Custom fitted golf equipment has become the norm, but while golfers are happy spending out extra for a custom fitted driver to chase an extra five yards, they aren’t always as eager to go for a custom fitted putter that may save them many more strokes a round. SIK Golf are looking to change that with their launch into the UK, opening a National Performance Centre at Silvermere, as well as a fitting network around the country.
The purpose-built venue at Silvermere`– part of a UK network of SIK Golf fitting centres – features the newly installed Quintic Ball Roll putting analysis system and a SIK fitting component bag. Unique in the golf industry and found at each SIK fitting centre, the component bag holds each style of putter head, a selection of shafts, hosels and components needed to go through the 150 different options involved in the fitting process.
I visited the National Performance Centre to find out about the SIK fitting process. If you’re unfamiliar with SIK, the name is an acronym for Study In Kinematics, and while the brand is new to the UK, has been making putters since 2009. The brand has been pushed to the forefront with Bryson Dechambeau’s continued success using the brands products. In fact every one of DeChambeau’s eight PGA Tour victories has been while using a SIK putter.
Silvermere’s resident putting fitter, and PGA Professional Colin Iddon took me through the fitting process, and explained the technology built in to the face of every SIK Putter. “To the naked eye, you can’t see that a putt leaves the face and goes airborne for the very first part of it’s journey” explained Colin. “A golf ball sits in it’s own depression, a tiny hole. To improve your putting you need enough loft to get the ball out of the depression, and then start rolling. Too much launch will cause the ball to bounce unpredictably, and leads to inconsistency. Not enough loft drives the ball into the ground, and again causes the ball to bounce. With the Quintic system, and it’s high speed cameras we can measure the launch, and how quickly the ball starts rolling.”
Colin had explained how fitting would help, now he dived into how SIK’s trademark DLT face help. “So finding the correct loft is key. But then you need to deliver that clubface to the ball exactly the same way every time, and not even the worlds best golfers do that”. Right got it. “Descending loft technology means there are four surfaces across the face all milled at a different loft. On our standard models the bottom of the putter face has 1 degree of loft, and as you go up the face it progressively goes from 2, to 3, until the top of the putter face has four degrees of loft.” While you can see this when you are looking for it, it’s not noticeable at address, “A putt hit at the bottom of the putter face tends to launch on the higher side, hence less loft, conversely a putt hit higher up on the face will launch lower. By building in the variable loft, you can add a consistency to your putting that will help the ball roll true every time.
That’s the science. How about the reality of trying the product? Having hit some putters to get a baseline, the Quintic system was showing I launched my putts too high, and they were taking too long to start rolling, I was asked to pick a headshape. With five models, there’s a good range to start from. I initially went with the DW, in my preffered face balanced neck, and at 33 inches.
“Are you left or right eye dominant?” asked Colin. I hadn’t the foggiest. “Stare at something on the wall, put your hand in a circle, and look through it with one eye shut. Whichever one looks through the hole the same as if you had both eyes open, that’s the eye that’s dominant.” OK, so I was right eye dominant. Why did that matter? Colin had the answer. “SIK putters are available with the alignment line on the top rail, which tends to be preferred by left eye dominant players. Or you can have the alignment on the back of the putter, and that tends to suit right eye dominant players like yourself.” And this is what I would have gravitated towards.
Now it was time to hit some putts. “How does that feel?” Colin asked before I’d even struck a putt. “SIK putters are 2 degrees more upright than most putters, they feel it helps keep everything more connected, and they are a little heavier than average too”. The Quintic system measured that I was launching my putts too high, and that their was too much backspin on my putts. I was also hitting g it consistently too hard. I’d picked out the DW because I like the way it looked, however it obviously wasn’t working.
Colin set up the Flo for me, a larger high MOI putter, more akin to what I would usually use. And instantly we could see the improvements. The ball was launching more consistently and rolling quicker, however the ball was still launching too high. “Because all the putters are made to order, I’d order you one with less loft” Colin explained. “And it’s not bent for loft and lie, it’s manufactured at the correct specs.”
SIK putters are not cheap. But they’re 100% milled from 303 Stainless steel, and they feature a custom fitting philosophy and fitting set up that’s pretty unique in the industry. While the putters are expensive, there is an opportunity for good margins to be made. And while distributors YUMAX Golf are looking for more retailers, they aren’t looking to flood the market and stockists will be destination sites dedicated to custom fitting.
The new national performance centre will be at the forefront of a UK-wide network of SIK Golf fitting centres. PGA professionals wishing to know more about how they can become a SIK custom-fitting centre should visit www.sikgolfglobal.com GR