Jamie Kennedy
By Jamie Kennedy

Earlier this month, I went to the launch of Mizuno's new National Fitting Centre, located at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey.

Mizuno are looking to expand their custom-fitting service and whilst they have closed two of their fitting centres in Glasgow and Wrexham, they have added their Swing DNA Custom-Fitting capability to more than 400 locations across the UK, in addition to around 250 local demo days. Burhill will be their flagship location, and despite the wintry weather, I went to see what all the fuss was about.

Burhill Golf Club served as the location for Barnes Wallis's office during World War II, used to design the famous "Bouncing Bomb". My motive was less destructive, to see around the new fitting centre and understand how it can help golfers improve.

Burhill Golf Club have spent in excess of £100,000 upgrading their practice facilites and the results show exactly why Mizuno chose this to be their flagship location. A large driving range is combined with two indoor hitting bay facilities, grass bays and an impressive short-game area. With it's own dedicated hitting bay and fitting specialists, Mizuno offer custom-fitting on an appointment basis allowing golfers to spend an hour experiencing the benefits of Mizuno's latest custom-fitting technology.

Gary Orr At Mizuno Fitting CentreWith European Tour Pro and Mizuno player Gary Orr as our test-dummy, we walked through the custom-fitting process. Mizuno's research and development teams have created a simple, yet advanced, system for matching a player with the appropriate shaft, club and adjustment combination.

The first step in the process is to gather the data on a player's swing. Unlike other custom-fitting processes, Mizuno record a player's Swing DNA with a unique Shaft Optimiser that gathers intricate data throughout a player's swing. The Optimiser is attached to a specially created Mizuno 6-iron and as Gary showed us, it takes just three swings for a player's swing data to be assessed.

Regardless of ball flight and the quality of the strike, the Shaft Optimiser measures the following 5 characteristics of a player's swing, allowing one of Mizuno's fitting specialists to begin creating the perfect set for that player.

Swing DNA

Head Speed - How fast the shaft and clubhead are moving during the swing.

Tempo - The speed of a players backswing-to-downswing transition.

Shaft Toe Down - Bowing of the shaft in downward direction.

Kick Angle - Amount the shaft bends forward during the downswing.

Release Factor - When and how the club and shaft are released during the downswing.

Gary swung the 6-iron 3 times, hitting three shots directly at his target about 170 yards away, and his results were recorded.

Once this data was gathered, one of Mizuno's specialist began using Mizuno's specially-created software, designed to create the perfect set for the player. Gary was first measured for club-length, lie and grip size. Then, using his Shaft Optimiser data, he was matched to a recommended Mizuno iron and one of more than 50 shaft options.

Luckily for Mizuno, the process matched Gary to the set he uses, Mizuno's MP-69 irons with Dynamic Gold X-100 steel shafts.

The Swing DNA software recommended a set make-up, suggesting Gary carrying a 3 hybrid instead of a 3-iron as well as suggesting a 3-wedge make-up, again based on the data from the Shaft Optimiser.

The final step was to see the results. Thanks to an interchangable shaft system that can match the recommended shaft/head combination, Gary was able to have a custom iron created for him right-away using an MP-69 head and Dynamic Gold X-100 shaft. Mizuno's carefully designed system includes a clubhead that is 8 grams lighter than a standard clubhead to counter-balance the weight needed for a screw to allow interchanging between shafts.

Using the highly-acclaimed Trackman radar, Gary's shots were tracked and shown on a big screen noting key swing, impact and flight data. This data is used to finalise the specialist's recommendation and fine-tune the custom-fit Mizuno set. By the looks of things, Gary is using the right set of irons and should have no trouble making cuts this year!

Whilst us mere-mortals might not display the consistancy Gary Orr displayed for us, there is no doubting that Mizuno offer a well-polished, easy-to-use custom-fitting process. Whilst I do believe Mizuno's Shaft Optimiser and Swing DNA software makes custom-fitting easier for everyday amateurs, I still believe the process is ideally suited to better players.

If you are a player looking to break 100 or even 90, it is a process that can be a little hard to follow and your game may be better aided by lessons or more practice. However, if you are someone that plays regularly and have a handicap of 20 or lower, I believe this is an small investment that could start paying back immediately.

As golfers love to blame anything but the user for any technical errors, Mizuno's fitting process allows you to discover if that is indeed the case. With the technological advances in clubs over the past 2 or 3 years, and Mizuno's investment in it's fitting process, an appointment at Burhill, or one of the over 400 Swing DNA centres across, might just marry the perfect set of clubs with your desire to be better.

As always, visit the Golfalot Mizuno Zone to stay up-to-date with all the latest Mizuno news and discover how you can book a custom-fitting session at Burhill or one Swing DNA centres across the UK.


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