It’s one thing creating awesome equipment – it’s another getting it into the hands of the world’s best golfers.
We sat down with TaylorMade’s Vice President of Global Product Creation, Brian Bazzel, to talk to him about fitting the game’s best players.
* * *
Which of TaylorMade’s tour pros are the most in-depth when it comes to the fitting process?
Tiger is probably the most thorough professional I have ever seen in terms of testing new products. Rory is also in the running but I would say Tiger's intense attention to detail means he claims the title.
What is it like to fit each of them?
Both are unwavering in their process of testing new clubs, but each is a little different. Rory is not afraid to hit a lot of golf balls. He will take however long it takes to give every option available to him a proper test.
His process for putting a new club into the bag is very exhaustive. When he first came to TaylorMade, he spent a half-day just hitting balls and testing new products. It was insane to see how long he could continue to stripe balls on the range for.
Working with Tiger, it is his attention to detail that is simply astounding. If something isn’t sitting quite right or isn’t exactly how he wants it to look then he’ll point it out right away. He can immediately see and feel the most minute of changes. He is a savant when it comes to golf clubs.
When Tiger first joined us we had to take our time building a level of trust that would make him feel comfortable working with us. Only through gaining his trust could we ensure his TaylorMade equipment would perform at its absolute peak and allow him to compete on the game's biggest stages.
We have also been able to learn so much from working with Tiger. We have been able to take some of his incredible knowledge and expertise when it comes to golf equipment and incorporate it into future TaylorMade products.
Are there any players at the opposite end of the spectrum?
We have a few players that you could put pretty much anything in their hands and they’ll do pretty well with it.
DJ [Dustin Johnson] is a freak of nature and hits absolutely everything great. We still dial him in of course and have a good idea of the kind of heads to put in his hands. He is so naturally talented though that it makes our lives as product designers, and the fitters lives, incredibly easy.
How long does a typical fitting process last?
I’ll be present for the initial fitting sessions and they tend to last around about an hour or two. They will then have a couple of follow up sessions with our fitting team and Keith Sbarbaro [VP of Tour Operations] in order to hone in on the perfect set up.
How does the process differ for the average golfer?
Professional golfers are already pretty dialled in. There aren't many variables, as we already have a good idea of their specs, shaft type and general preferences.
When you are fitting an amateur we are discovering all of this at once. With the pros we are often refining and make slight improvements. An amateur that receives a fitting for our products on the other hand is likely to see considerable gains. It is an absolute must if you want to get the most out of your golf clubs.