Thanks to our good friend the Worldwide Web, the purveyance of golf equipment is easier, quicker and more convenient than ever.

Point, click, done.

But all that convenience comes at a cost. Try before you buy? Nope. Personal service? Hardly.

Custom fit? That gets a little tricky.

There are always holes in this imperfect world we inhabit. And there are always entrepreneurial-minded people looking to fill those holes. The folks behind a company called Fairway Jockey think they can fill at least a couple of those holes. Additionally, they believe they can provide you with some compelling, and perhaps even innovative, golf club buying options.

And maybe even custom fit you over the phone.

Over the phone? Surely this is madness, right?

Perhaps. But to quote that double-digit handicapper and occasional playwright Billy Shakespeare:

“Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t.”

Fairway Jockey

Fairway Jockey: A New Twist on an Old Take

Let’s start with a fundamental truth: the absolute best way to get fitted is in-person, hitting real golf balls with head and shaft options and a launch monitor. In a perfect world, it’s brand-agnostic and run by an experienced, knowledgeable fitter.

There is another fundamental truth, however.

“There are people who will buy golf clubs off the rack and that’s OK,” says Fairway Jockey’s Scott Krueger, a club-fitting veteran of more than 20 years. “But my firm belief is being fit at any level is better than not being fit at all.”

There is considerable gravitas behind Fairway Jockey. Yes, it’s an online golf equipment seller. But Fairway Jockey is also part of the 8AM golf empire. That empire includes Golf Magazine, the Nicklaus Companies and Miura Golf, among others. Most pertinent to this discussion, however, is True Spec Golf.

Fairway Jockey

True Spec touts itself as the No. 1 brand-agnostic club fitter in the world with more than 25 locations in the U.S., and additional facilities in Europe and Australia. Fairway Jockey shares its Scottsdale, Ariz., headquarters with True Spec and uses the same facilities for club building.

According to Fairway Jockey, it has the largest selection of premium aftermarket products in the world. True Spec has the back-end fulfillment and build shop and that allows them to have this wide variety of offerings.

Through its corporate connections, Fairway Jockey has the chops to provide you with a Tour-level build. And if you know your specs or have just recently been fitted elsewhere, Fairway Jockey can do the build for you and, it claims, can turn it around quicker at a competitive, or better than competitive, price.

But that, friends, is a long way from fitting you over the phone.

Which is where Krueger comes in.

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Dialing For Drivers

Again, no sane person would argue that the best way to get fitted doesn’t include hitting real balls with real clubs in front of a real launch monitor. But that doesn’t mean other options don’t have merit.

Even if it’s over the phone.

“We have the resources to develop what I call the proper blueprint or prescription of what the golf club should look like in relation to your swing DNA,” Krueger insists. Before joining Fairway Jockey, Krueger spent 20 years as a fitter with Hot Stix. Prior to that he was the PGA TOUR rep for Rifle Shafts and spent time as a club professional.

“If the customer is looking for a driver, the first thing I want to know is what he’s currently using,” explains Krueger. “I’ll also ask when you’re not playing well, what’s your miss? What shaft do you have? What’s your adapter setting? Have you ever been fit before and is this the driver you were fit for?

“Those questions give me a great benchmark going forward.”

Fairway Jockey

A shot report with spin characteristics, launch angle, attack angle and swing speed can make Kreuger’s job much easier. Without a shot report, Krueger goes into full detective mode.

“I’d look at your adapter setting and driver loft,” he says. “If you like the ball flight, then I’d look at your general miss. If you miss left and it’s due to a swing flaw, I’d look at a shaft that might have a stiffer tip. I can look at torque. Is there something that can help get the head back to square?

“Everybody makes good products. But if you don’t get the shaft right, get the timing right and get the head back to square, golf can be a very challenging game.”

Fairway Jockey

Confidence Versus Band-Aids

“I don’t care what level of golfer you are. Confidence is key,” says Krueger. “I’m a firm believer if the club doesn’t look good to you aesthetically, you’re never going to be 100 percent sold on the product.”

