By Ken MacLeod
Since Steve Ball of the Ball Golf Center’s revolutionary custom fitting work with Titleist back in the 1990s, Oklahomans have always been ahead of the game when it came to getting custom fit rather than buying clubs off the rack.
The opportunity to take custom club fitting to its zenith is coming to the area soon, as rapidly-expanding Club Champion will open a center at 1001 W. Memorial Road in Oklahoma City in late March or shortly thereafter.
Club Champion had just 12 stores three years ago but the Oklahoma City store will be around the 60th depending on the timing of this opening and several others that are nearing completion.
“With more than 175 regulation golf courses in the state and a population of close to four million people in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is a great location for Club Champion, said Vice President of Marketing Jay Hubbard. “We are thrilled to be entering the market and excited to help golfers improve their game through club fitting.”
Club Champion separates itself in the fitting world with its huge range of shaft options, all of which are tested at least three times to make sure they meet specifications. The variety of shafts combined with a complete line of the top manufacturer clubheads and grips fit with the latest technology available via TrackMan, SAM Putting Labs and SST PURE machines are what separates a premium clubfitting available at Club Champion from places where club fitting is just a part of the business of running a golf course.
Leonard Finkel, the communications and advertising manager for Club Champion, said golfers who undergo a club fitting at Club Champion often come out with clubs from several manufacturers.
“As Patrick Reed said last year, it’s ridiculous to think that one manufacturer will make the 14 best clubs suited particularly for me,” Finkel said. “Guys may come out with irons 4-9 from one, then a different company for driving iron and hybrids, different on the driver and another company for wedges. None of the major champions last year were exclusively playing one brand.”
Golfers have the option of being fit at Club Champion then returning to their club to purchase clubs, but they give up the variety of shaft options. Club Champion offers approximately 100 shafts for drivers alone and each will be tested to make certain it is performing as advertised.
Club Champion was the brainchild of founders Joe Lee, Nick Sherburne and Bank and launched in 2010. It’s growth has been rapid and accelerating. It’s a big draw for private club members but Finkel said golfers from across the spectrum are willing to pay for the premium fitting experience and the potential improvement that can result.
At Club Champion, Finkel said, master fitters go through more than 150 hours of training including monthly product training and testing. They must pass rigorous testing before they can be certified.
Golf Oklahoma will publish the opening date and hours when available.