Global Edition

Purley – the place for putters

8.00am 14th December 2007 - Corporate

The Yes! Golf Custom-fit phenomenon grows with the opening of a new centre at Purley Downs Golf Club, Surrey.

By Dominic O’Byrne

Croydon was last in the news when Neville Chamberlain flew into Croydon Airport in 1938 waving Hitler’s autograph and claiming “Peace in our time”.

But there was precious little peace for the golf pros at Purley Downs Golf Club in November (70 years later almost to the day) when they officially opened the latest Yes! Golf Custom Centre. According to head pro Simon Iliffe, Thursdays is normally the quietest day of the week, but Simon and his staff were on their feet custom-fitting putters for members from nine in the morning until after seven that night.

As the first golf course in the south of England to host a Yes! Golf Custom Centre, the team at Purley Downs can expect to become a lot busier too, as golfers who have long realized the importance of consistent putting, and who know of the phenomenal rise of C-Groove technology, will travel from far afield to benefit from the facility.

Within the first week, one keen club golfer travelled from Chiswick in west London specifically to acquire his own customized Yes! Putter. It doesn’t look far on the A to Z, but anyone familiar with that section of the M25 or even that entire southwest London area will know this isn’t a journey for the faint-hearted!

Over the course of the opening day, member after member who entered the pro-shop was immediately drawn to the plasma screen on the wall, as the Quintic software showed the ball-roll comparison of Yes! Putters vs the Rest in glorious HD. As one gent said to Simon, “The ball roll thing does make sense when you have it explained in this way and can see it. My head is full of all kinds of information when I putt, but I can see it all with perfect clarity now.”

The Purley Downs facility represents a key stage in the development of the club itself. It is almost exactly a year since Simon Iliffe took over as head pro. After his first 6 months operating from a portable building, the pro shop now ranks as easily one of the best in the entire area. And the nearest golf club with a Yes! custom-fit facility is at Henbury near Bristol, so a great many golfers will head this way in the near future

“I have tried to educate the members that custom-fit clubs do not have to cost the earth,” says Simon. “And it is far better to pay a little extra and get what’s most suitable for your game, not what may be a good bargain. That goes for woods, hybrids, irons, wedges as well as putters.

“I feel there is no reason for any member to buy their golfing equipment elsewhere. I am a member of the Foremost-buying group, and deal with all the major brands daily. If the member is happy to wait a day or two for delivery, I can purchase anything for them. I will also match virtually all internet and superstore prices on products other than custom-fit.”

The combination of early top-spin (courtesy of the C-Grooves on the putter face) video capture & ball-roll analysis, adjusted loft, lie & shaft length using a Mitchell Tour Gauge is a real revelation for most golfers the first time they encounter the Yes! Golf custom treatment. Significantly more consistent putting and lower scores invariably follow.

“What we aim to do for our members and visitors is actually customize a putter for their stroke, not try to change their stroke to match the putter,” explains Simon. “I believe they have to make the same stroke they feel comfortable with time and time again, because that’s what they’ll repeat under pressure on the course. That’s when the putter becomes deadly in their hands.”

Why is the roll important?
The way Simon explained it to one member made a great impression and an awful lot of sense.

If the ball skids, over a long putt the backwards movement will encourage it to leave the ground. In so doing it actually gains distance because being airborne all it must cope with is air resistance (and as he rightly points out, you can’t ‘read’ air). Once it lands the ball is coping with resistance from the green as well. But it’ll have been knocked off-line while jumping and skidding.

If you strike a 20 foot putt firmly and it has say 2 foot of break… if it’s bouncing and skidding for the first two feet it’s not taking any of that break. But if it rolls immediately, it starts taking the break immediately.

The principle of over-the-top was understood by most players, but many had forgotten and it came as a welcome reminder. A few weren’t aware of it at all and you could see the light go on as the realization dawned about the common sense of it.

“I feel it will grow from strength to strength,” says Simon in conclusion. “I am very passionate that custom fit is the real way forward for club pros to do business. I feel we have to use our PGA training to get away from competing with megastores and the internet. Everyone I have put through the Quintic software, and tried with the Yes! Putters has been very impressed.”

Yes! Golf

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