If, however, your swing has a little hitch in its get-along, no amount of aesthetically pleasing equipment is going to help.

“The reality is swing flaws are always going trump technology,” says Krueger. “If I’m a person who slices the ball badly, there’s only so much a golf club can do. I don’t want to create a Band-Aid. I want to get that golfer into a golf club that will be more efficient.”

Krueger and his team are adept at mining enough information from golfers. But the process works much better if you do a little homework ahead of time. And you may also find the fitting process may require a few phone conversations.

“I won’t give a customer just one option and tell them it’s going to give all their problems,” he says. “They may have a driver head that they like. I don’t want to take that out of their hands but I may suggest a couple of different shafts. I’ll tell them to go to our website and do a little research. Then I’ll circle back in a day or two to follow up and refine where we’re going.”

Seriously, How Good Can a Phone Fitting Be?

While Fairway Jockey calls its over-the-phone sessions a “fitting,” a more accurate description might be “consultation.” The reality is that the more you know about your swing, the better your results are going to be. We all know there’s no magic mixture of shaft and head that’s going to give you 20 more yards but you might be able to find the center of the face more consistently.

“If they hit it in the middle of the face, with the energy being transferred to the golf ball, they’re probably going to pick up 10 to 15 yards on just that,” says Krueger. “And then dispersion gets tighter with less spin. Depending on their angle of attack, it’s going to hit and release out a little bit. Ten to 15 yards is a big gain.”

Fairway Jockey

And while Krueger absolutely agrees that it’s really more archer than arrow, he says we shouldn’t lose sight of the bow.

“When a golf club is properly fit to someone, no matter what the archer presents in their golf swing, it’s going to yield better results,” he says.

Krueger says most of his over-the-phone fittings are for mid-handicappers, usually in the eight to 16 range. Lower than an eight and golfers will usually be fitted in person while 20-handicappers often don’t get fitted at all. Krueger says that’s a mistake on their part.

“A scratch player swings the club very consistently,” he explains. “His gains might not be as great as a 22-handicapper who plays golf every two or three weeks. For that person, technology can make a really big difference. The higher handicapper has more room for gains and that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing.”

Fairway Jockey

But What If I’ve Already Been Fitted?

If you know your specs and have gone through a fitting recently, Fairway Jockey offers Tour-level build options. Say you’ve been fitted at Club Champion or elsewhere. You can enter your specs on Fairway Jockey’s website and, within a couple of days, you’ll get a call from Krueger.

“It’s amazing how many people will go through a three-hour custom fitting and the information all gets lost in the translation,” he says. “There’s so much information and when you start reviewing it with them, they can’t remember the conversation they had with the fitter. They’ve forgotten what works and what doesn’t. That’s where I come in to simplify things so they can get the right clubs and enjoy the game more.”

Fairway Jockey

Fairway Jockey has 15 Tour-level build stations at its facility and one builder will make your entire order. The company claims that will ensure your tolerances are spot on, compared to clubs that come off a ram-and-jam assembly line.

Additionally, in our supply-chain-challenged world, Fairway Jockey claims its turnaround times are better than what you might expect from an OEM custom department. Depending on what you order, a custom driver shaft with a grip and tip might get out the door in 10 days while an iron set might take four to five weeks.

Is This A Better Way To Buy Golf Clubs?

As always, that depends. On one level, if you’ve been fitted and know your specs, Fairway Jockey offers you a compelling option. If you haven’t been fitted and don’t have access to a fitting center, Krueger’s team also provides you with a compelling option. Yes, it’s more consultation than fitting but it’s way better than taking a whack or two in a hitting bay and hoping for the best.

You can also argue the notion that getting fitted by a local fitter and then not buying from them might be uncomfortable. But if you pay for the fitting, the specs belong to you and you can buy your clubs wherever you’d like. That part is entirely up to you.

As mentioned, we live in this imperfect world that’s filled with holes. The question we have for you, GolfSpies, is whether you think Fairway Jockey offers a compelling option for buying custom golf clubs.

Is it something you’d consider trying?

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