Golf science is advancing faster than the eye can see.
At the workshop of Kelly Crumpler in Nine Mile Falls, it’s moving at 50,000 frames a second, fast enough to capture every hitch and every loss of swing speed.
“It’s a great little $10,000 investment,” Crumpler said of his flight scope, which uses a Doppler radar system to spot the imperfections that over 18 holes, can cost a 20-handicapper half a dozen shots.
“The differences are subtle, but they add up,” said Crumpler, who recently was named one of the World’s Top 100 Club Fitters by equipment maker KZG.
The equipment is nice, but it’s Crumpler who earned the award through his ability to take that data and apply it to any golfer who walks into his business, H2c Golf Custom Club LLC.
That application goes far beyond the typical question posed to a novice: “Which golf club do you like best?”
According to Crumpler, the real question is: “Which is the best club for your body?”
In a typical three-hour session, Crumpler proceeds to answer that question by looking at several variables: club length, grip size, the club’s lie angle, the balance of the shaft and the design of the head.
And those are just the basics. To those, Crumpler adds at least 15 more components, methodically measuring the changes in swing from each variation in equipment. In other words, he builds the club around the golfer, not the other way around.
“If I put a golf club in your hand that’s not the right club for you, your body will start compensating,” said the 51-year-old Crumpler, a former respiratory therapist who got into the fitting business five years ago.
“Most golf pros, most fitters don’t look at that aspect of golf and fitting,” Crumpler said.
Crumpler certainly has the tools: 50 different shafts for irons, 20 more for woods, and dozens of grips and heads.
“It’s hard to tell someone that they want this grip when all his buddies are using another grip,” Crumpler said. “A 15-to-20 handicap may not notice, but a 5-handicap will notice that difference.”
Crumpler’s philosophy is to build the club first, and all by his own hand. In a typical session, the golfer takes swings – always addressing the ball in the same manner – while Crumpler analyzes the results and makes small but important changes in equipment.
A typical session last three hours “because I haven’t learned to quit talking,” said Crumpler, a golfer himself. He also listens: where does the golfer like to play. There’s a world of difference between Hangman and Downriver, he noted, citing differences in soil that can determine the best head shape for an iron.
The cost is $200 for a full-bag fitting, but Crumpler credits that cost toward the purchase of clubs from his shop.