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Fit for a king: Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas adds Callaway Performance Center

Mike BaileyBy Mike Bailey,
Senior Staff Writer
Barton Creek Resort - Callaway Performance Center
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The new Callaway Fitting Center at Barton Creek Resort in Austin has all the equipment to fit you like a tour pro. (Mike Bailey/TravelGolf)

AUSTIN, Texas -- At Barton Creek Resort & Spa, you have your choice of four exceptional golf courses, lessons, fine dining, the fabulous Three-Spring Spa, championship tennis courts and nature trails. Now you can add tour-level club fitting to the list.

In June, the resort opened its Callaway Performance Center -- the only one in Texas and one of approximately a dozen in the United States.

Annika Sorenstam, the former top-ranked female player in the world, was on hand for the grand opening of the CPC at Barton Creek, which offers the same services as the center at Callaway's headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

The facility is located indoors next to Barton Creek's Fazio Foothills Golf Course shop. Inside the large indoor bay, stocked with hundreds of clubs and shafts, Callaway club fitter Chad Haverland utilizes the Callaway Performance Analysis System's high-speed cameras and precision software to capture all relevant swing data, including swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rates, attack and path angles. A ball flight simulator then displays the results on a big screen monitor. The CPAS system provides 3D imagery and helps the fitter accurately explain how the swing is working and which Callaway clubs would most benefit the golfer's game. Guests can be custom fit for woods, irons and golf balls.

The center also features Callaway's OptiFit Fitting System, which allows Haverland to put together drivers and irons with a variety of shaft and clubhead combinations in a matter of minutes.

"We just wanted to be able to provide a tour-level fitting experience to the public," Haverland said. "Our goal is to find a set of clubs for an individual that will help them play better and enjoy the game more."

How the fitting is conducted

A typical fitting session begins with an interview. Some players are looking for more distance, many are looking for more consistency, and most are looking for a combination of both. It's important to figure out what a player's goals are before the right clubs can be determined. Sometimes, although it isn't common, a fitting will reveal that a player's clubs are a good fit.

Haverland then has a player hit his or her own 6-iron to establish a base, and then works different combinations of heads and shafts based on the initial evaluation of a player's club and swing. The adjustments would typically include lie, loft, shaft flex and length and type of head. The club must also appeal visually to the player.

The same process is repeated with the driver, fairway woods and hybrids. Haverland also evaluates the set make-up for each player. Depending on clubhead speed and other factors, he might recommend hybrids to replace long irons. And he also does wedge and putter fittings.

"I don't pay attention to the swing. I pay attention to the numbers and the swing path," said Haverland, who has been with Callaway for the past four years and has done more than 5,000 fittings. "I'm really just a guy who likes physics."

The cost of an evaluation

In the end, Haverland provides a folder with a detailed report of his findings. In it, golfers will find all the pertinent specs: clubhead speed, angle of attack, spin rates, smash factor, etc. They are able to clearly see how they performed with their own clubs as well as Haverland's recommendations for an improved set of clubs.

The fitting session, which typically lasts an hour or so, costs $125 for resort guests and $150 for nonguests and nonmembers, but they get half that back with any purchase of $500 or more. And the cost of the clubs is less than most people think.

"We sell clubs for the same price as the big box retail stores," Haverland said.

Orders are processed quickly, too, and Haverland can ship them anywhere in the country.

"We've shipped clubs everywhere from Montana to Corpus Christi," he said.

There is also an express fit, perfect for just getting a driver fitting, for example. The session is typically less than a half hour and costs $50. For more information, call (512) 329-GOLF. Reservations are required.

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Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before joining the TravelGolf Network team in 2008, he held positions at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Read Mike's golf blog here and follow him on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.

 
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