Former NFL Receiver Finds His Fit at GOLFTEC
By Ryan Gager
As a former NFL wide receiver, Brice Butler knows a thing or two about the combination of speed and accuracy. Now, he’s bringing his skills to the golf course and looking to upgrade his equipment, more specifically, his fairway wood and hybrid, to optimize his game. That’s where GOLFTEC comes in, as Brad Skupaka, Director of Club Fitting, gives Brice a club fitting to help him find the perfect clubs to trust on the course in this edition of Club Explorers.
Brice’s Current Swing and Characteristics
Brice’s main concern is finding clubs that he can trust to hit the distance he needs, especially when it comes to those long shots into par 5s. With his swing speed averaging around 110 mph, Brice requires an extra stiff shaft for his 3-wood to match his powerful swing. After hitting some shots with his current club, Brice and Brad analyze the numbers, including launch angle, backspin, and descent angle to determine the optimal specs for Brice’s new clubs.
The launch angle is crucial for Brice’s distance and accuracy, with GOLFTEC aiming for around 14 degrees for his 3-wood. They also take into consideration backspin, which starts around 2,000 rpm with Brice’s current gamer, but needs to be higher than that to fully optimize his 3-wood. Additionally, the descent angle, which determines how steeply the ball lands on the green, is important for maximizing distance and control. Brad is aiming for a descent angle of at least 40 degrees, to ensure Brice’s shots hit and hold the green.
For another behind-the-scenes look at a GOLFTEC club fitting, check out Hannah Gregg getting fit for new irons.
3-Wood Testing and Results
With these specifications in mind, Brad starts testing different club options with Brice. His fitting session started with the Callaway models, specifically the Rogue ST and the Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond. With Brice’s low launch angle, the clubs were quickly adjusted to 16 degrees of loft to help achieve a higher launch angle. They also selected the Hazardous Black Gen 4 shaft, which was similar to the Project X shaft Brice was currently using for consistency.
Brice hit some shots with the Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond and saw descent angles of 36 degrees and 33 degrees, with a launch angle around 13 degrees and backspin of almost 3,000 rpm. While the numbers were decent, Brad noted that the Triple Diamond was designed for low spin and low launch, which may not be the best fit for Brice’s desired ball flight. Brice also felt that the club was not very forgiving and lacked the height he was looking for.
Next, Brice tried the regular Callaway Paradym in the 3-HL, which is essentially a 4-wood with 16.5 degrees of loft, slightly higher than the Triple Diamond. The loft was further adjusted to 17.5 degrees to provide Brice with more height. Brice found the club more inviting to hit due to its lines and felt confident about hitting it higher. The spin rate was more favorable at around 3,300 rpm, and the descent angle fell more in-line with what they were looking for.
However, they decided to explore other options and tried the PING G430 Max next. The PING fairway woods have a shallow face profile and composite materials, making it easier to hit off the ground and provide more forgiveness on low strikes. Brice also liked the Ventus 8X Blue shaft paired with the PING G430 Max. The ball speed was consistent with his previous clubs, but the spin rate was significantly higher, which led to a very high descent angle which was not optimal for Brice’s game.
Finally, Brice tested the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus, which has a titanium construction and an adjustable weight in the back. They adjusted the weight first to influence loft and used the Ventus Black 7X shaft for testing. Brice hit a shot that carried 260 yards in the air, the closest to his desired carry distance. The descent angle was also much better, and Brice felt that the club had a good balance of launch angle, spin rate, and forgiveness.
After careful consideration, analysis of the data, and overall look and feel of the club, Brice decided to go with the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus with the Ventus Black 7X shaft. He felt confident in the club’s performance and was excited to add it to his bag.
Hybrid Testing and Results
Brice begins his hybrid fitting by testing out the iCrossover from PING, which has a standard loft of 20 degrees and is equipped with a Tour Chrome 85X shaft. He then moves on to the Mizuno STZ line with a 75-gram shaft, then the Callaway Paradym, which he plays down to about 20 degrees of loft, like the others, and finally the Titleist TSR2. Brice notes that he is looking for a 230-yard carry distance and once again a descent angle of around 40 degrees.
Brice identifies two standouts among the hybrids he tested, the Titleist TSR2 and the Callaway Paradym. He mentions that both of these clubs have a similar footprint and are the deepest front to back. In terms of numbers, Brice found that the Titleist TSR2 provided slightly better distance, covering the distance variable better. However, the Callaway Paradym had a better descent angle, landing more vertically at around 40 degrees, compared to the Titleist TSR2 at 38 degrees.
Brice acknowledges that there is a choice to be made between prioritizing maximum carry distance with a little more roll-out or a slightly shorter carry distance but a steeper landing angle. With such slight variations, both clubs might perform similarly when landing on the green, so he has a showdown between the Callaway Paradym and the Titleist TSR2 to determine which one he will choose. After hitting another shot with each club, Brice ultimately selects the Titleist TSR2 hybrid as his preferred choice, opting to go with the club that offered the distance he was seeking.
Brice came into his fitting at GOLFTEC playing one brand of clubs, then ultimately found out some other brands were better for his swing and game. He was impressed with the fitting experience, and appreciated that how it showcased the importance of trying out different clubs and brands to find the best fit. We know Brice will enjoy his TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus 3-wood and Titleist TSR2 hybrid, and we’re sure these two new clubs will be reflected in Brice’s lower scores.
So, if you haven’t ever been to GOLFTEC for a club fitting, now is the time! Our club fitting will be sure to find you the perfect clubs for your game so you can watch your scores drop. And if you have questions about any other aspect of your golf game, be sure to find a GOLFTEC near you and get in contact with a local Coach.
Check out more club fitting videos from GOLFTEC below, including an inside look at a GOLFTEC Putter Fitting and leveraging on-course data for better club fitting results.
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