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Chip Shots: FedEx Cup Adventure & Club Fitting Both Great Experiences

Have you ever been to a professional sports event, say, Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots? If you enjoy attending live events and seeing some of the world’s best athletes ply their trade, I have a suggestion for you; go to a PGA tournament.

Over the past two years I’ve gone to the Traveler’s Championship, which takes place each June in Connecticut. It’s a great tournament for a first-time attendee, featuring a very nice layout and lots of fun. This year I upped the ante and, along with my friend Rick, spent a day just south of Boston at the Deutsche Bank Championship, which is part of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

And, wow, was it ever amazing. We traveled down on Thursday, stopping in Gray, Maine to play a round at Spring Meadows. The next day we headed to Norton, Massachusetts, where TPC Boston was waiting . . . along with 100 of the best golfers in the world.

Due to Labor Day, the four-day tournament starts on Friday and ends on Monday. We chose to go to the first day, figuring the crowds would be a little smaller; and they were. This allowed us to follow the most popular players and have incredible access to them while watching their rounds play out. We started following Keegan Bradley’s group, then dropped back and spent time with a legend of the game, Phil Mickelson. We then followed Rory McIlroy’s group and ended the day with a powerhouse threesome – Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and Jason Day!

If you think these guys are impressive on the big screen, it’s really nothing compared to being there in person. It’s hard to describe the sound of the ball as it flies off a driver, or the thrill of having Phil Mickelson walk by you only a few feet away.

And where else are you going to see a professional playoff for $55 per person? You can get to the course at 8:00 a.m. and stay until the end of the day, a true sporting bargain. Additionally, it is the only professional event I can think of where you can actually get a ton of exercise; I estimate Rick and I walked nearly eight miles over the course of the day as we followed the golfers around the course.

While this year’s golf season is drawing to a close, it’s not too early to go online and research options for next year. Trust me, you’ll have a great time!

Club Fitting is More Important than You Think
I just got fit for new golf clubs, and it was an interesting and rewarding experience. I have been using the same irons for around 15 years, and since I’ve been playing more over the past few seasons, I wanted to purchase some new ones. Since golf equipment is not cheap, I wanted to make sure I got clubs that fit my swing and game. I plan on keeping my new sticks for a long time, so I saw it as a long-term investment.

The first thing I did was contact Joe Perdue at Hidden Meadows (827-4779) in Old Town. He is the owner and is also a PGA certified teaching professional. He had me swing a special Mizuno 6-iron that is fitted with a sensing device that measures swing speed, tempo, release factor, toe down and kick angle. He took the data and entered it into proprietary software that recommended three different shafts for me to try.

I chose the Mizuno JPX 850 Forged iron heads, and proceeded to try out a few of the recommended shafts on the driving range. Interestingly, the first two shafts I tried didn’t feel good at all, and I was beginning to think I might not be buying new irons. Then a magical thing happened; I tried the KBS Tour shafts in x-flex and it was a perfect match.

I ended up buying a set of JPX 850 Forged irons, with the KBS Tour shaft in x-flex, soft-stepped one time to help with launch. I received them one week after placing my order, and I’ve been using my custom-built irons over a month now. All in all, the experience with Joe was great, and I’m loving the end result, as I’ve gained both distance and accuracy.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but in my opinion there are a few very good reasons to get fit for new golf clubs this late in the season. First, a player has his or her mid-season form, instead of getting fit early in the season when a player is still getting into “golf shape”. Also, there are some very attractive deals to be had.

I highly recommend taking the time to get fit for clubs, be it for irons, a driver, or fairway woods. Joe Perdue at Hidden Meadows has all the technology to assist in a fitting, as well as years of experience and a great inventory of new and used clubs in his pro shop. He was selected as Mizuno’s National Club Fitter of the Year several years ago, and has also won several other national and regional awards with Mizuno and Titleist.

You can also check with your local course and club professional for similar services. New clubs won’t magically make you a better golfer, but a properly fit set will allow you to play to your potential.

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