When you arrive for a club fitting at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y., expect nothing but an eye-opening experience.
You will meet Kevin Sprecher, PGA Director of Instruction at Sleepy Hollow and authorized Titleist fitter, who needs but a couple seconds to convince you of the importance of getting properly fit for your golf equipment.
"You don’t buy an expensive suit off the rack, do you?" says Sprecher, a longtime fitting guru who has also served as the Lead Master Instructor at the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral since 1998.
Sprecher's main goal: Making sure you leave Sleepy Hollow – one of five Titleist Regional Fitting Centers within the Titleist Fitting Network – with the equipment setup that best suits your swing and game, not the one that fits any preconceptions.
So when you drive through the gates at Sleepy Hollow, down to the 1,700-square-foot indoor/outdoor temperature-controlled Sleepy Hollow Learning Center, be prepared for a meeting of the minds.
"When I do fittings, it's a team effort," says Sprecher. "You might not be speaking the exact language I am, but my job is to interpret what you're saying and make sure we've covered all the bases."
Fittings for metal woods and irons take place in front of a Trackman launch monitor in one of the facility's three indoor/outdoor hitting bays, where Sprecher begins by picking your brain as you warm up with Titleist Pro V1, Pro V1x or NXT Tour golf balls. (Vokey Wedge fittings are conducted in Sleepy Hollow's dedicated short-game area.)
Initial conversation topics include: Current equipment, playing level, flight tendencies, desired flight pattern, swing thoughts and swing changes (past, future or ongoing), among others.
"Being a teacher has helped me in fitting because I understand more about the golf swing than most," says Sprecher. "I know how the equipment affects the golf swing and how the golf swing affects the equipment."
Sprecher records baseline numbers from your current equipment's performance on the TrackMan, forms his hypothesis, browses Sleepy Hollow's extensive Titleist shaft matrix, then quickly assembles Option No. 1 for testing.
And away you go. (Fittings take about 1-2 hours, depending on the number of club categories being fit.)
"It's important to just have a good mindset and trust what the numbers are," Sprecher says.
"Have an open mind. Golfers are always excited about getting new equipment, but they should understand that even though they might have their heart set on new Titleist CB irons, they might end up fitting best and having the most confidence in new AP1s."
In the end, it's about achieving total confidence on every shot, and Sprecher won't let you leave Sleepy Hollow on any other path.
Recently, Sprecher met with a golfer who had received a new set of golf equipment as a gift. The golfer was frustrated that the new clubs had resulted in a lower trajectory and a loss of distance, which Sprecher immediately identified as a shaft issue.
Sprecher told the golfer that a different shaft would improve his distance and accuracy – "immediately, not after some getting used to."
"He didn’t believe me but was willing to try," Sprecher said. "After two balls, I saw his face light up with disbelief that I was correct."
In the following Q&A, Sprecher talks more about the club fitting experience at Sleepy Hollow and his path to becoming a club fitter:
TEAM TITLEIST: How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?
KEVIN SPRECHER: My father got me started in golf and was also encouraged by my maternal grandfather. I got started playing one summer because I needed something to do other than tennis and baseball.
TT: What was it that first interested you in teaching and fitting? Did you have a mentor?
KS: I first got into teaching in 1992 working for Dave Collins. Dave was an instructor working for Jim McLean at Doral Golf Resort in Miami. I was also Jim’s personal assistant from 1993-1995 for private lessons, schools, seminars and clinics. I consider those two my mentors.
I got into fitting in the early 2000’s when we hired a fitter at Doral and I started to see the immediate benefits with my students.
TT: What's a typical work day like for you? What's happening behind the scenes that we might not realize?
KS: I start at 7 a.m. answering emails from the night before. I get to work and set up the teaching center.
I constantly stay in touch with clients and colleagues via email, and interact with members throughout the day.
Clean up the teaching center at the end of the day and I try to practice for 15-30 minutes, if possible.
Head home and answer more emails after the kids go to bed. I also search YouTube for teaching videos and other interesting golf-related info.
TT: How would you describe your philosophy as a club fitter?
KS: My philosophy is to find equipment that out-performs the players current equipment. If I cannot out perform their current equipment I make it a point to let them know and proceed accordingly.
TT: You help make golfers better every day. What do you work on to become a better teacher and/or fitter?
KS: I read, watch video, take lessons, watch other experts and constantly practice.
TT: How do you mark your Titleist golf ball? Does it have any special significance?
KS: I fill in one dimple below the number. No specific color.
A closer look at The Sleepy Hollow Learning Center:
• 1,700 square-foot facility with three 16-foot hitting bays and three climate zones; The entire floor is a putting surface with several holes cut into the floor.
• Practice facilities include driving range, putting greens and extensive short-game area.
• Technology available: Trackman launch monitor, JC swing analysis software and SAM (Science and Motion) PuttLab.
• Golf course is ranked No. 85 on the 2011 Golfweek's Best Classic Courses list.
• Three authorized Titleist club fitters: Kevin Sprecher, PGA Director of Instruction; David Young, Head PGA Professional; and Aaron Guy, First Assistant PGA Professsional.
• Phone: (914) 941-3062
• Website: http://www.sleepyhollowcc.org/
• E-mail: email@example.com
• • •
Titleist Regional Fitting Centers are located at Jim McLean
Golf Center (Fort Worth, Texas); KPC at The Glen Club (Glenview, Ill.);
Miles of Golf (Ypsilanti, Mich.); Sea Island Learning Center (St. Simons
Island, Ga.) and Sleepy Hollow Country Club (Scarborough, N.Y.).
To learn more about the Titleist Fitting Network and to find an authorized Titleist fitter in your area, please click here.