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A fitting job - Clubfitter helps golfers get into swing

May 27, 2007|By PEPPER BALLARD

Golfers tired of chopping grass with off-kilter clubs might want to swing by the 10th fairway at Beaver Creek Country Club.

There they will find ClubRx Tour Shop, a new portable clubfitting shop, from which golfers can pay to have their drivers, clubs and putters custom-fit by Marty Miller, an engineer, avid golfer and clubfitter.

"Club professionals, they just don't have the time to do clubfitting," Miller, 61, said.

"I saw a need ... Technology and the price of golf clubs has gotten to the point that you should be fitted to know what kind of club to use."

Miller uses Launch Monitor, a computerized clubfitting machine, to analyze a golfer's launch angle, clubhead speed, ball velocity and shot distance, among other variables that determine the best club fit for a player.

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The Launch Monitor uses two radar units that track the ball down the range, computing everything that went into hitting the ball that distance. That data is printed out for the player, who may use it to order clubs or to have current clubs adjusted.

Miller's shop - a silver trailer hitched to the back of a large silver pickup truck - is fitted with the equipment needed to make adjustments to a player's clubs based on the data received from Launch Monitor and his own observations.

He can bend a putter head to create a different loft and can adjust the shaft of the putter to make a different lie, which is the angle between the shaft and body a player creates when putting. Miller can tip clubs and regrip them, too.

"I'm trying to give someone a better chance that that club is something that they can grow into," he said.

Miller has been "a single-digit handicapper for 15 years" of the 23 years he's spent golfing, he said. In the past two years, he's spent a lot of money educating himself on clubfitting.

He's lived across the globe, working contracted engineering jobs, and picked out his clubfitting equipment based on the equipment he noted was used on PGA Tours.

"I want to provide the common golfer with the same things a PGA golfer gets. I've followed technology and knew a Launch Monitor was essential," he said.

The Hagerstown native has worked in satellite communications, ship SONAR and network engineering since college and his Navy service, but had wanted to get into clubfitting for a few years.

"My job is not to fix their swing. It's a professional's job to teach them how to swing," he said.

Miller said that with a new golfer, he wouldn't put them on Launch Monitor, but would instead look at their swing and recommend the proper club for them to use.

For now, Miller is stationed at the semiprivate Beaver Creek Country Club south of Hagerstown, but he said he plans to go to other country clubs in the Tri-State area soon.

Miller said he's known the country club's officials and golf pro Dirk Schultz for years and "convinced them that in this day and age, you need to have a professional fitter and a golf pro. There's hardly anything around Hagerstown that has something like this."

Preliminarily, he said he plans to perform Launch Monitor tests at the Beaver Creek driving range on Thursdays and Fridays and work on putter analysis from his station off the 10th fairway at the course on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He'll handle appointments on the weekends.

The cost to perform the tests and make adjustments varies. Miller said he generally charges $100 an hour, which he said is half the price charged by metropolitan clubfitting professionals.

Typically, an iron fitting takes about 30 minutes, he said.

He will hold a special demonstration of the Launch Monitor at reduced prices on Demo Day, June 3, at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Miller's Web site is at www.CLUBRxTourShop.com. He can be reached at 301-992-1554.

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