In the 2/06/06 SI GolfPlus supplement, there was a report on a small AZ company called Hot Stix Golf. For the last 6 years, they have quietly made it onto the pro-circuit map as the de-facto company to get custom-fitted, to maximize the equipment these pros use.
Custom-fitting has been around since the days of Harvey Penick, but the HSG guys have taken it to a steroid-abuse level. The pros have so much faith in them that most take their manufacturers' clubs to have it all checked-out just to make sure.
How did this all get started? The folks at HSG have created a database of thousands of clubs, balls, and shafts hit statistics based on different swing speeds. This diligence has enabled them to provide proprietary software that complements a custom-club fitting.
In the era of multi-million dollar paydays, a land-grab has evolved just to get into the top 100 to make an unreal living. Players are willing to do whatever it takes to get that edge for their game. If a manufacturer tells them to play a certain club, but the testing over at HSG tells them that playing that club with a different shaft would be optimal, it isn't long before the player is seen with a modified version of the manufacturers club.
Manufacturers are in the pot as well. Most of them use the data from HSG to help them to make adjustments of their clubs for retail. At the beginning of a (let's say a) drivers' debut, it might start out with a stock shaft, but that combination might very well change by the end of the year. This change is portended by the guys in the HSG lab.
Where is this all going? Well this April, Golfsmith will be offering Hot Stix Golf-branded fittings by licensing HSG's software.
HSG is backed with big venture-money, so it's safe to say Golfsmith won't be the only one giving this custom-fit treat to Joe Public. Hot Stix Golf: coming to a golf course near you!
Thanks for reading, keep it in the short-grass.