High-tech meets old school: Henry-Griffitts and aboutGolf

The once-venerated prospect of buying equipment from a green-grass pro shop has become a quaint, antiquated notion _ which means there’s a great many people out there who have likely never encountered the name Henry-Griffitts.

Those in the know will recognize HG as a boutique brand that, since its inception in 1983, has been at the vanguard of the evolution of custom clubfitting.

Back in the day when a custom-fit set of clubs was considered the height of golf-gear indulgence, those clubs often bore the HG logo; fixtures that are commonplace today _ the lie board, the fitting cart and interchangeable heads _ are all Henry-Griffitts inventions.

Long since overtaken by the mainstream trend toward custom clubs, HG is now trying to step back to the front of the line by partnering with high-tech indoor golf specialists aboutGolf _ the guys who make the launch-monitor equipment featured in those Golf Town hitting bays _ to streamline and speed up the customization process.

Cutting-edge launch monitors combined with precision software will make it easier to buy a completely custom-fit set of clubs at an off-course retailer without sacrificing the precision and attention to detail of a fitting session with your local club pro. It will also allow the big-box boys to provide the custom-fit experience to customers without slowing down the level of service.

One would think this would send a shiver down the spine of the local club pro. Not so, says HG founder Randy Henry, who makes the argument that the system can bring club sales back to the green-grass level, where many pro shops no longer even bother to carry clubs.

“The pros won’t have to carry any inventory and we provide the lion’s share of customer service and support,” Henry says.

“Pros today can’t afford to carry inventory, plus they need to provide the highest quality product. Our standards in club making are the highest in the industry, and we offer a unique 100-day fit guarantee.”

Interesting argument. Time will tell if it holds up.

Henry-Griffitts Introduces TechCentric® Club Fitting

HAYDEN, IDAHO — Henry-Griffitts (HG), golf’s seminal force in club fitting for twenty-five years, has announced an initiative that will once again revolutionize and contribute to the golf equipment industry’s rapid movement to widespread club fitting.

HG’s new “TechCentric Fitting” system is a combination of leading-edge launch monitor and intelligent software technology that will augment their next-generation fitting cart, bringing dynamic club fitting to more golfers.

As the originator of the lie board, interchangeable heads and dynamic fitting, as well as the club-fitting cart, HG is in familiar territory with the dawn of TechCentric Fitting. HG has renewed its commitment to advance the science of club fitting in a big way.

“The club fitting industry is coming of age, and the needs we have satisfied over the last twenty-five years have changed. It’s time for us to launch the next generation of innovations,” says Randy Henry, HG’s founder.

A good fit has by far the greatest positive effect on performance for any golfer, relative to the entire scope of equipment. This initiative is designed to bring that advantage to golfers of all levels.”

TechCentric Fitting” is built on two central components:

Data Measurement: HG has contracted with aboutGolf, the world leader in simulators and developer of the revolutionary new 3Trak launch monitor, to provide custom launch monitor technology that is integrated with aboutGolf’s weight transfer system.

These combined systems will provide precisely accurate ball and club launch data along with weight transfer data throughout the swing, sequenced in one millisecond increments.

The measured data provided by aboutGolf’s technology will enable the overall system to understand what is happening with each swing and shot.

aboutGolf’s technology is by far the industry’s most accurate and the data provided is actually better than what the dynamic fitter would observe standing on the range, says Henry. We couldn’t do what we’re doing without it.

Fitting Software: Henry, one of the world’s most preeminent club fitters and most respected teachers in the game, is working with his son, Randall, to produce advanced software containing artificial intelligence. When integrated with a computer equipped with HGs custom data measurement system, the result will be a virtual Randy Henry “ to provide teaching and fitting advice and guidance.

Randall Henry explains: “Where the data measurement technology provides more detail than my father can discern standing on the range during the fit, the software we’re designing will process that data and make the same decisions that my father would make in person.

By meticulously going over every possible permutation of every interaction of player, club, swing, and shot, we’re building a content base that the intelligence in the software can apply to create a virtual Randy Henry. And what’s so amazing is the fact that the virtual Randy will be a better fitter than the real Randy–because it will have more accurate data to work with.”

TechCentric Fitting will provide unique support to OEMs and off-course retailers, as well as golf courses. Major club OEMs and off-course retailers are selling 88% of clubs, but they have an urgent need to enable less-capable fitters to provide customers with an efficient, quality fit.

“The dilemma the off-course retailers face is that they need to serve a large number of customers very rapidly, says Henry. Fitting normally takes at least thirty to forty-five minutes. Our new ËœTechCentric system will provide a quality fit in less than five minutes.”

While designed to support OEMs and off-course retailers, the new system will also, as Henry says, “help bring club sales back to green grass.” Where at one time most clubs were sold by the local pro at the golf course, many prominent pro shops no longer even carry clubs.

The TechCentric system will allow golf course PGA pros, who unlike most off-course store fitters know the golf swing and are highly-capable fitters, to be more efficient. However, the true advantage for these pros is in the Henry-Griffitts custom club-crafting program.

“The pros won’t have to carry any inventory and we provide the lion’s share of customer service and support,” Henry points out. “Pros today can’t afford to carry inventory, plus they need to provide the highest quality product. Our standards in club making are the highest in the industry, and we offer a unique 100-day fit guarantee.”

Indeed, data provides strong indications that Henry-Griffitts customers are among, if not the most, satisfied club owners in golf. Henry adds, “With our heritage in fitting as a foundation, we hope to bring the new ËœTechCentric system to golf’s mainstream, for all golfers, and for all club brands.”

The new system will be introduced at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January, and become available in April. Visit Henry-Griffits and aboutGolf in booths 3553 and 1385 at the PGA Merchandise Show.

About Henry-Griffitts

Henry-Griffitts is the pioneer of dynamic club fitting and originator of the lie board, interchangeable heads and dynamic fitting, as well as the club-fitting cart. Dedicated to the symbiotic relationship between swing and equipment, Henry-Griffitts custom fits clubs through its national network of HG-Certified Teachers and then hand-assembles those clubs to the tightest industry specifications.Henry-Griffitts was founded in 1983 by Randy Henry and Jim Griffitts, a pair of golf professionals who recognized that custom-fit golf clubs consistently enhance golfer performance.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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