Review: TaylorMade Performance Centre Whistle Bear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review:
TaylorMade Golf Canada Performance Centre,
Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com

When the LPGA Tour stops at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge this week for the Manulife LPGA Classic, there will be a new twist at the club’s Golf Performance Centre.

This past week, TaylorMade Golf Canada opened its own TaylorMade Performance Centre (TMPC) within the Whistle Bear centre, much to the liking of TaylorMade fans in Southwestern Ontario. While the TaylorMade Performance Lab at Glen Abbey Golf Club offers an unparalleled look into the brand’s custom fitting experience, the new TMPC in Cambridge now provides area golfers with all of the custom features at The Abbey, without the hassle of extra time and traffic associated with closer proximity to the GTA.

LOG editor Jeffrey Reed getting custom fitted with TMG Canada’s Brett McIntosh.

When the new TMPC opened May 30, yours truly made the one-hour trek to work with newly-hired master fitter Brett McIntosh of London, the former Michigan Wolverines golfer. McIntosh is a good hire for TaylorMade Golf Canada, given his golf accomplishments in these parts. Joining us Tuesday was TaylorMade Golf Canada’s experimental manager/sports marketing, Cameron Jacobs.

The purpose of my visit was to be custom fitted for the new M1 driver, to replace my 2016 model. With a re-designed T-Track system in the sole for more moveable weight, and a longer back track for even more ball flight customization, not to mention a new six-layer carbon crown and additional carbon toe panel with 43 per cent more carbon than my 2016 M1 driver, why wouldn’t I want to put the new model in my bag? The additional focus on multi-material construction saves weight to enable lower centre of gravity for better launch conditions.

I had already put the new M1 3-metal in my bag this year, and with amazing results. Like many of you, I like to tweak my swing and clubs every year, if those changes are going to better my game. The M1 fairway wood with stiff Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver 70g shaft plays perfectly into my game, and the re-designed sliding weight system plus new open-channel Speed Pocket gives me more ball speed and forgiveness than my 2016 M1 fairway metal.

After hitting balls at the Whistle Bear range – one of the nicest you’ll see in Ontario, by the way – it was time to hit for an audience of two at the TMPC.

The new TaylorMade Cambridge site is actually one of five new TMPC locations, which boast 12 TaylorMade master fitters, including McIntosh, plus 25 new TrackMan 4 Dual-Radar Technology Launch Monitors to their fitter’s tool-kit nationwide.

According to TaylorMade Canada’s managing director David Bradley, “Fitting is not a trend. We’ve continued to watch custom fitting initiatives flourish over the past decade, but we felt there was still a gap in where we could meet the player and extend our hospitality to help them dial in the right specs for their game.”

In addition to the TMPC-Cambridge, TaylorMade now has additional centres at: Blue Devil Golf Club, Calgary; Lionhead Golf Club, Brampton; Le Blainvillier, Blainville, Quebec; and b2golf, Quebec City. These new locations are in addition to successful existing operations including GTA TaylorMade Performance Labs (TMPL) TaylorMade-adidas Golf Canada Headquarters at Glen Abbey GC, along with existing TaylorMade Performance Centre locations in British Columbia at University Golf Club in Vancouver, and The Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna.

All TaylorMade Performance Centre locations offer: Tour Grade 1:1 fitting session with a TaylorMade master fitter; full Line of custom heads and over 200 shaft options to test; private test area using TrackMan 4 Dual Radar Technology launch monitor; and one-hour appointments to fit for metalwoods, irons or short game, or two-hour full bag fitting.

A nominal fitting fee is charged on-site, but in addition to a proper fitting, all guests are treated to a special player’s gift and receive on-going follow-up care once they receive their new equipment.

“People’s lives are busier than ever, and it’s not uncommon for a player to miss an event at their local club, or want to test from a wider range of heads and shafts to dial in their specs,” explained Jacobs. “In past, this would present a challenge to find a date and time to access a perfect fit. With the introduction of these additional TMPC locations, more players of all abilities can book an appointment to get fit in a relaxed setting, at a time that fits their schedule.”

View from TMPC at Whistle Bear GC.

According to TaylorMade, as with existing TMPL and TMPC locations, these new additions will serve as a service hub for all shops in the local market to be able to service their customers. Once specs are dialed in for the player, TaylorMade’s concierge service is available to assist the golfer to place an order back to their home club or preferred TaylorMade Authorized Retailer, guiding them through the process.

Each host location also features an on-site Pro Shop with a TaylorMade Certified Fitter on staff and a Select-Fit Premier Fitting Cart to be able to further assist players and accept orders from across the local market.

Nationally, TaylorMade has further invested in fitting expertise by placing TaylorMade master fitters in the following markets: Vancouver; Kelowna; Calgary; Southwestern Ontario; the GTA; and Greater Montreal/Quebec. In addition, TaylorMade has brought new technology on-board for 2017, equipping its master fitters and territory sales representatives with the addition of 25 new TrackMan 4 Dual-Radar Technology launch monitors to deliver best-in-class data to the fitter to help dial in the right launch conditions for the player.

To support all of these new initiatives, golfers and industry professionals alike can access information, search for events, fitting cart locations and request appointments online at TaylorMadeFitting.ca.

Jacobs said, “The Southwestern Ontario market is one that has intrigued us for some time, as there is a great population base, and to be honest a very underrated golf market. Between Windsor/Sarnia, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, there are so many options for great golf. From a custom fitting perspective, while we at TaylorMade already have some great options with our TaylorMade Performance Labs in Woodbridge and at Glen Abbey in the GTA, which see their share of traffic from all points down Highway 401, we recognized that there was a great opportunity for us to better service the Southwestern Ontario market with a fixed location, and sheltered from the elements we deal with here in Canada.”

According to Jacobs, “In selecting the perfect venue, we worked to partner up with Golf Performance Centre’s (2012 PGA of Ontario Teacher of the Year) Dave Smallwood (a 30-year veteran instructor). It was literally the perfect fit. For anyone that has been on site, they can attest to the fact that the facilities are quite possibly the best in Canada that can be accessed publically for instruction and fitting. We’re honoured to be a part of that great property.”

Joining TaylorMade’s territory sales representative Mitch Say, McIntosh provides a great one-two punch for local TaylorMade loyalists. During my fitting, McIntosh was able to dramatically reduce the spin off my drives, and put me into a new M1 with Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana shaft.

With my old sticks in the bag, Jacobs assisted in the process of finding a better iron for my game (1.9 handicap index but with an achilles heel in iron play). I was happy to be a rat lab on this day, as the test results were nothing short of amazing: with the new M1 irons in my hands (KBS 90 regular shafts, +1/2”, lie 2° flat), I hit the ball straighter and 1.5-clubs longer. The new sticks helped promote a taller posture and flatter swing plane.

Brett McIntosh.

Finally, taking a look at my current flat stick – a full-mallet with heel bent shaft – and my pendulum stroke, Jacobs recommended the Spider Tour Platinum putter with long, single sightline and face-balanced weighting to further improve alignment and promote a clean stroke.

While I’ve been fortunate enough to have chosen custom elements in my golf clubs during the past 14 years, I’ve never undergone such extensive true custom fitting as I had at the new TMPC. When you consider the technology, knowledgeable staff, terrific customer service – plus the fact TaylorMade focuses solely on being the best golf company it can be – then it is no surprise my custom fitting experience was nothing but positive.

Add up all of the above, and it’s quite clear why I’m putting more TaylorMade gear into my bag moving forward: to be the best golfer I can be.

For information on the TaylorMade Performance Centre at Whistle Bear GC, visit www.taylormadefitting.ca.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.