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Posted: November 16, 2012
The second you book a Titleist club fitting at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, Mich., you've proven you'll go the extra mile for your game.
That's all Brent Norton, a Titleist authorized fitter and Director of Custom Fitting at Miles of Golf, needs to know.
Step one: Commitment. Step two: Confidence.
"My job as a fitter," Norton says, "is to make sure first and foremost that a player has the best 14 clubs for his or her game."
In order to play your best and shoot lower scores, you need to be able to trust your equipment on each and every shot. Miles of Golf, one of five Titleist Regional Fitting Centers within the Titleist Fitting Network, specializes in building that trust, working with you to build a set composition that precisely fits your game.
"It's a well-oiled machine. We do fittings like teaching academies do lessons," says Norton, adding that Miles of Golf fits over 1,500 players a year, from higher handicap players to some of the best players in the Midwest. Norton says golfers have come from as far as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, for fittings.
"We don't have a big advertising budget, but our business keeps growing because of word of mouth," he say. "Playing with properly fit equipment is a huge performance advantage. That's not a secret."
Upon arrival at Miles of Golf for your Titleist fitting, it's off to the range to get in some warm-up swings with a bucket of Pro V1's.
Your next stop is The Cluboratory, which is exactly what it sounds like. A laboratory for your game.
Open year-round, The Cluboratory features four weather-protected fitting bays that allow players to hit out onto the range so ball flight can be observed and analyzed. The facility is stocked with Titleist's fitting tools and an extensive shaft matrix to provide a comprehensive, tour-level fitting. The Cluboratory also features top-notch fitting technology, including TrackMan launch monitors, that enables the fitters to confirm players are dialed-in to the right specs.
"We'll use numbers but it's definitely not the Holy Grail," Norton says. "It's more about taking the player's feedback and then backing it up with the science."
A session in The Cluboratory begins by recording the baseline numbers with your current equipment. From there, you'll work with the fitter to determine which club and shaft combinations feel and perform best, paying particular attention to distance, trajectory and yardage gaps. As part of its 27-acre practice facility, Miles of Golf also has a short-game facility with three greens and four bunkers where you can fine-tune your wedge setup.
Norton is one of nine fitters on the Miles of Golf staff that works in The Cluboratory, a place where fitting and learning goes hand-in-hand.
In the following Q&A, Brent Norton talks more about the club fitting experience at Miles of Golf and his path to becoming a club fitter:
TEAM TITLEIST: How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?
BRENT NORTON: Growing up in a golfing household, my father got me started in the game.
TT: What was it that first interested you in teaching and fitting? Did you have a mentor?
BN: Since my days as a former club professional, I have always loved tinkering with equipment and trying different combinations to get different results. Through this trial and error more and more questions came up and that’s how my passion continued to grow.
TT: You help make golfers better every day. What do you work on to become a better teacher and/or fitter?
BN: One of the things that makes us successful is to know what combinations work well (head/shaft) and what type of swing type works well with that combination. When we get new products in, all of the fitters will go out and spend a day gathering launch conditions data. We all know what our individual launch conditions are and we can use this info to help the fitting process.
TT: What's a typical work day like for you? What's happening behind the scenes that we might not realize?
BN: A typical day for me is no different from any other full time fitter. I arrive at work in the morning and try and get some e-mails answered. Our fitting schedule starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. We have three full-time bays dedicated to TrackMan fittings and another separate facility utilizing Foresight GC2’s. The hardest part of the job is managing an inventory level for two separate facilities on property with two distinctly different needs.
TT: How do you stay on top of your game?
BN: Having girls ages 8 and 10, my golf game has slowed down. In the summer I try to hit balls every day but that can’t make up for playing golf.
TT: Have you made any changes to your equipment setup lately? Are you a tinkerer?
BN: My weakness for tinkering is drivers! I am always looking to try different combinations to see how they perform.
TT: What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag?
BN: My Vokey wedges! All my wedges have my girls' names on them. Hitting a bad shot isn’t a big deal with that reminder on your clubs.
TT: How do you mark your Titleist golf ball?
BN: With a red line.
TT: Who fits you for your equipment?
BN: Anybody that works at Miles of Golf. We all have such a passion for helping people with equipment that we help each other out with our personal clubs.
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A closer look at Miles of Golf (and The Cluboratory):
• 27-acre practice facility has over 100 tees (grass and synthetic mats) with 42 covered and heated bays for year-round use, a short-game area and two practice greens.
• The Cluboratory fitting center is open year-round and features four weather-protected fitting bays that allow players to hit out onto the range so ball flight can be observed and analyzed. Staff includes nine expert fitters.
• Technology available: TrackMan, Foresight GC2, SAM PuttLab and Quintic Ball Roll.
• 10,000 square-foot golf shop ranked in top 100 best golf shops in the country, according to Golf World magazine.
• The Kendall Academy, the largest golf academy in Michigan, has eight experienced PGA and LPGA professional instructors giving lessons year-round.
• Phone: (734) 973-9004
• Website: www.milesofgolf.com/
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Titleist Regional Fitting Centers are located at Jim McLean Golf Center (Fort Worth, Texas); 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.