the great tips from Barney too.
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