REVIEWED: Putter fitting at Club Champion with SAM PuttLab
10 Aug 2023
by Pete Wlodkowski of

see also: Equipment Reviews

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

--Albert Einstein

The most important club in your bag is often overlooked, especially when it comes to the custom fitting process.

Think about your last club fitting. Or your last three for that matter. Did you ever discuss putting? If the answer is no, you may be surprised with how much confidence and consistency you can achieve by working with an expert, particularly one that has invested in the latest technology.

My son Lawson has dedicated countless hours to improving his swing, and his scores and handicap have gone down really quickly, especially after he stopped playing high school baseball. I like to joke that he started college in Arizona with a 3.0 GPA and a 10 handicap, and finished with a 4.0 GPA and a 5 handicap.

While at the University of Arizona, Lawson found a teacher he connected with, and who took a genuine interest in his game. And that instructor (who I will link to at the end of this story) has all the latest long-game technology. Trackman, pressure mats, video analysis, and more.

A funny thing happens when you start hitting more greens in regulation. Your score goes down, but once you get to the five handicap range, you need to capitalize. on your improved ball striking. The putter is your "trigger" and if you can't hole a five-footer for birdie, or you three-putt more than once or twice a round, the putter is hurting you.

So I figured, as the dad and owner of a popular golf website, that I would use my son as the test case for getting the right putter in his hands, and I turned to my friends at Club Champion. If you're unfamiliar with them, they are the leader among a handful of companies that provide club fitting at country club-style locations nationwide. These locations are primarily indoor facilities where the weather variable is removed. With today's technology, it's the best way to get fit for clubs, with the course being the place to validate that fit.

So how does SAM PuttLab work?

It's similar to a launch monitor for the long clubs. Working with a professional fitter, it provides every detail you would want to know, starting with the all-important question of "where are you actually aimed, relative to where you think you're aimed?"

The data PuttLab provides is impressive. How the Club Champion fitter uses it to help select the right putter is too. In my son's case, as he tried putters and got more comfortable, he could see the results on SAM immediately, until it was down to two putters. And then one. (Watch the video below to see what he wound up with).

We went to the Del Mar, California location, in a really nice suburban shopping center anchored by Whole Foods. On the second level, set amongst several boutique stores, we found Club Champion. The two-level facility was bigger than I imagined, with multiple hitting bays, an assembly and inventory station, and bags and clubs everywhere.

But these high-tech items aren't organized in the hodgepodge array of yesterday's stores. Everything is neatly displayed, from clubs to shafts and grips. The entire shop speaks of what is possible.

And isn't that what golf is all about? Every day we tee it up with high hopes and great expectations. But like the famous Albert Einstein quote, if you keep doing the same thing, the game might drive you crazy.

Find a Club Champion location here, and schedule a putter fitting. Your scorecard will thank you. Just ask Lawson, who loves his new putter so much he doesn't leave his clubs in the car overnight anymore.

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6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

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